Holiday Beauty: Splurge vs. Save

December 10, 2012    |    By +
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As the resident “Beauty Guru”, I work hard to find the best beauty gifts for all occasions. I am makeup obsessed and am constantly researching new products to try out. From lipsticks to mascara, I know from experience what works best. And with the holiday party season upon us, I know we all want to looks our best without splurging unless we have to. So today, I’m going to share my opinions on what beauty products you should spend big on, versus what can be bought at the drugstore.


Blush: I like splurging on blushes. They last forever and the rich colors make it worth the cost. Probably the most well received and universally flattering shade is NARS Blush in Orgasm, which has a peach tone with slight shimmer. I own this shade and absolutely love it. If you want to avoid sparkle, try Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush.

BB Cream: With foundations and skincare you should splurge if you can afford to. That said, if you research enough you can find a fantastic product at any price point. Dr. Jart + Water Fuse BB Beauty Balm SPF 25  is great for sensitive skin and is packed full of moisturizing nutrients. For the best money-saving BB Cream, try Loreal Youth Code BB Cream Illuminator; it glides on ultra-lightweight and still maintains all the benefits of a beauty balm.

Eye Shadow: Fantastic eye shadows can be found at any price point, but for bargain prices on luxury products try beauty palettes. I am loving the Sephora Collection Blockbuster Makeup Palette, for under $50 you get 148 different products!


Lipstick: I think you can find the perfect shade at a drugstore. I adore wearing lipstick and have a favorite brand for every shade. My all-time favorite lip color is Revlon Moon Drops Moisture Crème in Orange Flip. Anytime I wear this bold coral color I get a ton of compliments. Try L’oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in Mulberry  to enjoy the color of the season, burgundy. Want the perfect red? Maybelline Color Sensational Lipcolor in Red Revival is the classic red every woman needs.

Mascara: Personally, I think this is something you do not want to spend a lot of money on. (other gurus may disagree) Mascaras tend to not last long, and even if they do you should be swapping out often to avoid bacteria collecting. I think there are plenty of well-made mascaras at the drugstore, so this is a place to save money. My favorite is CoverGirl LashBlast 24Hr Mascara   which is highly volumizing, but does not clump at all. Looking for something less va-va-voom? Try the classic Maybelline Great Lash Mascara.

Nail polish: Nail art is the biggest beauty trend of 2012.  With the “it” colors changing so frequently, shop at drugstores to keep trying new shades. My favorites of the moment are metallic and olive. Essie  has an amazing collection devoted to the metallic trend. My favorite olive hue is Revlon Colorstay Longwear Nail Enamel in Spanish Moss  which is strong enough to stay chipless for up to 11 days!

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Meet the Gurus

Kathryn D.W.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is the senior manager of content at She was formerly the executive editor at Honolulu Magazine, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Oahu. Her career has included staff positions at Country Living Gardener and Power & Motoryacht. Her latest book is "Hawaii's Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!"

Gwen P.
Gwen is the Editorial Curator at In addition to writing blogs, she creates gift guides, curates the site, and produces content for our social media channels. As a freelance writer, she created blogs on fashion, art, travel, health and lifestyle. A talented jewelry designer, she's also a yogi and a hospital volunteer with her therapy dog, Lilo, a Pomeranian.