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5 Miracle Beauty Products Worth the Splurge


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Back in middle school, my parents would give me $10 to spend on beauty products every time we stopped at CVS… which was basically the most exciting thing ever. And while I no longer spend my beauty budget on roll-on glitter and Bon Bon nail polish, I still feel that same “zing” of joy every time I set foot in a Sephora store. The problem is, with the high-end products I’ve grown into, $10 will only get you half a lipstick, or a quarter bottle of foundation (if you’re lucky).

We’re a community here at CF, so I feel like we owe it to each other to keep one another in the loop about cool products. So this week, I’m taking a break from talking about my first true love (fashion) to discuss its seductive, high-priced mistress — makeup.

Below, I’ve listed a few high-end products that I’m obsessed with. And when I say obsessed, I mean I absolutely, truly, passionately LOVE every single item on this list. Get ready for a squealing, ecstatic girl talk session, because just thinking about these babies gets me stoked. Read on, girlfriends!

(PS: After you finish reading, be sure to comment and let us and your fellow CF girls know about the beauty products you love. And be sure to tell us about the expensive products you regret buying, so none of us will make the same mistake!)

1. Benefit The Porefessional Pore Minimizer

Benefit porefessional
Benefit The Porefessional Pore Minimizer

My entire life, I’ve been plagued with tiny blackheads and visible pores on my nose. It’s so annoying! I’ve tried everything from scrubs to alpha hydroxy acid to those sticky strips, and nothing seems to completely take care of them. Thankfully, about a year and a half ago, I found a way to remedy this problem. Ladies, meet the Porefessional.

This pore minimizer does exactly what it promises — it leaves a light, matte layer over your trouble areas and virtually erases all of the tiny imperfections in your complexion. Since I just pat a tiny bit on my nose, I’ve had the same tube for almost a year, and it still works just as great as it did the day I bought it. $30 really isn’t much for a year’s worth of flawless skin!

The Porefessional is translucent, so although it’s medium beige-tinted, it’s neutral enough to work for a broad range of skin tones. However, if you have very fair or very dark skin, you might want to test it out at Sephora first, just to be sure!

2. Arbonne Makeup Primer

Arbonne primer
Arbonne Makeup Primer

Have you girls heard of Arbonne yet? It’s a cool beauty and health company that markets mainly through house parties and consultants, similar to Scentsy or Mary Kay.

Arbonne is a pretty amazing company — every product they make, from makeup to face wash to protein shakes (yes, they sell those) is 100% natural and vegan. Their skin care line is mineral oil-free, and is infused with tons of vitamins. I actually buy their chocolate protein powder, and, no joke, the stuff tastes pretty great, considering it’s a vegan meal-replacement shake. If you don’t know any consultants in your area, you can purchase all of their stuff on their website.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve surely heard of Urban Decay Primer Potion. While I absolutely love this stuff, it’s pretty thick and designed just for eye makeup. While I still use UDPP for long nights out on the town, Arbonne Anti-Aging Makeup Primer is a light and effective alternative great for everyday use. This stuff is highly concentrated, so one pump will be plenty to cover the apples of your cheeks and around your eyes. You’ll be stunned at how silky smooth your skin looks and feels after applying this primer. It spreads on clear so it works for all skin tones, and it will leave you with a fresh, clean base that will help your makeup go on evenly and last all day long.

The other awesome thing about this primer? It has anti-aging properties that will help protect the sensitive skin around your eyelids. An eye cream and primer in one bottle? Count me in! It’s priced at $38 dollars a bottle, so be sure to use it sparingly — I’d estimate that if you only use one pump a day, it should last you from two to three months.

3. NARS Orgasm and Albatross Blushes

Nars blushes in Orgasm and Albatross
NARS blushes in Orgasm and Albatross

I know, I know — NARS Orgasm blush has been on your beauty radar since we were in middle school reading CosmoGIRL and its name made us giggle.

There’s a reason why it’s featured in every single magazine marketed towards living, breathing women though: This stuff is a freaking knock-out, home-run miracle. And when you pair it with NARS Albatross highlighting blush, prepare for people to bow down to you in the hallways and mistake you for a mystical being.

