sixtyandme logo
We are community supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Which Looks Better – My Most Expensive or My Least Expensive Drugstore Makeup?

I’ve never taken the step of actually doing a head-to-head test by taking photos and directly comparing a makeup look done with high-end products vs. a makeup look done with drugstore products, but today is the day! In today’s accompanying video I’ll apply a full face of my least expensive drugstore makeup, take some photos and then we can compare these photos to the ones I took of the high-end makeup look I did a week ago. And then I’d love to know your thoughts on which you feel looks the best.

I’ve already applied the same skin prep and used the same moisturizers and eye primer as I did when I applied my high-end products. But I did use my least expensive face primer which is Elf’s new Poreless Liquid Putty Face Primer. And because I know many of you want to know whether products are cruelty free, let me share that the only product I’m using today that is not cruelty free is from Revlon.

The Inexpensive Eye Look

For my eye brows, I used Elf’s Instant Lift Brow Pencil and the NYX Micro Brow Pencil. And I used just a touch of my “Maybelline Brow Fast Sculpt Mascara” to cover up some white and grey brow hairs. My eyeshadow will be this amazing $3.00 Bite Size palette from Elf in the shade “I Love You a Latte.” One of the reasons I love this palette so much is because these shades are universally flattering. I also love Elf’s Bite Size “Cream and Sugar” palette and the “Pumpkin Pie” palette.

And in order to match the shimmer in the middle of my eyelid look I did with my high end Natasha Denona “Biba” palette, I’ll use just a touch of Elf’s Liquid Metallic Eye Shadow in the shade “Moon” just on the center of my eyelids. I’ll use the darkest shade in Elf’s “I Love You a Latte” palette as my eyeliner and then apply mascara.

The Inexpensive Face Look

Although I love L’Oreal’s Age Perfect Serum Foundation, it’s definitely not my least expensive drugstore foundation. But this one is: my Wet n Wild Photo Focus Foundation. And I’m going to combine a little of the dewy version of this foundation with some of the matte version, so I’ll end up with a slight glow.

Be sure to check out Elise’s YouTube channel which specifically focuses on makeup tips, techniques, and product reviews for those of us 50+. Don’t forget to subscribe!

To help tone down the look of dark circles under my eyes, I’ll first use Elf’s Putty Color Correcting Eye Brightener and over the top of it I’ll tap on Elf’s Hydrating Camo Concealer in the shade “Fair Rose.” Since Catrice’s True Skin Concealer costs the same as the Elf Hydrating Camo Concealer, I’ll use it to cover my age spots and will put it around the edge of my lips to help prevent my lipstick from migrating into the fine lines around my lips.

The very least expensive drugstore contour option is Wet n Wild’s Contour stick, and I’ll be using the shade “Where’s Walnut.” Since this contour stick isn’t quite as creamy as some of my high-end sticks, I’m going to use a brush to pick it up off the applicator and then apply the contour.

The Inexpensive Blush and Highlighter Look

My least expensive drugstore blush is from Elf. I love both their regular putty blush (especially the beautiful pink shade “Bora, Bora”) and their Luminous Putty Blush which gives a little more glow to the skin.

I’ll go with the Elf Luminous blush version today in the shade “Maui” which I think is closest to the shade of blush I used for the video featuring my most expensive products. And by the way, I do wish Elf would put the blush shade names on the bottom in bigger print. Even with a magnifying glass I find it almost impossible to read the shade names!

Although one of my favorite drugstore highlighters is Wet n Wild’s Liquid Mega Glow highlighter, their stick highlighter is less expensive so that’s what I’m going to go with today. It’s the shade “When the Nude Strikes.”  I’ll pick some of this product up with my finger so I can warm it up a bit which will make it easier to apply.

