Drugstore vs. Brand-Name Makeup: Is There REALLY A Difference?

Photo: April Giannosa

Our brave beauty blogger investigates whether paying extra for the 'good stuff' is really worth it.

It's no secret that women spend a ridiculous amount of money on cosmetics. Depending on what source you look at, each makeup-wearing female spends between $150 to $300 per year on the stuff —roughly $15,000 over a woman's lifetime! That's a lot of freakin' cash.

Is it really necessary to fork over that much money on products that are just going to get washed away at the end of the day? Let's take a closer look at four different types of makeup and find this out for ourselves.

Keep in mind that the pictures on the left showcase drug store makeup, and the pictures on the right are with their higher end counterparts.

1. Eye shadow: Covergirl No. 340 ($2.50) vs. Kevyn Aucoin Essential Eye Shadow Set No. 6 ($58)

I usually don't buy unnatural colors of eye shadow, but I picked up this purple Covergirl shade for my daughter's ballet recital. It applies easily, but it's very sheer.

You need to really layer it if you want the color to be noticeable. The Kevyn Aucoin shadow is quite opposite. It's heavily pigmented and one application can go a long way. However, it's a bit tricky to blend.

2. Bronzer: Mark Shimmer Cream Cubes ($13) vs. Glo Professionals Sunkiss Bronzer ($41)

I'm a big fan of bronzers, no matter what time of the year it is. They work nicely with blushes to give a healthy color to any face. Both of these bronzers applied very smoothly and gave good color.

The Mark brand has a little more shimmer in it than I'd normally wear, but overall, there's virtually no difference in appearance.

3. Mascara: Covergirl Super Sizer in Very Black ($6) vs. Korres Obsidian Black ($32)

If there's one product that I can't live without, it's mascara. I usually apply at least three coats on my lashes and use two different products at a time.

According to these pictures, it looks like I can just stick to applying one brand. They look similar, but the wands for application are very different. The Covergirl wand is thin and long, while the Korres's bristles are longer and thicker.

4. Lip color: Revlon Super Lustrous in Super Natural ($6) vs. Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie ($18)

It's difficult to really compare these two because the Revlon product is more of a gloss compared to a lipstick, but the colors are very similar. I find myself reapplying the Revlon gloss more often during the day than I would the Bare Minerals lipstick, but that tends to be the case with glosses.

Overall, when you compare all four products face to face, there doesn't seem to be any noticeable difference.

So, what's the difference? Well, price is one thing. $27.48 for all four drugstore products vs. $149 for the higher-end ones. That's a big difference.

Another thing to consider is length of wear. How long are you going to be wearing the makeup? In other words, how often do you want to reapply it during the day?

For the most part, makeups that cost a little more will last longer than the cheaper versions. But if you're only going to be wearing it for a short while, it might be best for your wallet to go with the steal.



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