Best makeup tips: When to save and spend on makeup essentials

We share expert makeup tips on when to be thrifty and when to splurge with your beauty bucks.

By Lia Parsley

Makeup essentials: a good foundation, concealer and blush
The beauty business is big – really big. Canadians spend an average of $5 billion a year on cosmetics. And with all of the choices out there, it's hard to know what's worth spending a pretty penny on, and what makeup products you're better off buying at the drugstore.

We spoke with Beau Nelson, a New York City–based celebrity makeup artist who works regularly with fashion model Iman and Twilight star Kristen Stewart, to get the insider scoop on when you should save and when you should splurge on makeup.

Products you should splurge on

• Foundation
A flawless complexion is worth investing in, says Nelson. "The advantage to buying foundations that are a little more pricey is that you can test for a colour match and texture that works best for you," he adds.

A counter expert at a department store can help you find a foundation that is a perfect match in terms of colour and coverage (full coverage, sheer or in-between) and that has the right ingredients for your skin type.

For instance, people with dry skin need foundations that are boosted with moisturizing ingredients, while those with oily skin are better off with mattifying ingredients. If you buy your foundation off the wall at a drugstore, it's a bit of a guessing game – and there's not as much variety. In fact, you could end up spending a lot of money on trial and error.

• Concealer
Given that concealer is one of the hardest-working staples in your makeup bag – it disguises everything from dark circles to blemishes to redness – you should invest in a high-quality formula that will stand up to the demands of your day.

Department stores have a wide variety of products and textures that target your concern more specifically than drugstore brands. For instance, you might want to apply concealer in a full-coverage opaque stick to banish your blemishes, but for dark circles under your eyes a concealer wand that is specifically formulated with light-reflecting ingredients may be the best choice.

• Bronzer, blush and powder

High-quality powder formulas are definitely a beauty asset. "Department store powders are more finely milled, so the texture is smoother than typical mass brands," Nelson says. Spending a bit more gets you a product that distributes evenly and glides on with ease.

Page 1 of 3 -- Find out why it's worth your money to invest in quality eye shadow and professional makeup brushes on page 2

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