Indistinguishable or Incomparable: High-end Cosmetics vs Drug Store Brands

Sephora employee applies makeup on customer
Sephora employee Paola Rueda applies make up for customer Marcelina Bell at the opening of the new cosmetics purveyor Sephora, a store within a store inside the JCPenny store at the Ford City Mall on April 29, 2016 in Chicago. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

The makeup products we use can make or break your daily look, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to go broke trying to afford those high-end makeup brands.

Just because a beauty products costs more, does not mean it is the better quality product.

“I used MAC bronzer for years,” said Nicole Houston, a psychology major. “My friend said to try Rimmel’s [bronzer] and ended up liking it a lot more.”

Some of the best mascaras can be purchased at your local drug store, such as Maybelline Great Lash, and Covergirl Lash Blast. And some of the best highlighters can only be purchased at a department store, such as Anastasia’s So Hollywood Illuminator, and Benefit’s Watts Up!

Lancome is a brand-name company that we are all familiar with, but did you know they actually own the drug store brand L’Oreal? The difference between these two companies products is slim to none, but you will end up paying three times the amount for a Lancome products.

The way we perceive a brand is the determining factor of how much we are willing to spend on their products. There are some makeup products that don’t have a long shelf-life, such as makeup.

When nail polish dries out, you might as well toss it in the trash because it’s never coming back. Whether you buy OPI nail polish, or its brand-name equivalent, you still get a multitude of colors in every shade imagined, so this is one product to save yourself some money on.

Another product that you find in a variety or colors and shades at every drug store, is lipsticks. You can find great alternative to brand-name lipsticks at these stores.

Maybelline Color Sensational offers a great long-lasting matte lipstick for under 10 dollars. Another great drug store purchase is L’Oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Gloss, which comes in a range of colors from nude to red.

“All the makeup I buy is from Elf,” said Natalie Hernandez, an English major. “They came out with every [type] of makeup and its very affordable.”

It’s true that some brand name products are nearly identical to drug store counterparts, but there are a handful of makeup products that are worth the higher cost.

The most important cosmetic product that you own is your makeup brushes. The condition and quality of your brushes will affect your entire makeup application. High-end makeup brushes not only last longer, but pick up the product better which provides a smoother application.

Foundation and blush are two makeup products that are worth paying the higher price-tag. Most high-end makeup brands have a variety of share selections that tend to outshine their drug store counterparts.

“I think my favorite makeup brand would have to be Bobbi Brown,” said Joanne Li, an art history major. “It costs more, but it last a long time and its good quality.”

Another important factor to consider when purchasing your foundation and blush, are the ingredients, because these products are applied directly on to our skin. In most cases, brand-name companies are more attentive of the ingredients used in the formulas of their products.

This doesn’t necessarily mean all drug store brands have skin-irritating ingredients in their products. But if you are prone to skin irritation, or have sensitive skin, it is always best to check the ingredients in all of your products.

If you’re looking to change up your beauty routine, and trying to decide to what products to splurge and save on, just remember that all cosmetics brands are not created equal, but some are just impossible to tell apart.