Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

So I was thinking about how there are certain items I can buy from drugstores and others I absolutely cannot. I decided to make a survey about which items are better from the drugstore, and which are better from more luxury stores (Dept stores/Sephora/Mac/etc.)


My opinions follow, but please change it to your own and repost!


Eyeliner: Whether it is pencil, liquid, powder, or gel, I find it doesn't really make a difference which brand it is. The only difference I find is when it comes to felt-tip eyeliners (I can never find a felt-tip at a drugstore that actually works. Stila has a decent one.)
Verdict: Doesn't matter unless it's felt-tip


Brow Pencils/Powder: Same as above, I think anything can work fairly well and I never notice much of a difference.
Verdict: Doesn't matter


Eyeshadow: Drugstore brands are okay, but nothing matches the pigments and longevity of luxury brands. Plus most drugstore brands have too much fallout.
Verdict: Luxury


Mascara: I wear a ton of mascara, and I can go through a tube in two weeks. I can't afford to keep buying luxury brand mascara! Luckily I've never really found much difference between the two, and Maybelline has some pretty good choices (like Lash Stiletto)
Verdict: Drugstore


Eyeshadow Primer: I think for the most part, drugstore brands are alright, not great, but not totally unusable. There are definitely much better options out there in the luxury stores, though.
Verdict: Luxury


Face Primer: I have literally never found a drugstore primer that works well. They are always thick and clumpy, and closer to a foundation than a primer. Plus Smashbox has so many great options now, so why bother?
Verdict: Luxury


Liquid Foundation: This is a tricky one, because it really depends on skin-type. However, I have spent 50$+ on foundations that set completely weird and made me break out. My 15$ Maybelline foundation is the best I found so far, so why splurge when I already know what works? The ONLY exception, however, is air-spray foundations. I don't know if drugstores even carry any, but the ones I have tried from Sephora are too amazing to stray from.
Verdict: Depends.


Powder Foundation: On the flip side, there is nothing comparable to luxury-brand powders. Others are cakey, and don't have that perfect balance of color and fineness.
Verdict: Luxury


Setting Powder/Mattifying Powder/Finishing Powder: Same as above, the softness and blendability of luxury brands are far above and beyond anything I've tried from the drugstore
Verdict: Luxury


Bronzer: I used to use Physicians Formula, which is a very decent option. I would go back if I had to and be perfectly okay with it, they have great colors and blend well. But I'm addicted to Chocolate Soleil! (Too Faced)
Verdict: Either/or!


Blush: There are great options from both drugstores and luxury stores, if you're looking for something matte. For better shimmer/highlighting blush though, I think it's worth spending the extra dough
Verdict: Depends


Highlighter: I think anything can work as a highlighter, personally. I have went on vacation and used highlighting eyeshadow as face highlighter, and it looked just the same.
Verdict: Doesn't matter


BB Cream: I don't have much experience with BB creams, preferring not to use them entirely. But this is here for those who love them!
Verdict: Don't know!


Lipstick/Lipgloss/Balm: For trying various new lipstick colors, I would go to the drugstore to save money until I found the perfect hue. Then I would try to find a matching one in a luxury store (because I noticed that luxury brands, especially Mac, have better longevity and don't need to be reapplied as often. They also tend not to dry out my lips as much.) Lipglosses don't seem to vary too much unless it's a plumping gloss, and if so then luxury brands usually have the upper hand.
Verdict: Drugstores for finding the perfect hue or regular lipgloss, Luxury for longevity and plumping glosses.



This is all I use mostly, but please play along and add your own!

Re: Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

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The only drugstore item I have returned to, after having tried so many HE brands it's ridiculous, is Maybelline's Great Lash in the pink tube.  It is the only mascara that actually performs for me and has consistently since it came on the market.  I can say the same for other Maybelline mascara products, just this one. 

Re: Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

I'm just going to skip to overall verdict Smiley Wink 

I used to waste so much money on drugstore dupes or items people claimed are worth it & better than HE. Yeah, none of them have ever worked for me. I was never happy with a drugstore item. 

