Thursday, August 26, 2010

How Much is "Too Much" When Buying Cosmetics?

As a self-confessed red lipstick addict, I can safely say that I will often go out of my way to find the 'best shade.' Before I invest in a product, I read reviews and hunt for swatches online. I will also swatch several colors in the store before I pick that "one." Whether a lipstick costs $2.99 USD or $30.00 USD, if the color wows me, I will buy it. But I have been thinking: how much is too much for makeup? $45? $50? $60? More?

This year, designer and perfumer Tom Ford released his highly-anticipated "Tom Ford Private Blend" lipsticks. These lipsticks boast high-color payoff and a luxurious silky texture. The collection includes bright and deep colors with sultry names like Cherry Lush and Smoke Red. Even that white and gold case is sexy! But the price is a steep $45.00 USD! For 45 bucks I can buy four MAC lipsticks using the 30% off discount I get with my MAC Pro membership! Better yet, for $45, I can buy a pretty vintage dress or a Salem North Star place setting for 4!

Moreover, Cle du Peau (a luxury cosmetic line by Shiseido) is known for their high prices. Their foundation costs $110.00 USD and their new Extra Rich lipsticks cost a whopping $60 USD! All the reviews for this lipstick have been glowing. I really would like to try the Red Abundance color (an intense, bright warm red cream) but the idea of shelling out the cost equivalent of two Chanel lipsticks is hard to justify. If the color and quality are amazing, is a lipstick really worth that much?

So, what do you think? Do you have a limit? If a lipstick/beauty item is worth its high price tag, do you buy  it?


  1. I'm not a big lipstick person. I find a shade and brand I like and stick with it. For a few years I was stuck on Ruby Woo by Mac, then I moved onto Mac's Pro Longwear in Passion Preserved, but once in a time crunch, I ran out of the Longwear and stopped at the drugstore on my way to work and picked up Revlong Colorstay Ultimate in Tomato. I'm just as happy with that! I tend to be a sloppy person, and end up smearing my lipstick or getting it on things. The longwear lipsticks just work for me.

    I will pay a lot for foundation since my skin is a problem area. I'm currently researching whether I should spend $40 for Laura Mercier Foundation and another $40 on her powder. Perfume is something else I will spend a lot on. $90 for a small bottle of Annik Goutal's Gardenia Passion.

  2. I pretty much draw the line at about a $20 lipstick. I use drug store mascara since I replace it every 3-6 months. However, I have found that Strivectin SD for my face and eyes is a wise investment, so that's my skin splurge. I get my hair colored every 6-8 weeks. I do my own nails and I have my arsenal of other cosmetics down pat as to color/etc so they aren't purchased often. Oh, and I don't go anywhere without my Lipcote.

  3. Kim,

    That is wonderful that longwear lipsticks work for you! I really tried to use them but they do not work for me. I tried ColorStay and MAC but both sadly, were too difficult to get right.

    I understand about skin totally! I have super sensitive skin that is very oily prone. I am also in the early stages of heredity rosacea. I am able to keep the nedness at bay but I still need a foundation that is gentle and will be full coverage. So far, MAC's Studio Tech is amazing. I love my MAC because I trust their stuff and have been using it for years. I also am a MAC Pro member so I get most things (except Viva Glam and certain promo items) for 30% off.

  4. Shrinky Inky,

    I also get my hair colored every 6 weeks and I do my own nails and toes. I use good skincare. I prefer MAC foundations because I know what shade works without fail: NW15. I have tried expensive foundation like Chantecaille and cheap Nutrogena and MAC is still my preferred brand. I have really been liking the new lipsticks from Make Up For Ever (19.00 USD).

    I wanted to try the Tom Ford colors but I read in reviews that the color is a bit wet. I do not like it when lipsticks are so creamy they practically slide off. I like a balance of matte and cream.

    I loved CoverGirl's Marathon mascara and wore it faithfully since high school but the dummies discontinued it for that yucky Lash Blast! I was so disappointed! I was able to find tubes of it at Target until earlier this year. I use MAC's Opulash as so far it is good but it not waterproof. I prefer waterproof since my oily skin likes to destroy all makeup!

  5. I haven't tried Studio Tech, how does it compare to Studio fix? Studio Fix is starting to block my poors, and I apply it with a brush. I know I should clean my make up brush for bacteria, but I just have never remembered to buy the brush cleaners when I'm at Mac. I have the red but the doctors told me it was sun damage from childhood, but I swear it looks like Rosacea!

  6. I'd like to quote Dolly Parton here, "You'd be surprised how much it costs to look this cheap!" hehe...I've always thought that as I make my cosmetic purchases.

