These Makeup Products Are So Good, You Won’t Care What They Cost
Anyone who’s shopped for makeup even a couple of times in their life can tell you the options are overwhelming. We try to keep things simple by choosing universally flattering lipstick shades or by doing our best to learn valuable lessons from French beauty routines (and stocking up on cult-favorite French beauty products). But it’s never more obvious than when you look at classic French beauty products that you can either opt for a bargain or choose to splurge when you’re shopping for makeup.
Which way you go is up to you — and most of us find ourselves opting for a steal in one category and a splurge in another. We all know you can get great makeup at the drugstore. But if you’re in the mood to splurge, there are plenty of luxury makeup products available at your favorite department store or local Sephora. Figuring out which ones are worth the price can get tricky, though.
A few luxury labels offer a range that’s great across the board, but that’s actually pretty rare. It’s more normal for even the priciest makeup line to be a bit more hit and miss. Our usual strategy is to consult reviews by the experts at Beautypedia. The platform publishes reviews that are based on scientific research and reviewers’ experience actually trying the products. These reviews are especially useful when you’re thinking of splurging on a product you have high hopes for. The makeup products ahead earned top marks from Beautypedia reviewers, which assures you they really are worth the investment.
1. Chanel Éclat Lumière Highlighter Face Pen
Chanel’s Éclat Lumière is a beautiful highlighter that’s worth the investment. According to the reviewers at Beautypedia, the formula offers a “soft, slightly creamy texture that’s a pleasure to blend and sets to a soft matte finish complete with a subtle glow.” The click-pen form and brush applicator make it easy to highlight around your eyes, down the bridge of your nose, and on top of your cheekbones. Plus, the Beautypedia reviewers add, “This is thicker and easier to control than Yves Saint Laurent’s popular Radiant Touch product.”
2. Chanel Vitalumière Aqua Fresh and Hydrating Cream Compact
Chanel’s Vitalumière Aqua Fresh is a pricey cream-to-powder makeup. But according to the reviewers at Beautypedia, this formula is definitely worth it. Reviewers note that this foundation is smooth, creamy, and easy to blend. Coverage goes from light to medium, and this makeup layers well if you need more coverage for uneven skin tone or brown spots. It’s a great formula for dry skin, though Beautypedia notes it’s also acceptable for breakout-prone skin.
3. Dior DiorShow Waterproof Mascara
Dior’s DiorShow Waterproof is a mascara well worth considering if you’re in the market for a luxurious formula with impressive performance. According to Beautypedia reviewers, the brush is large and can be difficult to work with, but you’ll find “it produces copious length and respectable thickness without clumps or smears.” Reviewers also found the formula is both waterproof and relatively easy to remove.
4. Dior Diorskin Forever Compact Flawless Perfection Fusion Wear
Dior’s Diorskin Forever is a fragrance-free pressed powder foundation. Beautypedia reviewers write this formula “has a beautifully soft texture that glides over skin and meshes with it so well, the effect is amazingly natural, yet you get light coverage to blur minor redness and other imperfections.” They also found the satin-matte enlivens without looking dry or cakey. The formula is perfect for anyone with normal to dry skin. And it’s offered in an impressive shade range with a good mix of neutral to warm-toned colors.
5. Giorgio Armani Cheek Fabric Blush
Giorgio Armani’s Cheek Fabric is a beautiful powder blush that’s a pretty tempting splurge. Beautypedia reviewers write this formula “is extraordinarily smooth and silky, with little effort needed to pick it up on your brush.” The color is sheer but buildable. Plus, the formula lasts well throughout the day without fading. And unlike many other designer blushes, the formula is fragrance-free.
6. Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani Lipstick
Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani is a beautiful lipstick that’s worth the splurge. Beautypedia reviewers say, “Selecting a color out of the wide variety offered is like being a kid in a candy store; how do you pick just one?!” Additionally, the satin-cream texture applies “with velvety smoothness and leaves a slightly shiny finish, some of which also contain a subtle hint of shimmer.” Reviewers also found this formula stays on longer than the average creamy lipstick, which is always a plus in our book.
7. Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder
Hourglass’ Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder is an impressive highlighter you’ll definitely want to try. Beautypedia reviewers write this formula is “intended to be used as a strategically placed highlighter, with more sparkle and shimmer than previous Ambient powders. The result? Consider us impressed!” This powder is offered in a variety of shades, and it successfully highlights without looking excessively glittery or frosty.
8. Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
Hourglass’ Veil Mineral Primer is a luxurious product that’s recommended over and over — and for good reason. Beautypedia reviewers write, “It absolutely improves the look and longevity of foundation.” They even noticed a difference when wearing it alone. It also has built-in mineral broad spectrum sunscreen protection. The formula works for all skin types, but it’s especially recommended for combination or oily skin that’s prone to breakouts.
9. Kevyn Aucoin The Gossamer Loose Powder
Kevyn Aucoin’s The Gossamer is a sheer setting powder that won’t disappoint. Beautypedia reviewers say this powder offers a soft-focus veil for imperfections. This powder blends seamlessly, and the packaging offers a silicone sifter that dispenses the powder without making a mess. Reviewers write, “The lightweight, soft-matte texture provides temporary shine control yet contains ultra-fine luminescent particles that keep this powder’s finish from looking chalky. The result is a surprisingly skin-like effect without looking shiny or glittery, something few loose powders pull off!”
10. Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer
Kevyn Aucoin’s The Sensual is a multitasking product that works as both a concealer and a foundation, though Beautypedia’s reviewers write it works better as the former. “Though it can be sheered out if desired (for application over larger areas, for example), we found this looked considerably more natural when spot applied as a concealer. Dark circles? What dark circles?!” The effect isn’t as natural looking when applying it all over, but you can mix it with moisturizer for a custom tint — which is ideal for people with dry skin.
11. NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Powder Foundation
NARS’s All Day Luminous is a great foundation with buildable coverage and a natural finish. According to Beautypedia reviewers, this formula’s “satin matte finish leaves skin looking smooth and polished, not dull or over-powdered.” It blends seamlessly with a sponge or brush, and can be applied wet or dry. You can even use it as a setting powder if you apply it in light layers with a brush. And Beautypedia reviewers report it’s perfect for those with combination skin.
12. NARS Dual-Intensity Blush
This NARS Dual-Intensity may be more expensive than your run-of-the-mill blush compact, but according to Beautypedia reviewers, it’s well worth your consideration. This formula is richly pigmented and can be applied wet or dry. Applied dry, this blush blends easily and effortlessly. Applied wet, the color becomes deeper and the pearlescent sheen is amplified. Beautypedia reviewers cite the “long wear performance, color curation, rich pigments, and that they’re one of the few truly wet/dry application blushes” in awarding this formula the highest rating.
13. Tom Ford Brow Sculptor
Tom Ford’s Brow Sculptor is a luxe option for anyone who wants to shape and shade their brows. According to Beautypedia, the Brow Sculptor “is a wax-type (but not waxy) formula housed in a twist-up tube, and you don’t have to sharpen it to get more product.” The product is smooth and easy to apply and is offered in a range of natural-looking shades (including options for tough-to-match blonde and auburn brows). Reviewers note the product blends seamlessly into your natural brow color, and it wears well throughout the day.
14. Tom Ford Lip Color
Tom Ford’s Lip Color may be pricier than your go-to lipstick, but the folks at Beautypedia say this formula “isn’t likely to leave you disappointed.” This lipstick has a creamy and highly pigmented formula. According to Beautypedia, it also “has a pretty, soft shine finish” that “feels moisturizing the entire time you’re wearing it.” Plus, reviewers found it wears well for four or five hours (above average for a creamy lipstick) and fades to an attractive stain. Combine that with an impressive shade range and the fact that this formula is fragrance-free, and this lipstick looks like a splurge worth making.
15. Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Vernis À Lèvres Vinyl Cream Stain
Yves Saint Laurent’s Vinyl Cream Stain is an impressive lip product that, according to Beautpedia, offers “opaque coverage and a comfortable, vinyl shine finish.” Beautypedia’s reviewers explain that “this formula’s stay-put pigmentation will defy your expectations, especially because it doesn’t look or feel matte. Instead, it has a slightly creamy, adherent consistency that wears comfortably for the first few hours.” Once the top layer wears off, your lips are left with a smooth stain of color. The long-lasting pigment and great shine make this formula a worthy splurge.
16. Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara
Yves Saint Laurent’s Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara is formulated to mimic the effect of false eyelashes. While Beautypedia reviewers report the mascara doesn’t quite match the effect you can get from falsies, it does succeed in imparting “lashes that are dramatic without being over the top, and all with a soft, fringed curl.” The formula builds beautifully and thickens effectively without clumping. And if you hate scrubbing your eye makeup off at night, you’ll be happy to hear that this mascara comes off completely with a water-soluble cleanser.