High End Makeup Vs. Drugstore Makeup: What Are You Really Paying For?
Beauty & Fashion

High End Makeup Vs. Drugstore Makeup: What Are You Really Paying For?

Amongst my circle friends and colleagues, I'm typically the person that knows everything that there is to know about makeup launches and releases for luxury brands.

Because of my years of working professionally in the cosmetic industry, people expect me to a snob when it comes to makeup. Little do those people know, a lot of my favorite products come right from the cosmetic section of your local Target and Walgreens, and in my opinion some have out performed their department store counterparts by far.

As someone who has a background in marketing, I've often wondered if the extra coins that I scrapped up to splurge on high end cosmetics was honestly even worth it. I'm not to saying that high-end makeup is a complete scam but their inflated prices are for minor differences that you may not get from a drugstore brand.

Say for instance the luxury brand Lancome, which is owned by L'Oreal. Lancome's Rouge in Love Shade Pink Bon Bon lip color, is equivalent to L'Oreal's Colour Rich Shade Pink Flamingo, however, you will pay three times as much for Lancome than L'Oreal.

The prices of your high end splurges, usually depend on:


Most of use makeup wearers out there are total suckers for pretty packaging and even more so for convenient and innovative packaging. Drug store packaging tends to be simple with no frills, while high end department store packaging can be drop dead gorgeous and to die for.


Makeup application is something that is aesthetically pleasing, so there is no secret that we want our colors to be nice and bright instead of washed out and dreary. Eyeshadows especially need to be pigmented enough whereas the color does not show up chalky, especially on darker skin tones. Though drugstore eyeshadow has come a LONG way, they usually still take a little more work and building up of product to get that “uumph" that you would get from a high-end one (depending).

Applicators (if provided)

Whether its drugstore or high-end, I personally opt not to use the applicators that come with the products unless I'm trying to travel light but I do notice a big difference between the quality of an applicator from a drugstore product and a high-end one.

For instance my favorite drugstore loose powder comes with the pouf that I have never used while some of my favorite high-end loose powders tend to come with more practical small brush applicators that I may use on occasions. Whether you decide to use them or not, somewhere down the line it is a portion of the price that we pay for the product that it comes with.

Fragrance (or even lack of)

Whether we want to believe it or not, every thing that goes into a product, drugstore or high-end, were paying for it someway, somehow; that includes that vanilla scent of that lipstick that you love so much or even that luxury brand that takes out all fragrances completely. You'll often find that fragrances in higher end cosmetics smell better as they should for the extra amount of cash that we spend on them.

The Brand Name

Perception is reality. If that doesn't apply anywhere else, it definitely applies in the world of cosmetics. The way we perceive a brand determines if we will actually spend the extra money on a product. That is how high-end brands thrive.

What woman doesn't want to rock that bold $26 lipstick that she gagged over when she saw it in a magazine? Or a product that has her favorite actress or singer face plastered on the advertisements for it? We all do it every once in a while. A big part of why we are willing to spend more on certain brands is the fact that in our minds, whether consciously or subconsciously, we feel we are perceived as being “luxurious by association".

The Experience

Chances are shopping for makeup in the drugstore is much different from shopping for high-end makeup in a department store. High-end brands provide a shopping experience with the million and one testers you get to play with, consultants to interact with or even get a make over from and everything else that you don't get out of a trip to your local drugstore. While some of us could live without it, many of us really enjoy it and feel the extra coins are really worth it.

I'll be the first one to tell you, “don't cheat yourself, treat yourself" and splurging on high-end makeup is no different. Knowing when and when not to spend extra “unnecessary" money on makeup is all about trying new things, whether its from the drugstore or the department store, and getting a feel of what is and is not important to you when it come to your makeup. Use the article as a guide the next time your wonder if your splurging justifiable.

Though there are definitely some benefits that we get out of going for the gold with luxury cosmetics, we also are paying for "unnecessary" things that we honestly can live without.

Are you a drugstore make-up junkie or do you prefer to buy your make up from high-end brands?

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