What High-End Brand is Best for What?


Seeing as the last forum topic posed the question ‘What drugstore brand is best for what?’, I thought it was only fair to tackle the same query for their high-end counterparts. Weirdly I found this the harder question to answer out of the two, perhaps because the choice of high-end stuff is a little broader? I’m not sure, but it was tough to whittle down what brands do particular categories amazingly, though after much head scratching I got there. So here’s my take…

The Best for Base… the first brand that comes to mind here is CHANEL. I obviously love their Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation, but the Perfection Lumiere Velvet is a nice matte-r alternative and then there’s the Les Beiges Powder which rocks when it comes to cakeface-free ways to set things. But then there’s also Laura Mercier. They do a fab range of concealer and foundations of all textures and coverage; I have a soft spot for their Oil-Free Tinted Moisturiser and the Secret Camouflage Concealer that can cover-up even the most raging of pimples.

The Best for Cheeks… it’s got to be NARS. Whether it’s bronzer, highlighter or blusher you’re looking for, NARS always have something up their sleeve (and usually in a swoon-worthy palette too). Their Laguna Bronzer is a classic and something that I’ve hit pan on multiple times and for blush I love Gina or Deep Throat, not the oft-talked out Orgasm, which I find a wee bit red for my skintone.

The Best for Brows… unfortunately it’s not something that can be readily found in the UK beauty aisles just yet (please, please make this happen!), but I think Anastasia Beverly Hills counts as a high-end brow option. The Powder, the Brow Whiz’s, even the Tinted Brow GelsI love them all. No one does brows quite like Anastasia does.

The Best for Eyeshadow… this is a tough one as my eyeshadow box might be the most varied brand-wise of all my cosmetic drawers, but when I think about it there’s no brand that gets me quite as excited when it comes to eyeshadow as MAC does. Mainly because they give you the option to curate your own palette and it’s basically every makeup lovers dream to do that. But special mentions here have to go to Urban Decay, makers of the Naked Palette, a.k.a) the original neutral palette and Charlotte Tilbury for the Dolce Vita Quad which is all kinds of pretty.

The Best for Lips… I think I have to go for MAC here again actually. The wide range of colours available mean that they cater for my everyday days with things like Patisserie and my brave days with shades like Ruby Woo and Rebel. Oh and their Lip Pencils are awesome too.

But what do you think? What brands do what so well that they are well worth the splurge?


  • clementine buttercup

    Tarte Cosmetics for blushers and mascara and Bite beauty for lip products. Definitely worth the delivery costs on!

  • NARS and Bobbi Brown do the best bases in my experience, and I quite like their cheek products, too, although Make Up For Ever deserve a shoutout for their cream blushes. I definitely agree that Anastasia Beverly Hills does the best brow products. For eyeshadow, it’s a tough call: I’d declare a three-way tie between LORAC, Urban Decay, and Charlotte Tilbury as they each have different but beautiful ways to approach eyeshadow. For lips, though, my heart belongs to Bite Beauty!

  • philippa

    Was nodding the whole time I was reading this πŸ˜€

    I always end wanting everything in your posts! (:


  • Totally agreed with everything you said! Except for base i’d go with Dior only because I adore the Diorskin Star Fluid Foundation so much. Lips is definitely MAC because the lipsticks and lip liners are all such great quality and have better staying power. Great post lovely! x

  • Camilla

    I agreed with most of this, although LancΓ΄me happens to be my favorite for the base, especially their Teint Miracle is amazing! (:

  • emily couture

    I love Mac Lipsticks πŸ™‚

    emily xx

  • I love Nars blushers, they’re always so pretty and pigmented x


  • I would go to Chanel for base and lipsticks, Bobbi Brown or Tarte for blush, Urban Decay for eyeshadow and Nars for eyeliners – they don’t budge!

  • Lizzie

    I couldn’t agree more about eye shadows and lipsticks, such a vast array of choices!

