(It doesn't apply to lipsticks, mind you. I won't even pretend I buy lipsticks for reasons other than I wanted to change up my look and the colour looked pretty.)
Foundation, though... let's talk about foundation.
A cursory look at the archives will tell you, I'm really fussy with this stuff. My skin, which is combination/oily/sensitive/stressed/probably-dry-on-the-inside/whatever-gimmicky-label-brands-come-up-with-to-flog-us-expensive-tinted-moisturiser, breaks out at the slightest provocation, and it's a bloody pain to find something that's a decent colour match. Usually deluding myself that I'm as pale as the English Roses in my acquaintance, I would buy the lightest stuff and then wonder why I looked funny in pictures. It wasn't until I thought about buying the L'Oreal True Match that a girl at Tesco's matched me to my perfect shade and I realized I'm a lot more tan than I gave myself credit for.
(Quickie review of the True Match: Loved the finish and the application, but it broke me out.)
And yes, I know, we shouldn't use too much foundation, that it clogs up the pores, that we need to let our skin breathe more and not be afraid to go bare-faced into the world. I know. I read "The Beauty Myth" too. (I've also read The Feminine Mystique, Fat is a Feminist Issue, The Equality Illusion, Whipping Girl, An Apple a Day, Good Bones, The Wellness Syndrome, and bits and bobs of the Second Sex. I'm an avid follower of The Militant Baker, Go Kaleo, and the Science Babe. I know my theory.) There is a lot of bullshit being pushed on women, forcing us to be perfect and put together all the time, and my sympathy is for every celeb that has to suffer this.
I can't just stand here and pretend that I'm perfect or that I'm immune to all the BS. I'm not going to act like I don't have days when I'd rather not leave the house at all, or when I put make-up on just because. I'm not going to say that I don't care how others see me, or that my acne doesn't bother me, because that would be a barefaced lie.
Truth: We all have different bodies that react in their own way to our food, lifestyles, stressors, and skincare regimes.
Truth: There is no product that universally fixes bad skin. Finding what works for you is a long, and sometimes costly, trial-and-error process.
Truth: When I'm dishearted, down, or just have a ton of things to do, I put foundation on because that's one less thing to worry about and I can go about my day.
So yeah, finding the right one is sort of a big deal for me.
Since I finished the True Match, I've tried two higher-end offerings. One from Clinique, which is their Superbalanced Make-up, and one from bareMinerals, which is their Complexion Rescue. And I found that, much like their drugstore counterparts, they have a lot of pros and cons.
Out of the two, I think I like the Clinique foundation more in terms of what it does (which is fine because it's the cheaper option.) Not exactly a tinted moisturiser, it's quite liquid, applies evenly, and gives a good semi-coverage, which is good if you don't want to go for the full cake of make-up.
That said, bareMinerals definitely win out in the packaging department, and not just because the Clinique foundation comes in a glass bottle without a pump. (Seriously, the first time I saw that, I was so pissed off.) It's not that I use more of one than the other - I have found ways to make both work - but the Complexion Rescue is definitely the sort of thing that you can take in your make-up bag, or to travel, whereas the Superbalanced Make-up is a touch too heavy and bulky to carry around. It's definitely enough to put me off using it every day, despite the fact that the bareMinerals one leaves me feeling and looking like an oil slick come 4 PM.
So, final verdict... erm, I don't know, actually. There's definitely pros and cons to high-end foundations and the same process of trial and error applies to them as with their drugstore counterparts. A more expensive trial and error process, obviously, but as far as the results have been so far... it might just be worth it. Might.