Makeup Splurge vs Save. Can You Tell the Difference??

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I have had the idea for this post for quite some time.  Time is the key part because it took time to get it all together.  True story.  I really don’t wear that much makeup on a daily basis but I love makeup.  Sephora is my happy place.  I have tried to add a few drugstore pieces in the past but many of them haven’t held up to the higher end brands.  I also rationalize that I don’t go through products quickly so spend the money on the quality products that last.


I got to thinking.  Let’s do a side by side of some of my every day products and see if there was anything that stood up to it.  My findings were pretty spot on.  There are things to splurge on and things that are just as good if not better for a fraction of the price.  Ready for the comparison?


I picked 4 of the products I use every day.  Mascara, eyeliner, concealer, and lipgloss.


Alright let’s start it off.  Which side is the drugstore brands and which one is Sephora?


Let’s talk about the mascara first.  If I could only choose one thing to put on my face ever… would be mascara.  One quick swipe and instantly you look more awake and put together.  Ask me about any mascara…..I’ve tried it and probably have strong opinions about it. I demand a lot out of them.  I know everyone has different lashes and some things work better for one person to the next.  I was obsessed with They’re Real! until it took forever to get off and would sometimes break my lashes.  Once I found YSL babydoll I was in love.  It lengthens, separates and best part it washes off easily at night.  I had heard so much about L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly……I was intrigued.


The brush was very similar to the YSL.  It has that straight plastic wings that allows for separation.  Maybelline on top YSL on bottom.  I did use the YSL sample one for this just picture that wand a little longer but exact same concept between the two.


Next up was the Rimmel Scandaleyes liner vs my tried and tested Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner.

They both went on equally dark, smooth and looked very similar side by side.


Up next was my beloved NYX concealer vs NARS


They did have very different colors on first swipe, NARS left, NYX right.


Finally my beloved YSL lip stain in Naughty Mauve vs L’Oreal Wet Shine lip stain.


What was the verdict???  Can you guess which side was the drugstore vs which side was Sephora?


If you guessed looking at my face the left side was Sephora……you were correct!  The only main giveaway in my opinion was the length of the lashes.
Who Won the Battle??
Mascara – YSL 
I was very surprised.  The L’oreal went on very similar to the YSL.  It had a similar consistency, brush and black formula.  The YSL gives exceptional length.  Like hit your eyebrows length.  For the everyday though the L’oreal totally fit the bill (especially for the price tag!)  Now here was the deciding factor.  I wash my makeup off every night but sometimes I leave my mascara if I teach an early morning class.  Judge if you may.  I left it on to see the wearing longevity.  The next morning the YSL was perfect.  Did not budge.  The L’oreal completely flaked black all under my eye, onto my cheek and continued throughout the morning. “Amanda I wash my mascara off every night” you’ll tell me.  Well that test tells me when it starts to get old and drier in the bottle it will flake a lot easier.  That was the winning vote.  YSL did not flake, smudge or smear. It is the best.


Eyeliner – Close but Urban Decay 
They looked identical on but once again it was the staying power.  As time wore on the Urban Decay did not budge.  The Rimmel started to flake and crack especially on the lower lash line.  However, for $5 for the Rimmel it is great to throw in a to go makeup bag.  This one was a definite close second.


Concealer- NYX hands down
Thicker coverage, went on smooth and light reflector.  When applied with this brush it gives a complete airbrushed look.  I actually returned the NARS after I did this side by side especially after the NYX lasted with better coverage.  Oh did I mention it was like $5 and the NARS was $30.  I pretty rarely repurchase anything but this is my second tube of the NYX.  Totally winner.  I am the medium shade.


Lipstain-YSL…..I mean you knew that already right?
For a quick daytime swipe the L’Oreal totally did it’s job but for staying powering the YSL won absolutely no comparison.  Plus the pigment was richer and was non drying.


