20 March 2015

The Debate | High-Street VS High-End

A picture of high-street and high-end beauty products
As a blogger, I am always on the look out for the next 'amazing must-have' product, and I've lost count of how many products and brands I have dabbled in over the years. If there's one thing which I think splits not only beauty consumers in half, but the beauty blogging community itself, it's the question over whether high-street or high-end is better. Is high-street better because it offers affordable products? Does a higher price tag mean a better product? Should you avoid a brand because it's cheap? It's time to have a debate, high-street vs high-end...

When I first started Tattooed Tealady, the vast majority of the products I featured were high-street - I'd say probably around 90% of my reviews, in fact. In the three years I have been writing this blog, the products and brands I feature has changed a lot. I feature high-end brands a lot more often, and admittedly although I'd love to say I blog an equal amount of both high-street and high-end brands, I think it's fairer to say my high-end reviews are much more frequent than my high-street reviews.

Why, you might wonder, when I started this blog with a large proportion of high-street brands, do I now feature more high-end than high-street? There's a few reasons. The first being that over the years I have been blogging I have been introduced to brands I never knew existed. Before I started blogging myself the only brands I really knew about were the ones I would see when out shopping; so the typical brands you spot in department stores and those which grace the aisles of Boots and Superdrug. A lot of the websites I now shop from online feature brands I had never encountered before blogging, and websites which I would never have found if it wasn't for reading blogs myself. The same with product reviews, whether on a blog or in a YouTube video - I've been introduced to brands I never knew existed, brands which you can't find on the high-street, brands from other Countries, brands that people claim are so amazing, that I have to try for myself. 

Another reason is money, and how I chose to spend mine. Back in the day I would go into Boots and spend a ridiculous amount thinking that quantity was always better than quality. Rather than researching and investing in brands and products, I would just pile as much into a Boots basket as I could afford and that would be that. As the years go on and I continue to write Tattooed Tealady, my approach to selecting makeup has completely evolved. I don't want a stash of makeup that's full of products that I bought on a whim because they were the cheapest I could get my hands on in a big quantity; I want products that work for me, regardless of price. I'd rather than 10 amazing products than 100 mediocre ones, basically. 

Which leads me on to the biggest reason why I feature more high-end than high-street. High-end products work better for me. I'm not saying they work better for everyone, and I still adore all the high-street brands I used to over-indulge in, but whereas before I would have a bunch of makeup that did the trick for a couple of hours, I now have makeup I can rely on to work in harmony with my skin type and needs and last all day and night, rather than a quick fix that I have to continuously touch up. That said, that doesn't mean I think high-street makeup is a quick fix - I just find my skin and makeup overall lasts longer with high-end makeup than it does high-street. Of course, that's quite a generalisation, and it didn't apply to all aspects of beauty. A huge proportion of my makeup collection is high-end, but that high-end makeup is usually a certain type of makeup. But does that mean I think high-end is better? No, I really don't.

Personally, I think there is an even playing field when it comes to beauty products. There are a few product types I will always spend more money on, but then there's a ton more product types that I will spend as little as possible on. So what products do I think you should invest in, and which do I think you should save your pennies on?

Makeup
I own more high-end makeup than high-street, but as I said before it's usually more specific to a certain product type. I own more high-end lipsticks than high-street, but I think the high-street has an amazing offering when it comes to lipsticks; the only reason I have more high-end lipsticks, is because high-end brands have a bigger shade range for me to get stuck in to. I adore MAC, Bobbi Brown and Urban Decay when it comes to lipsticks, but Maybelline is by far my favourite high-street brand and easily compares to my high-end favourites. When it comes to lip liners I do think high-end brands have better longevity and formulas, but if you have a favourite high-street brand or range for liners I'd love to hear your recommendations!

When it comes to bases I sit completely on the fence. I own and have tried more high-street than high-end when it comes to bases, but I find Bobbi Brown is the best for getting a true match to my complexion as well as having better longevity with my oily skin. That said, Bourjois and Max Factor are brands I would repurchase time and time again, and despite having smaller shade ranges than high-end brands, I think high-street brands have such an amazing variety of formulas and finishes, that it's a real competitor when it comes to bases.

