I was going over my collection and I was noticing that there were some products that were better off bought in a drugstore and some products that I’ve bought at a drugstore that simply just never compare to a high end brand’s product.
This is sort of a difficult thing for me to write about because I LOVE SHOPPING FOR MAKEUP. It’s horrible. But having me write it out is helping me realize that sticking to the drugstore is a better way to be more spend-thrifty. I know that at this point I may sound hypocritical, and I will be because it will be difficult for me to start changing my ways, but It is something that I need to do.
So, I thought I’d make a list of things and where to buy them because it would save you money and the effort it would take to find the higher end store.
Here’s what I came up with:


– Neutral Eye Shadows, including purples, in all finishes BUT matte.
I’m completely a sucker for Mac Eyeshadows. I really am, but I’ve been looking at my palettes, especially my neutral one, and have been noticing that I have exact dupes for them in some of my drugstore items. This includes the shade, the finish and the way it applies. I know that higher end products can be out of a lot of people’s price range, so if you’re finding a way to cut back on your spending, rethink buying that “bronzey- metallic” color at any of the higher end brands, and just go to your local CVS, because without a doubt there will be a color by CoverGirl, Maybelline, L’Oreal and Rimmel that is exactly the same.
– Everyday face colors: blush, lip gloss, lipsticks, lip stains:
It is very easy to find a simple, pretty pink blush. So, so, so, so, so easy. Regardless of price, or brand, you’ll find one everywhere. Same goes with the light pink lip gloss, the clear lip gloss, the skin toned lipsticks, and lip stains. Those neutral colors are just so common, and the lipstick formulas the drugstore brands have now are pretty good that it’s just not worth getting a shimmery, pinkish nude color from a high end brand.
This is a big one. This is one that pretty much everybody on YouTube says that you should just buy at a drugstore. There are so many different brushes, and formulas that are available at a drugstore that it’s not even worth explaining why you should do this at a drugstore.
Liquid Eyeliner
If you’re looking for just a black, liquid eyeliner, then pick it up at a drugstore. There are different brushes and applicators in the drugstore and high end brands that you’re going to want try out, and doing this with a drugstore brand is simply more spend thrifty.
Lip Conditioners:
Chapstick is simply cheaper than a Mac Lip Conditioner. Deal with it.

