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What percentage of your beauty products are drugstore versus prestige?

I've been wanting to know for the longest time what percentage of BICers products are drugstore versus prestige.  I just find it fascinating to know what people are using IRL.  There are so many good (and bad!) products out there at every price range.  Let's discover what the ratios are, shall we?  List your products however you'd like.  And if you have any insight into the psychology of your beauty shopping, that'd be interesting to know as well.




And feel free to classify your brands into any category you'd like.  Some are head-scratchers - like the Sephora Collection.  It's billed as "budget beauty" on many items, but it's Sephora so...!

Re: What percentage of your beauty products are drugstore versus prestige?

I agree with Alexasteph, that it is a really interesting question and her content is fabulous.

Re: What percentage of your beauty products are drugstore versus prestige?

Well this is interesting to think about.


 I would say that most of my collection these days is a mix of middle-of-the-range high end or indie brands, like Bareminerals, ABH, Besame, Purlisse,Buxom, Too Faced, Clinique, UD, Ciate; the next largest category is middle-to-low indie/niche brands, from Winky Lux to Colourpop to Pixie to Oden's Eye,and then I have a smattering each of drugstore (ELF, L'oreal) & designer/luxury (YSL, Hourglass, Tilbury, Lisa Eldridge, Marc Jacobs). But I don't have any ultra-luxury like La Mer or above that, etc. That's all for cosmetics. I grew up on Avon, Cover Girl, etc. but in my teens I switched to more expensive foundation & skin care to suit my complexion and about 9 years ago I ditched most of my old cheap makeup and started buying mostly either from Sephora or direct from brand websites; I hardly ever get to drugstores anymore. My favorite skincare brand is Fresh, but I use a lot of different brands, mostly mid-range, except for that occasional pack of cocoa butter face wipes from Dollar tree-- they're decent-- and the ELF Hydrating Water Essence. I don't do much hair care, and my stylist tells me what shampoo I can use,  LOL.

Re: What percentage of your beauty products are drugstore versus prestige?

@greeneyedgirl107 - Here are my guesstimates.  I like @WinglessOne 's definitions for the product levels.  I had those in mind when thinking about my stash.  This does not include perfume and I do not have nail polish.  Budget is a combination of drugstore products and low cost products that are not necessarily found at a drugstore.


Makeup - 40% mid range; 60% high end


Skincare - 20% budget; 10% mid range; 70% high end


Body care - 50% budget; 50% mid range


Hair care - 80% mid range; 20% high end

Re: What percentage of your beauty products are drugstore versus prestige?

This is a really interesting question - and a good point is raised about “budget” vs “drug store” brands, or even what counts as “prestige.” As an example - at Ulta, most 20% off coupons don’t include prestige, but do include the higher priced items on the “drug store” side, like some of the Korean brands (ie. Tony Moly). ColourPop is another interesting example! It’s more affordable than most of the “drug store” brands, but performs better than many “prestige” ones. 

To provide a rough estimate of how things break down in my personal collection: 


Makeup: 95% prestige, 5% “budget” (ColourPop, and SC Lipstories), >.5% drug store (I have a couple of random items)


Skincare: 85% prestige, 15% “budget” or drug store (I am including lip balms, and items from the “drug store” side at Ulta such as Good Molecules and Truly)


Haircare: 5% prestige, 95% “budget” or drug store (with my hair in a ponytail or bun 5 out of 7 days a week I don’t spend a ton of time/money on it)


Body Care: 50% prestige, 50% “budget” or drug store (I enjoy Hempz a lot, and use drug store items for shaving - Otherwise I use SDJ)


For me, personally, I really have noticed a significant difference in quality between brands that are traditionally considered “drug store” and the others. There have been a few exceptions, like I wore a Maybelline BB cream for a bit and used that orange CoverGirl mascara. I haven’t found any eye shadows or lip products in the drug store category I enjoy, despite trying. It’s been at least 10 years though. Same with most skincare items, I just haven’t had the results I’m looking for with drug store brands. Hair and body, I have found many items I’m happy with at a more affordable price. 

Re: What percentage of your beauty products are drugstore versus prestige?