The best thing about these two blushes? They work for literally every single skin tone. It blows my mind! Back in the dorms, my floormates would line up outside my room every Friday night before we went out and I’d walk down the line and dusk their cheeks with both Orgasm and Albatross. No joke, this combination works for every ethnicity and skin tone. Consider it the eighth wonder of the world.

To apply, start by sweeping Orgasm across the apples of your cheeks with a regular blush brush. Next, smile and dust Albatross over the fleshy top half of your cheeks. If you have a shaky hand, don’t worry — Albatross will look amazing on your temples or around your eyes too. Although it looks white in the compact, it lays on a really flattering gold tone. When I wear this blush combo, my friends call it “goddess” cheek because it looks THAT incredible.

Each of these compacts will run you around $28, but Orgasm will last around six months and Albatross will last several months longer. They’re expensive, but I highly recomment that you try them as soon as you possibly can. I promise, you will not be disappointed.

4. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment

Fresh Sugar Berry Lip Treatment
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment

I was blessed with big lips, but let me tell you firsthand — they’re hard to keep looking good! Even when my lips feel healthy, they often have rough patches, especially during the dry winter months. That’s why I’m so glad I discovered Fresh Lip Treatment, or as I lovingly refer to it as, my BF4L.

This lip treatment is a crazy mix of medicated lip balm, lip stain, and lipstick. It lays on thick and creamy and lasts for hours. It comes in tons of colors, everything from the light pink “Petal” shade to deep red “Passion” and purple-esque “Berry”. Most importantly, though, it will completely transform your lips. Instead of feeling puckered or dry, your lips will look and feel supple, smooth, and insanely kissable.

At $22, you might feel hesitant to buy what you might perceive as colored Chapstick. But I’ll be the first to admit that I own this in three different shades and I won’t hesitate to re-buy more when I run out. I haven’t touched any of my other lip glosses or stains since I found Fresh Lip Treatment. I don’t even need to use balm anymore! This stuff is insane, and it completely lives up to the hype.

5. Buxom Sculpted Lash Mascara

Buxom Sculpted Lash Mascara
Buxom Sculpted Lash Mascara

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a total sucker for gimmicky, artsy-shaped mascara brushes. When I saw this at Sephora, I impulsively threw it in my basket and hoped for the best. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised.

Buxom’s Sculpting Mascara has an S-shaped brush that advanced beauty girls rotate while applying to create gorgeous, fanned-out lashes. I’m crazy about this stuff because it thickly coats every single one of my lashes in two sweeps. I start by swiping the back of my eyelashes, then finish on the front. If you were fancy, you’d use the interesting brush to extend your outer lashes for a sweet cat-like look. But as a lazy person, I like to be done with my mascara in no longer than 10 seconds, and this mascara gets me there and more.

This mascara retails for $19, which is more than drugstore brands and pretty pricey for something that only lasts a couple months. However, I think it’s worth it because of how thick it lays on. You could use this mascara and skip the eyeliner completely if you wanted. It’s that good.

Let’s talk about beauty, baby.

Now I want to hear from you! What are your go-to miracle beauty products? Do you use any of the products we listed here? What products have you seen at Sephora that you want to try, but haven’t gotten around to yet? What expensive beauty products would you NOT recommend to fellow twenty-something girls? Keep this discussion going by letting us know your every rant and rave when it comes to beauty!

Posted on on February 14, 2013 / Filed Under: Beauty & Hair / Tags: , , , , , ,

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31 Responses to “5 Miracle Beauty Products Worth the Splurge”

  1. 1
    February 14th, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    I’ve been on the fence about NARS blush for a while, and now I’m convinced to take the plunge and purchase it. Thanks for the recommendations!
    And, I recently received a sample of Benefit’s Porefessional Pore Minimizer and totally agree that it lives up to the hype.

  2. 2
    February 14th, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    I don’t spend much money on those products, I don’t need/use most them.
    But I love the stuff that makes pores smaller, I used Vichy’s before and it was amazing. I really like a few of their products and don’t feel like I wasted the money. There are a few useless producs though, so make sure to read the description and the ingedients list.

  3. 3
    February 14th, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    My high end make up or beauty products are:

    – Dior Forever foundation
    – Guerlain Terracotta bronzer
    – Glamglo mask (best purchase I’ve made in a while..can’t say enough about it!)

