Why mixing high-end with budget is the best way to buy beauty

If your beauty collection is all luxe brands, you're not doing it right. Here's why the high-low approach is the best way to do beauty, and what luxe products pair beautifully with budget options.

Mimicking fashion

In my experience, the most stylish people you ever come across are those who shop every end of the scale when it comes to price. They buy expensive vintage, raid charity shops for bargains, mix a Penneys dress with a Chanel bag, and they do it all with the confidence of someone who knows that hoards of cash does not a well-curated outfit make.

It'd be very easy (and tempting, and for me, impossible/bankrupting) to exclusively buy designer clothes, walking around like you're Kaia Gerber, straight off the SS19 runway. Letting Karl Lagerfeld or Hedi Slimane put together your looks for you. But that's neither practical nor showing much skill.

The same can be said for beauty buying. Of course it'd be lovely to only spend upwards of €100 on a foundation, loiter around the La Prairie counter with intent and have an extensive collection of Yves Saint Laurent lippies, but that's not very imaginative or, for most, very practical.

Play mix and match

Don't get me wrong: I adore luxe beauty. I find nothing more extravagant than whipping out my Tom Ford liquid lipstick and reapplying it... but I'm using a Hello Kitty mirror I've had since college and I'm topping it with a €4 lip gloss from Penneys. And believe me, it's the €4 lip gloss that starts the compliments coming in.

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There's something very pleasing about putting 'a look' together, seeing Chanel and Sisley sit next to Catrice and Sleek, and knowing that your abilities with beauty with make them each play equal parts in the finished face. I test myself often, matching budget beauty with high-end items to see what pairs jive well together.

My favourite high-low combinations

LIPS

  1. Tom Ford Liquid Matte Lip Laquer in Ruby Rush, €49
  2. Penneys x Alex Steinherr Plumping Lip Gloss, €4

This combination happened to me by accident, I'll admit. The Tom Ford lipstick is the perfect red shade for me, but it's matte, and I hate matte. The only gloss I had to hand the first time I used it was this one from Penneys, which looks copper-coloured and somewhat sparkly in the tube, but in fact is the ideal glossy (but not sticky) coating for any lip colour from nude to red. It's the dream.

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FOUNDATION

  1. Ren Perfect Canvas Silicone-free Skin Finishing Serum Primer, €59
  2. Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation, €12.99

This REN primer is pricey, yes, but my god is it effective. I love that it's silicone-free, and the surface it creates on the skin is second to none. Literally any foundation, budget or otherwise, would be stunning on top of it. But Bourjois Healthy Mix is a personal budget fave of mine and one that I never hesitate recommending to people as a budget option.

CONCEALER

  1. Catrice Liquid Camouflage Concealer, €3.95
  2. Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder, €42

The thing with under eye areas is this: no matter what concealer you use, if you use too much or if you set it with pressed powder, it will look caked. This pairing works brilliantly because you don't need a massive amount of the brilliant Liquid Camouflage to conceal everything you need concealed, and Laura Mercier's loose powder is so finely milled and light that it sets without any caking or creasing of the concealer.

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