Makeup is my kryptonite. I can spend hours wandering through Sephora, musing on whether I can pull off a cat-eye or rock chartreuse. But with the endless variation I love about makeup comes an enormous span in price. For the most part, it's completely possible to rock drugstore makeup (with a little help from your friends at the Krazy Coupon Lady!). However, there are a few select items where I recommend that you should either go big or go home. Read on to find out which products, and why!

1. Mascara:Skimp

Of all the different types of makeup, mascara is the one that I go through the quickest, about every three months. So luckily it falls in the skimp category! There are lots of good options for quality, inexpensive mascara that gets the job done. CoverGirl makes particularly fabulous mascaras with excellent coverage you can build on without clumping or flaking. Their non-waterproof varieties also wash off easily with soap and water. Try Lash Fanatic ($6.49 at or LashBlast ($7.79 at, both by CoverGirl.

2. Foundation: Skimp

Foundation alone can range in price from about $3 to upwards of $100. And there are a lot of low price, lower-quality products to steer clear of. However, there are also a couple of gems in the mix. My favorite is Maybelline Dream Mousse foundation. Unlike many lower-end products, it goes on smooth, lasts a long time, and is moisture-rich without being oily. With four and a half stars on Amazon at the low price of $6.85 for a jar that will last from four to six months, you're good to skimp in this category! The other winner in this category is L'Oreal True Match Super Blendable Makeup. It's $7.99 on Amazon for a four- to six-month supply. It goes on smooth, and it comes in a huge variety of shades.

3. Blush: Skimp

Don't get me wrong, there are some bad, cheap blushes out there. Avoid cheap powder blushes, and steer yourself toward the gel-based varieties that will go on light, silky-smooth and semi-translucent. Hands down, I recommend Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush ($5.59 for a six-month supply on Amazon). It comes in some gorgeous, natural-looking shades, and its texture is to-die-for. Not to mention, it gets four out of five stars by nearly 200 reviewers on Amazon!

4. Lip gloss: Splurge

This one seems like it should be a skimp at first glance. And while it's true that there is an endless variety of inexpensive lip glosses in fabulous colors at any drugstore, appearance isn't the only critical factor here. Lip gloss has to pass the taste test and the time test. Many less expensive brands have a nasty aftertaste, and they dry up far more quickly. Victoria's Secret makes a gloss called Give Me Sugar that tastes and smells as good as it looks—and keeps your lips shiny! (It’s around $10 at; it often goes on sale for 2/$15 near the holidays, or sign up for their email list for coupons and regular specials here.)

5. Concealer: Splurge

Concealer is a tricky one. It's like foundation in some ways (a skimp). But it's thick, so depending on the quality, it can make you look like a youthful goddess, or actually draw attention to and accentuate the bags under your eyes. I recommend MAC's Studio Finish Concealer ($19.00). I cringed at spending so much on what looked like a tiny bit of makeup, but one pot lasted me almost a year, and the coverage was flawless. (Sign up for MAC's email alerts to get coupons that will take some of the edge off this splurge!)

6. Eye shadow: Splurge

Eye shadow is another tricky one. There are so many beautiful, inexpensive eye shadows out there. But unfortunately, you get what you pay for in this category! Inexpensive eye shadow can oxidize or change color on your skin in unflattering ways, and it can also creep and seep into the creases of your lids. Luckily, one pot of eye shadow goes a long way. MAC is the master of eye candy, and a $16 pot of MAC Eye Shadow should last you for a year or more. (Sign up for MAC's email alerts to get coupons that will help you save on this splurge!)

7. Eyeliner: Skimp

Eyeliner is another product that can get really expensive in some of the department-store brands. But lucky for us, the drugstore brands execute the job flawlessly! Maybelline Studio Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner lasts for 12 hours without smudging, goes on cleanly and easily, and looks amazing. And best of all, it's only $5.99 on Amazon (and gets four and a half out of five stars from more than 250 reviewers)!

8. Lipstick: Skimp

Inexpensive, decent lipstick abounds! Even better, use a lip stain to make your lip color last the longest and get the most bang for your buck. Lip stains involve less mess, have more intense, long-lasting color, and come in an array of colors. They've become increasingly popular over the past several years, for good reason! Maybelline makes a great lip stain called Superstay. It comes in 30 shades and is $6.99 on Amazon (and gets four out of five stars from more than 50 reviewers).

Where do you skimp versus splurge when it comes to makeup? Enquiring frugal minds want to know!


This is a guest post by Noelle from Boise, ID. 

Splurge or Skimp? Your Ultimate Guide to Saving on Makeup!