{save vs. splurge: beauty products}

If you're like me, you pretty often find yourself debating whether to save or splurge on beauty products. There are certain times when I think that you absolutely get your money's worth on splurge items, but lately, I'm finding that some drug store brands are seriously stepping up their game. So I've collected a few of my can't-live-without items that I've both saved and splurged on, along with my verdict on whether to spend or save on them.

1. Gel eyeliner is one of my great loves. You can create so many different looks with it, and one tiny jar will last you forever. The first one I bought was the Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Liner for $21.  It's great and, provided that you don't jump in a pool or run a marathon or anything wild, it really will last all day. But then I heard that Maybelline was making their very own Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner. At only $6, I figured why not give it a try. It comes with an amazing little brush (which you would normally have to buy separately for up to another $20), and I've found that it truly works just as well as Bobbi Brown's. Verdict: Maybelline wins. It goes on easily, stays put, and comes with a great brush.

2. Dry shampoo is one of my favorite things on earth. Most of us know by now that washing your hair every day is bad for it. But that often leaves us with dull, flat, and even oily hair on the days in between. Enter dry shampoo. I've tried Oscar Blandi's for around $19. It's great, and I literally bought it close to 2 years ago, and I still have a little left. It only takes a little to do the trick, so it should last you forever. While wandering around Target a few weeks ago, I saw that Suave is now making one that sells for $2.99. I tried that one, and I have to say, it works beautifully. The sprays are easier to apply, but generally don't last as long. Because mine hasn't run out yet, this one is a tie. Unless the Suave runs out tomorrow, they're both great products and the Oscar Blandi definitely should last you long enough to be worth the spend.

3. I've been really into bright colors on my lips lately. It started with a deep raspberry lipstick that I fell in love with, and that eventually turned into the hunt for the perfect red lipstick. I bought Mac's Ruby Woo for $14, because I really wanted a matte red. And it's lovely. It doesn't stay quite as long as I'd like, but the color is awesome and the matte finish is to die for. But then I saw where a Lucky Magazine editor recommended Maybelline's Red Revival as a one-red-fits-all, so I tried that too for $7. It's the perfect classic red lipstick, and for the money, I am kind of loving that one more than the Mac now. If you're dead set on a matte finish, spend the money, the color is stunning. But my overall verdict goes to Maybelline on this one.

4. Curly hair. I've got it. More times than not, I straighten my hair or take a curling iron to it for big loose curls, but there are definitely times when I want to let it curl to its heart's desire. For those days, I prefer to use a spray on it, because it doesn't weigh my hair down the way gels or creams do. My first love was Bumble and Bumble's Curl Conscious Reactivating Mist for $23. It sets great curls and does a great job of reviving them halfway through the day if they need it. Pantene also makes a similar version of this product that sells for around $4. It works well enough, but my hair definitely gets frizzier than it does with BB. My verdict goes to Bumble and Bumble. They are great products across the board, and this is what works best for my hair.

5. A great moisturizer is a must for me. I've been using Olay products for years now. I use their face wash, moisturizer, and make up removing cloths. But when we moved here and my skin seriously dried out, I switched from using their moisturizer for combination skin to their regular moisturizer. It's fantastic, but a friend also recommended that I try Clinique's moisture surge for $34. It's a great product, and for a cream, it's not heavy. It feels really light and silky on your skin, but I noticed that by the end of the day, my skin was drying out again. For $7, Olay leaves my skin feeling great all day. That, combined with the bonus points for having an SPF 15, means that my vote goes to Olay. Allure Magazine has also rated it one of their top product picks for about the last 10 years.

If you have any other great recommendations for where to save or splurge, send them my way! Hope everyone has a lovely weekend.