  • Sharmi Shah

    I love MAC lipsticks! Would own each one of them one day! πŸ™‚

  • I used to say MAC for lips, but since I discovered Bite Beauty I have literally been loving all their lip products! So long lasting and I love their shade range!

    Josie XOXO

    Fashion Mumblr

  • This is such a helpful post, thank you! I’m totally with you on NARS for cheeks, their shades are just fantastic.

    Tessa at Bramble & Thorn

  • Bek Razz

    Thanks for posting this – I found it super helpful!

  • Emily Mae

    YSL for bases and especially lipsticks. Rouge Volupte Shines give me life…..

  • MAC for lipsticks and eye shadows OBVS, and Urban Decay for eyes too. I love my NARS concealer but Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk – need I say more? Plus CHANEL lippy, so good! I have Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks but looking for a new light base so it’s a toss between LM or NARS…

    Lauren x

    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Fashion Beauty –

  • Kat Horrocks

    Nars blushers/bronzers are the best! I find myself comparing every other brand to theirs as like the standard of cheek colour excellence lol!

    Kat |

  • Anyone any recommendations for the best mascara? πŸ˜€


    • Benefit and Too Faced are my personal favorites for dem lashes. A lot of high end mascaras have actually always disappointed me in comparison to these two, Lancome was “meh”, Nars was god-awful, I threw it in the bin (and I LOVE Nars), Mac didn’t do anything for me, etc. Charlotte Tilbury and Bobbi Brown also are great but the two I first mentioned are simply just a few pounds cheaper. πŸ™‚

      • Jen M

        Clinique High Impact mascara.

    • I really like the L’Oreal Voluminous mascara – cheap and cheerful.

      Erin | Erin and Katherine Talk Beauty

  • Kirsty

    I completely agree with MAC for lips. I think they’re a tough one to beat. As for eye shadow, I love Inglot. Not sure if they class as a high-end brand? The Freedom System palettes let you chose your shades just like MAC and the quality is spot on! I would recommend them to anyone x

    Kirsty –

  • My favourite high end brand is Charlotte Tilbury- they are the best for fair skin. I also love Nars and Chanel πŸ™‚

  • Mac for eyeshadows is definitely the best.

  • Siuners

    ooh, good choices, Anna. I’d have to say Laura Mercier for base, the silk creme foundation is easily the best, most long lasting base I’ve found (for special occasions, given the price!).
    Lips, it’s got to be MAC, for sheer choice (my top faves are Lady Danger, Rebel, Patisserie, and Plumful). Though I favour the YSL lipstick formulation, and my recent dip into Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revoloution lipsticks have been a revelation.

    Eyeshadow, again, probably MAC, though my Urban Decay Naked 1 gets the most use. Also, Laura Mercier’s Caviar Sticks (I got the 6 Christmas mini ones) have been really floating my boat, in terms of ease of application.

  • I have to say Bobbi Brown takes the cake when it comes to cheeks for me! Amazing blushers, the best bronzer for my fair skin, and shimmer bricks that make me look a million times more alive. I do love Nars a lot though, and like Bobbi Brown, they don’t faff around with extra packaging or included “brushes” that up the price.

  • Madison Victoria x

    Hiya, this post is so helpful might have to raid the rainy day fund!! I was also wondering if you had the chance cou,d you take a little glimpse at my new-ish blog which varies from beauty posts to a few lifestyle posts nestled about and I would love you to find something that tickles your pickle and join my cosy community at:
    Thank you xx

  • Bessie London

    Great post. For me it would be YSL for base – the teint touche eclat and fusion ink foundations are gorgeous – the highlighting pen obvs, and the colour correcting fluid are so good too. Definitely agree with all your other choices. What about perfume? Diptyque all the way?!

  • EVERYONE seems to be loving the Anastasia brow products nowadays – I don’t know how long I’ll be able to still resist the temptation πŸ˜€

  • I agree with all of those, but I definitely think Tarte is up there for blushes and Lorac for shadows. Love this idea!

