Let me begin by saying that I think most women are probably guilty of overspending on cosmetics.

Even I will swear that my $21 mascara is far superior to any drugstore alternatives.

But if you can limit yourself to just one or two high-dollar items, you can save hundreds of dollars by shopping for everything else at a drugstore or discount store.

Plus, most cosmetic lines frequently run coupons and other deals to help you save even more.

Here are some items to consider the next time you're tempted to take a trip to the makeup counter.

Face

It's easy to get hooked on an expensive foundation because shopping for a new brand is so frustrating.

I used a high-end foundation for about two years until I finally decided to make a switch to something cheaper.

It took a few tries, but finally I ended up with Rimmel Lasting Finish 25-Hour Foundation, which is about $9 at most drugstores. I love this stuff. The shades are easy to match to your skin tone and it really does last all day.

Another product I'm trying out is BB cream, a lighter alternative to foundation. It's basically a tinted moisturizer, but with a little more coverage. I love it on days when I don't feel like wearing a full face of makeup.

One such product is L'Oreal Paris Magic Skin Beautifier ($11), which works great for me. You should be able to find a $2 off coupon for L'Oreal face cosmetics in this Sunday's newspaper inserts.

Cheeks and eyes

A few years ago, my friend showed me a compact with strips of shimmery color that you can use on your cheeks and eyes.

The colors blended so well and they highlighted all the right places. It was all I could do to convince myself that it wasn't worth its $42 price tag.

Then I found the mock version by Physicians Formula, which comes in about six different shades for $13. It's been a must-have in my makeup bag for years.

As for blushes and eye shadows, I'll admit I'm pretty picky. The pigment has to be just right and I hate it when they make my face feel dried out. That's why I've been impressed with E.L.F. (eyes, lips, face) products, which you can find at Target.

The blush shades are daring and I have yet to purchase an eye shadow that I don't love. Priced at about $3, you may be able to afford a variety of shades.

Lips

I rarely invest much money in lip color because I have a bad habit of misplacing them about a week after I buy them. That's why I started using New York Cosmetics 16 Hour Lipstain. I think it works better than other more expensive versions. (Find it at Walmart for about $3).

It may take a few tries to find suitable replacements to your expensive cosmetics, but if it can save you hundreds of dollars every year, I'd say that's a risk worth taking.

Email Abigail Darlington at Charlestonsavvyshopper@postandcourier.com. Find more ways to save by liking our Facebook page and visiting the blog at charleston savvyshopper.com.