    I regret purchasing..wait for it… Benefit’s porefessional. I know.. it makes your pores look much smaller..but its a surface cover as opposed to using a serum primer like Dior Capture totale or guerlain liquid gold. besides.. later in the face gets oily because the product kind of just lays there without ever really sinking in. Love the nars blush though! I’m also ready to go hoy Dior Nude bb cream.

  4. 4
    February 14th, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Good products! My fave high end product is the “They’re Real” mascara from Benefit. Biggest waste of my money would be the Dior foundation I bought. It would cake up throughout the day!

  5. 5
    February 14th, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Something I would NOT recommend is Garnier BB creme. It sounds amazing on paper: a 3-in-1 moisturizer, foundation, and SPF 15. However, it somehow completely dried out my skin, which is an impossible task since I have oily/acne prone skin. And also the opposite of what it claims to do! After one day of use (I attempted 3 times in total) my skin was extremely dry, flaking, and stiff feeling. I have never had dry skin in my life, and a friend had to come rescue me with heavy moisturizers and facial scrubs! Save your money and buy a better BB creme if that is the product you want.

  6. 6
    February 14th, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Recently, I’ve been going crazy for OCC’s Lip Tars. They offer a huge range of colors, and all of them are SUPER pigmented. I mean, a tiny little bit goes a long way so the tubes will last forever. The lip tars are also vegan, which is an added bonus. The only down side is that they are a little hard to get used to, and require a bit more work than just swiping on a lipstick.

  7. 7
    February 14th, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    I am an independent consultant for arbonne international. If any of you are interested in purchasing arbonne products you can use my arbonne id to do so. It is 440017166. The primer does exactly what Chelsea says it does and as its a pure, safe beneficial product (doesn’t contain any nasties like parabins or mineral oil) it is extremely healthy for you skin!

  8. 8
    February 14th, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    AHHH! Thank you so much for posting about Arbonne! I am a Consultnat (#12712939) and I have posted in other makeup posts about Arbonne being healthy and good for the envioment (I think it was a post about Green Beauty Products). Thanks for making my V-Day College Fashion <3

  9. 9
    February 14th, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    I’ve heard that the NARS orgasm blush makes your face sparkle like crazy – to the point where you can’t really wear it everyday. Would you guys agree?

  10. 10
    February 14th, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Not a big fan of the Porefessional. It doesn’t seem to make much of a difference for me.
    I am a huge fan of Nars Orgasm– it’s my must have! Also, things that weren’t mentioned:
    Becca shimmering skin perfector– seriously, the BEST illuminator I have EVER used!!!!
    Lancome Hypnose Star mascara– it’s a clump free, wet 2 coater with a great brush that both lengthens and thickens. This took the place of my beloved DiorShow.
    And– instead of the Porefessional, I love Clairins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch. Silkier, smoother, doesn’t fade away, and is buildable to fill in fine lines or scars.

  11. 11
    February 14th, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    I try to use natural and vegan makeup products as much as I can-but these tend to run a bit pricier than drugstore makeup. So I can understand paying a a bit more for good makeup. For me it’s worth it because I know I’m not putting as many chemicals into my skin and I’m also staying true to my values :)

  12. 12
    February 14th, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    I disagree with Steph12 – the Garnier BB cream is my favourite product ever! I love it :) they have two versions one for normal and one for combination skin. I use the combination one for my oily skin.

    That blush sounds amazing :) I’ll have to add it to my list.

  13. 13
    February 14th, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    I am absolutely in love with Maybelline’s Baby Lips gloss. I currently only own three shades because everytime I look for them, they’re sold out! I have tried the Sugar treatment from Sephora and that is definitely a great product as well, but Baby Lips does practically the same thing at a fraction of the price. As a previously devoted lip stains user, I’m so glad I found a tinted lip product that gives me color and DOESN’T dry my lips out!

    Also, I’ve never gotten over Wet ‘n’ Wild’s liquid eyeliner. I’ve been using it since high school (going on a seven year relationship with this product!) and I’m still in love. My only complain is the lack of variety, but it’s low-priced, goes on smooth, and doesn’t rub off on my eyelids (the waterproof one does, but not the rgular). LOVE Wet ‘n’ Wild liquid eyeliner.

