Splurge vs. Save: Eyeliner and Eyeshadow

Should you save or splurge on liquid liner and cream shadow? We share the best drugstore liquid liners and cream shadows, dupes for high-end versions.

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Splurge vs. Save: Eyeliner and Eyeshadow

Saving money is something we all love to do, don’t we? I know I do! Last week, I wrote a Splurge vs. Save post on concealer and foundation, and today I’ve decided to put all the focus on the eyes. More specifically, whether you should spend or save on eyeliner and eyeshadow.

If you’re wondering why I’m not including mascara, it’s because I already did a “Splurge vs. Save” on arguably the best mascara everBenefit’s They’re Real!. However, if you’d like me to find a dupe for another high-end mascara, please let me know in the comments and I will do my best to help you out!

I’m going to share with you the best high-end eyeliners and eyeshadows, as well as the best drugstore eyeliners and eyeshadows. Read on to find out what they are!

Related reading: The 10 Best Eyeliners for Beginners

Splurge: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner

Stila stay all day waterproof liquid eye liner

$20 at Sephora

Stila arguably makes the best waterproof liquid eyeliner, and I’m proud to say that I’m obsessed! However, the price tag is a bit much, and I find that I need to repurchase it about every two-and-a-half months or so, which can get expensive. But that’s not to say that this isn’t an incredible eyeliner, because it is.

It lasts all day and I can’t smudge it off when I inevitably rub my eyes from summer allergies, which is definitely a plus in my book. It’s also super easy to use and basically foolproof. Overall, this truly is a great eyeliner, but consider the $20 price tag before you make an eyeliner investment.

Save: L’Oreal Infallible The Super Slim Eyeliner

L'oreal infallible eyeliner

$8.99 at Ulta

Before I discovered the Stila eyeliner, this was my go-to eyeliner and trust me, it’s definitely amazing! It’s not waterproof, but it’s long-wearing and easy to apply.

The “felt-tip pen”-like applicator on this and the Stila one are almost identical, but this one is a bit more firm and can pull at your eyelid, which makes the line less smooth. However, if you don’t wear eyeliner every day, this may be a good option for you. It’s cheaper, lasts the same amount of time, and is still a deep black color.

The Verdict? SPLURGE!

Even though the price difference is a little more than half, I say that quality beats price here. The Stila eyeliner is still best. It’s waterproof and applies so smoothly!

Save: Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 Hour Eyeshadow

Maybelline color tattoo eyeshadow

$6.99 at Ulta

If you use eyeshadow, and don’t own this product, you need to pick one up ASAP. Maybelline’s Color Tattoo eyeshadows are seriously awesome! I swear by these. I use one probably every day, and they last until I take my makeup off. The best part? I don’t even need to use an eyeshadow primer.

I also like how not creamy these are – if that makes any sense. They don’t take long to blend and they actually dry on your eyelid, so you can blend powder eyeshadows with them as well. Overall, yes. I just need to say yes to these. They’re perfection!

Splurge: Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream Eyeshadow

Make up for ever aqua cream eyeshadow

$23 at Sephora

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Besides the price, what’s the difference between this product and the Color Tattoo one?” The answer is pretty simple. These are 100% waterproof. They also don’t rub away – no matter how many times you touch your eyes – and act as a pretty fantastic base for many eye makeup looks.

The $23 price tag is pretty huge, but the packaging is probably double the size of the Color Tattoo, and there are more color choices. These are also slightly more pigmented and easier to apply because of the size of the packaging.

The Verdict? SAVE!

My advice? Go for the Maybelline Color Tattoo eyeshadows. They’re an amazing product and you won’t break the bank. However, if you don’t like the colors or need waterproof, try out the Aqua Cream shadows.

What do you think?

What are your favorite eyeshadows and eyeliners? Have you tried any disappointing luxury products? Would you like to see more posts like this? Remember to tell us your thoughts by leaving a comment!