My other gripe with drugstores is you can't try before you buy. I want to feel the texture, consistency, see the color before I buy.

So I stick to High End for just about everything. Even hair care, now that I switched to Sulfate & Silicone free.  

Re: Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

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Eyeliner- I've bought some of the urban decay pencils. I really didn't see a huge difference from the drugstore. I generally buy felt tip or liquid eyeliner from the drugstore. 


Brow Powder- Haven't tried any higher end. I've had no problem with my cheap stuff so have never looked into it. 


Mascara- I actually like high end. I've ran into quite a few I thought were worse than drugstore. However I've found several that I absolutely love because they do everything I want. 


Eyeshadow Primer- All I have is Urban Decay but I don't see where it makes much difference most of the time. I could probably do drugstore but half the time I don't even use it. 


Face Primer- All of the primers I have tried have been luxury. I don't like most of them because they break me out. I generally don't even wear one. 


Liquid Foundation- Drugstore, it all depends on the brand but I have never found any foundation worth $40. I have people compliment me when I wear Almay so....


Powder Foundation- This can go either way I like luxury ones but know of a few good drugstore ones to. They give me about the same look. I do like that some higher end ones have less ingredients in them which means less to irritate my skin though. 


Setting Powder/Mattifying Powder/Finishing Powder- I like luxury. Not because they work so much better but because they last me longer. I don't need to use nearly as much, must have to do with how the powder is milled or something. 


Bronzer- I'm completely fine with drugstore bronzer.


Blush- I prefer high end blushes they blend better, have better color, and I can find better matches for my skin tone. 


Highlighter- I really like High Beam so I guess I prefer luxury


BB Cream- Drugstore and high end are equally terrible for different reasons. I prefer Korean brands.


Lipstick/Lipgloss/Balm- It doesn't matter most of the time. I do find luxury ones don't dry my lips as bad so I like them more. 





Re: Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

The only things of mine that is drug store, is my mascaras (because I wear a ton too Smiley Happy ) and my E.L.F. powder brush. Everything else is luxury. I think luxury is better quality, and even though it's more expensive, it's worth it to look better. Although there was a time in middle school where I thought I'd save money if I went drugstore. Nothing worked. So I ended up actually wasting money since you're not allowed to test samples. I realized luxury is the way to go.

Re: Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

Foundation- I like both Drugstore ( Revlon Nearly Naked) and Luxury (MAC Mineralize, LM Silk, Tarte).  I probably like more High End though


Concealer- I have more drugstore and like them almost as much as the higher end options.


Eyebrow Powder/Pencils-  Luxury (Anastasia)


Eyeliner- Both Luxury and Drugstore. I like the luxury liquid liners better though


Eyeshadow- Luxury (although I do like Wet N wild's color Icons)


Lipstick- I prefer Luxury but I really like the Maybelline Colorsensationals (they dont bother my lips, while some high end brands do).


Tinted Moisturizer: Luxury


Mascara: Drugstore (for something I throw out every 3 months, I dont want to spend $20+ a tube)  I have a TON of luxury minis so I like those and use those.


Eyeshadow Primer: Luxury (UD PP)


Face Primer: Luxury (Been in love with the Hourglass Veil)


Blush: Luxury (Seems to last SOOOO much longer on my face)


Bronzer: I prefer Luxury but some drugstore bronzers are decent


Highlighter: Luxury (Watts Up & Philosophy's golden one)


Lip Balm: Health food store. Love the lip balms from Badger. Super moisturizing and great for my sensitive lips.


Re: Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

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Foundation - I dont really see a difference between drug store & high end ones. I would actually say I like my loreal true match a lot better then my Mac foudation.


Concealer - With this one I definitely say the higher end concealer does it for me


Eyebrow Powder/Pencils - The pencils, I'd go with higher end. The drugstores pencils were just bad, they dont last long either I had to redo my brows way too often. The powder isnt bad but I do perfer higher end powder I just use eyeshadow from Mac or I use Make Up forever colored brow gel.


