Of course you know that the only problem I'm talking about begins with an "f". Yes, it's "financially". However, I've managed to sneak-in a few splurging tips for you guys. This will be really helpful if you live in Indonesia.
Eye-shadow base: instead of MAC Cosmetics, use La Tulipe. It's way cheaper (Only Rp. 20,000 or around USD 2.00) and works great with eyeshadows of all brands. MAC's eyeshadow fails to bring out NYX's colors.
Eye-shadow: instead of MAC Cosmetics, use NYX (available in La Piazza Kelapa Gading and eX Plaza Indonesia). It's much cheaper (Only Rp. 80,000 or around USD 8.00 for a single eye-shadow), the color really pops out (especially when you use La Tulipe's base) and it does not do animal-test.
If you're not allergic, you can use PAC by Martha Tilaar. "PAC" sounds like a rip-off from "MAC", but it actually means "Professional Artist Cosmetics", and it lives up to its name. It's way cheaper than MAC and yet the colors really show.
Youtube channel of danalajeunesse - the Mama of Make-Up.
I subscribed to her channel and swore by her look (and awesomeness!!)
I am not allergic to The Face Shop products, so I use its blemish-free foundation, concealer stick, eyeliner (brush tip only, though. They don't have felt-tip), some eyeshadows (really, really shy colors, very street-look. But the colors pop up a bit when I used La Tulipe's eyeshadow base), lipstick, facial soap, cleanser, make-up cleansers (for face and eyes+lips), and hair gel. It's not too pricey.
As for brushes, I'm more of a sponge person, so I don't normally use brushes except to do blushes and shades. You can find great (and original) brushes from a store called "Arwani" in Pasar Baru Harco, Central Jakarta. They also carry an impressive line of cosmetics, from false eyelashes (even the "creative" ones) to basic skincare products.
When you're in Arwani (or Pasar Baru), try to find products by "Nonna". It has a good line for blush colors, but that's it. If you want to do colors for your eye areas, use NYX.
Now, some advice. For the sake of being politically correct, I have to remind you that you might have heard some of the advice, and I'm just a newbie in all this, but take this with a grain of salt. I mean, we learn everyday from plants, animals, and people we consider naive anyway.
The first thing I look when buying cosmetics is their stance in animal testing and animal cruelty. Most of the times, I'm a huge supporter of PETA (although I sometimes think they can be sexist in their campaigns), so before going to the mall / market to buy things I need, I will do some research that includes going to CaringConsumer.com. If the brand name is not on the list of companies that do not test on animals, then I will google it up.
The second thing is that I prefer local / Indonesian products to international products. Not just because of the price, but also because I know it is important to buy the products of your own country. For example, the La Tulipe. And then many of my friends recommend eyebrow pencil and face-cream by Viva Cosmetics. I'm seriously not a big fan of the Indonesian Batik, so I do my own part in another way.
The third thing is of course, your skin. Love your skin! Cosmetics can hide your flaws, but it's nice to look good even without maquillage. Not to mention a lot healthier. I mean, let's face it. Make-up is chemical, whether you like it or not. Except if you pinch your cheeks and rouge it up that way. That's natural, but you can also get skin problems. See a list of dangerous ingredients here.
For now, the brands that I use are: La Tulipe, PAC, MAC, NYX, The Face Shop, and Revlon. I'm not even certain that I'll continue using The Body Shop now that it is owned by L'Oreal. I've checked and double-checked Revlon and still found that it's on both lists that is against and pro animal testing.
If you have any information of La Tulipe, PAC, and The Face Shop regarding their animal-testing policy, do let me know!