11 thoughts on “Splurge vs. Save: Eyeliner and Eyeshadow”

  1. I don’t splurge on makeup. It’s washed off at the end of the day anyway. My favorite drugstore beauty products are CoverGirl Aquasmooth Foundation in the compact, L’Oréal Voluminous in Black Brown, and L’Oreal Color Lift blush in Rose Gold Lift. I also like Wet n Wild’s lipstick in the black tube with clear cap and Rimmel Moisture Renew in the purple tube. I can’t justify spending money on something temporary that will get smudged and washed off eventually. Plus, if I lose the product or accidentally drop and break it, in wouldn’t be as devastated if it was a MUFE, NARS, or other high-end product.

  2. The texture of the color tattoos is so odd haha. I don’t really know how I feel about them. I love using them and I like how barely branded makes my eyes look, but applying it is kind of difficult for me.

  3. Sima, yes the products are washed away at the end of the day. But don’t you take your clothes off at the end of the day and get into different ones (which could equate to your nightly skincare routine)? And you get just as many uses out of a bottle of foundation that you get out of your average shirt before it starts to lose it’s shape.

    Plus, high-end makeup is less likely to smudge over the day.

  4. Hi Tina! I recommend using your fingertips JUST BECAUSE the eyeshadow is cream. In my experience, using a brush with cream shadows can make the brush all disgusting and you basically have to clean it after every use. It’s personal preference though! If you don’t mind, use a brush. I’ve also used Q-Tips to apply it to my eyelid and then used my fingertips to actually rub it on my eyelid.

    Sorry for the rambly answer but I hope that helped 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  5. I’ve been wanting to try out the Color Tattoo Eyeshadow, so it’s good to hear that it’s a worthy product!

    The Stila eyeliner is AMAZING. The first one I got in November finally dried out, but I used it every day for 7 months! It’s pretty much the only eyeliner I’ve ever tried that’s actually still on my eyelids at the end of the day.

    The Stila site runs a lot of sales, so I waited to repurchase until they had a 20% off site-wide discount. I bought it in brown too this time around and I love it even more!

  6. Joanna, I don’t have a wide variety ij my wardrobe either. Some people refuse to wear the same outfit twice. I could care less. I have never had an issue with smudging with drugstore products. When I know I’m going to be outdoors all day, I use Monistat Chafing Gel as a primer which is a dupe for high-end primers. My clothes last a lot longer than my makeup. I’m wearing a shirt that I’ve had for 3 years and have washed hundreds of times. So no, I can’t justify paying over $10 for a measly fluid ounce of foundation.

  7. I’m loving these splurge vs. save beauty posts! Keep up the great work!! Splurge vs. save fashion posts would be fun too (if you don’t do them already – could have missed them).

  8. I always splurge on makeup. Since I wear different looks on a daily basis and play around with different styles and different products together, I prefer to go for higher quality products – especially in regards to eyeshadow because I need the best blending I can possibly get.

    Plus I work at Sephora and we’re not supposed to wear anything we don’t carry in the store, so that plays a huge role! Lol

  9. For whatever reason, I’ve always had the most difficult time with the Color Tattoo shadows. By no means to I have oily skin (it’s typically dry), but I always find that regardless of if I use a brush or my finger to apply, the shadow never dries and ends up being really sticky. If I bat my eyelashes throughout the day (which is hard for me not to do as my vision sucks), the shadow makes my lower lid stick to my upper lid, or it clumps. It’s bizarre and feels disgusting, and has this effect no matter how light or heavy handed I am when applying. It is almost as though the shadow creates an oiliness that otherwise wouldn’t be there. I’ve never had any issues with other cream shadows, though. Weird. For me, the eyeshadow is one item worth splurging on.

  10. I saw your other post about the Maybelline Color Tattoo eyeshadow. The website says to apply it with your fingertips. I prefer to use a brush for precision (and cleanliness). What do you use/recommend? Thanks!

  11. Jennifer & Ashleigh: Hm that’s so weird that the Color Tattoos work like that for you! For me, they are definitely more dry than the average cream shadow, but they normally apply fine. I don’t use a primer beforehand, and I also put a touch of concealer on my eyelids to create a canvas without using primer. Maybe try that?

    Thanks for reading, everyone!


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