High End V’s Drugstore Makeup - Do You Need to Spend a Fortune?
So, you are in a store or shopping online and you find two lipsticks that you love the colour of. Both seem to be pretty similar, other than the packaging, but one is $7 and the other is $35. Is the higher priced one really $28 better than the other? Are the designer brands really worth the extra cash? Well the simple answer is yes and no! Confused? Read on…
What are you paying extra for?
The old saying “you get what you pay for” is true for some makeup products, but not for all. It is true of some brands, but not for all. So what are you actually paying for?
Brand Name: If removing a high end lippy from your bag rather than a drugstore brand makes you feel better and is therefore a status symbol, then spend away.
Ingredients: Generally high end brands use better quality ingredients and less filler products such as talc. Most cosmetics are made from similar base ingredients, but by using better quality ingredients that are finer milled the products should last longer, feel better on the skin, crease less and be easier to apply.
Pigmentation: High end brands have a much higher ratio of pigment v’s filler and are also more finely ground. This makes the colours much brighter and longer lasting. The more highly pigmented the product, the less you need to use. Therefore a product costing twice as much can actually last longer due to the fact you don't need to use as much on each application.
Packaging: Without exception higher end products will have much better packaging. The actual product itself will look and feel better and will usually be sold in beautifully designed boxes, tubes etc. Again this can be a status issue, so it comes back to if you want to pay extra for the pretty case?
Extras: Items such as applicators and brushes that come with certain cosmetics will usually be better quality than drugstore brands. Drugstore eyeshadows for example, tend to come with one or two cheap plastic applicators with the foam on the end, which usually falls off after some use. Designer brands will have a high end brush instead.
So what should you splurge on and what can you same money on?
Foundation/Concealer: Imagine your face as a canvas on which you apply your art work. The better the base, or canvas, the better the finished art work. So I would always suggest that you splurge on concealers and foundation. Whilst it is true that you can get decent quality drugstore versions of these products the high end ranges tend to have a superior range of colours, often with adjusters which can change a shade slightly to better match your skin tone. They are usually easier to apply, going on smoother and lasting much longer.
If you want to save some money there is no reason why you shouldn't use a drugstore brand for everyday use and save a high end foundation for special occasions.
Splurge: I use Face Atelier Ultra Pro foundations and concealers or Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo foundation when using traditional makeup and Temptu Pro products for airbrush makeup.
Primer: With the canvas still in mind, if you use a face and/or eyeshadow primer, and I strongly recommend that you do, I would also recommend going high end. Whilst it is probably true to say any primer is better than no primer, this is definitely a place to splurge to get the best results from the makeup you put on top of it.
Splurge: For eyes I use NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base or Urban Decay’s Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion. For the face I use Too Faced Primed & Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer but also like Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer.
Face Powder: The high end brands will be much finer milled and will give a more flawless finish. The drugstore brands will contain more talc as a filler making them courser.
Either: This one is a difficult one as I swear by Laura Mercier Setting Powder which is high end, but also love Marcelle Face Powder which is a great drugstore brand. Both give excellent results, but for photographic work and longevity I would always go for high end.
Blush: High end blush will be much finer milled and will have greater pigmentation so will give better colour payoff, apply smoother and last longer. However drugstore brands will work well for everyday use, especially if you are happy to touch up occasionally.
Either: For a long lasting, flawless finish go high end. I recommend NARS blushes, particular the Orgasm shade which seems to suit most skin tones. For drugstore I love NYX baked blush.
Eyeshadow: High end eyeshadows will be much better pigmented and so will have much better colour payoff, they will also be finely milled and therefore go on smoothly and blend well. Their resistance to creasing and fading will be significantly better too. Drugstore brands will contain more talc, will not last as long and may cause irritation due to the filler used.
Splurge: There is no contest here - high end all the way. I use lots of different eyeshadows but recommend Kat Von D and Urban Decay brands. For neutral palettes you can’t go wrong with the KVD Shade and Light Eye Contour Palette or any of the Urban Decay Naked Palettes. For brighter shades choose individual pots or try a palette such as Urban Decay Urban Spectrum or their Electric Pigment Palette. Other great brands are Viseart and Lorac Pro.
Mascara: It is worth remembering that mascaras have a short lifespan and should be replaced every few months, so if you prefer to not overspend, then go drugstore. There are literally hundreds of mascaras available and finding the one or two that suit you can be a nightmare. High end mascaras are in my opinion not much different to drugstore. It really comes down to finding the one that is right for you.
Save: I have two high end mascara that I love to use on clients and they are Tarte Gifted Amazonian Clay Mascara and Urban Decay Perversion, but to be honest my absolute favourite for myself is Marcelle Ultimate Lash. I also use their Lengthening & Curling Mascara.
Brows: There are many different formulas for brows: pencils, powders and pomades so it is very hard to categorise. However high end brand Anastasia Beverly Hills is known as the definitive eye and brow expert, so you can’t go wrong with their products. Equally, you can find many good drugstore brands that offer good brow products.
Either: I personally swear by Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Promade, but also use NYX Eyebrow Powder. Different products, different ends of the spectrum, but both good.
Eyeliner: This is a difficult one as there are so many different types of eyeliner: pencil, liquid, felt tip, gel, to name but a few. As with most things, high end will have a better colour pay off, apply better and last longer. Some people find pencils easier to use, whereas others love liquid or gel liners. Trial and error is the key to finding what works best for you.
Either: I love the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner for a precise, easy to handle liquid liner. I also love the NARS Eye Paint which is a gel liner that comes in range of great colours. For a pencil, I love the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil which comes in a staggering 40 colours. That-being-said, there are tons of different eyeliner products from drugstore brands that perform just as well, so if you find one that works for you, why pay more?
Lipstick: Generally high end lipsticks will have more pigmentation and will last longer, they should also glide on better and feel better on the lips. However, there are some very good drugstore lipsticks out there for a fraction of the price. Some last just as long and have great colour payoff.
Save: I do have quite a lot of high end lipsticks from brands such as Kat Von D, Urban Decay, Graftobian and Bite Beauty that I use myself and for my clients, but I also have plenty of drugstore lippy such as Marcelle, NYX and Milani. There is no need to break the bank when it comes to lipstick.
So, as you can see there are areas where you should perhaps splurge a little, such as foundations, primers and eyeshadows, but there are plenty of good quality drugstore brands and products that you can use and save money. As with everything makeup, there are no hard and fast rules. Just use the products that suit you and your bank account.