Take away points.  If Sephora brand prices are not in your reach these 4 drugstore brands were really great quality and totally fit the bill.  If you can get a buy one get one 50% off deal with some coupons then go for it.  However if you have a little wiggle room and want to upgrade a few things.  Go for the mascara.  That length is no joke and instantly transforms your eyes.


So what do you think?  Did you guess right?  Are there some things you splurge on that are a must and other things that are affordable and you can’t live without?  Every time I do a post on makeup I give so much props to makeup bloggers.  So hard to get the lighting right, non blurry and pictures where you don’t look like a serial killer.  Seriously try to take a straight on picture in the perfect natural lighting.  It’s harder than you think!  Tell me some of your can’t live withouts.  Hope you have a fabulous day!  xoxoxoxo
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57 responses to “Makeup Splurge vs Save. Can You Tell the Difference??”

  1. I was definitely thinking the left side was the Sephora side. It’s all about those eyelashes!
    I am hopeless when it comes to makeup. I seriously need someone to go to the store with me and tell me what I need for my face and how to apply it, because I am so lost.

  2. Kelsey says:

    This was awesome! I’m a Lancome mascara person, but I alternate with L’Oreal, just the original Voluminous though, I prefer the traditional bristles to the rubbery ones. Thanks for the NYX concealer recommendation, I always find concealer tricky!

  3. Kiki says:

    I agree, I think the only giveaway is the length of your lashes, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to tell. Makeup here is so expensive, like $20 per mascara tube, and I am not talking fancy mascara just the plain old maybellinewith the pink tube. I was sure to stock up when I was home!

  4. Jenn says:

    What a great idea! I agree the only thing you could really tell with was the length of the lashes, but even then, it’s hard to tell! Thanks for all the useful info for my next trip to pick up some make up! :)

  5. P!nky says:

    yup I guessed right…I agree the lashes gave it away.

    I need to try the YSL lip stain!

  6. I cheated since I already knew which side was which but you definitely can tell from the lashes. You got lashes for days on the left side girl! Love this comparision though!

  7. Holy crap, definitely going to have to try that concealer now! I did guess right, because of the lashes haha. What a fun post!

  8. Kari says:

    I LOVE the UD eyeliner and Nyx concealer! The Nyx concealer been my go-to lately, and it so much better my other Benefit, Chanel and Stila concealers. The Butterfly Intenza mascara is awesome for the price, but you’re right, the longer you have it, the more flaky it’s going to get. I had that problem with Diorshow mascaras a few years ago.

  9. I also thought the lashes were the big giveaway, beautiful! Sephora is my happy place as well, and over the years I’ve tried to find cheaper options, but they just don’t hold up as well. They may look similar when applied, but the more expensive brands last longer not only on your face, but in their tube/compact as well. It’s expensive to start up your collection, but replacing along the way is well worth it :)

    Awesome post gurlie!

  10. The lashes were my clue too! I’m shocked how similar the lip stains are though – that was a tough call! I’ve been wearing the same mascara for years now and just don’t think it’s all that amazing. I can’t wait to go test out some of these, especially the mascara and lip stain!

  11. awhite says:

    This is so cool! I guessed correctly- but only because the lashes gave it away, haha.
    I need to get my hands on that NYX concealer ASAP.
    Love the YSL stains- so pretty!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  12. Jillian says:

    great post! both sides look the same to me BUT i love reading why you liked or disliked some of the products. xo jillian – cornflake dreams

  13. I guessed the left side, you were right, the lashes give it away. I’m surprised to hear that about the NARS concealer because I love their sheer glow foundation. That YSL lip gloss, omg gorgeous.. need. Anyway…Thank you for sharing this and I love your necklace!! :-)

  14. Joey says:

    This was a cool idea for a post! I think it’s all about the choice of products for sure. There are definitely some products from the drug store, in my opinion, that are on par or better than the high end brands for a fraction of the cost. But then there are my holy grail “nothing competes” high end products that I’ll splurge on for the rest of my life!

