I would never have seen myself being a makeup fanatic, even a year ago. But here we are.

The first time I ever wore foundation was my freshman year of college. My high school days consisted of knock-off Maybelline eyeshadow (yes, you read that right), any tube of mascara, bought-in-bulk black eyeliner pencils (it was not a phase, mom), and maybe some lip gloss if I was feeling saucy. Senior prom was about the most makeup I ever wore.

I always thought "quality" makeup was ridiculous for the price. I could make do with my $5 eyeshadow and the sponge brush that came with it, no sweat.

When I did get to college, I threw a little foundation into the mix, but nothing fancy. I think my $8 mascara was probably the most I paid for anything makeup-related, ever.

And then I fell in love with the art and self-expression behind makeup.

I 100% blame online influencers Kelly Eden, Dre Ronayne, and Glam&Gore for fueling my obsession, as well as my best friend Court who always SLAYED with her Urban Decay Naked palettes (and still does).

Makeup is truly an art, just as fashion is. It is a mode of self-expression and a way for individuals to let the world see a part of who they are, from the outside. I found makeup to be absolutely beautiful in this way, and I wanted to express myself through it, as so many people do all around me.

So I bought some more makeup.

Initially, it was more from drugstore brands I could easily afford without taking away a huge chunk of my paycheck. I still did not understand why people bought $50 eyeshadow palettes when I could get one that looked the same for $10. I tried to follow tutorials from my favorite makeup junkies online, but I never could get mine to look remotely as good as they did. I talked it up to my inexperience. That is, until I took the plunge and bought real makeup.

The first "nice" makeup I bought was a Glow Kit from Anastasia Beverly Hills at the ULTA that opened in my college town last year. The store was having a sale and I figured I could treat myself to something pretty because, why not?

My life (and bank account) went downhill from there.

I loved the product from ABH, and I had to get more. The product was smooth and long-wearing, it looked fantastic, it did what it was supposed to do, and it was effortless to put on. Sure, I could achieve a similar look with a cheap highlighter, but what would have taken multiple products and layers was now achievable with a single swipe of my finger.

I started shopping at ULTA religiously after that fateful encounter. My makeup collection has grown tremendously in the last year, and I never fail to be amazed by the quality of high-end makeup. I do think there are some quality "dupes" out there that do the same thing as higher-end makeup, but for the most part, their quality is unattainable.

I shop at the mid-range of the high-end makeup spectrum, and I am living.

In the last year, I have developed my style through makeup. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to makeup (SOS, someone help my brows), but I am learning every day.

Products do not necessarily make the makeup artist, but quality tools do make a difference.

Expensive makeup is worth it. Whether it is longevity, color payoff, blendability, or any other quality you want in a makeup product, high-end brands have got you covered.

It is possible to have fantastic results with drugstore brands — I swear by my Maybelline Lash Sensational mascara — but when it comes to the overall utility and quality of the products, high-end makeup is where it is at.