Here Are 2017's Best High-End Makeup Products and Their Affordable Dupes
HYPEBAE editors weigh in on their beauty favorites.
Wow, what an exciting year it has been for makeup lovers. With 2017 coming to an end, let’s do a quick recap: Glossier launched a slew of new products and made major steps to go global; Pat McGrath announced her first-ever permanent collection; Balmain debuted its drugstore lipstick range with L’Oréal; K-beauty continues to gain popularity stateside; Fidget Spinner lip gloss became a thing; Kim Kardashian launched KKW Beauty; and finally, Rihanna changed the cosmetics game forever with her inclusive Fenty Beauty line.
While celebrating all these huge beauty moments, we’ve also gathered a whole bunch of products in our makeup bag. Read on to see HYPEBAE editors’ favorite high-end and budget-friendly finds from the past 12 months.
Our High-End Pick: YSL Touche Éclat Le Cushion
As far as cushion foundations go, YSL’s 2017-released Touche Éclat Le Cushion is as close to “holy grail” status as one can get. There’s a reason that this particular product has all of the Internet’s beauty bloggers and YouTube’s makeup gurus all hot and bothered – it’s an incredible product. Providing excellent coverage, the foundation still allows your skin to breathe. In fact, you’ll probably forget that you’re even wearing it. To get that beautifully dewy complexion, the formula creates a slightly highlighted glow that looks as stunning in photos as it does in person. Although this goody is on the higher end of the price spectrum, your skin will thank you for the investment. You can shop the cushion for $48 USD at YSL Beauty.
Our Budget-Friendly Pick: The Ordinary Coverage Foundation
The Ordinary’s Coverage Foundation took the beauty community by storm because of its high pigment and low price. The $6 USD formula offers a semi-matte finish that can be paired with just about any primer. This product is perfect for everyday wear and long-wear coverage that is skin-like but also allows your face to breathe. Color match yourself at The Ordinary and pick up a bottle to try.
Our High-End Pick: RMS Beauty “Un” Cover-Up
RMS Beauty’s “Un” Cover-Up is beloved precisely because it not only minimizes blemishes but enhances all the while. The lightweight concealer melts into the skin while covering up unwanted spots and redness, and as an added bonus, moisturizes and heals. It’s recommended to be used over other natural products in keeping with the brand’s organic synergy. Available in eight shades, pick up yours at RMS Beauty where it costs $36 USD a pot. It’s a beautiful second skin.
Our Budget-Friendly Pick: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind
Maybelline has established itself as a trustworthy drugstore brand for women of all shades. It’s no surprise that the Instant Age Rewind concealer has become a holy grail for ladies on a budget. Using its patented foam applicator, ladies can sponge away dark circles and fine lines resulting in a brighter appearance. The concentrated treatment retails for $10 USD and can be found at Maybelline and other beauty retailers.
Our High-End Pick: Marc Jacobs Beauty Dew Drops Coconut Gel Highlighter
The Marc Jacobs Dew Drops Coconut Gel Highlighter is the perfect golden shimmer that is flattering on any skin tone. The product comes in a luxurious glass pump bottle, and the minimal design only adds to the allure. A little goes a long way with this formula, which justifies the $44 USD price point. It can be worn not just as highlighter, but as eyeshadow as well. Get yours now over at Net-a-Porter.
Our Budget-Friendly Pick: Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter
For those looking for the perfect highlighter to add a glistening shine to your face, look no further. Rihanna literally struck gold when she dropped Killawatt in “Trophy Wife.” This popular shade is always sold out in stores, while the other shades are also equally striking. The highlighter feels almost weightless and can also be worn as an eyeshadow. It can give makeup users a dramatic, glowy look if applied generously. Pick up your own for $34 USD at Sephora.
Our High-End Pick: KKW Beauty Crème Contour and Highlight Kit
Kim Kardashian’s Crème Contour and Highlight Kit has brought the reality star’s contouring technique to us mere mortals. The three different shades, including light, medium and dark, are suitable for a range of skin colors, and the formula is incredibly easy to apply and blends with minimal effort. The kit comes with a contour and highlight stick, as well as an applicator brush. At $48 USD, the product is only available for purchase on the KKW Beauty website – make sure you stay up to date to see when the popular product restocks.
Our Budget-Friendly Pick: NUDESTIX Sculpting Pencil
Beyond your pressed powder or base, one quick and easy way to achieve that desired glow is by using highlighter. NUDESTIX compacted that into a dual-tip, matte cream sculpting pencil. Expect blendable coverage and a natural sculpted look that’s accentuated by smooth application, considering ingredients like shea butter and vitamin E are included within. Available in four dual-ended shades, purchase the convenient contour stick at Sephora, priced at $24 USD.
Our High-End Pick: Glossier Wowder Duo
Glossier’s Wowder is more than just your traditional powder. It’s an absolute skin savior, being able to mask the skin’s texture with its airy formula. The result is a product that is able to cut shine, set makeup and blur your pores. There is zero chalkiness and it’s available in three shades that will go undetected on skin. Shop Wowder Duo at Glossier, where it retails at $35 USD. The brush can also be purchased separately.
