Conversely, some products are worth their higher price tag. The colors, staying power, texture, versatility, sometimes even the shelf life--I've had cheaper lipsticks and eyeshadows turn on me relatively quickly--all of these factors can make a more expensive item into a cheaper item in the long run.
Nars the Multiple in Malibu. The ideal blush in convenient stick form. Of course there are other shades, it's just that I find this neutral to slightly warm, bronze-kissed (yet not brown/muddy/dirty) medium rose shade ideal.
I've observed that the majority of drugstore blushes fade more quickly than their department store counterparts. I'm not willing to touch up blush; time can be money too (plus you get a ginormous stick of color here; I've barely dented mine, considering I use it almost every day).
MAC Blot pressed powder. The grail powder for oily skin...I stopped using loose powder altogether after I tried this beauty board gem (although they do make a Blot loose powder, I haven't bothered trying it). Blots oil like a dream, doesn't darken, nor look caked, nor look orange. Not much coverage, but I prefer that since I use a foundation product.
Alba Botanica Honeydew Nourishing Hair Wash. Not majorly expensive, not cheap either (around $9 for 12 ounces). One of the nicest shampoos I've tried in a long time, won't wreck even frequently-washed hair, lathers decently for being a SLS-free product, smells wonderful. There's a Plumeria version of this also that I'll probably try next.
Perfumes in general...I have yet to find a lower priced perfume that I like. Of course even higher priced perfumes can fade quickly; I prefer stronger scents. The sole exception here might be Etro Heliotrope, which doesn't last as well as, say, Givenchy perfumes, but it makes up for it in being versatile. I've used Heliotrope as a layer with other perfumes, to stretch them out and add complexity and depth.
Dior eyeshadows. At $52, these quints ain't cheap. Still, if you wanted a single compact of shadows that would run the gamut from casual to formal, contain five shades at $10.40 each (ounce for ounce, cheaper than MAC), provide divine subtlety and coordination of color (thus removing the "shadow klutz" and "color blind" factors), this is your baby.
image courtesy sephora.com
Nars eyeshadows. Here you have colors that may appear improbable. Particularly the duos, which add an unexpected combination to the existing improbability of the individual shades. Still, they work. I've had my duos for almost three years now. The quality hasn't changed; they still look terrific.
Chanel Hydrabase lipsticks. I'm starting to get into these; they're amazingly complex and intensely moisturizing (while the surface of the lipstick feels almost dry, my lips are very soft after the color wears off). Yes, they have a candied rose scent that may be a love-hate thing (try a sample before buying). But I like it, and I don't always like scented lipsticks.
Another factor that's become increasingly important to me is--is there a word for it? I'm sick to the gills of limited edition and discontinued makeup. Perhaps the word is "longevity." I've kept an eye on Chanel for some months; they don't discontinue frequently. That's worth an extra $14 for me not having to go through the headache of finding a look-alike (I do use up lipsticks, being a reformed "lipstick ho").