Holy smokes can you spend a lot of money on makeup. Sometimes it is worth it – other times it really really is not. Honestly, I have really started getting into makeup over the past year or so (I blame you… YouTube and Birchbox). Where there once was a time when I avoided the high-end side of Ulta at all costs and blanched at the idea of going into Sephora… I now get excited at the idea of a trip to the mall just for a stop into Sephora.
Mainly this was because I super shy and always felt like the sales staff pounced on me the moment I set foot in those areas… but also because I felt completely intimidated by the idea of all. that. makeup. At that point my makeup routine consisted of a simple BB Cream, mascara, and chapstick.
I can’t remember exactly how I first stepped into the crazy world of trying out high-end makeup – I think it was a mixture of learning about cool techniques and products on YouTube and finally getting talked into trying BareMinerals (which is like in the middle of the Ulta store… so like a baby step). But at this point I have fully dived into the entire world of makeup – I’ve been matched to my ColorIQ and have actively sought out sales staff for recommendations on makeup.
With all that being said I have some absolutely favorite high-end makeup items that I splurge for when I can… and dream about when I can’t.
1 | it Cosmetics . No. 50 Serum Primer | shop
This primer is wonderful and makes my skin feel awesome. Plus, my foundation looks significantly smoother when I’m using it… but holy s*** does it come with quite the price tag at almost $50 for the little glass bottle. This bad boy is a special occasion type of thing.
For another option I love that are still on the high-end side of Ulta but not quite so steep a cost I also love Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer– works wonders and less crazy a price (but it’s still $32).
2 | tarte . Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation | shop
I wear the shade fair sand and its a pretty dead on match for my skin tone. It offers build able medium to full coverage but feels light on the skin. Plus- it’s formulated with no parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. A little goes a long way so the $40 price tag feels less crazy.
Another option that I used faithfully before discovering the tarte one (and I still go back to it occasionally) is the it Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream but it is pretty much the exact same price.
3 | Anastasia . Concealer | shop
So far this concealer is lasting me an incredibly long time- I wear the shade .5 which goes on under my eyes to brighten up my face. It is a full coverage concealer so a little goes a long long way. Personally the $20 price tag is totally worth it for me.
A close second for me is the it Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Anti-Aging Concealer (yes this brand again). This is super similar to the Anastasia one- BUT this one is little more expensive AND has less product in the packaging.
4 | beautyblender . the original | shop
This is a given. I resisted using a beauty blender for a long time- but then I caved and the heavens opened up and angels sang… and I understood what all the hype is about. This makes your foundation and concealer look natural and keeps it from feeling heavy and cakey while still giving you full coverage if you want it. I have yet to find a knockoff anywhere close to as good as the original… and yes it is worth the $20.
5 | MAC . Pro Longwear Paint Pot | shop
This one I hear talked about all the time as well- and that’s good reason. I have yet to find an eye primer that works better than this one. This make my eyeshadow last all day to the point where I have to scrub (as gently as I can) to get my eye makeup off in the evening. The $22 price tag doesn’t sting much as you only have to make that purchase once or twice a year.
6 | Laura Mercier . Secret Brightening Powder | shop
This is a really nice setting powder specifically for under the eyes which makes it really nice for ‘baking’ my face since. Don’t know what ‘baking’ is in relation to makeup? That’s okay- its a semi new thing for me too. I won’t explain it well so check this out. I don’t do this method everyday- because its time-consuming.
This setting powder is lovely though even if you don’t bake your face- and comes in at $25. I also use it Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Silk HD Anti-Aging Micro-Powder which is nice for your entire face- and it comes in at $24.
7 | Smashbox . Fusion Soft Lights | shop
I use the color baked starburst for my bronzer- I have to be careful with bronzers because they can be way way to strong on my fair skin. This one is perfect because it is buildable and just adds a little color to my skin. It lasts forever so the $32 price tag seems reasonable for how much I love this bronzer.
When I’m looking for something with no shimmer I reach for BareMinerals READY Bronzer in skinny dip- I love for all the same reasons (its build able and easy for me to blend in). Plus it is only $25.
8 | theBalm® . Cindy-Lou Manizer | shop
I talked about this one in my holiday party makeup guide– I really really love this one. I especially love it paired with the Smashbox bronzer. It adds a really subtle natural color to my cheeks.
I have yet to find another blush that I love enough to recommend. I have a few that I use sometimes- but I’ll keep you posted.
9 | BareMinerals . Invisible Light Translucent Powder Duo | shop
This powder duo is lovely- the setting powder (the matte side) works wonders and the highlighting powder (the glow side) is a soft color and doesn’t lean yellow or pink- just super neutral and pretty. The duo function makes the $32 price feel doable- and since I’m pretty light handed with the highlight it is lasting me a long time.
I was also gifted a little batch of MAC’s loose pigment powder in white gold which just so happened to be in a color that works really well as a highlight for me.
10 | Too Faced . Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar | shop
I love eye shadow. I especially love big beautiful eye palettes that buttery soft and smell like chocolate- and I’m serious about that last one. This eye palette smells like chocolate- it’s heavenly. This one is of my favorite- but I also love (and own) the original chocolate bar palette. It is a steep price at almost $50- but oh how I love it.
I’m also a huge fan of BareMinerals The Nature of Nude eye palette– which you can only get online now for $42.
11 | Sephora Collection . Long Lasting 12HR Wear Eye Liner | shop
Okay- so I’m not sure Sephora Collection specifically counts as high-end, but I haven’t really tried a really expensive eyeliner that I love yet. This one is my top favorite liquid eyeliner though. It is heavily pigmented and stay in place beautifully- and it’s a reasonable price at $12. The matte black and the glitter brown are my two favorite colors- but there are a ton more colors.
12 | stila . Huge Extreme Lash Mascara | shop
Now mascara is a product that I have tried a ton of- I have naturally thick and curly lashes and I’m always on the look out for a great mascara that won’t clump and compliment what’s naturally there. This is so far my absolute favorite without questions. It makes my lashes look really really thick and long and crazy (I get asked constantly if I used Latisse or one of those fiber mascaras when I’m wearing it). Nothing compares to it even at $23 a pop.
That’s it! My favorite high-end products! Don’t you worry about your bank account though- I’ll post my favorite drug store products too. :D