Are Designer Names Necessary? Beauty Buys You Can Skimp On (And Those You Can’t)

When it comes to beauty buys, more expensive doesn’t always mean better. “You get what you pay for,” common sense logic tells us and so we empty our pockets in pursuit of quality over price-consciousness. But this isn’t true for all beauty products, especially in an era when famous names and brand popularity drive up price points. Is high-end makeup always higher in quality than drugstore brands? Let’s discuss how common beauty buys stack up against their pricier competitors.

  • Mascara: This is one realm where drugstore brands are not only just as good, but often work better than department store labels. Next time you’re watching a makeover show, check out the makeup artist’s kit for that unmistakable green and pink Maybelline bottle. Even the pros prefer drugstore mascara, it seems.
  • Lipstick: If we’re talking straight-up lipstick and not gloss or stain, there isn’t a huge difference in texture or coloration, no matter the price. Revlon and Covergirl are my go-to brands because they roll on smoothly and don’t get crusty over time, either on my lips or in the tube. I still have a tube of gorgeous matte Revlon red from the early 90s that works wonderfully even after so many years.
  • Nail Polish: Nail artists will praise the names of OPI and other expensive brands up and down, but if you’re in a cash pinch, the cheaper Sally Hansen will do just as well. These polishes last long and come in an array of trendy, of-the-moment shades.
  • Powder: If you’re into setting your look with powder, any one type is little better than the other beauty buys. I’ve found that my trusty Maybelline compact holds up just as well as the fancier mineral powders, and dries out my skin a lot less. However, your mileage may vary, especially if you have sensitive skin. The same goes for blush products, which are great at any price, just as long as they don’t make you break out.

Unfortunately, not all drugstore products come close to the quality of higher end cosmetics, and can be frustrating to work with. Some beauty buys you just have to splurge on.

  • Eyeliner: There’s nothing more maddening than a hard, unmanageable eye pencil you hoped would prove to be better than its low price. Same for liquid liners, which aren’t even that awesome at the high-end. I like Urban Decay’s glide-on pencils, which come out deeply pigmented and smooth.
  • Foundation: The colors offered by drugstore beauty buys tend to cover a limited range, especially for dark or very pale skin, and it can be difficult matching your undertones. Most lower-priced foundations are much too pink or too yellow for anyone’s complexion.
  • Primer: Eye makeup primer, in particular, is one product you should never overlook. With a good primer, you can cut your costs on pigments instead and no one will ever know the difference.

How do you like to keep your cosmetics costs down? Are there any products you just can’t live without?


Leave a Reply