Inexpensive Powder and Lip Options

Now I’ll finish up with a setting powder, lip products and setting spray. I have Elf’s Halo Glow Setting Powder in the pink shade and that’s what I’ll be using in my T-zone. For my lips, Revlon’s Color Stay lip liner will come first, then Wet n Wild’s Silk Finish Lipstick in “Retro Pink” and “Fuschsia Mixed with Blue Pearl” over it. Wet n Wild’s Color Icon Zodiac Gloss in “Libra” will be the finishing touch for the lips.

And last but not least is a wonderful setting spray from Elf. That is, it’s wonderful if you enjoy a coconut fragrance. It’s Elf’s “Dewy Coconut Setting Spray.” I’ll spray it onto my dampened makeup sponge and then pat it over my skin.

The Final Touch

The most expensive products I used today cost $10 each: Elf’s new Liquid Poreless Putty Face Primer and Elf’s Dewy Coconut Setting spray. The total cost of all the least expensive drugstore products I used today was $132.45. And just as a reminder, in the video where I applied my most expensive makeup just the cost of the eyeshadow palette alone was almost what this entire face of inexpensive drugstore makeup cost!

Which Looks Better?

My makeup is now done so let’s take a look at the photos in the video for the final results. You’ll find the photos at this spot in the video: 18:50. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on which looks better – the makeup look using my most expensive products or today’s look using my least expensive drugstore makeup.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you have a favorite drugstore makeup brand? What are some of your favorite drugstore makeup products? Are there some parts of your makeup routine where you prefer to use high end products?

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I used Chanel foundation for years, loved it and then found that L’Oreal oil free foundation is a very close match. In the high end vs. drug store products, the high end foundation seemed to be more sheer-my preference.

Elise Marquam Jahns

Hi, Jackie–L’Oreal definitely does make some very good foundations! Although I like many drugstore foundations, for special occasions or for times I just want to look my best, I do opt for my higher end foundations. That’s one of the few makeup products I do feel is worth splurging on!


Hi Elise. I couldn’t see much difference. But I live in Perth in Western Australia where our summers are very long, hot and dry. Any suggestions? And that’s over our summer Christmas celebration time.

Elise Marquam Jahns

Hi, Susanna–I can identify with long, hot and dry summers since we live in the Southwestern U.S. I’m always happy to offer suggestions–but could you let me know specifically what you’d like suggestions for–e.g. types of foundation that would be best or other specific products that would be best–or other? Thanks!

Carol Bain

I cannot see much difference! Very similar shades. I do have some expensive items but wonder if we are conned into thinking they are better and are paying for the packaging.

Elise Marquam Jahns

Hi, Carol–I certainly think you’re right that we’re definitely paying more for the packaging. I did another video recently where I talked about what makeup products were worth splurging on and which weren’t. Products like high end lip liners, eyeliners and brow pencils are often manufactured by the same companies that make the drugstore products. One of the products I really feel is worth splurging on is foundation since it’s far more complicated to create and often high end versions offer a far wider shade selection so we’re more likely to get a better match. Here’s a link to that YouTube video in case you might find it helpful:


I rthik the high Ed gave you a more youthful appearance. I think it was because it had a more rosy tone. I think the lower Ed look was subdued due to how light your foundation was Both looked very good.

Nice to see how another woman puts on her make up. I have subscribed to your channel. 😊

Elise Marquam Jahns

Hi, Sharon–Yes, I think the high end foundation is a better color match for me (which is one of the pluses of higher end foundations since they often have more shades from which to choose). I’m glad you enjoyed the video and hope you’ll enjoy the videos you’ll find every Thursday on my YouTube channel. Thanks so much for subscribing!

The Author

Elise Marquam-Jahns is a professional makeup artist who is passionate about helping women 50+ get their glow back. She is the founder of Boomer and Beyond Beauty and runs the “Boomer and Beyond Beauty with Elise” YouTube channel. Elise has authored the free guide The Top Four Research-Proven Makeup Techniques That Help Us Look Our Best Now.

You Might Also Like