  7. Kim,

    The Studio Tech is great but if your skin is being blocked, I suggest Mineralize by MAC highly! I use both Studio Tech and the Mineralize. The mineralize is a cream-gel that comes in a compact w/ a round white sponge like the Studio Fix. It is mineral-based and let's skin breathe! I use the Studio Tech for more coverage when my "monthly visitor" breakouts act up. The brush cleaner is not really necessary!! I use baby shampoo or any shampoo will do. Just use warm water, rinse, form brush back into shape, and let dry overnight with the brush head laying down or on its side on a towel. Never let the brush with the brush head up. Over time, water will deteriorate the area where the brush and metal connect. I learned that in art school!

    I did a MAC brush post a while back.

    As for rosacea, my dermatologist told me it can look like pimples that never form or go away. I thought I was having breakouts on my cheeks but it is rosacea. I find that Elemis products and La Therapie skincare (although pricey) really help my sensitive, oily, and rosacea skin.

  8. I used to use a product by Bourghese called Molto Bella, which sounds like the Mineralize by Mac. I used it about 15 years ago, and I'm not sure why I stopped because it gave me great coverage then! It might have been the price at the time since we were newly weds and starting a family. Anywho, I'll check out Mineralize. Thanks for the tips!

  9. In general, I buy cheap makeup, the stuff you buy at walmart or target. It suits me well enough, works just fine and on one income, I have to be practical. I did totally splurge on a lipstick once. It was an Estee Lauder limited edition lipstick called Princess Grace Coral. It was a repro of the same shade that Grace Kelly wore on her wedding day. I bought a $55 tube of it for my wedding day. I know, $55 for lipstick! But, it was my wedding and I was excited. The shade was so beautiful when I put it on so it was worth every penny!!

  10. I love using Mary Kay, and will shell out the extra cash for foundation because I have tempermental skin. However, going through lipstick quickly and having so many other companies to choose from with fun eye colors etc, I tend to buy cheaper. (e.g. upto $15-$20)

    The thing is, I try to follow the "cry once and pay the extra cash instead of crying several times when the cheap one breaks", but we have to buy make-up over and over! So no matter how I look at it, I'm crying several times anyway! ^_^

  11. Brittany,

    Makeup for your big day always should be "money is no object!" The Estee Lauder color sounds like it was pretty!

    I will buy cheap powders once in a while. I prefer Coty loose powder to set my makeup and I mix the Coty powder and rubbing alcohol to make pressed powder fills for my vintage compacts.

    NYC Color makes a great pressed mineral foundation in SPF 12 that I wear over Roc's Lifting Moisturizer in SPF 30 when I ski on sunny days. NYC Color is cheap too! I found mine at Wal-Mart.

    Lipstick, foundation, and skincare are usually my splurges. Eyeshadow can vary but I prefer MAC. I buy the pro palette refill shadows for $7.70 each with my MAC discount.

  12. The FondueGoddess,

    I know what you mean about the cheapies breaking. I got a great shadow quad from Relvon once and when I opened my makeup bag, all the shadow was broken. I had no idea what happened. It was not like I was being rough with my kit or anything. The colors were cheap but they were a great set of nudes for doing a 40s eye look.

    I can now get MAC individual eyeshadow refills for palette for 7.70 USD since I have their Pro discount. Normally, the price is 11.00 USD.

    I have tried the cheaper lipsticks like Revlon and Milani but I did not like the poor quality. Nars, MAC, and Make Up For Ever lipstick are my go-tos.

  13. I just can't justify $45 for a lipstick. Like you said - that would potentially be a great vintage dress won on Ebay, or some other wonderful vintage accessory, or a wonderful chunk of antique lace or bark cloth fabric. I'm still looking for a lipstick that really speaks to me. In the meantime I never go out without some lipgloss. I really love the Vaselina Gal Collection and their eyecatching vintage style tins.

  14. Sue,

    Spending $45 or even $60 is just crazy! I have spend $24 on Nars and $30 on Chanel but I prefer my $20 and under shades. However, the super cheap stuff can be horrible. I guess it all about finding what works while considering your budget.

  15. I bought a Tom Ford lipstick here in London, as I get it on discount through work; I paid the equivalent of $30. I admit I was totally taken in by the packaging and marketing. How does it perform? Well, it's ok, nothing special. And you're right - it is a bit 'runny'. I buy loads of red lipstick all the time, don't care how cheap or where it comes from, but I always go back to Strawberry Suede by Revlon. I find it has the perfect 'MGM musical' shade, and as it's matte, doesn't move an inch all day

  16. Nicole Needles,

    Thank you for your comment! I have been very interested in finding out a real gal's thoughts on the Tom Ford lipsticks! They look pretty and yet the texture looks runny/wet. I prefer a drier more matte formula and lately the Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense reds, #42, #43, and #45, have proved to be AMAZING!