  15. What a great concept of a post, girl! I couldn’t guess which side was which, but now I see that your lashes clearly are longer on the left side. Needless to say, I’m intrigued by that mascara and I definitely need to pick up the NYX concealer on my next trip to Target.

  16. Julia says:

    Wow this is so awesome, thank you for doing this! It’s definitely good to know what to splurge and save on! I want to get some of that YSL lip stain for sure!!

  17. This is great, the lashes are totally what gave it away. Speaking of, that mascara looks AMAZING! The length on your lashes, seriously! I’m going to have to grab a tube of that NYX concealer, you can never have too much of that laying around!

  18. Christina says:

    awesome post. and i guess i will be going to get that concealer!

  19. Alisha says:

    I agree with you, quality wins out nine times out of ten, in my opinion. Like you, I don’t wear a ton of make-up everyday… plus, I think I use less when it is a better quality product. I am in need of concealer right now and am totally going to pick up NYX! Thanks for the tip!

  20. The eyelashes totally gave it away!! And I’m obsessed with my NARS concealer so now I definitely have to try the NYX version. $25 cheaper and better coverage? Yes please! Fun post!

  21. great tips girl! i really need to bite the bullet and get that lip stain already! :)

  22. Ahh! I want that YSL lip stain. Gorgeous.

    Mascara is a hard thing to find! I can’t begin to tell you how many I’ve tried. I finally am content with Elizabeth Mott It’s So Big. They make my lashes look fantastic. I’d totally be down to try the YSL mascara–your lashes look amazing!

  23. Carly says:

    That YSL mascara is amazing. Some things are definitely worth the splurge. I won’t spend as much on trendy makeup, but mascara, foundation, concealer – that stuff needs to be top notch.

  24. Great test! I wear They’re Real now but I am going to try that YSL! Your lashes look gorgeous!

  25. Love this, I figured the left was Sephora because you can tell a difference in the lashes, but that’s it! Looks gorgeous!

  26. Miche says:

    What an awesome idea for a post! I agree with the Sephora thing – i love that mascara SO much too!

    Miche from Buttons and Birdcages

  27. Is the NYX concealer on the left or right? I’ve wanted to try it for some time but my go to cosmetics is the Bye Bye Under Eye by It Cosmetics. It last forever which is a good thing because it’s close to $30 (I think). Does the NYX crease at all? Thanks for sharing, though! I’ve never seen a side by side like this. And you could never look like a serial killer!

  28. Kristen says:

    I think it helps that you have such a gorgeous canvas to work with ;) i will have to check out the concealer – i wasn’t in love with the loreal butterfly mascara but i love the normal voluminous one!

  29. Tori G says:

    What a great post! Now we know what to get next time we need to add to the cosmetics collection (which is quite frequently). Thanks!!

  30. Love how you compared smart!

  31. I love this. It’s good to know that there are some things that we don’t need to splugre on. I am definitely going to try that concealer!

  32. Wow so similar for sure. You should have been 2-face all day and let us know how the makeup held up (no one would notice, maybe haha?). Great post!

  33. Emily says:

    Nice makeup comparison review! I like how your eyelashes look on the left ;-)

  34. I have to say, I’m like you in that I don’t wear much makeup anymore – some days I don’t wear any at all! So the stuff I have is high end. BUT, I’m all about the L’Oreal mascara, and have been for years and years! I’ve tried numerous high end brands and they don’t come close to L’Oreal (haven’t tried YSL). For about $8, it’s amazing, and I can pick it up at the same store I buy diapers. Boom.

  35. Both sides look really great, but I think what gives it away is the mascara – the YSL is unreal on you!!! Love this test you did!! xo, Biana

  36. The eyelashes give away the left side, but your skin is awesome on the right, it does look airbrushed. I love the NYX concealer.

