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Drugstore vs. High-End Makeup: What’s the Difference?

Written by Stylist Brittany B.

When doing makeup for weddings and photo shoots, I often get asked, “Other than price, is there really a difference between drugstore and high-end makeup?” I’m going to try to answer that question while also providing clarity about where to splurge and where to save!

Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of drugstore makeup. A lot of my personal collection, as well as my professional kit, is made up of drugstore makeup. In recent years, with the rise of beauty gurus on YouTube, the average female has become much more makeup savvy and beauty companies have taken notice. In response, the quality of drugstore makeup has gone way up to the delight of us all! Unfortunately, so has the price tag, boo. With some drugstore products almost reaching the cost of something you might find at Sephora, which one do you choose?


What a lot of women may not realize is that many high-end brands are owned by the same companies that can be found in the drugstore. For instance, L’Oreal owns Urban Decay, Lancome, Giorgio Armani, and Yves Saint Laurent, just to name a few. This means that the same people developing that $80 eye shadow palette sold at Nordstrom are also likely developing the $10-$15 palette you may find at Target.

Color palette
Photo by Taylor Jones Photography

Now, with all of that said, not all makeup products are created equally. We’ve all felt the difference between a smooth buttery eye shadow and a dry chalky one that flakes right off. Here are my suggestions about where to start when building your own set of products!


I believe that beautiful makeup starts with a good base. If you are going to spend money on high-end products, I would start with a great primer, foundation, concealer, and powder. I do often find a better quality of these products in higher-end stores or brands. Figure out what kind of skin you have (dry, combo, oily), and go from there. Beautiful skin will never go out of style, and a good foundation and concealer will enhance what’s underneath.

Beautiful foundation application
Photo by Dyan Kethley


Save your money and get your blushes, eye shadows, and lip products at the drugstore or Ulta. Morphe, Colourpop, and Makeup Revolution have amazing products at very affordable prices.

Obviously, these are just my opinions, and makeup is an art form meant to be enjoyed however you like. Wherever you decide to shop, or however much you choose to spend, the most important thing is that you feel confident and beautiful, and have fun creating!

Blush application
Photo by Stephanie Brazzle Photography

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