Why I'm investing in luxury makeup instead of crypto
We’ve rounded up 11 products that are worth the price tag
In high school, I was constantly getting into trouble. A reprimand for screaming in the stairwells or sprinting through the corridors, a lunchtime detention for dozing off on my desk in economics — these were commonplace miseries for teenage me. But the disciplinary action I faced most often was when I rebelled against the draconian school uniform rules.
Never mind that the uniform itself was both ugly and ill-fitting, lending the wearer no dignity at all. My personal form of satyagraha was to wear raccoon-inspired kajal and lip gloss to school, what I considered the barest minimum of self-expression.
Eventually I compromised on a subtler eye look that the principal, tired of dealing with me, pretended not to notice. My desire to wear makeup nearly every day hasn’t waned since then, although my brush skills have improved quite a bit. I still like to put my face on before I go out, whether it’s a simple 5-minute look or the full monty.
Now that I’m 30, that adds up to about 15 years’ worth of makeup, and over time, my priorities have changed. In my teens, it was all about experimenting with goth looks and glitter blush. In my twenties, scoring a mascara for 300 bucks was thrilling.
Today, I worry if that same cheap tube will make my eyelashes fall off.
Back when I fell asleep in my makeup and contact lenses after a night out, I never saw the point of splashing out on designer brands when I could buy a perfectly good lipstick at a fifth of the price.
Safe to say I’ve evolved since those dark days. With a little more disposable income and a lot more gumption, I’m ready to treat myself to higher-end makeup that’s better for my skin and, let’s face it, my tenuous self-esteem.
But even among these luxury products, which ones are actually worth breaking your SIP for, or blowing whatever you’ve kept aside from these money-saving challenges? I asked friends, colleagues, and Tweak readers for suggestions, and they didn’t disappoint.
11 luxury makeup products that are worth the splurge
In your twenties, your version of couple goals is pairing Jaeger and Red Bull. In your thirties, it’s the winning combination of skincare and makeup. As someone who can never have enough lip balm, tinted lip oils are my new obsession.
Clarins Lip Comfort Oil in Raspberry – ₹1,900
A sheer wash of glossy pink is what you can expect from this lip oil. It’s no accident that ‘comfort’ is right there in the name, as it feels really nourishing and smooth. Perfect for days when you want an ultra-natural makeup look, or as a gloss over lipstick.
RAS Luxury Oils Oh So Luxe lip and cheek tint balm in Perfect Pink – ₹1,090
This popular reader recommendation is a multi-purpose tint that’s loaded with natural oils. It’s quite pigmented as well, and this hot pink shade looks peppy while still being sheer enough that it doesn’t overwhelm. The texture of this balm is a bit sticky when first applied, but that doesn’t last more than a few minutes. It’s deeply hydrating, too.
In recent years, I’ve swapped the heavy eyeliner for mascara, often with no other eye makeup. It’s a clean, eye-opening look, which is exactly what I need because I have grown tired. No more smudgy dark circles, except the ones I wake up rocking, and spending a lot on one product feels slight more justifiable (don’t worry, we’ve got budget dupes for the best expensive mascaras).
Bobbi Brown No-Smudge mascara – ₹2,900
Bemoaning the fact that she receives more free makeup than she can possibly use (the ultimate first-world problem) a friend pressed this mascara on me. It’s more subtle than my usual Maybelline, yet has a magical quality of lifting and separating. When I wear this mascara, I always get compliments on how soft and fluffy my lashes look.
Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Eyes waterproof mascara – ₹3,300
Similar to the Bobbi Brown, this mascara is famous for not clumping, instead coating each little lash from root to tip with its cone-shaped brush – now a staple of less expensive mascaras too. Like a lot of luxe makeup, this is a your-lashes-but-better product.
DIOR DIORshow Iconic Overcurl mascara – ₹3,000
Full disclosure: I already have long, thick lashes, so the two earlier recommendations are enough to take me into false-lash territory. If you have sparse lashes, however, this Dior pick is more robust. The curved brush offers volume and makes it easy to build — though be aware that this is a clumpier formula. A quick run-through with a clean spoolie brush will get rid of spider eyes.
With a good quality lipstick, you can feel the difference in formula — not tacky, cloying, or drying. Toss out your liquid lipsticks from 2018 and replace them with these classic tubes. And yes, we’re also paying for the pretty packaging that makes us feel like royalty.
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution lipstick in Pillow Talk – ₹3,150
If a lipstick can find a place in Kim Kardashian’s makeup bag as well as Amal Clooney’s, and looks just as good on dark-haired celebs as it does on Gwyneth Paltrow, you know it’s something special (check out these celebrity beauty tips). This universal pinky nude also comes in medium for deeper skin tones.
Pat McGrath Labs MatteTrance lipstick in Omi – ₹3,800
Pat McGrath lipsticks are renowned for their velvety formulation along with a matte finish. It’s the kind of lipstick that will make you forget you’re wearing any, and is highly pigmented, so you get more bang for your very expensive buck. Omi is a warm mauve shade that will flatter most Indian skin tones.
Guerlain Rouge G lipstick in No. 42 – ₹2,950
Of course, I had to choose a red lipstick from the iconic French fragrance house. With a creamy application and satin finish, this orange-toned shade is bright yet sophisticated. You can choose from a variety of gorgeous cases, and then opt for eco-friendly refills instead of buying a new tube each time.
A lot of luxury foundations are made with 30+ women in mind. They have skin-friendly formulations, and even the mattes tend to have a satiny rather than chalky finish. If you’re going to splurge on one product, it should be your foundation.
MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus foundation – ₹2,900
As someone with oily skin, this is my holy grail foundation. The superfine powder is incredibly versatile, going from sheer to full coverage depending on how you apply it. With setting spray, it melts into the skin for a natural, dewy finish. The shade range is far superior to most luxe brands, and I was able to match my tricky olive undertone.
Laura Mercier translucent powder – ₹3,990
This OG loose powder does it all. It controls oil and shine, keeps your makeup in place for ages, blurs imperfections, and comes with a dose of vitamin C and E. And without giving you white flashbacks in photos. There are three shades for different skin tones: there’s translucent for the lightest, translucent honey, and translucent medium-deep.
Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place SPF10 makeup – ₹3,600
Finding a medium-to-full coverage liquid matte foundation that doesn’t feel heavy is like finding a low-cal ice cream that tastes good. So it’s no wonder this product has such a loyal following. If ever there was a foundation to get you through a hot and sticky Indian summer, this is the one (especially if you’re a facial sweater). In case you don’t want to splash out on a big bottle, you can try the mini version for ₹1,800.
When it comes to luxury makeup, the classics endure for a reason. These tried-and-tested products have outlasted overpriced pretenders and proven their worth, so you know you’re not throwing your hard-earned money away.