  • Millie Robinson

    Love all these brands! I love Nars for bases too! x

  • Maggie

    This is so true! I love the brow wiz!

  • And off to the counter we go..

  • For Brows I like Anastasia Beverly Hills, but my fav product is the pomade. For cheeks , I love me some tarte blush.Totally agree with MAC lipsticks, Rebel is my colour πŸ™‚

  • larissa

    For base: Bare Minerals, i love all the new formulas!
    For cheeks: I agree with you, Nars is amazing.
    For brows: Benefit
    For eyeshadow: Urban Decay
    For lips: Mac or revlon!

  • Mandy Bajwa
  • Ella

    Agree with everything except for lips… I LOVE Mac, but I think YSL might be even better πŸ™‚

  • I think Inglot is the best alternative for MAC! The shadows come in a huge choice of colours and finishes, have an amazing payoff and ability to blend, you can do your own palette as well. They also have amazing nail polish and lip products. One of my favourite brands for sure!

    xx, Marta /

  • Kristy

    I defintiely agree with Nars products being the best products for cheeks, I love the Laguna bronzer and always find it lasts all day. I really need to try some of their blushes too.

    Kristy |

  • Charlotte

    I agree for NARS and the cheeks, I would say their base (foundations) are really good to. For lips… kinda hard, I love brand like Chanel or YSL, but I think NARS do quite well. For the eyes, definetly Urban Decay <3

  • For cheeks I would go with Hourglass blushes, agreed on CT for her eyeshadow palettes and for lips I would choose Bite Beauty, i just love their products.


  • I agree with Nars as their blushes are pigmented and last ages. I love Laura Mercier for a good base because they have a great shade range. Too Faced does excellent and pigmented eyeshadows with no fall out, unlike Urban Decay. Kat Von D does a great liquid lipstick but I love drugstore lipsticks because they’re affordable and last well with a lipliner.

  • I need to try the Chanel foundations, they sound really good!

  • Love all of this, though I’d have to add NARS to bases as well and Hourglass to cheeks! They have such amazing blushes, highlighters, etc.

    Morgan //

  • I honestly think Charlotte Tilbury is the best for everything

  • Agree with Laura Mercier bases though I also love Clinique for blush (their Cheek Pops & Chubby blush sticks are awesome) and Bobbi Brown lipsticks are spot on. I almost drove into town this afternoon as I had a sudden urge to wear Ruby Woo out tonight but a weary 7yo had other ideas (making Valentine cookies to be precise) x

  • I loved this post. Definitely agree with MAC being amazing for lipsticks – I bought Patisserie on your recommendation and I love it! xx
    Elise @ Elise Dopson

  • Great post, Anna! I’m curious to try Chanel bases, never have — although I’m a bit surprised Giorgio Armani didn’t make the cut? πŸ™‚

    Erin | Erin and Katherine Talk Beauty

  • Lisa Thompson

    I think Clinique make amazing lipsticks and eyeshadow palettes, especially the Wear Everywhere Neutral palettes. I also love Nearly Violet and All Heart lipsticks. Of course, I agree with MAC eyeshadows and lipsticks. My Naked UD palettes have a lot of fall out. I am not noticing that with my Clinique palettes, and I don’t need a base.

  • For someone with not a lot of money to splash out on high-end makeup, this post helped me a lot! x

  • totally agree with NARS being best for cheeks! Laguna will always be a staple in my make up bag! and MAC Patisserie is a favourite of mine too! x

  • Jasmine Harding

    Such a helpful post!! I have to agree with lipsticks, MAC do it best and NARS Laguna is the best bronzer out there!

  • for face products definitely hourglass! obviously their powders are all kinds of dreamy but their veil fluid foundation is one of my favourites! really natural looking full coverage x Kat

  • I gotta agree with the lips! MAC has the BEST.