Our Budget-Friendly Pick: Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder
Pressed powder isn’t for everyone, but we all have our shiny days. If you need a little something to control nature’s spontaneous glow, this Rimmel powder is perfect. Available in eight shades, the mineral-based formula allows for great coverage without the risk of a cakey effect — as long as you’re careful to just use it lightly. It’s slimline enough to easily be slipped into your purse so you always have it for those emergency touch-ups on the go. At just $4 USD, this powder may be a bargain but that certainly doesn’t mean it compromises on quality. Get yours now at Target.
Our High-End Pick: Pat McGrath Labs Subversive Palette “Mothership III”
It’s not an exaggeration when we say that the Pat McGrath Labs Subversive Palette is a work of art. As part of the legendary makeup artist’s first permanent collection, the Mothership III eyeshadow palette sees a mix of matte neutrals and vibrant, glittery gold and pink tones that allow anyone to be instantly runway-ready. All ten pressed shadows are extremely creamy and blendable, making them easy even for beginners to play around with. And did we mention how much we love the huge and travel-friendly mirror that comes with the palette? Shop yours for $125 USD now online.
Our Budget-Friendly Pick: My Little Pony x ColourPop Palette
This one’s for the ‘90s girls. Released by beloved beauty brand ColourPop, the My Little Pony palette is as adorable as it gets. With each shadow composed of a velvety formula, the product is butter-soft when applied. Aligned with the magical theme, each shade also has a unicorn-ready sheen that is essentially synonymous with 2017. You can buy the My Little Pony palette now at ColourPop for $16 USD.
Our High-End Pick: Dior Diorshow Mascara
Despite being a bit pricy, Dior Beauty‘s Diorshow Mascara is definitely worth every penny since it features a special formula that creates dramatic lashes. Swiping this on your lashes a couple times does the trick as the product can provide more volume while elevating your lash shape. Even with more than three swipes, the mascara doesn’t get clumpy at all. The brush is also pretty easy on the eyes for those with sensitive eyes. Purchase this mascara over at Sephora for $28.50 USD.
Our Budget-Friendly Pick: Urban Decay Troublemaker Mascara
Makeup fiends would probably remember the sex-proof claim Urban Decay made when it first launched its Troublemaker Mascara. Turns out that wasn’t just a gimmick, as many who’ve tested the product could tell you that the product is indeed super long lasting. The vegan formula not only volumizes, but also lengthens and curls lashes as it coats, thanks to UD’s custom brush. At an affordable price of $24 USD, you can achieve the perfectly fanned-out lashes of your dreams. Get one for yourself at Sephora.
Our High-End Pick: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
For those who draw on a sharp cat-eye look on the daily, this Stila essential should definitely be in your makeup arsenal. Thanks to the combination of its liquid formula and brush tip, the eyeliner is designed for flawless precision. True to its name, the product will stay on all through the rigorous demands of an urban girl boss. The eyeliner also comes in an array of different shades so that you can satisfy every beauty need, may it be for a daily or party look. You can shop this Stila favorite now at Sephora for $22 USD.
Our Budget-Friendly Pick: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner
Eyeliner can be a tricky thing and for even the most experienced among us, it’s near impossible to get smooth, fine lines every time – unless you’re using this Tattoo Liner, that is. The firm brush tip effortlessly glides across the lash line and the sharp point allows for the most perfectly precise flicks. It has a waterproof finish and lasts all day without fading away or smudging. And unlike many other pen-style liners, this one doesn’t dry out easily. The best bit is that like all of Kat Von D’s products, this liner is cruelty-free, so the only thing that’s killer is your cat-eye. You can pick it up for $20 USD at Sephora.
Our High-End Pick: Benefit Cosmetics Goof Proof Eyebrow Pencil
Benefit’s award-winning Goof Proof Eyebrow Pencil is worth every penny. The waterproof formula is easy to glide on and leaves behind a natural hair-like pigment for fuller, more shapely brows. The pencil comes with a spoolie on the other end for quick application — what more can you ask for? If you’re looking for a pencil that’ll change your brows forever, pick up this $24 USD product from Sephora.
Our Budget-Friendly Pick: NYX Micro Brow Pencil
This ultra-thin eyebrow pencil is a bit different from typical creamy wax formulas and eyebrow brush products. It actually holds brows in place and makes it easy to draw on, blend and brush eyebrow hairs into the shape you prefer. In addition, it allows for your natural brows to become more accentuated and full-looking. The pigment isn’t overpowering either. Purchase this product over at NYX for just $10 USD.
Our High-End Pick: Chanel Rogue Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Color
This Chanel lipstick is not only a great makeup product, but it also comes in the most aesthetically pleasing packaging. The Luminous Matte lipstick comes in 15 different shades, ranging from a classic red to magenta hues, and retails at $37 USD at Chanel. Despite the steep price tag, you won’t regret trying this ultra-smooth formula.
Our Budget-Friendly Pick: BITE Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayon
When it comes to affordable, high-quality makeup products, BITE Beauty is really your best bet. The Canadian brand’s lip crayon features a paraben-free formula that’s moisturizing and pigmented at the same time. Coming in a wide range of shades from everyday nudes to sultry burgundies, this product allows you to achieve perfect matte lips without the hassle of a liquid lipstick. Pick up your favorite color for only $24 USD at Sephora.
- Teresa Lam/HYPEBAE