Buying makeup is very tricky. There is a ton of great makeup on the market today; it can be a bit overwhelming at times. Some high-end products can cost twenty times the price of a lower-end product. It's devastating to spend upwards of $30 on an ounce of product that doesn't work for you. The color isn't always right. Formulas aren't always one-size-fits-all. Certain products require a skill set that you might not have at the moment. Some products just don't live up to the hype.
For whatever the reason may be, most people have found themselves in a situation where their makeup purchases haven't been perfect. Over the years, I've formulated an informal "system" to cut back on unsatisfying purchases. My system isn't perfect, but I've gone a year and a half without making a makeup purchase that I regret, and I'm still going strong.
- Always read reviews online.
Before I buy anything, I read every reputable-looking review I can find. Keep an eye out for the exact same review across multiple sites because, more often than not, those reviews are fake. If a review is "glowing," with no complaints or "heads-up" tips, you should be suspicious. Reviews that say the full name of a product over and over again should probably be ignored ("CertainBrand Awesome Series Expensive-Product 3100® is the best Product I've ever used!").
- Try the product first.
I realize that this isn't always possible - drugstores and beauty stores don't always have proper testers available for use. However, whenever you have a chance to test out a product before buying it, please do! There is no better way to determine how much you'll like CertainBrand's foundation unless you've matched your color properly and checked it in multiple lighting situations. Wear your swatch for the entire day, if you can.
- Have your colors professionally matched.
Again, I realize that this isn't always going to be possible, but if you're buying makeup from a counter, the sales representatives will be more than happy to help you find your perfect shade. I love buying makeup from department stores because the girls there will always exchange tips and tricks with me.
- Ask your friends.
Your friends are going to be able to answer your questions about a product they own better than a Google search will because, well, they're your friends. You can probably use a little of the product you're interested in to get a feel for how it works (though I don't recommend sharing makeup!).
- Wait before dubbing a product as a "fail."
Would you believe that it took me three weeks to love my Benetint, that I didn't like Maybelline's The Falsies for a month, and that I passionately hated blending brushes for almost a year? Certain products just have a learning curve to them; no matter how good you are at applying makeup, there will always be new techniques to learn. If you bought something that isn't working out as expected, keep playing around with it until you've either found the problem with the product, or found the trick to making it work for you.