Much like the trend of pairing fast fashion with investment pieces in one’s wardrobe, mixing and matching drugstore finds with luxe beauty goods works just as well for your beauty routine. We checked in with makeup artists from around the country (they would know best, after all!) on where they recommend pinching a few pennies and what products are truly worth the splurge.

Spend the big bucks on:

“You wouldn’t sent an athlete on the field without the proper equipment,” says Scotland-born makeup artist Laura Szucs who now calls Toronto home. “If you want beautiful makeup, you have to have beautiful brushes.” Her favourites are from MAC. “I love using them on clients and seeing their reaction – they think I have special powers.” Chantal Hubens, who’s worked with Canuck supermodel Jessica Stam, agrees that good brushes are essential, particularly a good foundation brush. “You want a synthetic one that won’t absorb oil or product – it’ll give you really natural, flawless looking skin.” Her Professional Platinum Foundation Brush from Sephora may have cost her $30, but it’s lasted her three years and counting.

Moisturizer is the most basic thing you can do for your skin and it’s going to change its overall appearance of your skin with or without makeup,” says Anita Cane. She likes to use Crème de la Mer Moisturizing Cream ($170) on clients with really dry skin and Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer ($42) for those with normal or oily skin. For Tamar Ouziel, spending more on moisturizer is also crucial, particularly when it comes to the skin around the eyes. “Your eyes are among the top three features noticed first by both sexes and the skin around your eyes need to be loved!” One of her favourites is Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado ($35). “It’s rich, which is great, but it can take a few minutes to soak in,” says the Vancouver-based makeup pro who has more than 10 years of experience in the industry.

Foundation and concealer
“Great makeup starts with great skin, and you want a foundation that isn’t cakey, that blends into the skin and looks flawless,” says Cane, who’s worked on major ad campaigns for clients including Sobe, Xbox and Timberland. Her ultimate favourite foundation is Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk UV Foundation SPF 20 ($65). “Its coverage is amazing and it has SPF 20 in it.” Toronto-based artist Katie Scanlan also believes foundation is worth investing in and in her beauty arsenal you’ll find Face Atelier Ultra Foundation ($45). “Its silicone-based formula hydrates while obscuring fine lines and pores, and it’s cruelty-free and made in Canada – two things you’ve got to love!” 

Find out what beauty must-haves you can skimp on when you click to the next page …


Scrimp on:

Lip balm

“The primary ingredients in almost all
lip products are essentially the same,” says Scanlan, who’s worked with the likes of Feist and Vampire Diaries star Nina Dobrev. “I’ve been a huge fan of Palmer’s Lip Butter ($3.99) for a few years now. It provides ultra-moisturization thanks to pure cocoa butter and vitamin E and has a delicious scent of dark chocolate and peppermint or chocolate and cherry.” Cane, on the other hand, is partial to Chapstick. “It’s awesome – it’s SPF 30, it moisturizes – what more can you ask for?”

Lipstick and gloss

“You can totally go cheaper on gloss,” says Ouziel. She says Victoria’s Secret Beauty Rush Lip Gloss ($7.50) is a keeper. “It’s not overly sticky but has a nice wet look – and it smells and tastes good,” she adds. Hubens believes gloss will wear off just as fast even when you spend more on it. “Plus, the colour pigments in glosses are more sheer so you can’t see much of a quality difference.” Her favourite brand is Bare Escentuals 100% Natural Lip Gloss ($15). “It’s an all-natural lip gloss with no parabens, sulphates or fillers and it moisturizes well, and has good pigments and shine.”


“I always tell my clients that this is one product to spare their wallets on,” says Scanlan. “There are many amazing higher-end mascaras on the market, but there are just as many super cheap ons that work just as well,” she says. Her personal favourite is CoverGirl LashBlast Mascara ($8). “For the price point, there is just no other mascara that delivers the instant volume and drama that it does.” LashBlast is a staple for Hubens, too. “Its coarsely bristled brush spreads mascara evenly over each lash and doesn’t clump,” says Hubens. L’Oréal Voluminous Mascara is Cane’s inexpensive mascara staple. “It’s $10 and worth every penny. It is comparable to the more expensive $30 mascaras and it gives incredibly thick, exaggerated lashes.”

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