Let’s Discuss: Drugstore Vs. Expensive Department Store Makeup – What’s the Deal?

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I have to admit that for the longest time, I’ve been skeptical of lower priced items. If you’ve been with me for a while, you would have noticed my constant coos of NARS, MAC and department store products that seemed to flood the drawers of my collections. Back then, higher end makeup gave me the satisfaction that no other lower priced item could. Perhaps it was the whole image that kept me coming back or maybe it was something deeper. Who Knows? But as I continued my hunt, I started trying drugstore products as a way to add spice to my makeup collection. I didn’t want to be a two branded whore (sorry for the language) and I’ve never looked back since. So, is there really a difference in quality between department store products and drugstore products in terms of performance? We’ll, let’s talk about it.

In the early stages of my makeup obsession, I was clearly a department store junkie. I remember my friend asking me what’s the big deal on department store makeup. It’s not like the next Prada bag to sport or Gucci shoes because no one really sees the label of the makeup you apply. True, but I argued that for some reason department store makeup made me feel so good. i didn’t care if no one knew I was wearing NARS or Chanel on my face, just the act of applying them in the morning was enough for me. I also blamed my small obsession on quality. I felt that because we were charged so much that there would be more effort invested into the products including research and creativity. So I hauled. I shopped like a mad woman, building my collection of my favourite brands and sharing them with all of you online. However, as my collection grew and more companies approached me to review their products, I honestly grew a little tired of what I was doing.

Yes, you heard me right. I grew maybe a little tired of products. I think as you are bombarded with products from companies and such, you start to miss the life you once knew when you bought each and every product because it meant something to you to put it on in the morning. It’s the exact reason why I don’t like product sitting around. Everything I purchase, I do purchase with thought and the intention of using the product to review. Safe to say, I was bored of department store makeup I think. It was a way too expensive hobby for me to keep up.

Being too expensive lead me to the drugstores to try brands like Maybelline, Loreal and Rimmel. Of course coming from department store products, I was little hesitant with full fledged fears of what you might have. It’s a lot cheaper, is it going to break me out? Is it going to oxidize and look weird throughout the day? I hope it’s good. But I knew being a beauty blogger meant being open to every brand and every makeup item, so I took the plunge.

I have to say that I’m really glad I did. I’ve learnt that just because makeup is affordable doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have quality. Many of the foundations from Maybelline supersede department store foundations in performance and the Covergirl LashBlast Mascara is probably better than any other department store mascaras that I’ve bought. Safe to say that price in makeup sometimes isn’t the only factor you should judge with. I now see drugstore makeup in a new light. It allows me to buy more of the product instead of one or two and I get great quality as well. As for the blog, it allows viewers and readers like you to have a more likely chance of knowing about pocket friendly (always a good thing) products instead of watching me haul products that you can’t get yourself.

I don’t mind the occasional Chanel Lipstick or NARS blush, but I really do think that people need to stop thinking about drugstore products as lower quality and more inferior to department store makeup. Having tried the lot on both sides, for me it’s safe to say that I treasure the performance of both.

What about you? What’s your view on Drugstore vs. Department Store Makeup?



  • shusheshe

    If I was back in Canada, I’d probably use a lot of drugstore, especially with eyeshadows. But here in Taiwan, drugstore eyeshadows are mostly Japanese, which is mostly shimmer, glitter and very little colour. So I head to department stores where there’s more of the bigger imported brands like Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier and Nars, where I can get mattes and shimmer eyesahdows, with the colour payoff I want.

  • emmabovary

    I tend to love my high end products more than my drugstore, and I think it’s because it feels more special when I put it on in the morning. I have fallen in love with some drugstore though, especially the european drugstore brand Essence which is blowing a lot of my high end out of the water! The comparison between them is definitely something to consider though.

  • Janet Chia

    I use mostly drug store mascaras and eye shadows etc…but I am a bit particular about foundations and drug store ones often break me out (even body shop)… The only one that doesn’t so far is from dior… So i’m a bit obsessed abt high end foundations because they work on me and not because of all the branding and image they carry. (i do wish they are a whole lot cheaper though…)

  • elephantrunway

    I think it really depends on your spending power. I’m an undergrad with very limited spending power and therefore, drugstore products are the only things I can afford right now. But obviously once I start earning, I will be more inclined to experiment with higher end makeup just for the sake of it. I’m blaming the YT makeup gurus, sometimes it’s hard to resist when so many of them swear by an expensive makeup product, lol. But personally, the brand really doesn’t matter as long as I can make it work for me and more importantly, it doesn’t break me out. For now, it’s Revlon for good quality foundations, mascaras and lipsticks :))

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