@alexasteph I think mascara is one of the few categories where I would go drugstore more often than higher end. Since I don't sent my undereyes often, as long as it doesn't flake or smudge I'm happy. 

Re: What percentage of your beauty products are drugstore versus prestige?

@greeneyedgirl107 hi, nice question!! I only collect and buy lip products. Other items like skincare/body washes....are all from the drugstore/supermarket. But I love to splurge and treat myself with high end lipsticks and balms. Since the pandemic started, I stopped buying colorful lipsticks because I'm home now most of the time, so I don't wear them. But I started to have a true passion for luxury lip balms. It's a self care moment for me....I apply lip balms 3/4 times a day and in my night time routine they are a must. With a hot cup of tea and a relaxing tv show. I would say that I have 80% of high end lip balms and 20% drugstore/mid range. I bought all the brands that I could find out there. My favorite ones are laneige, dior, guerlain, lanolips and carmex.

Re: What percentage of your beauty products are drugstore versus prestige?

After thinking through price range cutoffs (and I’m still iffy on that, plus some brands straddle the lines), here’s my rough estimate: 

beauty-products-per-price-range - 1.jpeg
Haircare includes tools. Body care excludes any product I originally bought for my face that didn’t work out. Rather than waste those products, I try most of them on my body and continue using them that way if they don’t cause a bad reaction. Oh, and I left fragrances and nail stuff off my list. Might give 'em more thought later. 
My personal definitions of price ranges: 
Note: I don't buy or use all these brands. I'm just listing random brands as examples.

= inexpensive brands available at US drugstores or Target (excluding Ulta): Vanicream, CeraVe, Revlon, e.l.f., NYX, Camille Rose, OGX, Sonia Kashuk, etc. 

Low cost = inexpensive brands not usually found at drugstores: The Inkey List, The Ordinary, ColourPop, Good Molecules, etc. 

Mid range = neither cheap nor very pricey: Paula’s Choice, COSRX, Avene, Redken, Briogeo, NARS, MAC, Supergoop, LH Cosmetics, Rephr, Bobbi Brown, etc. 

High end = pricey stuff: Colorescience, Oribe, Virtue, Pat McGrath, Natasha Denona, Byredo, Chikuhodo, Guerlain, By Terry, Chantecaille, Dr. Barbara Sturm, etc. 
My overall beauty shopping mental drivers: price alone =/= quality. I'm rarely swayed by pretty product packaging; I care much more about what's inside the package than how it'll look on my counter/table/etc. Performance beats prettiness. And regardless of product price range, whichever retailer offers the best overall deal gets my money. 
More mental drivers per category: 
Skincare and body care: I'm very ingredient-driven when shopping these products because of my particular skin's sensitivities and quirks. This helps me weed out a lot of high end products. Not that I can tell exactly how a product will function based solely on its INCI list, but I do get a high level expectation that way—and man, some expensive products seem awfully overpriced. One of the very few pricey products I occasionally use is the Exuviance Performance Peel, because it has a good-for-me INCI list and it works. I like it much more than the DDG daily peels. Colorescience makes very good sun protection products that work well for me. But so much inexpensive and mid range stuff works well for me, there's no need to waste money on lots of pricey products. So I don't. 

Haircare: This is a trickier category for me because some things that irritate my face don't bug my scalp much. When I find a product that plays nice with my scalp, doesn't make my facial skin throw tantrums, does wonders for my hair and scalp, and doesn't cost a ton of money, I stick with it. I'm loyal enough to buy that product 2-4 bottles/tubes/cans at a time. Would any particular pricey shampoo and conditioner work better for me than Redken All Soft Mega? I'll never know 🤣—unless Redken reformulates for the worst, in which case I'll have to find something new. One of my few high end haircare products is a Dyson Supersonic and I have zero regrets about that purchase, especially since I got mine for around $60 USD during an Ulta sale with banked points and a prestige coupon. Did I mention I don't like to spend way more than necessary on things? 