Eyeliner - I hate & will never buy cheap eyeliner pencils again, they smudge, they dont last & they run. But I dont mind the loreal ones or the other well known brand names at drug stores. Right now Im using a liquid liner from lorel which I love dearly but I think I had one from NYX or something like that & I just threw it out it was like 3 bucks so yeah.


Eyeshadow - Higher end is what I would go with, the drugstore tends to have a lot of fall out.


Lipstick- HIGHER END I cant stress it, I have so many cheap lipsticks from drugstores there not bad, but I passed them down to my 5 year old sister because they just dont last,they last for the first 15 minutes for me. I prefer lipsticks from nars & mac

Re: Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

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Eyeliner: Both I think Rimmel London Exaggerate Waterproof Eyeliner can stand up to most luxury pencils, and its cheaper for experimenting with colors. However I love the Tarte gel liner and I don't think anything anything drugstore could compare.


Tinted Moisturizer: Drugstore I use Physicians Formilar Organic Wear one and its just as good as most luxury samples I've tried, for a third of the cost.


Eyeshadow: Luxury Hands down, Urban Decay is the best eyeshadow ever!!!


Mascara: Luxury With a product so close to my eyes, I like it to be natural. The natural drugstore mascaras can't compete with Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes!


Eyeshadow Primer: Luxury I've never honestly used a drugstore one Smiley Happy


Face Primer: Luxury My Prime Time works so much better than anything else with my bareMinerals foundation.


Powder Foundation: Luxury The first non-tinted-moisturizer-foundation I bought was BM, and I've never looked back


Setting Powder/Mattifying Powder/Finishing Powder: Luxury I love Tarte's Smooth Operator.


Bronzer: Both Drugstore is cheaper if I'm just using it on my neck or something, but otherwise I like Tarte Park Ave Princess


Blush: Luxury


Lipstick/Lipgloss: Luxury is just so much less sticky icky, and doesn't feather, and lasts longer


Balm: Drugstore EOS is my love <3

Re: Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

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Eyeliner: Luxury → I've got oily lids and hooded eyes so most pencil liners don't stay put on me. The only liquid liner I kind of liked was the Physician's Formula one. It definitely didn't try fast enough though and at times, migrated. Plus, it's fairly expensive for drugstore and I'd rather pay more for my favorite Kat Von D one. 


Brow Pencils/PowderEither → I don't really mind as I've used the ELF brow palette for $3 and it worked perfectly fine. For speed though, I now use the Anastasia Brow Wiz. 


Eyeshadow: Luxury → I quite like the Wet n Wild trios but they can get a bit chalky. I stick to luxury these days. 


Mascara: Drugstore → I throw my mascara out every 4-5 months and I love the Revlon Lash Potion so much. I don't see a huge difference between brands and I would buy the Revlon even if it weren't a drugstore but a luxury brand. 


Eyeshadow Primer: Either → Surprisingly, I really love the Wet N Wild eyeshadow primer. I use it daily and it works like a charm for my super oily lids. I do favor my NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow base and will bring that on vacation with me but for daily use and because it's cheap, the Wet N Wild is fantastic. 


Face Primer: Luxury → I'm sensitive to silicones and they clog my pores terribly so I go with luxury just because I haven't found a primer in the drugstore that's silicone free. 


Liquid Foundation: Luxury → My skin is definitely more yellow and most luxury brands lean pink as it is, much less the drugstore ones! I also prefer to use luxury because I can test out the foundation colors to ensure it matches my skin. 


Powder Foundation: Luxury → I don't use powder foundation usually but again, anything that comes in direct contact with my skin, I will use luxury products. 


Setting Powder/Mattifying Powder/Finishing Powder: Luxury → I've tried quite a few drugstore setting powders and they all caked up on me. They weren't as finely milled and it simply didn't work out for my oily skin. 


Bronzer: Either → I don't use bronzer regularly so it doesn't really matter to me and I find that my cheap bronzer from NYC works just as well as my expensive one from Chanel. 


