Drugstore vs. Designer Makeup

Does a designer name brand and a higher price tag really mean a better product? We investigated to see which products are worth the splurge which you are better off saving your money.

Not All Ingredients Are Equal

Just because there are similar ingredients in two products does not mean they have the same formula. For example, the same ingredient can be either natural or synthesized in a lab. Some mass-marketed brands tend to use lesser-expensive synthetic versions of ingredients found in higher-end products. Also, even though two products have the same listed ingredients, it does not mean that they contain the same quantities. If there is only a trace amount of a certain ingredient in the drugstore product, it may not be active enough to be effective.

The Look

Drugstore brands do not necessarily offer a different look than designer brands right off the bat. Typically, any visual difference occurs after the color has oxidized. In many cases, however, when applying and blending makeup correctly, you can get the same look regardless of whether you use drugstore makeup or designer makeup!

When to Save

Usually, mascara, eyeshadow, blush, highlighters, and eye pencils from drugstores have the same effectiveness and look as their department store counterparts.

Our Picks:

Maybelline Great Lash Washable Mascara ($5.29, shop here)

Cover Girl LashBlast Clump Crusher Mascara ($9.79, shop here)

NYX Professional Ultimate Utopia Shadow Palette ($35, shop here)

When to Splurge

You may want to spend more on performance-based formulas that go directly on your skin, such as primer, foundation, makeup brushes, and, in some cases, lipstick. These higher-end products are typically better able to keep your skin blemish-free without clogging pores.

Our Picks:

Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation ($52, shop here)

Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick ($89, shop here)

Kiehl’s Ultra Face Cream with Squalane ($62, shop here)

At the end of the day, only you can decide which makeup works best for you. It will depend on your skin’s needs and makeup goals.


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