Drugstore VS Department Store

22 Jan

People often ask me which products are worth splurging on and which products are not? Let me start with this little tidbit of information…did you know that L’Oreal and Estee Lauder own a good chunk of the cosmetics brands out there (drugstore AND department store)?

L’Oreal Brands:

  • L’Oreal Paris
  • Garnier
  • Maybelline
  • Lancôme
  • YSL

Estee Lauder Brands:

  • Estee Lauder
  • MAC
  • Bobbi Brown
  • Prescriptives
  • Smashbox
  • Clinique

So it’s not a stretch to say that a Lancôme lipstick might be VERY similar (or even exactly the same) as a L’Oreal Paris lipstick.

That being said, there are products that it can be worth splurging on, and others where you can save some money.


  • Brushes – This is one area where you should definitely splurge. The better the brush, the better the makeup application.  MAC, Smashbox and even Sephora’s Pro Line all have very good brushes.
  • Powder – Usually the more expensive powdered are more finely milled and will apply more evenly, so this is one area where you might want to splurge.
  • Foundation – I splurge on my foundation because the high-end brands normally have a larger variety of color choices (I have pale pale skin and I find many of the drugstore brands palest colors are still too dark or yellow for me). You also want to be able to test the foundation to see if it matches your skin tone and you can’t do that with some drugstore brands.
  •  Concealer -As with foundation, I recommend splurging on concealer .  Once again higher end concealers come in many more colors than the drugstore brands so it’s easier to find a good match, and the products themselves often provide better coverage.
  •  Blush – The powder blushes from the high-end companies are usually more refined than drugstore brands. This will provide a more even coverage. (with Gel/Crème blushes it doesn’t make as much of a difference. One of my favorite crème blushes was $5 at the grocery store)
  • Eyeshadow – High –end brands of eyeshadow are frequently more pigmented than their drugstore counterparts. This gives you a better color payoff with less product. I recommend splurging on your basic everyday neutral colors. BUT…


  • Eyeshadow  – drug store eyeshadows have come a long way. Many are starting to rival the high-end brands for pigment and staying power.  If you want to try out a new look or trendy color I would stick with the drugstore brands.
  • Eyeliner – Eyeliners are all pretty much all the same. Drugstores have expanded their lines from just pencil and liquid to gel etc.
  • Lip Stick/Lip gloss – Lip stick and lip gloss are pretty much the same no matter where you buy them.
  • Mascara – When it comes to mascara what is important is the brush – not the formula. You can find drugstore mascara in some very famous makeup artist’s kits.

So there you have it. There are always exceptions to the rule. You may find a stellar foundation or blush at the drugstore, or you may find a less than wonderful concealer at the specialty store. It doesn’t really matter as long as you like it, and you can afford it.


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