Makeup: Here's where high end invades my life. I don't even wanna think about how much my PMG collection cost me, even with all the sales. 🤦‍♀️ But it's dang good stuff, and my pricey purchases are well balanced with great mid range and low cost options. Performance reigns supreme in this category, and there are worthy products in all price ranges. I try to see (and swatch) products in person before buying; anything that doesn't perform well as a tester (or is a completely wrong shade) becomes an easy pass. Sometimes my raven brain does get the better of me, like the time I bought a Guerlain Rouge G custom case—and I was inside a Nordstrom for that purchase, so I should've known how annoying that case would be since I played with one in person, but noooo, I had to have the pretty shiny thing that was a mirror and surely functional (not)... I love all my Rouge G lipsticks, but I never use that custom case with them. 

Brushes: Another category I'm glad is well represented by at least 2 price ranges, though I wish I could find less expensive brushes that perform great and play nice with my skin. (And no, I don't consider Luxie or Sephora Collection Pro brushes low cost, compared to brands like Sonia Kashuk.) And with brushes, I can't easily do the "don't be lured by visual esthetics" thing because, you know, a brush's shape helps determine how it'll perform, as does its handle shape and weight. I'd be happy to own Sonia G.'s Lotus set even if those brush handles weren't so prettily purple. They're great brushes. 🤷‍♀️ I don't like to "collect" brushes I won't actually use, so that helps me avoid overspending. 
Thanks for making this thread, @greeneyedgirl107 ; this was a neat exercise! 

Re: What percentage of your beauty products are drugstore versus prestige?

@WinglessOne - Your explanation of what goes into your thinking is wonderful!  I thought I was reading about myself as this is how I consider purchases as well. 😁  I just thought I was the only one who was more interested in the contents than the packaging and doesn't stray from what works (though I do like to try new things just in case there's something better, not because it's new).

Re: What percentage of your beauty products are drugstore versus prestige?

Great thorough breakdown @WinglessOne ! I'm with you on Body Care, Hair Care, and Brushes. 

Re: What percentage of your beauty products are drugstore versus prestige?

When I first started really buying makeup (almost 10 years ago now), I used to try and find the drugstore dupe for high end products so I had a lot of drugstore and a few high end products, about 95% vs 5%. Now, I would say it's closer to the opposite. Not because there aren't quality drugstore products available that I enjoy and I think have comparable formulas, but because when I was buying dupes I would often eventually end up buying the high end product regardless. Since I know had a product that I had spent a lot of money on, I felt bad neglecting it in favor of the cheaper alternative. Often, I ended up decluttering the drugstore option since I had the high-end one. Another factor is the experience- putting on makeup and skincare are more of a "me-time" self-care experience now and therefore I gravitate towards products that give me a more luxury experience, be it packaging, formula, scent, etc. Finally, drugstore products are so expensive now! Any new release is at least $10-15 unless you're talking about ELF or Wet n Wild. It's just not worth it to me. The products I have I do enjoy thoroughly, and there's drugstore options that I would definitely recommend. Currently in my collection I have at least one of each step in a drugstore version. The drugstore brand (price-wise) that I have the most of is Colourpop, followed by L'Oreal. I think CP's consistent quality and varied color stories have kept my interest in spite of the less luxurious experience.

Re: What percentage of your beauty products are drugstore versus prestige?

@makeitup305 @I definitely feel you on the dupe thing - I feel like I often ended up spending more money looking for a dupe and then would ultimately cave and buy the luxury item anyways - it just became pointless and I have limited space so I can’t have both really for every product 


Re: What percentage of your beauty products are drugstore versus prestige?

@Kim888 yes, exactly. Even when the dupe was really good, I did usually end up picking up the more expensive one because I am obsessive like that or just because I liked the packaging better. 

Re: What percentage of your beauty products are drugstore versus prestige?

@makeitup305 We seem to follow very similar philosophies when it comes to purchasing products. I went through a phase when I was interested in trying the “dupes” of popular items, like the really well known, viral ones. I grabbed quite a few NYX lippies, Milani blushes, and Physicians Formula bronzers. I even grabbed a NYX primer that was meant to be a YSL dupe and a Maybelline concealer to dupe NARS Radient Creamy. Same thing though - I ended up not being impressed with the quality or use and eventually decluttered it. And you’re right - tons of drug store brands have upped their prices too. Even Elf, as you mentioned, is a bit more now. I remember when everything was either $1, $2, or $3 haha. 

Re: What percentage of your beauty products are drugstore versus prestige?

