Guest Post: helps us to decide when to Splurge or Save

By Aisling | December 31 2011 | 17 Comments

A serious product junky, there is very little on the market that Karen from hasn’t tried.   And I mean very little.  She’s tried everything – high end, low end and everything in between.  This girl has FIFTEEN foundations in her makeup bag.  Add to that millions of lipglosses, nail polishes and lots of skincare and she’s well placed to give us her opinion on all things cosmetic.    Karen does say that she will name us in her bankruptcy suit but I’ve got some sad information for her: we have no money.  We’ve spent it all on makeup ourselves!  A firm friend of and one of our favourite blogs: head over and give Lovelygirlybits some love.  Take it away Karen!

Spend or Save?
Ladies, The Big Question is “When should I splurge and when should I save on products”? I am a crazy person and love buying and trying products from both ends of the spectrum and will continue to do so forever and ever Amen.  It’s in my waters, the constant need to find The Perfect Product and I blame in featuring so many things that I feel I need to try and if I need to file for bankruptcy I will name and shame Aisling and Kirstie in nudging me towards my downward spiral to financial ruin.

Skincare: Spend
I can’t explain enough how much better my skin (oily/combination) looks and feels when I’m using higher end products . I think with the more expensive stuff comes less fillers and more active ingredients that actually work. When I used to buy skincare in Boots, I ended up spending more money in the end, because I was never really impressed with anything and after about a month would start on something else.

My advice? Read the skincare posts on and other blogs to get an idea of what’s out there and go to the counters in Arnotts, Debenhams or Brown Thomas and talk to the sales assistants. Don’t be talked in to buying a whole range from a brand, just stick to one thing and see how you get on with it.

Research is key and I’ve learned that over the last couple of years.

Mascara: Save
I pretty much buy my mascaras in Boots or Superdrug, but the exception this year has been Benefit’s They’re Real. It really is a fantastic mascara and I’ve even convinced my non-make up loving sister of that fact too! I think for a product that you’re supposed to chuck away after a few months (I totally don’t do that, if it starts to smell or go dry, then it gets the old heave ho, but until then, it’s staying in my stash) I can’t really be bothered spending more than €10 – €15 on one. Two of my favourite mascaras of the year are from Bourjois,cheap as chips and are used all the time.

Primer: Spend
Eyeshadow primers – In my experience and with my oil slick eyelids, the more affordable eyeshadow primers just don’t work for me. I’ve given both the Essence and Catrice primers a go this year and I was raging when my eyeshadow creased really early on in the day.  I mean, you can’t really be telling your coworkers “Oh this is the look I was going for, the Pixiwoo sisters love when eyeshadow creases, yeah”.

Urban Decay Primer Potion and Two Faced Shadow Insurance have never let me down.

Lipstick lipgloss, blusher: Save AND Spend
Ooh there are so many great products out there on the market these days. We’re spoiled on the more affordable end of the spectrum with the extremely pigmented and long lasting Pout Paints from Sleek that are just €5.70 and my handbag is full of lip glosses from New York Colour. That being said, there is something lovely about taking out a really nice lipstick and having everyone going “Ooh that’s lovely what is it”, only for you to smugly say “Oh this? It’s Chanel”! My mission for 2012 is to finish that sentence with YSL and/or Tom Ford.

I’m a huge Nars fan and love their multiples, Orgasm being my favourite (I mean, what girl doesn’t love a good Orgasm)? But at €41 a pop, Orgasm is something you’d have to wait and save for: so if you want instant pleasure, New York Colour have recently released their much anticipated blushable Creme Sticks in two colours and at €3.49, are great value and really pigmented.

Foundation: Save.  I think
I have fifteen foundations in my collection.  It’s so hard finding one that works for you because everyone’s skin is different and thus reacts differently to the product and environment.  On the more expensive end of things, I love Lancome and Clinique foundations. When Lancome discontinued my one ever Holy Grail foundation, Adaptive, I went into mourning and had to start my search all over again.

However, there are a serious amount of affordable foundations  in our local chemists. The Body Shop, Avon, Bourjois and Catrice have all made it into my every day make up cycle and I rarely venture outside this Fantastic Foursome. I don’t think it’s one of those things that follows the rules of the more expensive, the better. I’ve tried Chanel Mat Lumiere in the past and automatically thought I’d love it. Serves me right for buying it just because it was Chanel and had only swatched it on the back of my hand. Oh lesson was learned folks!

Nails – Save
Joanne and I are demented in our love for nail polishes. We have amassed a ginormous collection over the years and to be honest, I’d say about 90% is from Boots, Superdrug and Sally’s Beauty Supply. We were excited to welcome two Chanel polishes to our family this year but were bitterly disappointed in the chippage factor. I wore Rouge Carat to a party a couple of weeks ago and five hours after applying it with a topcoat and everything, it chipped. And I mean proper chipped. Halfway down my nails chipped. Danced with my hands in a fist chipped.

