Save vs. Splurge: battle of the brands. Part I.

Here is my personal take on some beauty products from different brands that, in my opinion, give the same or very similar results. The only difference between them is, as hinted in the title of this post, their pricing. While all the products I am about to mention come from brands that I consider to be very good, regardless of whether they are “drugstore” (do we even have those in Dubai? Even drugstore brands seem to cost more than they originally do…), mid-priced or high-end brands. For the sake of different people having different opinions on what prices are considered to be low, affordable or expensive, I will not be mentioning any numbers! You can go see that information for yourselves at the stores if you are really interested.

Face primers/bases
Pore minimizing effect: Splurge on The POREfessional by benefit. Save on Pore Minimizing First Base by MISSHA. For someone who has large pores, especially on the nose, around the nose and/or on the cheeks, a pore minimizing primer is always a good thing to invest in. Having tried the ones made by both benefit and MISSHA, I felt that they give pretty much the same effect. They both come in tube forms, and while MISSHA’s Pore Minimizing Base is considerably lower in price and higher in quantity (30 ml, as opposed to benefit’s 20 ml), benefit’s POREfessional takes less time to blend into the skin and it dries faster.

Mattifying/Shine-free effect: Splurge on Urban Decay’s De Slick in a Tube. Save on The Body Shop’s Matte It Skin Primer. For those of you that suffer from oily or combination skin, mattifying or anti-shine primers that are oil-free and give matte/shine-free effects can be a great investment. Urban Decay’s mattifying primer was recommended to me by my sister and I will have to confess that I haven’t actually purchased one for myself (I tried it at the shop) but I just might have to when the one I have from The Body Shop runs out. Both primers are made in gel form and both dry really fast when you apply them on the skin. Urban Decay’s primer has 20 ml of product packed in the tube while The Body Shop’s has 25 ml. I personally think they both have really good anti-shine and oil-control effects, making the appearance of my usually very oily face look a lot less oily. There is a quite a big difference in their prices, I won’t sugarcoat the truth for you there. If any of you live in Dubai, then you know that most beauty products here are at least double the price of what they originally cost in the US, UK or Canada. So, before buying any of them, go to the shops and give them a try. Urban Decay’s product is available in Sephora stores throughout Dubai.

For Oily or Combination Skin/Oil-free: Splurge on MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid. Save on Revlon’s ColorStay Foundation with SoftFlex. I’ve written a more detailed post on Revlon’s ColorStay Foundation and I briefly compared it to MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid. (See post at While they both give pretty much the same effects and results, I personally prefer Revlon’s foundation because I feel it suits my skin better due to several reasons (see post) and it’s easier on my wallet. I have heard from several makeup gurus on Youtube and personal friends that MAC’s foundation caused their faces to break out or worsened the acne they were already troubled with. Personally, I’ve never had this problem with MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid but, like I always say, it always comes down to personal preferences so please feel free to go to the shops and give them both a try before making your choice. Better safe than sorry.

For undereye darkness or circles/anti-cernes: Splurge on Makeup Forever’s Lift Concealer. Save on Maybelline’s Dream Mousse Concealer. If you’re the kinda gal that suffers from dark under eye circles, then you know how it is…we almost *never* leave the house without dabbing a bit of concealer under the eyes. Especially for fair-skinned ladies, undereye darkness can be such a hassle to deal with…which is why undereye concealer is really important. For some of us, it could even be a major necessity. Being a really fair-skinned gal myself, it can be rather annoying when people ask me if I’m “feeling sick” or say that I’m looking “very tired” just because I forgot to put some undereye concealer. Jeez. Any way, having bought and tried both Makeup Forever’s and Maybelline’s undereye concealers, I will have to say that I like them both equally and for different reasons. Yes, the first one is mucho expensive compared to the latter, but they both give decent coverage for undereye darkness. While Maybelline’s concealer is definitely thicker in consistency and gives slightly better coverage, Makeup Forever’s concealer is easier to blend in and gives the undereye a somewhat luminiscent/glowy effect..(at least, that’s what I observe whenever I use it.) Now this may come as a shocker to some of you but I consider Makeup Forever’s undereye concealer to work better when used for a daily natural look and Maybelline’s to work better when used for those evening outings or special occasions. This is because MF’s concealer is lighter in weight and thinner in texture than Maybelline’s, making it a better choice for my everyday natural makeup look.

(Note: this is just the first of many Save vs. Splurge posts…so don’t worry if you don’t see what you’re looking for in this one!)

Update: Maybelline Mousse Dream Concealer was discontinued many years ago. A possible drugstore alternative that may be available in the UAE is the NYX HD Concealer.



Posted on May 26, 2011, in Save or Splurge. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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