Women spend almost a half billion dollars on beauty products each year. That’s a whole lot of money going towards products that are made to beautify the wearer. Each and every woman has to decide for themselves what their own beauty budget should be. When it comes to makeup, prices vary widely from high-end departments store choices to more affordable drugstore options. Is there truly a difference between prestige brands versus budget alternatives?

Obviously, there are tangible packaging differences in some of the pricier products, but when it comes down to ingredients in makeup, many times what you are getting is almost the same. It can be hard to tell what you should spend your money on. Here is a guide to high-end makeup versus drugstore choices, and where you should spend the bulk of your money in comparing a few different items. Of course, if you feel like blowing almost $100 on that gorgeous Christian Louboutin lipstick show piece, by all means, splurge! Sometimes it just feels amazing to have something so coveted in your beauty kit.

The Verdict On Mascara

Mascara applying. Long Lashes closeup. Mascara Brush. EyelashesLancome’s Definicils long held the title of the “holy grail” in mascara. When it came out in 1991, it quickly became a bestseller. It continues to set the bar in mascara, but at almost $30, it’s quite an expense when you should replace it every three months. That is one of the main reasons to save money on mascara in general.

Luckily in the past ten years, other companies have stepped up to compete. That includes drugstore brands. You can find some excellent mascara in the drugstore, such as L’Oreal’s Voluminous Mascara, and the old green and pink tube by Maybelline still gets high marks from many beauty editors.

The Choice Is Less Clear In Lipstick

Applying LipstickLipstick is mainly made up of waxes, oils, and pigment. Formulas can vary widely from thick rich matte ones to soft sheer glosses. What kind of lipstick you like to wear is more of a personal preference. Colour Pop, a newer cosmetic company that sells their products online, makes some fantastic items from $5-$8.

When you compare the ingredients of one of their lipsticks to a more expensive designer brand like Nars Cosmetics, you will find that they are basically the same. The packaging is very different. The magnetic click of a Nars Audacious Lipstick with the sleek black packaging is very appealing to have in your handbag to whip out for a touch-up. Although at $36 a tube, it’s truly up to the consumer to determine if it’s worth it. The choice is yours.

Don’t Mess With Foundation

Set Of Foundation Swatches Isolated On White BackgroundFoundation is of those products where there is definitely a clear choice. Go with the department store brand that you can try on in the store to make sure it’s the right texture, coverage, and color. It’s just too hard to determine that with a drugstore brand, and the higher end formulas tend to wear better. They mostly last all day without changing color on your skin.

Trendy Cosmetics

Makeup Artist Applies Eye Shadow If you feel like buying some makeup that is normally outside of your comfort zone, then it’s fine to go with the drugstore brands. This is especially true if you know you are just going to probably wear it once or twice on a night out. You don’t want to blow a ton of money on a trendy item that is just going to sit in your makeup drawer.