I hope you’ll enjoy getting ready with me on today’s video as I create a summer look using drugstore makeup that works just as well – if not better – than many high end products. It’s definitely possible to find great quality as well as poor quality makeup at all price points, but today I’m focusing on some really top notch drugstore products.
In addition to using some of my top favorite drugstore brands, I’ll also mention some other great drugstore products in various makeup categories. And I’ll also touch on a few makeup categories where higher end products can sometimes be a better choice.
If you watch the video on YouTube (click on the YouTube arrow in the photo above), you’ll find links in the description box to all of these products. Just click “show more” to get to the description box.
Here’s the inside scoop on the topic of drugstore vs. high end makeup from someone who knows the beauty industry from the inside out. Her name is Andrea Q. Robinson and she’s the author of Toss the Gloss: Beauty Tips, Truths and Tricks for Women 50+.
She is a legendary figure in the fashion and beauty business where her career spanned more than 40 years. She’s a former beauty editor of Vogue, fashion editor of Mademoiselle, and creative director of Seventeen. She was also a Chief Marketing Officer at Estee Lauder and has been honored with multiple beauty industry awards. So, she definitely knows whereof she speaks about all things beauty.
In her book, Ms. Robinson says that the major beauty corporations own or license several brands in a wide range of price points. For instance, Estee Lauder runs Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Tom Ford, La Mer, MAC, Estee Lauder, Smashbox, and Too Faced, just to name a few.
The L’Oreal group has Maybelline, Lancome, L’Oreal Paris, IT Cosmetics, NYX, and Urban Decay, among others. And Coty owns Cover Girl, Max Factor and Rimmel. Each of these major corporations holds one research lab that develops ingredients which are widely used across many of the brands owned by that corporation.
But different scientific sounding names are often used for the same ingredient in different products. So for instance, a drugstore brand might introduce a product with beautiful packaging with ingredient X and launch an ad campaign featuring a celebrity spokesperson.
Another brand owned by this same corporation might introduce virtually the same product with the same ingredient X, have different luxury packaging and a chic French name. And the only real difference is usually the price. So, all of this just goes to show that you can often find really good makeup and beauty products at the drugstore.
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In the video I filled in my brows using three really good drugstore eyebrow products: Elf’s Instant Lift Brow Pencil in Taupe, NYX’s Lift and Snatch Eyebrow Tint Pen and Almay’s Brow Styler Gel in “Medium Brown.” The eye primer I’m using is from Essence and is called “I Love Stage.” There’s only one color but it does work quite well.
Milani makes a great eye primer, but unfortunately, it’s clear so it doesn’t cover up the discoloration that many of us have on our eyelids. One drugstore eye primer that looks like it would cover discoloration, but which I haven’t yet tried, is Jason Wu’s new makeup brand which is available at Target stores.
His eye primer comes in four colors – white, light, medium and deep. If any of you have tried it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. And if you’ve found any other drugstore eye primers which cover discoloration, I hope you’ll share the name of the product in the comment section below. This is one makeup category where I wish there were more good drugstore options.
For eye shadow I’m using Elf’s Retro Paradise Eye Shadow Palette which, unfortunately, is no longer available. One thing I so appreciate about this palette is that there’s a great mix of light, medium and darker shades as well as a fun mix of colors. And, it has 18 colors, 11 of which are mattes – that’s a lot of really good versatility.
Other good drugstore eyeshadow palettes include those made by Catrice. Bh Cosmetics and Colourpop also have excellent eyeshadows which can be found at Ulta or online with prices very comparable to drugstore prices.
I would say that of all the different makeup categories, mascara is where drugstore brands really excel. There are a number of top notch drugstore mascaras, including L’Oreal’s Lash Paradise, Cover Girl Lash Blast, Maybelline Lash Sensational and two from Essence: their Princess False Lash Mascara and their Lash Princess Sculpted Volume Mascara. And I hope you’ll share your favorite drugstore mascara in the comment section below.
For my foundation in the video, I’m combining L’Oreal’s Age Perfect Foundation in “Rose Ivory” with my Catrice True Skin Foundation in “Cool Rose.” The L’Oreal Foundation provides a lovely radiant finish and when combined with the Catrice foundation it’s even more long lasting.
Under the eyes I’m using Elf’s Hydrating Camo Concealer in “Light Peach” as my color corrector. And over it I applied a small amount of the Elf Hydrating Camo Concealer in “Fair Beige.” These concealers are wonderfully creamy and provide excellent coverage.
And, to keep the under eye area from creasing, I’ve used Maybelline’s “Fix Me” Banana powder over the concealer. There are several other excellent drugstore powders as well: Rimmel’s Stay Matte Powder and two powders from No. 7, which are available at Target: No 7’s Perfect Light Powder in Translucent which is a loose powder and their Lift and Luminate pressed powder which many people feel is a dupe for Charlotte Tilbury’s powder. And I also have to give high marks to Elf’s Halo setting powder.
To contour, I’m using Elf’s Cream Contour Palette. Two other great drugstore products to use as contour are Maybelline’s Fit Me Shine Free and Balance Foundation Stick in “Coconut” and Wet ‘n Wild’s Contour Stick in “Where’s Walnut.”
I’ve finished my face by applying Flower Beauty’s Blush in “Bubbly” mixed with a slightly darker RCMA cream blush called “Gena.” My highlighter is Wet ‘n Wild’s liquid Megaglow highlighter in “Halo, Goodbye.” Two other good drugstore cream highlighter options are Revlon’s Skinlights Face Glow Illuninator and NYX’s Born to Glow Illuminator.
Loreal’s Age Perfect lipliner in “Bold Orchid” does double duty: it provides color and it has ingredients that keep lipstick from migrating into the fine lines around our lips.
Other excellent drugstore lipliners include Wet ‘n Wild, Essence and Revlon. To help prevent feathering, I also apply L’Oreal’s matte lipstick called “At the Drop of a Matte” followed by a beautiful satin finish lipstick from Milani called “Violet Volt.”
I really love all of these drugstore products. And all the products I’ve used – except perhaps for the Elf Eyeshadow- – are truly comparable to, if not better than, many high end products.
But I will say that there are three makeup categories where I generally personally prefer to use mid-range to higher end products: eyeshadow, foundation and a foundation buffing brush.
My experience has been that mid-range to higher end eyeshadows often have more pigmentation and blend really effortlessly which can make them easier to apply. And there are some really exceptional mid-range to higher end foundations and brushes which can really make our skin look flawless.
Do you have a favorite drugstore mascara or foundation? What are some of your other favorite drugstore makeup products? Is there anything that frustrates you about shopping for drugstore makeup? Please share away!