Blush: Luxury → I personally prefer matte blushes and so I veer towards luxury for this one. There's some nice drugstore blushes like the ELF ones for $3 but the shimmer kills me Smiley Sad 


Highlighter: Either → Again, I don't use this. I have an expensive one but I can't be bothered since I have oily skin and my skin gets shiny on its on xD 


BB Cream: Neither → I've tried many, many BB creams, both drugstore in the US and luxury ones and all of them pale in comparison to the Asian ones. That said, I don't like BB creams in general. The Asian ones tend to be too pale or too pink or grey and too creamy/thick for my preferences. 


Lipstick/Lipgloss/Balm: Either → I was almost about to say luxury for this but I love my Revlon lipsticks. I am allergic to lanolin so that rules out 95% of MAC lipsticks for me and quite a number of "moisturizing" lipsticks in Sephora as well like Lancome (which doesn't have lanolin but I'm allergic to it?!) and Fresh lip balms. Once I find a formula that works, whether drugstore or luxury, I'll stick with it! 

Re: Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

The one thing that I will not buy from the drugstore anymore is lipstick. 99.9% of the time it has a gross smell. Most other things I'm willing to try. Smiley Happy

Re: Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

I agree! I like how some Rimmel lipsticks perform but I can't get past the weird "berry" scent.

Re: Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

Exactly!! The Rimmel Kate Moss matte ones are gorgeous and like $4... but smell TERRIBLE. I just can't do it!

Re: Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

Eyeliner: For pencil liner I generally buy high end, pigmentation and staying power is usually better. For cream/gel liners I have no problem buying drug store brands. Wet 'n' Wild Mega Eyes Cream liner works great for me. Cream liners dry out so fast anyway I'd rather pay $4 than $15-20 haha.


Brow Pencils/Powder: I've tried one drug store pencil, didn't like it. Too waxy. For a while I used some Cover GIrl brown eyeliner for my brows and it was great until I lost it. So for now I just use either my Dior or Vincent Longo brow powders that I've had FOREVER.


Eyeshadow: Luxury for sure.


Mascara: I wear a ton of mascara, and I can go through a tube in two weeks. I can't afford to keep buying luxury brand mascara! Luckily I've never really found much difference between the two, and Maybelline has some pretty good choices (like Lash Stiletto)


I second this ^^ Right now I'm using the Falsies and Pixi Lash booster combined. Ahhmazing.

Eyeshadow Primer: I've never used a drug store primer. Loyal UDPP user.


Face Primer: Luxury for sure. Hourglas Veil Mineral Primer is my HG primer.

Liquid Foundation: My skin is too prone to breakouts. I try to stick to super lightweight liquid foundations. I won't even ty a drug store brand.


Powder Foundation: I've used one. It made my cheeks breakout.


Setting Powder/Mattifying Powder/Finishing Powder: I just use an NYC translucent powder. I've also used Laura Mercier and MUFE but my foundation looks pretty good on its own so I can't really justify an expensive powder.


Bronzer: Don't use it. I just have a contour powder from Sleek Makeup which comes at a drug store price.


Blush: Both! Wet 'n' Wild makes pretty good, pigmented blush. I use Mellow Wine, which reminds me a lot of NARS Dolce Vita (which I also own). Both are great. For something with lasting power I generally use luxury.


Highlighter: Doesn't really matter. I don't buy highlighters, I just use what I have, be it light shimmery eyeshadow or a more shimmery blush.


BB Cream: The only BBs I like are the Asian brands, which would be luxury I suppose.

Lipstick/Lipgloss/Balm: I dislike most glosses. Lipstick I heavily lean towards luxury but I have a few good drug store ones too...the Maybelline Vivids, NYX, and even a Wet 'n' Wild one. 

Re: Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

[ Edited ]

These days I don't even bother with drugstore items, my recent purchases have all been high end and they rarely disappoint. I prefer being able to research products so I know what I'm getting!


Buuuut, that being said, here are the following drugstore items that actually surprised me (in a good way):

1. Elf Kabuki brush: whaaaaat? I find myself reaching for this kabuki brush more than my expensive ones. And it was on sale for $1.50. Go figure.