Cheek products are another one I sit on the fence with. Of course I love my MAC, NARS and Benefit blushes and bronzers, but I think the high-street has some gorgeous shades and formulas available and I own way more high-street than high-end when it comes to cheek products. I think cheek products are pretty easy to get away with spending less on and I actually prefer a lot of my Sigma, Max Factor, Bourjois and theBalm cheek products over my high-end ones.

I feel the same way about eye products. Although I am a sucker for high-end eyeshadows, with Urban Decay and MAC being my favourite, dozens of high-street brands easily compare with formulas just as good as those with a higher price tag. I'd love to see more high-street brands dabble in palettes, both permanent and limited edition, as the majority of my eyeshadow stash comes in palette form (another reason I have more high-end shadows than high-street). When it comes to eye liners, brow products and mascaras, I think there's a fab variety from both high-street and high-end, which shows if you look in my makeup stash. I'd rather spend £8 on a high-street mascara than £25 on a high-end one, but I find high-end brands do gel liners better than high-street. It all depends what you want from a product!

There is only one part of high-street makeup I dislike and it's something which will make me avoid a brand, and that's a lack of individuality. I think it is amazing when high-street brands create dupes to high-end products which makes certain shades or formulas usually akin to a higher price tag more affordable to those on a lower budget, I'm all for a great dupe! But what I really dislike is when high-street brands blatantly copy a high-end brand, for example by doing a blatant copy of a brands packaging. It's something that really grates on me and I find quite disrespectful to the high-end brands being copied; sure, make a dupe of a shade or formula, but be original in your packaging. Too many high-end brands are being completely ripped off packaging wise, and it massively puts me off of the more low-end budget brands. There's a fine line between being inspired and creating a dupe, and copying, and a think a few brands cross that line too often. 

Skincare
Everyone's skin type is different, and even those who fit into the same skin type bracket will have different skin concerns and needs from one person to the next. You know your skin better than the next person, and I think taking care of your skin should always come before having 'the best' makeup. If you don't have a healthy and happy canvas to start with, even the most expensive makeup won't look right or last as long as you'd like.

For me personally, my skin is definitely happier when I use high-end skincare. By high-end I mean £10+ per product, sometimes that can be literally £10, sometimes it can be anywhere up to £60. I've tried a lot of budget brands in the past and found that the products - and cheaper ingredients used to create them - merely exacerbate my skin concerns. Skincare products which are on the higher end of the price scale, usually although not in all cases, have better ingredients in them - which is why they cost more to buy. My skin reacts better to higher quality ingredients and products with fewer or where possible, none at all, nasty, harmful or damaging ingredients. That said, there are some truly amazing skincare brands whose prices I personally feel fall more on the 'high-street' side of things, whose products are natural, organic and nasty free, that are seriously overlooked. 

I'd love to be able to spend £5 a product in Boots and have a skincare routine of all high-street products; that's what I used to do when I was younger and knew less about skin and what my own skin needs. But when I opted for the budget options, my skin was worse. Natural and organic as well as higher quality and cleaner ingredients work better with my skin type - if yours works better with cheaper products, that's great - but mine simply doesn't.

Body Care & Hair Care
Two aspects of beauty that I'm never really fussed about when it comes to price. I've tried some amazing products both hair and body wise with a high-end price tag, but I'm just as happy with a shampoo that costs me £3 as one that costs me £30. In fact, I've been more impressed by high-street body care and hair care over the years than high-end.

You don't have to spend a lot when it comes to beauty. The high-street is full of amazing brands and products that you could easily get by with high-street alone. At the same time, if high-end is more your thing then there's nothing wrong with having a stash of high-end beauty. Ultimately, how you spend your money is down to you and no one else. Although I think it's important to consider how the products you spend your money on are made, and what they include ingredients wise, my beauty stash isn't all natural/organic/cruelty free, and there's more than enough brands out there on both budgets which will cater to your needs. For me at least, high-street can be just as good as high-end. 

Where do you stand when it comes to beauty products? Do you prefer high-street or high-end? Is there a reason you chose one over the other, or do you just go with what your budget allows? Is there a certain area of beauty you think is done better by high-street or high-end? Let me know - I want to know what you think when it comes to beauty products; high-street or high-end?

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