  • Jen

    Great post!! For my picks they woukd be:

    Base: Mac. I love Face and Body, Studio Sculpt, Mineralize Skinfinish powders, Studio Finish concealer, and Prolongwear concealer!

    Cheeks: NARS and Benefit. I absolutley love Casino bronzer, blushes in Sin and Deep Throat. However Benefit’s Rockateur, Dandelion, and Coralista blushes are off the hook, and Hoola bronzer is great.

    (I would have to say for highlighter: MAC wins all the way! Cream colour base in Hush, Strobe cream, and Mineralized Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle are all amazing highlighters!)

    Eyes: MakeupGeek (MUG) comes to mind. MUG e/s are less than half the price of MAC and with better blendability and pigmentation. MUG FOILED eyehadows…are like cream/powder/pigments into one! Amazing quality for a good price, cruelt-free, and talc free. I havent tried her gel liners but I hear good things.

    Lips: Urban Decay! The revolution lipsticks are awesome especially Naked, Streak, and Rush!
    But my favorite revolution liostick is VENOM! Everytime I wear this I recieve so many questions and compliments. Long-wearing and so smooth to put on. UD’s sheer revolution lipstick in LadyFlower is beautiful for spring while Streak is great for the summer. The lipliners are so pigmented, creamy, smooth, and long-wearing as well. The Naked lipglosses are not too sticky and pigmented for glosses! By far my favorite lipstick brand!!!

  • Ally

    Mmmm, love me some luxe beauty bits. I also love Ilia and Kjaer Weis (come on new foundation shades!!)

  • Love this style of post!

    For me:
    Base – Armani Luminous Silk & Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua + the NARS creamy radiant concealer
    Cheeks – NARS & Charlotte Tilbury. It’s such a battle between Laguna and Filmstar Bronze & Glow for me. Most of my blush and highlight collection is NARS.
    Eyes – Urban Decay & Charlotte Tilbury for palettes. I find any excuse to wear the Dolce Vita Palette (day or night). For cream shadow I can’t live without the By Terry Ombre Blackstars.
    Lips – Oh my gosh…this one has to be the hardest! I love my Tom Ford lipsticks for sure but I’m also a huge fan of Charlotte Tilbury and NARS.

  • This has given me so much inspiration for my big shopping spree this weekend. I’ll be sure to check out NARS as I am in need of a gorgeous bronzer and highlighter x

    Amanda / Amanda’s Escape

  • theblackblush blog

    I have to agree with you in almost everything, but Makeup Geek’s eyeshadows are some of the best in the market I think!

  • Agree with all your points, Anna! Hands down, Anastasia is the best for brows…but I will say they are stepping up all their other products now!

    xx Alyson
    The Beauty Vanity

  • I recently bought Charlotte Tilbury’s eyeshadow quad in Dolce Vita and I love it! The eyeshadows are soooo creamy! X

  • Charlotte Mulcahy

    Dying to try the Anastasia brow products, it’s so annoying that they don’t sell it in the uk!

  • Bella

    I love Chanel for lipsticks and nail polish, Tom Ford for eyeshadows, Hourglass for blushes and powder….but my one piece of advice is: Nars for err’thing!!!

  • This is so helpful! I definitely want to try all of these especially the Chanel foundations
    Em x

  • Bea

    I have to agree with your choice for lipsticks no one quite has a colour range like good old MAC!

    Bea | The Bea Collective

  • Definitely agree! What do you reckon about brushes? Bobbi Brown?

  • I agree with you even though I haven’t tried some of these

  • fancie

    I definitely agree with you when it comes to eyes, cheeks and lips. Those are also my top picks. Chanel is a little too limited color wise for me though so I’d have to go with NARS for the base too. I love their primer, Sheer Glow foundation, concealer and tinted moisturizer

    Follow me to Fancieland

  • I think I would have to disagree on a few fronts. For cheeks, I would vote for Tarte (because I’m addicted to the Amazonian clay blushes), and for Eyeshadow, I love Urban Decay, but I would have to add Burberry (a new discovery) to the list. And I think Too Faced is amazing for lip sticks!


