Of late I have seriously curbed my high-end makeup compulsion. Partly due to necessity, but partly also due to the fact that the UK high street is offering up some fantastic alternatives to high-end products, with amazing amounts of pigment, interesting shades, and great quality.
So here are the things I've switched budget-wise (with little or no compromise on quality):
YSL Faux Cils £21 >>>> Maybelline Colossal Mascara £6.99
MAC eyeshadows £12.50 >>>> Sleek Palettes £5.99
saving more than £6.50 (because you have 12 for the price of half of one MAC shadow!)
MAC blushes £17.00 >>>> Sleek Blushes £4.99
Chanel Liquid Liner with Brush £21.45 >>> 17 Liquid Liner £3.99
saving £17.55 (I did this switch a long time ago, but still!)
MAC Eye Kohls £13.00 >>> GOSH/Avon Supershock Gel Liners £6
I'd say switching mascara has saved me the most money as it's the thing I go through quickest, but even with the shadows and blushes I don't feel I've sacrificed at all in terms of quality with these switches, which as a woman of colour I could not have said even a couple of years ago with high street colour cosmetics.
Of course, when I'm after a very specific colour sometimes only high-end brands will do: a couple of years ago I went on the most epic hunt for a shimmery spring green shadow, that didn't lean too yellow (MAC Juxt) or too blue. The hunt took me to pretty much every counter I can think of, with only Shu Uemura coming up trumps. P Green 450 cost me £15, but for that price I got one of the prettiest butteriest shadows in my collection, one that I cannot think of another dupe for, high or low-end. Though I won't give up high-end makeup altogether (and cannot seem to get on with high street lip colours at all!) there are definite savings to be made if one keeps an open mind and shops around! (I heart blog sales and Cheapsmells.com!)