Spend + Save Options For Your Makeup Routine


Firstly, please look above and take note of the date.

There are only two days until August. I feel personally attacked.

Secondly! My girlfriends said to me over the weekend that I need to Step. It. Up when it comes to sharing drugstore beauty products alongside the more luxury, high end alternatives. And I am nothing if not receptive (!!!).

New products are launching all the time so it’s possible that these recommendations will need updating in the coming months, but as it stands these are the foundations, highlighters and mascaras that the beauty industry obsess over and use consistently – regardless of price.

P.s. All prices are in New Zealand dollars.

Starting at the start. Primer. Two of the most well-regarded, affordable primers are NYX Angel Veil Skin Perfecting Primer ($25) and Benefit’s Pore Professional Pearl Primer ($23). Both will blur the appearance of pores. At the other end of the spectrum is one of the most hyped product launches of 2018, Tatcha’s Silk Canvas Protective Primer ($83) which quite literally has silk extract in it. I want it so bad.

At the luxury end of foundations, you can’t really beat the award-winning, oil-free Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation ($100). But the cool thing about foundation is that there are so many epic drugstore options that celebrity makeup artists use on set all the time. In particular I always read about L’Oreal Paris True Match Foundation ($33), or if you prefer something more matte L’Oreal’s Infallible Pro-Matte 24HR Foundation ($39) gets a ton of praise.

Concealer isn’t an expensive product anyway, but at the less-expensive end of the scale I’d recommend Maybelline Fit Me Concealer ($22) which is a favourite among beauty Vloggers, blends beautifully and doesn’t crease. If you want to spend a little more then get the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ($47).

For highlighters you have the option of powder or cream. I prefer cream because of the skin-like finish you can achieve, and you’ve probably heard me go on and on about Tom Ford Shade + Illuminate palette ($144) which contains both a highlighter and a bronzer hence the insane price tag. The cheaper dupe of this product is Glossier Haloscope ($32) – a quarter of the price and a similar (but not identical) effect. If you prefer highlighting powders, Maybelline got rave reviews for their Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter which is only $20. MAC Strobe Cream – worn under or over makeup – will always be the best middle-range option ($70), otherwise Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector ($73) has been around for years and still makes beauty editors’ “Top 10”.

When it comes to bronzers, unfortunately the more expensive options will always blend better and ultimately look more natural. Think Kevyn Aucoin’s Celestial Bronzing Veil ($76) and NARS Bronzing Powder ($63). If you don’t care about that and just want to look tan (mood), NYX does a really good matte bronzer for $16 and Benefit have their iconic Hoola Bronzer for $26.

I own two cream blushers and use them both a huge amount. Glossier Cloud Paint is the cheaper option at $26 (I own “Puff” which is a pale pink shade). Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge Lip + Cheek is more than double the price of Cloud Paint ($56) but the shade “Calyspo Coral” is hard to beat for a peachy red and blends seamlessly into the skin. I always get compliments when I’m wearing the Bobbi Brown.

Last but not least, mascara!

Obviously mascara is a personal thing because some prefer that doll-like, almost clumpy look and others want feathered, barely-there lashes. My forever favourite mascara, MAC Extended Play Lash ($42), gives a look that falls somewhere in between those two descriptions and the best part is that it doesn’t transfer to your upper lid (a pet peeve of mine). For a cheaper alternative you’ll be pleased to know that the iconic pink and green tube, Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes Mascara, is still one of the best on the market and will only set you back $12.

Header image by Wono Kim for The Twenties Club