We’re going to give some other luxury brands a go in 2012 but until then, we’re very much happy with our Sally Hansen, New York Colour, Essence and China Glaze members of our nail polish family. They’ve never let us down yet!

So ladies, what do you splurge on and where do you save? Help a girl out!

Thank you so much for your words of wisdom Karen and all of your support over the years.  We heart Lovelygirliebits.

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17 Replies to "Guest Post: helps us to decide when to Splurge or Save"

  • ladyelvis says:

    Karen based on your excellent review and photos I’ve just splurged on Chanel Illusion d’Ombre in Epatant which I got on the House of Fraser website. (Despite the bird in BT telling me I wouldn’t get it anywhere as it’s been sold out for months. Ha!)
    Anyway I love it! I wore it out last night with a little smudged black kohl. I think eyeshadows are well worth a splurge, for the colour payoff, lasting effects and blendability. I love my Kevyn Aucoin palette and also MAC eyeshadows.
    What’s your opinion on make up brushes? I just got a Sigma flat top kabuki brush for foundation and I think it really makes a difference to the look of my base- so much so I’m thinking of investing in a concealer brush and one for cream blush. Usually I use fingers for those-what’s your take on brushes?
    Thanks for all your great posts-but you have bankrupted me too!

  • Kirstie says:

    great post, thanks Karen!

  • Aileen says:

    Great post, have to agree on spend on skin care. Really makes a difference, with the year that it’s been I had started to use cheaper products…dont it just doesn’t pay off!!!

    Spend on a good foundation too, and eyeshadow … I mainly choose mac but really looking forward to investing in some Tom Ford..ah hopefully in 2012.

  • Fifibelle says:

    Would definitely agree with not splurging on expensive nail polish, I never finish a bottle anyway and would HATE to throw out a half finished bottle of expensive colour

    I would always spend on foundation though, the high street ones just don’t do it for me

  • boredmum says:

    Great post Karen, I Have also recently started using Catrice and i love it so much, the Photo Finish 18 Hour foundation is just amazing, i usually use Estee Lauder DW, and i’m finding this just as good, and i have extrememly oily skin, so just goes to show you don’t have to spend (tooo) much on makeup, Sally hansen and NYC nail polishes are just fab too and soooo cheap

  • kittykat says:

    I’d spend on foundation. DW and Armani silk at the mo, tho’ partial to Revlon Colourstay as well. Cheaper foundations bring me out in a rash.
    However, can’t use pricy cleansers. They bring me out in spots / rash so I use Garnier Soft always and it doesn’t irritate.
    Cheapo eyeshadows don’t last on me so I stick with pricier ones. Also stick with mascaras from EL and Lancome. They don’t flake or irritate my eyes.

  • I totally agree with Karen re saving on nail polishes.
    I chnage polishes avery 2/3 days max, and love being able to chose between plenty of colours so why buy expensive polish at €20 a pop when for the same price you can have 5 different from Barry M, Rimmel, Maybelline and the likes, with a quality that is most of the time amazing?
    The 2 departments I always spend are Eyes (although I am starting to move towards the less expensive mascaras) and Skincare.

  • Thanks so much for letting moi do the post Aisling and Kirstie :) Am raging I can’t name you in my bankruptcy claim though! And thanks for the comments ladies!

    ladyelvis – well done on tracking down Epatant, I’ve heard it’s so hard to find, glad I picked it up when I did now heh I have a vast array of brushes (surprise surprise) ranging from EcoTools to MAC. I use the same Sigma flat topped one as you for my foundation and love it. I use a MAC 224 for concealer after seeing the Pixiwoos using it and it means my concealer doesn’t cake, which is always nice! For cream blush I use either my MAC 109 or a no name duofibre brush that I picked up in TK Maxx earlier in the year. I always pick up a new brush from No 7 when I have one of those €7.50 vouchers and that’s a great way to expand your collection. I’ve lots of their white fluffy blending brushes now and a couple of angled ones too. There really are some affordable brushes out there that are great quality and to be honest, I’d say I use mine as much as my MAC ones. Glad to hear you’re going bankrupt too, the circle continues hehee

    Aileen – I was using the Aldi brand for a while at the start of the year and while it didn’t break me out or anything, I just didn’t see any difference in my skin. I’m with you on Tom Ford, I was drooling over the quads before Christmas, just stunning. 2012 will be our Tom Ford year!

    Fifibelle – I hear you re the nail polish. I had the ultimate rage with my Chanel one, I still love it but need to come up with a concoction that makes it stay put!

    boredmum – I’ve been toying with trying Estee Lauder’s DW too but haven’t been convinced myself. I love the finish Catrice’s foundation gives me, even if I did have it for about 3 months before realising it had a bloody pump!

    kittkat – I used to only buy high end foundations too before I discovered blogs and was able to read before buying. My skin doesn’t sound as sensitive as yours though, I’d say my sis is the same as yourself, she claims Creme de la Mer is the only thing that works for her skin and so next year I’m going to get her trying some new stuff and see how she gets on!