  • I love MAC eyeshadows πŸ™‚ Lips I’d probably say Revlon – I’m such a fan of their kissable balm stains and lip butters πŸ™‚

    Kate xo //

  • Since receiving Anastasia brow products for Christmas I’ve been hooked since, I haven’t really used anything else. So worth the money, fab fab products!

    alice x | beautybyalicee | bloglovin’

  • Lara

    Your post reminded me of question that I was considering today: if you could only wear one brand for the rest of your life for EVERYTHING makeup-related, what would it be?

    My first inclination is NARS because they seem to do a lot of things well, the price-point is high but not as prohibitive as Chanel or Dior, and it’s widely available (unlike other prestige brands like Tarte which I love but can be harder to find). Thoughts?

  • Chantal

    I agree Mac rocks when it comes to lip products. πŸ™‚ x

  • Genevieve

    For eyeshadow palettes – which I own quite a few – I would say UD’s Vice palettes, Tarina Tarantino and the bareMinerals Playlist for colours. Guerlain’s Ecrin Les Aqua and Les Gris are fabulous for blues and Charlotte Tilbury’s the Rebel for greens.
    For neutrals – I like the UD Naked and I know that the original Lorac Pro Palette was extremely popular too.
    In Australia it is hard to find Nars, MAC and Bobbi Brown – they are only sold by one retailer so there is no competition and the prices are often double what they would be in the US or Britain – such a shame. I have tried the Nars Laguna blush/bronze and I would love to own it.

  • Eliza Kate

    I think that the Bobbi Brown Creamy Lipsticks are amazing for everyday use, so creamy and easy to wear! Love the Bobbi Brown brushes as well, even thought they’re a bit pricey. At the moment I’m in love with the Hourglass ambient lighting powder, so easy to wear and apply.

  • Going to have to disagree about the blushes and go with Tarte, they hands down last longer for me (nars only last about 4 hours on average where Tarte I get 12)

  • I love Giorgio Armani as well for bases – actually, you inspired me to get the Luminous Silk foundation! My fave at the moment for lips is Lipstick Queen, I can’t go past “Medieval”. I really can’t wait to try an Anastasia brow product, they sound SO good!

  • I loved this post!

    I definitely agree on Mac lipsticks, the price is reasonable and there are so many beautiful options to choose from!

    Cindy ||

  • Great post! I’d have to agree on Chanel for bases – definitely need to try the Perfection Lumiere Velvet soon!

    Catpacking | Beauty & Travel

  • Christina Shelley

    I want to try that Chanel Lumiere Velvet so badly!! Your recommendation might have sent me over the edge to buy it!


    I’d agree with you more or less, except for one point – Lipstick Queen is best for lips! They might not have as many colours, but I can’t get over how beautiful the ones they have are. That and the formulation is never dodgy, never drying and they’re un-scented too. I don’t dislike the MAC vanilla smell, but scent is such a personal thing so I don’t think companies should make them so strong that you would avoid wearing their lipstick because of it’s fragrance.

  • ZoeG

    You can buy Anastasia products in Blow Ltd salons and I am pretty sure they sell them on their website too for anyone not in London or who can’t get to a salon…

  • I agree that Anastasia is the best for brows, but a lot of other brands you mentioned have great and bad products so it really depend on what someone prefers.

  • Bernadette

    This was such a fun post to read. I definitely have wanted to try out the naked palettes and mac lipsticks for some time now. x

  • Marie

    Too bad you can only mention MAC for Lipsticks. I’m allergic to most of their products, don’t know what they put in them but it gets itchy and red.

