Ages ago I did a Drugstore Makeup Starter Kit post. At the time I hardly felt qualified to follow up with a high end version, but now, seeing as I’m knee deep in the fancy stuff at work every day, I finally feel ready to do this. I’ve broken everything down into a category and given you my top recommendation for each one. Only, I thought I’d add an extra twist. I figured at the end of each recommendation I’d tell you whether or not I think it’s worth the splurge or if you’re better off with a trip to the drugstore. So here I go, stepping into my big boy pants, dishing you up a hot serving of outrageously expensive makeup.

1. Eye Primer – NARS Smudge Proof Eye Shadow Base
I’ve tried a number of eye shadow primers, both high end and low end, and nothing works as well as the NARS primer. It is through and through the best at keeping eye shadows in place when you’ve got oily eyelids.

Verdict: worth the splurge.

2. Eye Shadow – Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette/Urban Decay Naked Palettes
While I can’t stand the packaging of the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette, I have to say it’s still my favourite. The colour selection is beautiful and there’s a great balance of mattes and shimmers. They blend easily and they smell delicious. I really enjoy the quality of the Urban Decay Naked Palettes (maybe even more so); the only trouble is that I find there are too many shimmers in the selection for me.

Verdict: worth the splurge.

3. Eyeliner – Marc Jacobs Highliner
The Marc Jacobs liners are probably the most long wearing and pigmented eyeliners I’ve ever seen. They stick around in the water line very impressively and they’re not going anywhere on your lids.

Verdict: not worth the splurge. While I love the quality of Marc Jacobs Liners, I do think you can find something almost comparable in the drugstore. Rimmel, Pixi, L’oreal… they all do great liners.

4. Mascara – Too Faced Better Than Sex
I’m still debating about the best high end mascara. I like the Better Than Sex. It gives incredible volume and length, but it does smudge on me quite a bit.

Verdict: not worth the splurge. I prefer most L’oreal mascaras more than any of the high end mascaras I’ve tried.

5. Brows – Anastasia Brow Wiz
The Brow Wiz is the shit. It’s the perfect, waxy consistency. It stays on well and it has a wonderful tiny little nib.

Verdict: worth the splurge.

6. Primer – Laura Mercier Primers
Laura Mercier Primers are water based, which means they’ll work for just about any skin type. They add extra wear to you foundation and they don’t have that slippy silicone feel to them. They come in a great array of formulas too – radiant, hydrating, oil free, bronzing, etc.

Verdict: worth the splurge.

7. Foundation – NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer/MUFE Ultra HD
If there’s one thing I’d invest in, it’s a foundation. The NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer offers light to medium, dewy coverage and it looks remarkably skin-like. It’s my personal favourite. For those that want more coverage and a satin finish, There’s MUFE Ultra HD. I find it works on almost any skin type (except maybe the driest of skins or one with deep fine lines) and it looks, again, very skin-like.

Verdict: worth the splurge.

8. Powder – Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder/Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder
For drier to normal skins, or even combo skins I think the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light is stunning. It gives you an almost undetectable ethereal glow. If you struggle with really oily skin then I’d go for the Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder. It’s talc based so it really soaks up oil and it has the slightest yellow hew so it doesn’t look ashy on the skin.

Verdict: sometimes worth the splurge. I don’t feel like the drugstore has anything quite like the Ambient Lighting Powders, but in terms of regular translucent setting powders NYX has got that covered.

9. Blush – Stila Convertible Colour/Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush
I love the Stila Convertible Colours. The formula is the ideal level of pigmentation and dewiness. They look very natural on the skin. On the other hand, the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes are a great long wearing powder blush.

Verdict: not worth the splurge. Brands like H&M, Milani, Sleek and NYX make excellent powder blushes and NYX and Revlon have great cream blushes.

10. Concealer – Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer/MAC Studio Finish Concealer
The Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer is a fantastic all rounder that works under the eyes and on spots. If you’re looking for something just for spot concealing, I would probably go for the MAC Studio Finish Concealer. It’s longer wearing.

Verdict: worth the splurge.

11. Bronzer – Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Bronze 01
I don’t have it shown here, but I’m in love with the Laura Mercier Bronze 01. The colour is completely realistic and it has a very subtle glow to it, much the MAC Mineralized Skinfinishe Naturals.

Verdict: not worth the splurge. The Laura Mercier Bronzer is SO good, but brands like Physicians Formula, NYX, NYC and even The Body Shop all do good bronzers.

12. Highlighter – Jouer Highlighter
I love a good cream highlight. Nothing else compares in my eyes and Jouer has got it down pat. Their highlighter formula is creamy as butter. It doesn’t shift your makeup underneath when you apply it and the shimmer is so fine. Nailed it.

Verdict: worth the splurge.

13. Bold Lip – NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl
This will likely forever remain my favourite lipstick. The NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils are one of a kind. They’re an ultra matte formula that makes bold colours look incredible. There are so many beautiful reds in the range, but Dragon Girl has to be my favourite.

Verdict: worth the splurge.

14. Nude Lip – Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipsticks
The Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipsticks Feel like a dream. They’re almost like a lip balm. They give a lovely level or pigmentation – enough that you can still see plenty of colours – but they’re sheer and glossy enough that they look quite easy to wear. The Park Ave. Princess shade has quickly become my most warn lipstick.

Verdict: not worth the splurge. Revlon, L’oreal, Maybelline, NYX… almost any brand in the drugstore… makes a good nude lip.