  14. 14
    February 14th, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    I have been using Benefit products since I was 17 years old. I love the healthy glow and natural look of their make up. Some of my favorite products include:

    Porefessional-sliky smooth and smells amazing.
    Bo-ing- is THE best concealer I have found so far for my very very fair skin with dark blue under eyes.
    Oxygen Wow foundation-light weight.
    *Jose Maran argan oil- I’ve heard about face oils actually evening the oils out on your face for a long time. But once I actually started using this product I was fascinated. It has become one of my favorite regular products that I plan to use for ever.
    Sugar Rose Lip Treatment
    Rose Lib Balm

  15. 15
    February 14th, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    I just wanted to say a big thankyou to the author of this post for choosing products that suit all skin colours and races! A lot of posts tend to leave that out, so it’s really cool that you did that!

  16. 16
    February 14th, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    I love the Sugar Lip treatments. It was the Sephora birthday gift last year and I still have my two sample ones. The pigment in the coloured ones is great, and the clear is good too. Plus they smell and taste great and leave my lips feeling super soft. Definitely something I’m going to buy when my samples are done.

  17. 17
    February 14th, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    Wet n’ Wild liquid eyeliner is AMAZING….it’s like $3 for a bottle and the brush is so easy to use, and I never have any problems with smudging.
    Instead of NARS Orgasm, I use NYX “Pinched” – it’s almost a perfect dupe for 1/3 the price!

  18. 18
    February 14th, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    The only thing I own from this list is the Fresh Sugar Lip treatment and that is because it was a free birthday gift from Sephora LOL. I would love to try out the NARS blush, but my budget right now just won’t let me. I’ll wait until after college to splurge on my beauty products:)

  19. 19
    February 14th, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    Okay, I know this will sound crazy, but Monistat Chafing Relief Powder-Gel is basically the same as all pore-reducing face primers, including Porefessional. Some people are sensitive to dimethicone, which is the main ingredient in tons of primers, so test it before you rub it all over your t-zone. You get 1.5 ounces for about $6-8 instead of .75 ounces for $30. You don’t NEED to splurge to get that smooth, pore-free look!!!! Glamour covered it here:
    Hope this helps! Happy beautifying :)

  20. 20
    February 14th, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Oh, and I splurge for Josie Maran GOGO Instant Natural Volume Argan Mascara. I got it as a gift first, and love it SO much that I had to buy another tube. It can be clumpy if you don’t apply it carefully, but my eyelashes are very thick to begin with, so I apply this when I want tons of focus on my lashes. It’s awesome and totally worth the $22 if you use the cost-per-use theory :)

  21. 21
    February 15th, 2013 at 12:03 am

    hah! I love your writing style, you’re so cute!

    I purchase Tarte almost exclusively if I’m shopping at Sephora, and I love almost everything I’ve tried! The Lights, Camera, Lashes/Splashes mascaras are great – a little clumpy maybe the first two times you use it but after that, definitely the best mascara I’ve used, certainly the best high-end mascara (the purple CoverGirl one that Drew Barrymore used to advertise is great, too!).

    The only products I was disappointed with:

    I wanted to love the new Tarte Beauty Balm. Not a good winter product – it is not moisturizing and, if you are fair-skinned in the winter, the lightest shade looks like you’re not wearing anything on your face, and not in good way. Probably a very nice summer product. Also, packaging sucks, forgot to put the cap on one time and it EXPLODED and I lost slightly more than half the bottle. Haven’t had that problem with other Tarte products, it was so bizarre and it totally sucked.

    The Amazonian Finishing Powder. I know everyone loves it, but I hate it. It’s sort of useless (it doesn’t do a good job setting your foundation and, if you put too much on, it makes your skin look really weird because it’s white – also, it is NOT good over concealer, I don’t know what it is about this product but it makes my dark circles more pronounced), and it’s really expensive and the packaging is just dumb.