    • I’m allergic to most of their lipsticks too… except the matte ones. For me it’s the sesame oil

  • It`s funny but I`ve got my first MAC lip products and I haven`t tried them until now. What a shame:)

  • I think Estee Lauder is amazing for bases too, they have a lot of options for different people and they are so long lasting too – well worth the price πŸ™‚

    Anjna Harish

  • For lips it is definitely MAC for me, they have a huge colour/finish selection..there is something for everyone! x


  • Personally for lips my high end favorite has to be Bite Beauty. I’m completely smitten with the brand. I do have to agree with you on eyeshadows though, MAC’s eyeshadows are fool-proof.

  • I totally agree with you on the Chanel foundation, but I also love Giorgio Armani and Chanticalle. The Chanticalle one is especially beautiful. I love the Anastasia brow products too. So perfect.
    I’m not a fan of the Mac matte lipsticks as they are so drying, but for colour choice they of course rule all.

    Naturally Toms

  • I love this post! I always love seeing people’s opinions about their top product choices per category.

    For me it would be as follows…
    Base: either Tarte or Laura Mercier
    Cheeks: again either Tarte, totally agree with NARS, and I love the too faced bronzers
    Brows: gotta go with Anastasia too!
    Eyeshadows: so many I love! Definitely urban decay, Lorac, Smashbox, Makeup Forever and of course MAC!
    Lips: I really love MAC as well, but I also love Bite Beauty, Urban Decay, Kat Von D, and NARS

  • Great post ! Very useful =)
    I quite agree with you tbh … Wouldn’t change a thing.

    Feathers and Brushes | Swiss | Beauty & Lifestyle

  • Ingis

    If you like the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, I would recommend checking out BareMinerals new Complexion Rescue (don’t think it is launched in UK yet though, I ordered mine through ebay). It’s quite similar, only with a tad more coverage and hydration. I really like it, it is perfect for summer!
    Also, I have seen you like the Clarins Instant Concealer (and that you like to use it as a tinted moisturizer-sort-of-thing), and I thought I’d just tip you about it’s greatness as a foundation too! It works just great for those need-a-bit-coverage-but-in-a-super-fresh-and-hydrating-way-days. Highly recommend!

  • Emma Withers

    Such a great post, I’ve just discovered how amazing MAC eyeshadows are as I have always stuck to Urban Decay Palettes so I’m excited to build up my collection πŸ™‚ I definitely need to get hold of some of Anastasia’s brow products, I’ve heard so many good things about them! x

  • Great post, I agree with most of the advices. Love Chanel for make-up and powder!
    xo Kristina

  • Definitely agree with MAC for lips, but I would go with Urban Decay or LORAC for eyeshadows!

    Cass | CassandraMyee

  • Karla

    I LOVE your entries! They are so informative!

  • Lucia

    Definitely agree with most of your options, I’ve picked mine and gone for what I use on an almost day to day basis.

    Base for me would have to be Chanel. I love Vitalumiere Aqua, Perfection Lumiere Velvet and the Les Beiges Powder is sol amazing, I also really like their concealer.

    For cheeks I’d have to go with Nars, simply for Laguna bronzer and Douceur blush which you’ll find on my face most days.

    Brows is a bit harder for me, use a Bobbi Brown eye shadow for my brows on an almost daily basis, so I’ll go with that, although really need to get my hands on some Anastasia brow products and see what all the hype is about!

    There could only be one winner for eyeshadows in my opinion which is Urban Decay. The Naked Basics 2 and the original Naked palette are the ones I would miss the most if they were taken away from me. I also really like their liners for their super creamy pigmented-ness.

    Lips, has got to be MAC, just purely for shade selection. I’m a big fan of both the Matte lipsticks and the Cremesheen ones, and there is certainly something on offer for every occasion, plus they have the perfect lip liner for every type of lip look too.

  • You should try Inglot too- they have ‘build your own palette’ stuff, Freedom system is what I believe it’s called. I have to agree with Anastasia Beverly Hills, their stuff is great! Where do you buy them from? I only find out about them recently and cannot find a seller in UK?

  • MyOwnLoves

    Agree with you about Mac lippies and UD Naked

  • Chanel is hands down the best base in my opinion, great article