Drugstore vs High End - When to Save & When to Splurge

Good morning lovelies and happy Thursday! Today I wanted to dive into the world of makeup with you all. I have many friends that have been asking me the hard question, drugstore vs high end, is there really a difference?

The bottom line? Yes, there is a difference.

The makeup you shop for at Sephora and cosmetic counters are very different than the makeup you pick up at target. I will stress a million times over hat price is NOT a definite sign of quality. Now I know you're wondering, what is really the definite difference between the two? Here are just a few examples  between the two.


The Big Difference

  1. Pigment Ratio - High end makeup has a higher pigment ratio than at the drugstore. That means whatever you're dying to splurge on at Sephora or MAC, it's almost guaranteed to have an amazing color payoff, it's more skin friendly, and will show up on your skin with barely one stroke from your brush. Also, if you're a super fair like me and having quite the challenge finding a foundation that suits you, high end brands carry a more extensive color line than drugstore. It's fool proof, and you usually get exactly what you pay for. 
  2. Better Ingredients - All makeup is made up of base ingredients, packed full of fillers and preservatives, no matter what brand, lets get that straight first. Typically, high end cosmetics use BETTER ingredients in their products. Which means the product is more skin friendly, it lasts longer, and is of better quality all around. High end makeup is more expensive because of THIS fact, that it's undergone more testing, to ensure better quality, and the better raw ingredients. 

Now, lets talk about what's worth the extra couple of bucks and what isin't. Yes, I work at Sephora, (the most incredible company ever!) but that does not mean I am biased. I have spent years shopping in both Ulta, Sephora, and especially at the drugstore. I've purchased makeup all over - Target, Wal-Mart, really anywhere makeup is sold. For years I would refuse to splurge on a $28 foundation at MAC because I assumed it was the exact same as my L'Oreal Luminous foundation.....until one day I just took home a sample. My makeup game was forever changed. And I absolutely encourage you all to do the same, especially for foundation. That was one thing I HATED at the drugstore was just "guessing" you could never swatch them! Anyway, here are just a few things to SAVE AND SPLURGE on!


When to Splurge

1. Skincare - I can not preach this enough. You date your makeup, it's forever changing, but you MARRY your skincare. Once you nail down a skincare routine, you're consistent, and you use what works for a very long time. You do not want to skimp on skincare whatsoever my friend. Throw away the Clean and Clear, the Neutrogena and all that crap packed full of cheap ingredients and potential harsh skin irritants. There is a reason you spend good money on skincare products, it's not only an INVESTMENT, it's something you're putting directly onto your face! 

2. Foundation/Concealer- Again, this is one of those products that go directly onto your face. Splurging on foundation is always a grand idea in my book. Since it directly sits on your delicate skin, it also has the potential to irritate or break you out. Why risk that? I sure wouldn't. For me, I'm super pale and I can't find the perfect shade at the drugstore, I honestly will not waste my time either. High end brands, especially Sephora have wider shade ranges, making it easier to ensure the PERFECT match. Also, when you hit up Sephora, you can get an instant skin match within one minute. What do I meant? We have an exclusive technology, called Color IQ, a device that takes three pictures of your skin, that gives us a specific number to your skin tone. It instantly pulls all of the foundations that have YOUR unique number, allowing you to ace your base and never wear the wrong shade of foundation again. Also at Sephora we can give samples galore, so before you splurge on a $36 foundation, you can try it for a week or two before you invest. That alone, is a big reason to skip the drugstore and head right to Sephora. 

3. Tools - When I say tools, I mean makeup brushes, all the beautiful things you use to ensure your foundation, blush and all that jazz glides seamlessly on your face. The big difference between high end tools and drugstore? Typically drugstore makeup brushes are synthetic brushes that are mass marketed. They don't hold pigment well, and can make blending a smokey eye a two hour event. Good quality brushes are hand made, and typically have natural fibers, making them last quite awhile. Quality makeup brushes will make any makeup look professionally applied. 


When to Save

1. Nail polish - I did nails for years, and to be quite honest, yes, OPI will always be my bread winner, but most nail polishes are made the same. Formulation is basically the exact same, so go ahead and save your precious dollars. There is always an exact dupe for high end colors in polishes, so go ahead and google them. Lets face it, nail polished from all walks of life dry out, so why bother spending more on them? Save your pennies ladies. 

2. Mascara - Sure, high end mascara can have "better ingredients" than a Maybelline one, but to be honest here: You need to replace your mascara every three months. For something you will be tossing every so often, you do not need to fork over $30 on a mascara. I own a few designer mascaras, and I absolutely love them. But I love my L'Oreal Telescoping mascara a little more because I saved a bunch of money at the drugstore. Just remember, mascara has the shortest life span out of all of your cosmetics and it's not necessary you splurge!

3. Lipstick - As much as I love my Kat Von D liquid lipsticks there is something to be said here. Lipsticks and lig glosses, high end or not are virtually created the same as well as nail polishes. The drugstore has created an even wider selection of colors, so you can find a shade that best suits you. If it's going to be applied to your lips, no matter what brand it will NEED to be reapplied. Your mouth is always sipping, kissing and moving so it's obvious you will need to reapply every so often. Feel free to splurge or save on this one.


When it comes down to it, many will argue that their drugstore foundation is just as good as a NARS one. And that's 100% okay. Everyone is different and makes their own choices. So feel free to save and splurge on whatever makeup you want. NARS said it best: "Don't be so serious, it's only makeup." It's all about self expression, and what makes you feel most beautiful.

What do you think? What products do you splurge on? What is your favorite drugstore steal? Do you agree with my picks? Let me know by leaving a comments, I'd love to hear your thoughts!