I am no expert, but I have been using make up and beauty products long enough to know what works and what doesn't. Also what's worth dishing the big bucks for, or going to your local drugstore. Here is a random list of things that I've found true. Feel free to add!
For me, curling the lashes mean opening up the eyes and looking 100% more awake. I don't think anyone should be without this tool. I use Tweezerman and it gives me the most wicked curl. The black Revlon eyelash curler works well, but if you use it daily like I do, you might want to invest in a Tweezerman brand. Rule of thumb: If it doesn't work well in one or two tries, throw it in the trash. A good eyelash curler will work great right off the get-go. Heated curlers? I don't think they are worth the money. If you give it a good blast from your hairdryer, it works just as well if not better! Be careful not to get it TOO hot though!
High-end mascaras are never worth it! Go to your local drugstore! I'm LOVING L'oreal's Voluminous False Fiber Lashes. It adds volume and lengthens like no one's business. Also know what you are looking for. Do you need length, volume or both? Get what applies to you. Waterproof or non-waterproof? I used to be under the guise that waterproof was best to use ALWAYS. But, even with the best make up removers, waterproof mascara hardens onto the eyelashes and causes breakage during make up removal which gives you shorter, sparse eye lashes. So do yourself a favor and use non-waterproof. Unless you are going to a wedding or a sad movie, you don't need waterproof! It also comes off MUCH easier!
So I have three foundations right now. One MAC (Matchmaster) for the weekends/nights out and one drugstore Rimmel (Lasting Finish 25 Hour) that I use almost daily. I also use Bare Minerals powder foundation on some days depending on my mood. Use your high-end one on special occasions. Are high-end foundations worth it? Definitely. They glide on smooth, cover well and don't feel cakey! But don't splurge without being in love with the foundation you buy. If you like MAC or Sephora, go to the store and describe your skin (oily, dry, etc.) to a make up artist. Then have them help match you to the right formula. I love MAC foundations, they have a matte finish and great coverage. However, possibly my next purchase, will be Make Up Forever's HD make up, since I tried it on in the store and love it's weightless qualities. Also there are lots of acne ridden teens on YouTube who swear by it. Google their foundation routines and you will see the amazing coverage. However I suggest for everyday use, use your drugstore brand. Revlon's ColorStay is a cult favorite!
I already talked about getting an eyelash curler that works. Using the right tools will make a WORLD of a difference in your application! Talk foundation for instance...using the right foundation brush will make you have a soft airbrushed appearance, even when using a drugstore brand foundation. I've been using a variety of brushes over the years, both natural and synthetic but what I've come across recently has BLOWN MY MIND. And it's affordable. What, what??? Thanks to YouTube and the Chapman Sisters, I've been introduced to a line of affordable brushes...they are synthetic and vegan and whoa are they great quality. Do a search on YouTube and you will find a lot of reviews and people demonstrating these brushes. For everyone, I highly suggest you purchase the "Real Techniques Core Collection" which ranges from $15-$18. Do not spend more than that online because that's the range they go for. The rock star of that set is their "Buffing Brush" which is a multi-tasker. I've had GREAT success using it to apply foundation! It looks like a blush brush...but it's really an all in one! You can use to buff liquid or powder foundation on your face, contour with bronzer and apply blush! The fibers are so soft, you get an airbrushed appearance! The foundation brush that comes in that set is too tiny to use for foundation, so use it for concealer. Since fibers are synthetic, it won't soak up product, which means less product used! BONUS! Also if you don't have a great set of eye shadow brushes, get the Starter Kit. Coastal Scents also sells great brushes. Don't forget to wash your brushes regularly, especially your foundation brush which should be washed daily. The Brush Guard is a perfect inexpensive cleaning/storage solution! Simply wash your brush (I use the Michelle Phan dish soap/olive oil combo) and put in one of the sleeves, and sit inside a cup to dry. By the next time you need it it will be dry! That's it! Keeps unnecessary bacteria off your brushes and face for less breakouts.
I've rambled enough here. Thanks for reading. If you found any of my suggestions to be helpful, let me know! Just sharing my passion for make up!