Splurge vs Save: The winners in this half drugstore and half expensive FOTD
Are expensive beauty products always better than cheaper ones? Ah, my friends, isn't that the question of the decade! To answer it, I came up with an FOTD that’s half painted with high-end cosmetics while the other half was done with drugstore counterparts. Get ready for a literal product face-off!
Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder (P1,750) vs. BYS HD Microfinish Powder (P899)
The powders look exactly alike in their containers but the Laura Mercier powder feels silkier to the touch and more finely-milled than BYS. I didn’t notice the difference in texture though when I applied the powders to my face. What I did notice is that BYS appears to have more of a matte finish. From my experience, it takes a very thick application to get matte with the Laura Mercier powder, and it reflects horribly in flash photography!
The BYS HD Microfinish Powder wins this round but take care that you don't layer it on too thickly. It’s still a setting powder and not specifically a mattifying one.
K-Palette Lasting 2Way Eyebrow in Natural Brown (P895) vs. Catrice Longlasting Brow Definer in Chocolate Brownie (~P200)
For a fair comparison, I only used the liquid end of K-Palette. I also only used the pens to fill in sparse areas as a reinforcement to my brow pencil. The K-Palette liquid pen looks much lighter when swatched next to Catrice though they don’t look all that different once applied to the brow with light touches. Catrice bled a bit during my swatch sessions but remained intact on my brows even on hot days. Longevity is the same, and their swatches both didn’t rub off easily.
I'm inclined to call this a tie since both function and stay on equally well! In terms of overall value though, the K-Palette may cost more but you get two products instead of one.
K-Palette Real Lasting Eyebrow Mascara in Natural Brown (P620) vs. Fashion 21 Eyebrow Gel in Light Brown (P165)
Fashion 21 has a huge spoolie-type applicator, making it look like regular mascara. I found it tricky to use on the tail portion of the brow as the big brush often goes over the lines and requires clean-up. On the other hand, K-Palette has a tiny, spoon-like applicator that gets at hard-to-reach places without difficulty. The darkest available shade of the K-Palette Eyebrow Mascara is still quite light though, whereas Fashion 21 offers more color choices. K-Palette also has a matte finish, while Fashion 21 is metallic with gold shimmer. Longevity-wise, K-Palette lasts longer as Fashion 21 rubs off quite easily.
K-Palette clearly dominates this round! The specialized applicator was a huge factor for me as it made application so easy and convenient. Longevity was also a major plus.
Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour in Moonlight (P1,250 for full size) vs. Maybelline Color Tattoo Gel-Cream Eyeshadow in Bad to the Bronze (P379)
The Laura Mercier is a LOT easier to apply: the twist-up pen is easy to swipe all over the lids but fine enough to also use as an eyeliner. Bad to the Bronze is warmer in color and more copper-toned compared to Moonlight. Both are buildable, but only up to a certain point before they look cakey. In terms of longevity, they both last through the day with minimum or no creasing.
The Caviar Sticks are pretty much my HG cream shadows because of the convenience of application as well as a longer product life. I’ve had my first Caviar Stick for almost two years, and the quality and consistency of the shadow stick hasn’t undergone any noticeable changes. The Maybelline cream shadows tend to dry up faster and are harder to pick up and apply.
NARS Deep Throat Blush (P1,450) vs. Bourjois Little Round Pot Blush in Lilas d’Or (price varies, as it is only sold by online vendors)
I picked up the Bourjois Lilas d’Or because it's known as a popular dupe for NARS Orgasm. However, since Deep Throat and Orgasm aren’t all that different - Orgasm has more gold shimmer and, thus, has a more obvious duochrome effect than Deep Throat - the comparison can be made. The Bourjois blush is baked, so it has a grittier texture and results in patchier application. NARS is smoother and results in a more diffused application. The gold shimmer in the Bourjois blush is also chunkier than NARS’, giving it the appearance of sitting on top of the skin rather than being completely blended in.
I'd definitely pick NARS for a natural looking glow! The patchy application of Bourjois was troublesome and takes a lot longer to blend out - definitely not going to work for five-minute makeup looks.
Benefit High Beam (P1,400) vs. City Color Glowing Complexion Illuminating Cream (P229)
I purchased City Color’s Illuminating Cream because the color in the tube looked exactly like the Benefit High Beam. As it turns out, it has more of a peachy-gold color as opposed to High Beam’s pearly pink. Both have white shimmer but City Color has bigger shimmer pigments. When blended thoroughly, City Color still leaves a peach tint while Benefit diffuses completely into sheer white shimmer. I found that City Color applies really well over powder but Benefit turns cakey.
Poor blendability has already turned me away from a lot of highlighters before but City Color totally changed my mind!
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl (P1,450) vs. Pink Sugar Creamy Matte Lipstick in Hotline Bling (P349)
It’s the battle of the brights! Dragon Girl is a hot red with pink undertones while Hotline Bling is actually a hot pink with red undertones - go figure. They don't look exactly the same but they are very similar to each other if you look at the swatches.
Now initially, Hotline Bling doesn’t apply comfortably because it has a lot of drag on un-balmed lips while Dragon Girl feels velvety (true to its name). But the second swipe for Pink Sugar feels much better as it glides over the first lipstick layer. NARS has the tendency for patchy application because it offers zero moisture (as it is a true matte) versus Pink Sugar’s satin formula.
I can't name a winner for this because it really depends on the finish and feel you prefer. If you hate the heavy, coated sensation of lipstick, go for NARS. If you prefer something more creamy and moisturizing, then Pink Sugar might be a better pick.
So, did you guess which side of my face features the pricier products? It's the one to your left! Though both sides look almost identical, the difference lie in how well the products apply and how long they last. I think it's great that the winners turned out to be a mixed bag of both drugstore and luxury brands. It goes to show that we don't have to spend a ton of money to get amazing colors, finishes, and textures although it's nice to treat ourselves to a truly special piece once in a while.
Have you ever experienced a budget find outperforming a high-end product? Do you have more splurge or save items in your collection?