  22. 22
    February 15th, 2013 at 2:26 am

    I cant believe no one has mentioned any Smashbox products! I am in love with Smashbox. 98% of the makeup i wear is Smashbox, even though it is expensive I believe it is worth it! Some of my favorite products are:
    -The Eyelid Primer (makes me eyeshadow stay on for hours)
    -All of their blushes are amazing.
    -All of their eyeshadow palettes are to die for. I am currently using their “Love me” palette, it has all of the colors you need for spring.
    -Jet Eyeliner in black, lasts a very long time.
    -And last but not least, the camera ready full coverage concealer! I just purchased this item last week, and LOVE it. I get blemishes from time to time, and they make me feel a bit insecure, so I wanted to use something to cover them up, and this is the perfect product. It has a clay texture to it which prevents your skin from getting oily. I love it because it goes on super easy.

    I hope this helps!

  23. 23
    February 15th, 2013 at 6:46 am

    I always tell people to invest in products that actually touch your skin–moisturizers/primers/foundations. I love Bare Minerals–it’s so easy, and the makeup is so good for your skin that they say you can sleep in it!

    As for skincare, if you’re in your mid-twenties and you (still) read CF (like me! I started in college, and now I’m…eep…26), I would recommend seeing a dermatologist and getting on prescription strength creams. I use a retin-A creme that clears up acne, shrinks pores, and will prevent wrinkles. (And I’ll use it the rest of my life.) The doctor can also prescribe really good moisturizers with strong ingredients.

    Save money on cleansers, eyeshadow, mascara, lipsticks, and lip gloss. Expensive cleansers don’t do a lot for your skin–especially because they rinse right off. And cheap eyeshadow can become magical with a primer.

  24. 24
    February 15th, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    My best makeup splurge would be… Kanebo’s Lunasol under eye base. It’s an under eye concealer that doesn’t crease and stay put until you decide to take it off at the end of the day… with one swipe. A tube last me more than a year and I wear it religiously everyday.

    I also love The Body Shop’s mineral foundation powder. It sets my makeup beautifully and I only need very little.

    As for skincare, it’s Paula’s Choice AHA and BHA exfoliants. A bottle cost around USD 30, but I only use a tiny amount each night.

    In my experience, I would usually splurge on skincare items and makeup items that covers the skin (foundations, concealers, powders, and face brushes) and save on ‘color’ items like eyeshadows, eyeliners, and nail polishes.

  25. 25
    February 15th, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    I agree with the earlier commenter that Lancome Hypnose Star mascara is a pretty good choice. I normally hate mascara because it makes my eyes feel like they’re getting glued shut, but LHS makes my lashes look great without any discomfort.

    As for foundation and whatnot, I was really pleased when I was using the Makeup Forever HD foundation (if that’s the real name. I’m too lazy to look it up). It didn’t feel too thick, but it provided good coverage. Now, I hated the price, but it lasted me quite awhile.

    However, my most enthusiastic recommendation would have to be the Dior BB cream. Again, it was painful to pay for, BUT the results have been astounding. My skin is usually dry and clear enough, but with pretty large pores that can be prone to blackheads, followed by the occasional monthly breakout. Since using the BB cream, those problems have been greatly reduced and are on their way to being nonexistent. Again, can’t recommend strongly enough!

  26. 26
    February 16th, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Thanks for a very well-written article! :) I’ll check out the makeup primer and mascara next time I go shopping for makeup.

  27. 27
    February 20th, 2013 at 2:13 am

    I love Urban Decay’s Primer Potion, but am not a big fan of Benefit’s Poreprofessional. Actually, I’ve tried many primers and mattifying gels for my extremely oily skin and have had zero success so far with high end or cheaper products. I do love Bareminerals foundation, Smashbox powder, and Stila lipglosses. Benefits erase paste is great for brightening up your complexion! However, surprisingly I’m not a big fan of their Boi-ing concealer. Beauty products work different on everyone I suppose.

  28. 28
    February 25th, 2013 at 10:39 am

    i LIVE by Fresh Lip Treatment it’s truly the best! And if you’re a Beauty Insider Member at Sephora they give you 2 mini ones on your birthday.

  29. 29
    March 28th, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Sugar Rose Lip Treatment is the best! I’m definitely repurchasing the next time I go to Sephora! I first got it as a birthday gift (one of the cute mini sets) and loved it! A great dupe would be the Maybelline Baby Lips in Cherry Me.
    Another favorite Sephora buy is Clinique Quickliner for eyes. It’s amazing! A great dupe is the Neutrogena eyeliner.
    Clinique Almost Lipstick and Different Lipstick make the cut also. You definitely don’t need lip balm with those.

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