2. Maybelline Dream Lumi Highlighting Concealer in Radiant: I use this OVER my higher end concealers when I need a little extra "wake me up" on my face on the days I'm feeling tired.


3. Physician's Formula Multi-Colored Bronzer: While I love my Hoola bronzer and bareminerals all-over-face color warmth, I've been reaching for this more when I'm in a rush. It doesn't look orange on me at all which is hard to find in drugstore bronzers!


4. NYX Butter gloss: So pigmented and smooth. Love em.


5. Maybelline Vivid's Lipstick: I have mine in hot plum. It was my first crazy out there bright lipstick and I LOVED it for summer.


6. Milani lipsticks: They smell yummy and are so creamy.


7. Nivea Lip Butter in Raspberry Rose Kiss: This. smells. AMAZING.


...alright so I know I didn't follow the example by organizing by product type. But these are the only drugstore products I felt were worth the money. And even still, I reach for my high end stuff more anyway. Luxury products definitely have the upper hand in my book, and deserve the extra money.

Re: Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

Totally depends for me. I've used high end stuff that was terrible and drugstore products that beat the pants off of their luxury counterparts. And vice versa. It's all trial and error, and what works for you probably won't work for the next person.

Re: Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

I always have to pick Luxury brands when looking for foundation, I am so fair skinned and need cool toned products that I can never find a drugstore foundation that's light enough and doesn't need to be touched up every hour.  I'm a lip colour fanatic and find that although I prefer the Luxury brands as a whole there are certain brands like NYX that have great lip sticks and only cost like &6.00. As for mascara I love to get different 100 point samples from Sephora and a lot of the time they are amazing but I still love my Great Lash.

Re: Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

I have tried a few drugstore brands since I found Sephora, especially lipsticks - my obsession, and I find myself disappointed every time.  I don't always buy the high-end brands in some items as the Sephora Collection has very decent quality in items such as liners, blushes, lip pencils, and mascara.  (I already have long, full lashes, so I don't need one that plumps or extends.)


I had completely quit wearing loose setting powder because the drugstore brands only settled in my fine lines and creases.  I have found Korres Mineral Setting Powder is a gem for only $18 and makes my skin look flawless, doesn't settle in the creases, sets my makeup, absorbs oil and the product lasts a long time.


I keep looking at the drugstore....I can't help it....they look so pretty!  But I've been disappointed too many times and I don't want to throw my money away on poor qualitly.

Re: Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

Great analysis! I'm in agreement with majority of your verdicts Smiley Wink I'm a bit of a snob these days & stopped nickel & diming in hopes of finding good or decent drugstore products. In most cases, you really do get what you pay for. While there are many similar products on the market, I prefer to go high end & not buy/test a gazillion different drugstore products.  I will say that there are quite a few drugstore lippies that are stepping up their game!  I just wish there was a way to test & swatch without having to shell out the bucks first!


xo, Mia

Re: Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

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I completely agree, Mia! I have pretty much given up on drugstore products because there's so much trial and error involved - and usually I'm disappointed by the drugstore versions.

The majority of my drugstore products are for hair and body. I worked for Kao a few summers ago, so I have a lot of respect for Kao Brand products like Jergens and John Frieda.

My facial skin is a little too sensitive for me to be messing around with products too much. I like going to Sephora and being able to try things out before committing to the buy.

Re: Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

I tend to lean more on luxury and high end stuff when it comes to anything that I apply on my face. Okay, I admit. I'm a lower end brands snob. I don't know. I just think that I get more out of my money's worth when I buy higher end stuff. And I also like to view my makeup as a collection and I just want high end stuff. lol. I actually have zero drugstore makeup. Is that bad? Smiley Sad

Re: Drugstores VS Luxury Brands Survey!

I'm a bit of the same way, though it's more that I find myself actually using the stuff that I spent more money for.  It's easy to shrug off throwing out a $2 bottle of whatever because I let it get crusty before I got around to using it than it is to do the same to a $20 bottle.  I also feel like I'm pampering myself more.  Smiley Happy

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