  • McMademoiselleLikes – I hear ya, sure like a gobshite, I went and spent €19 on a Deborah Lippmann polish and the next week, Essence brought out an exact dupe! Ah well, I usually justify it that because I’m a collector of products, I’m allowed get expensive things! The Bourjois mascaras really are deadly though, would recommend to a friend.

  • ~Thalia~ says:

    I never spend much on skincare really liz Earle and a cheapie vit e moisturiser from boots do the job, I’m blessed with reasonably good skin though so dont have to buy treatment products.
    Was using Chanel pro lumiere but going to try bourjous healthy mix as that’s a good dupe allegedly. I’ve a good mix of shadows, don’t wear much eye make up anyways. Never found a mascara cheap or exp to better max factor 2000 calorie so I stick to that.
    Also never spend money on exp polishes, find revlon and Rimmel the best, bought Chanel once and it chipped in a day.
    Great post Karen and I suppose the best thin to do is just go with what works for you be that cheap or exp if it ain’t broke don’t fix it :)

  • ~Thalia~ you’re very wise altogether :) I’m definitely of the opinion to work with what your budget allows, that being said, I’m such a weirdo that even if I find a mascara that I love, I still have to try new ones just to see if they’re any better, it’s terrible! I’ll still go back to the products I love but have this insane need in me to try new things, I will keep the cosmetic world in Ireland afloat by myself!

  • MUFD says:

    Great post Karen. As a kindred spirit (there’s never anything remotely “new” left on the shelves anywhere, and anything vaguely “new formulation” is high on my lists of must-try (I guess I’m a marketers dream), I try EVERYthing. Agree with you on mascaras. Eyeshadows are another ‘spent/splurge’ one, coz you can get AMAZING e/s (Superdrug’s MUA, Sleek and Stars Makeup Haven to name just 3, all are seriously pigmented and long lasting and cheap!). I use creme de la mer for donkeys years now but I’m (courtesy of GlossyBox) starting to see some cheaper, and just as good, alternatives, for a fraction of the cost too though…

  • Andrea says:

    Wonderful post Karen!

    2011 has really been eye-opening to me thanks to all of you lovely ladies and your never-ending hard work on reviews, new products and so on. thank you! i haven’t really spend much money on stuff i didn’t like this year again thanks to you guys.

    Definitely splurge on skincare, foundation, eyeshadows. in that order particularly :D
    high end really makes a difference when it comes to the ingredients in skincare and also the makeup base.
    when it comes to mascara, well that’s a different story. i still haven’t found my prince charming of mascaras i’m afraid but i won’t give up without a fight :D (note to self must try benefit’s they’re real)

    Well Happy New Year ladies and the very best of wishes for 2012!

  • kittykat says:

    Andrea, think you’ve hit the nail on the head for me there. High end cleansers bring me out in a rash probably due to the high concentration of ingredients, hence why i’ve no probs with the cheap n cheerful one I use.

    Karen thanks for this post. Will take your advice and check out the blogs when it comes to foundations in future. The Armani Silk one is v. pricy and not worth it IMO. I ran out today and whilst I have only been wearing it now and then, I feel like I’ve only used it a handful of times. And it looks s***e in photos. Must buy some more of that Revlon Colourstay. Got compliments on my skin when I used it and its only 19 yoyos. Can’t believe ur sis only uses Creme de la Mer. I tried a sample pot of the night cream of this range ages ago and fell in love with it. It really delivers, but alas my bank balance doesn’t :-)

    Thalia, the pro lumiere I haven’t tried, but tried vita lumierre which slid off my oily skin and made me look like a greaseball by mid day in work. The matt lumiere was fab. Great for a nite out on the tiles and looked amazing in photos. But if I wore it more than two days on the trot I got a rash on my forehead. Redeve from here had healthy mix foundation on the last time we met up and it looked v. fresh on her.

  • ~Thalia~ says:

    Karen, oh absolutely agree, I’m a complete product slut ;) always go back to the faithfuls though :)

  • Kitty In The City says:

    Agreed, have never spent much on mascara. I don’t see the point on spending on eye liner and lip liner either when there is Rimmel in this world. I do spend on MAC foundation though, but a bottle lasts about 2 yrs and I get compliments on it. And lipstick, almost always MAC. I have two concealers, depending on my foundation. The lighter one is Lacura from Aldi, (winter use) and the darker one is MAC (summer, on big nights out).

  • Chris says:

    Great post! For me, saving on lipsticks is necessary, because I use up so much of it. Revlon Super Lustrous is my favorite lipstick of all time. I used to go through a tube of Mulled Wine in one month. I couldn’t do that with Chanel or Dior. Unless I started robbing banks…. :)

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