– Makeup Wipes:
Mac Makeup Wipes are not meant for eye makeup, and can be pretty pricey. Try using a CVS brand for example because those are made for eye makeup as well and are much cheaper. Costco also has a line of makeup wipes, and I actually prefer the Neutrogena wipes. Baby wipes are also great.
– Skin Exfoliators:
I love the Clean and Clear and the Neutrogena Skin Exfoliators. St. Ives has also been in my top 3 for about 8 years now… I just think that these drugstore brands do the exact same thing as the exfoliators you see at the high end places for a fraction of the price.
– Skin Moisturizers:
This is particularly for people my age… a daily moisturizer by Cetaphil, Aveno or Vaseline are just as good for you as the Mac or Clinique moisturizers… I personally don’t think that if you’re between the ages of 12 – 25 you don’t need to get the “Ultra Moisturizing, SPF, Line Preventing, EVERYTHING!” moisturizer. SPF is EXTREMELY important, but I don’t think a 15 year old should worry about wrinkles. Just make sure that if your moisturizer doesn’t have SPF in it, you apply something with SPF on your skin in addition to your moisturizer.
– Eye Creams (Olay, Aquaphor):
Again if you’re young, you really don’t need this. But, my mom has tried all the eye creams out there and she has told me that she just prefers the drugstore brands because they cost less and do the same thing. Olay has gotten very good reviews as an eye cream, and Garnier has one as well. I don’t think you have to spend a fortune at a high end brand for an eye cream that will have the same effect.
Higher End/Department Store/Non-Drugstore:
– Foundation:
I personally don’t think that the drugstore brands don’t have enough colors available. Most of the drugstore foundations I have found don’t even range well enough for somebody without a pink toned skin. There also aren’t enough finishes available with drugstore brands, so those without a “normal” skin type aren’t going to get a good coverage from a drugstore foundation. Mac, Clinique, etc all offer specific finishes, foundations with SPF, and a range of colors that have either a yellow or a pink tone.
– Bright/bold colors – eye shadows, lipsticks
If you’re looking for a good, bold, red lipstick, or a bright green frosty eye shadow, just go to the high end brand. Most drugstore brands aren’t pigmented enough to really deliver a bright color that you want. Mac eye shadows are like… 3x more pigmented when comparing to a drugstore brand, particularly with those bright colors.
– Matte colors – eye shadows
Matte formulas are always tricky to use. When it’s not as pigmented as it should be, they’re almost impossible (completely my own opinion) to use satisfactorily. So, if you’re looking for the perfect bright, purple matte eye shadow, go straight to Sephora and get MUFE’s 92, and forego the trip to the drugstore.
– Specialized Lip Glosses: glitter
This one is super specific, but I don’t think drugstore companies make good glittery lip glosses. The shimmery ones as well. The glitter is either too big, or the shimmer is too strong, or the gloss itself is just too sticky or too dry. Mac’s Dazzleglasses, although sticky, are the best glittery lipglosses I have found.
– Kohl Eye Liners: Black and Colored
I think investing in a really great black eyeliner, that stays all day, that is a the perfect black and is the best formula is worth going to a high end brand. I’ve tried a whole range of black eyeliners from the drugstore and none of them compare to the Mac Kohl Power in Feline in terms of how long it lasts, how black it is, the texture and the life of the pencil. The CoverGirl and Maybelline pencils I’ve used in the past have never stayed all day (they sort of ran down my eyes or melted when it was hot), and were never black enough. This goes with colored eyeliner as well. I think the colored liners in the drugstore are never as pigmented as I want them to be. The “navy” liner I got from Maybelline was not even close to the navy color that I wanted.
– Cream Eye Shadows
The cream shadows that I have used from the drugstore, which are very few, just did not have the staying power that the higher end brand ones did. The one I’ve used have been from random brands which were definitely not that popular (not like CoverGirl or anything), so that might have been part of it. But, the versatility that high end cream shadows, as in using them as a base, or using them as plain eyeshadows, just doesn’t exist in the drugstore cream shadows.
– Makeup Bases
I know that L’oreal makes an eye shadow primer, but I have never seen another primer from a drugstore brand. I’ve never tried another brand of primer besides Urban Decay’s but honestly, Urban Decay’s is not difficult to find. L’oreal’s is so hard to find, and not as frequently available, that it’s just not worth constantly being in search for it. So just go get the Urban Decay one.
The same goes for face primers. I have never seen a drugstore brand with a face primer. I mean, if one exists, please let me know. But for now, I’d rather spend the money to buy one that I know works, is right for my skin and is good for me then to search for the drugstore one that might not even work.

– Skin Routines
Skin care routines are much more available in the high end makeup world. There are variations as well in the high end world because they can specialize to your skin type. I haven’t seen a drugstore routine that is specifically for oily skin or for dry skin. Yes, Neutrogena makes the Skin I.D. system, but the end price for all of that is the same as any of the high end prices. So, I guess that makes it really not matter whether you get whichever, but the high end routines are available in stores like Sephora and Ulta. The Skin I.D. is only available online, so you can really test the products at Sephora and such to see if you like the scent, the formula, and how they apply.
Doesn’t matter
– Concealers
There are concealers everywhere… and yes, the color selection is better at the high end brands, but there are duplicates for the high end brands at the drugstore. And, depending on what you have to conceal, the color base of the concealer will change. Also, if you put on your concealer first then your foundation, the concealer color won’t be as specific. So really, it depends on which order you apply, what you like to apply your concealer with, and what the formula is like.

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