@alexasteph Yes, Elf is another thing entirely right now. Their quality is decent and they have certainly improved their formulas but it's not the same. If I had to start my collection all over with just drugstore, I could pick a full face of really good products that looked as good as high end, but it's just not the same experience (which is what I'm looking for at this point).

Re: What percentage of your beauty products are drugstore versus prestige?

I would have to say my percentages would be 95% prestige and 5% drugstore.

Re: What percentage of your beauty products are drugstore versus prestige?

@greeneyedgirl107   Interesting inquiry.  I want to say that maybe 85? percent of all my entire collection is high end but that the 15% that’s drugstore is really good and made the cut and survived some ruthless declutters this year.  I may be being too generous saying 15percent is drugstore but playing it safe.  It may be closer to 10🤗

I have a higher ratio of drugstore primers (maybe 80 percent drugstore) with most being from Japan or Korea.  That’s really the only category that’s dominated by drugstore brands.  

Around 65 percent of my sunscreens are drugstore…

70 percent of my foundations are high end again with the drugstore mostly being from Japan or Korea.  The ratio evens out when we’re travelling more.  
Palettes are 98percent high end mostly cause I haven’t had much luck finding drugstore palettes  that last the whole day on my dry hooded eyes. 

Re: What percentage of your beauty products are drugstore versus prestige?

I'm going to list the products (during the pandemic) that I reach for most frequently, or want to have in my arsenal just in case.  I categorized brands like TO and TIL as drugstore due to the low price.  Drugstore came in 16, and prestige came to 26.


ETA: Pardon the epic list.  When I went to put spoilers in, all my tagged products disappeared.



-CeraVe PM

-Cetaphil Redness Relieving Night Moisturizer

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil 1 oz/ 30 mL 

The Ordinary Buffet Anti-Aging Serum 

The INKEY List Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum 1 oz/ 30 mL 

SEPHORA COLLECTION 12 Hour Contour Pencil Eyeliner 

Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect mascara

up & up Fragrance Free Soothing body wash

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream

John Frieda Frizz Ease Extra Strength Serum

Clean & Clear Persa-gel

up & up Oil Blotting Sheets

SEPHORA COLLECTION Microblade Effect Brow Pen 

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Revolution Skincare 15% Niacinamide Serum



First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser 

First Aid Beauty FAB Skin Lab Retinol Serum 0.25% Pure Concentrate 1 oz/ 30 mL 

First Aid Beauty FAB Skin Lab Retinol Eye Cream with Triple Hyaluronic Acid 0.5 oz/ 15 mL 

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Triple Correction Eye Serum 0.5 oz/ 15 mL 

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting BHA 9 Treatment 0.3 oz/ 9 mL 

Paula's Choice Gentle Touch Makeup Remover

Paula's Choice Antioxidant Pore Purifier

Paula's Choice CLINICAL 1% Retinol Treatment 1 oz/ 30 mL 

Redken Heavy Cream

Pureology Hydrate Shampoo for Dry, Color-Treated Hair 

It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product


Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk, Non-Aerosol

Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum

Living Proof No Frizz Humidity Shield 

Matrix Oil Wonders

Marc Jacobs Fineliner

ALTERNA Haircare CAVIAR Anti-Aging® Smoothing Anti-Frizz Blowout Butter 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Ombre Effect Long Wearing Brow Powder Duo 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz® Ultra-Slim Precision Brow Pencil 

DHC Olive Cleansing Oil

Youth To The People Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist with Peptides 4 oz/ 118 mL 

LANEIGE Lip Glowy Balm 

LANEIGE Lip Sleeping Mask Intense Hydration with Vitamin C 

philosophy The Microdelivery Exfoliating Facial Wash 

Obagi Retinol .5 Retexturizing Cream



innisfree Pore Clearing Clay Mask 3.38 oz/ 100 mL - I feel like this is higher than drugstore but lower than prestige

Rx Retin-A

Re: What percentage of your beauty products are drugstore versus prestige?

@greeneyedgirl107 @I definitely had a lot more drug store when I was younger but now I’m guessing now it’s only like 5- 10% 


I do mainly buy drugstore nail polish and I still think the Milani setting spray is on par when more expensive ones 

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