  37. I love this post! I need to get the YSL Mascara and Lip Gloss because they look amazing on!!

  38. I am officially a NYX convert. Every single thing of theirs that I have purchased I love! I think both sides look pretty equal all things considered!

  39. Yay I guessed the right side!!! But both sides look good, and your skin is awesome! I haven’t tried NYX concealer yet but I am so going to now!!!

    I will spend money on foundation, concealer, mascara, eye shadow and save money on eye liner and lip products.

  40. This post is such a great idea. I too am a Sephora addict and recently tried some drugstore brands to see if I could cut back on some of my costs. Ugh, it’s so hard. I am dying to try that YSL mascara and NYX concealer. Adding them to the list.

  41. I love these types of posts! I think you’re right and the mascara did kind of give it away– but really, both sides look so good! I think a lot of the time it comes down to lasting power of drugstore vs high-end- and a lot of the time drugstore products just don’t seem to hold up as good.

  42. Jess says:

    I haven’t tried the other products but I have both eyeliners in my bag. I’m now a huge fan of the scandal eyes just bc of how it goes on. It’s so much easier to apply, maybe bc its slightly creamier. It also doesnt smudge on my upper lid like the 24/7 does. For the price difference I’ll use the Scandal eyes daily and only the Urban Decay if I need it to be more waterproof.

  43. I was pretty disappointed with the Butterfly Intenza as well. Oh well, back to the Miss Manga for me. (:

  44. I guessed right, wooohoo, I think because I use the same YSL mascara ;) I used to always wear drug store and thought I was too broke for Sephora until I started investing in some good products. It’s well worth it for pretty much everything based on the length of use I get out of them. Great post!

  45. you are so creative with this! i love my UD eyeliner too. and i’m also a mascara snob. you look gorg too :)

  46. Tracy says:

    Wow, both sides look nearly identical! One advantage of more expensive makeup is that it seems more foolproof to apply usually…or maybe that’s just me ;)

  47. Jen says:

    Great post girl! I’ve recently been dissapointed with my NARS concealer too so I think NYX is next! I’m also looking for a good everyday stain. And one for my engagement pics ;) so I’m going to try that one!

  48. K says:

    I feel the same way about mascara – if I have five minutes to get ready, that’s the one thing I’ll throw on. Urban Decay Perversion is my absolute favorite.
    I’m constantly impressed with how great NYX products are, especially at their price points.

  49. I’m almost out of my benefit (or whatever brand…) concealer, so I will have to try out the NYX next! At the price, it won’t hurt to try :)

  50. Kay R. says:

    I do like the higher quality stuff but mainly because it lasts longer … sometimes. But I have found some really good drugstore finds tha work just as well. Honestly both sides look good so win win right?

  51. I knew nothing would beat your beloved YSL! hahahaha
    I’m gonna have to try that NYX concealer… I use Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch and I love it but there’s barely any in the container! RUDE!

  52. Ever Emma says:

    Lol I know nothing about makeup so I didn’t even bother guessing which was which. I decided to just pick the side that I liked better and hoped it was the drugstore brands and lucky for me it was!

  53. Ok you’ve convinced me. I must pick up that NYX concealer before they shut down my Target! I’m pretty impressed with how identical these both look, but I have to agree that most of the time when it comes to longevity you get what you pay for. I still haven’t found a pencil liner that holds up on me as well as Makeup Forever. I go through them so slowly that it’s definitely worth a little extra investment to keep the raccoon eyes at bay.

  54. I did guess correctly although the only give away was the lashes! I love the loreal butterfly mascara! However I tried that particular one that you tried and it is different than just the plain one. I hate the “voluminous intenza”! :)

  55. Allison says:

    Random question- what brand is your makeup mirror?! I’m looking for one and am struggling to make a choice… Thanks in advance!

  56. Allison says:

    Random question- what brand is your makeup mirror?! I’m looking for one and am struggling to make a choice… Thanks in advance!

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