Listen, I mostly hate drugstore makeup. I always feel like I’m sinning when I suggest a piece of makeup from a Drugstore as a beauty blogger. I seldomly use drugstore makeup and if I do, it’s because I’m trying to give my very loved tribe of beauty junkies some cosmetic options who are on a budget. But the truth is, I have rarely suggested drugstore makeup to my friends in real life. Call me snobby in this area, but, as a makeup artist (and ingredients snob), it doesn’t feel right suggesting products that I wouldn’t carry in my own personal makeup bag or makeup kit. So, when I suggest an alternative dupe or knockoff option to one of my favorite makeup products when someone on Instagram or Facebook is asking, I don’t feel great about it. In my opinion, most (not all) drugstore options are not equal to high-end, quality makeup. Since quality makeup is important to me, I don’t settle for less. Here’s the truth, when it comes to expensive vs. inexpensive makeup, drugstore vs. designer, I honestly, in my soul, (mostly) hate drugstore makeup. With that said, there are some you can get away with, and I won’t cringe either.
Here’s the deal, I get it, you’re on a budget, and you currently want to punch me in the face because you are surviving and that dollar store lipstick is working for ya. Girl, I’ve had the worst of penny-pinching months, so I get it and if drugstore makeup is where it’s at for you, then go for it and rock it with confidence. This is not a shaming post, I promise. But, I am going to tell you why I mostly hate drugstore makeup in general and also, what products are okay to buy and what you should absolutely avoid.
My Biggest Problem with Drugstore Cosmetics
My biggest problem with drugstore cosmetics is the ingredients. In most cases (not all), high-end cosmetics have better performing ingredients and fewer fillers. High-end is formulated for a specific client while drugstore has someone on a budget in mind when choosing the ingredients. For example, drugstore eyeshadows are typically lacking pigment, and it’s a toss-up if they will apply easily. NYX, ColorPop, and Morphe are about as close as it comes to pigmented affordable eyeshadows. Some of my favorite eyeshadow palettes are from Tom Ford (obsessed), Urban Decay, and Beautycounter (this Beautycounter Classic Palette is my favorite). I have yet to find an eyeshadow palette from a drugstore that I could whole-heartedly recommend without hesitation. Just being honest, but, to each there own.
Diving further into ingredients, for myself, I stick to brands that have a good rating on the EWG or ThinkDirty websites. Not everyone cares about makeup safety ratings, and there are plenty of high-end cosmetics that don’t rate well on the EWG either. On the flip-side, shout out to Target, they have an entire drugstore cosmetics section dedicated to safer ingredients. They aren’t exactly drugstore pricing, like Well People, but, they are still sold at a drugstore. Common bad ingredients that I entirely avoid are parabens, phthalates, and anything that has “fragrance” because, what does that even mean?
Which Drugstore Makeup to Avoid
As far as performance and staying away from garbage ingredients on your face, I would avoid foundations, blush, highlighters, and bronzers. I have found that in most cases, foundations, blush, highighters and bronzers perform better when they are high-end because the ingredients are better. With that said, it doesn’t make these cosmetics less toxic to your body, so make sure to check the ingredients since your skin absorbs what you put on it. If you notice that you are breaking out a ton from your drugstore cosmetics, the ingredients might be the problem. Also, from a professional stand-point, you wont see many makeup artists carry a drugstore brand in their makeup kit (besides mascara).
What About Drugstore vs. High-end Packaging?
I think in some cases, not all, it comes down to the packaging of products. High-end has better packaging, looks better in a makeup kit, and it’s what I typically go for. There are always exeptions to everything though, right? While no, I wouldn’t put a L’Oreal True Match foundation in my makeup bag (just being honest), it is known to be a near exact dupe for the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation. They are both owned by L’Oreal, known to have mostly the same ingredients and guess what, the L’Oreal True Match scored a 2 for safety. In the end, do your research and invest in what’s inportant to you. Side note, just the smell of Covergirl foundation makes me cringe…I can’t do it.
Which Drugstore Makeup to Buy
Honestly, to me, it really depends on the ingredients in the drugstore makeup. It’s a shame that cosmetic companies, high end and low end, are still using crap ingredients when they know better. With that said, check the ingredients. If I were on a tight budget, I would save on mascara, eyeliner, and even lipstick. I use to recommend Revlon Longwear eyeliner because it is actually really good, but, it has parabens in it, so, for me, it’s a no go. If you don’t care, it’s fantastic!
For a drugstore mascara, L’Oreal Voluminous mascara has always been a favorite, and the ingredients are pretty good. Lipsticks are hit or miss as far as ingredients, but, Maybelline Color Sensational Lip Colors are pretty good, rate well for ingredients, and are a killer price.
With all of that said, makeup is a personal decision and how you buy, what you buy, and where you buy is all preference. If ingredients aren’t up there for you on the list of importance, no worries, but if they are, you can check out their rating on the EWG site.
Hope this helps in your buying process Also, I’m going to do a series on comparing high-end products to drugstore. My goals will be safe ingredients, performance, and value/cost. I’m actually excited to see what I find! Let me know what your favorite drugstore products are in the comments and if you’ve found a dupe for your favorite high-end product.