Years ago, the drugstore didn’t have nearly the makeup selection it has now. Maybelline, Covergirl, and Revlon all existed, sure, but the quality wasn’t there. If you wanted the good stuff (i.e. high-end makeup) you had to head to Sephora, Macy’s or your department store of choice.
Well those days are gone! Now the drugstore is full of amazing products (looking at you, Maybelline Fit Me Foundation) and it seems like every week there’s a new brand in my local CVS. While the fact that there’s actually good makeup in the drugstore now is awesome, sometimes you still can’t beat high-end products.
For this reason, I’m breaking down what products you should save on and what products you should splurge on. So, let’s get started shall we?
I have yet to find a drugstore primer that performs as well as high-end ones. They’re either straight silicone, don’t fill in pores, or don’t mattify my skin enough.
My favorites that I recommend:
- Benefit Porefessional Primer – fills in pores really well
- Benefit Matte Rescue – makes the skin matte. I use this underneath or in conjunction with the Porefessional primer
- Smashbox Photo Focus Primer – makes your skin look flawless, fills in pores, and helps control oil
Foundation: Save or Splurge
This one is honestly a toss up. Drugstore brands have stepped up their game when it comes to foundations. Some of my favorites come from Maybelline and L’Oreal and even Wet n’ Wild makes a $5 foundation that has received rave reviews.
That being said, I’ve tried foundations from Fenty, Urban Decay, and Tarte that I really enjoy. This one just depends on what you’re looking for in your foundation, your budget, and if you care about using high-end brands or not.
Favorite Drugstore Foundations:
- Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless
- Maybelline Super Stay Full Coverage Foundation
- L’Oreal Pro-Matte 24HR Foundation
Favorite High-End Foundations:
- Fenty Beauty Soft Matte Foundation
- Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Foundation
- Tarte BB Cream
I know, I know, Tarte Shape Tape is all the rage right now and the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer has been a long time favorite for many people. Both of those will set you back $30 each, though. I just can’t spend that type of money on a concealer that I’ll have to buy again in a month or two.
Instead, I hit up the drugstore for my all time favorites that I can’t live without:
- Maybelline Fit Me Concealer
- Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer
- NYX HD Definition Concealer
- Wet N’ Wild Photo Focus Concealer
Honestly, I’m still trying to find an eyebrow product that I absolutely love. I had a good thing going with a L’Oreal gel for a while and then they went and discontinued it 🙄 I’m still very much a gel person, though. They’re the quickest for me and they last a while. I’ve found that eyebrow pencils, while precise, last about 3 weeks and then you’re off to the store to buy a new one.
So, if eyebrow gels aren’t your thing skip this section. Otherwise, these are the ones from the drugstore that I like the best.
Grab Your Free List of Over 30 Drugstore Dupes
I was mentally going through my makeup collection and realized that all of my eyeshadow, save for a few singles, are high-end. I think you can find good drugstore options (Milani, Wet n’ Wild, and NYX) but eyeshadow palettes are one of the bits of high-end makeup I truly think are worth investing in.
I mean really, when was the last time you used up an eyeshadow palette… Exactly! Palettes last for forever and the quality from a lot of them just can’t be beat.
Here are some of my faves:
- Tarte Tartelette In Bloom
- Huda Beauty Mauve Obsessions
- Too Faced Neutral Eyes Natural Eyeshadow Palette
Related Reading: Too Faced Natural Love Palette Review
Eyeliner: Save or Splurge
This is another toss up; there are great options whether you go drugstore or high-end.
Related Reading: Stila vs NYX: Which Eyeliner Is Better?
If you only take one thing away from this ridiculously long winded blog post, it’s that high-end mascara is a waste of your money. Sure, I’ve enjoyed mascaras from Urban Decay and Smashbox, but you can find mascaras that will give you the exact same look at the drugstore. Save your $25 for date night, a new shirt, or to put gas in your car.
Here are some of my fave mascaras that you have to try:
I’ll be honest, I haven’t tried many high-end bronzers. I do love the Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer, but other than that I think you’re better off heading to the drugstore. Some of the cult faves in terms of bronzers are from the drugstore, so really, why waste your money?
Some of my faves:
- Milani Baked Bronzer in 09 Dolce
- Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer
- Essence Sun Club Matt Bronzing Powder
Oh how I love me a good blush. The drugstore has some nice options, but there are some high-end blushes that are just too good to pass up. Blush is another one of those products that will take a long time to use up, so I think it’s well worth the money.
Blushes You Need:
I’ve tried a lot of highlighters, both drugstore and high-end. By the end of the day whatever highlighter from the drugstore I’m wearing has usually worn off. For that reason I think high-end highlighters are the way to go. They’ll last a while, they’re not outrageously priced, and there are so many formulas that are just incredible.
My Favorite Highlighters:
Related Reading: Which One’s Better: MAC vs e.l.f. Highlighters
Lipstick: Save or Splurge
The amount of lipstick options that exist in this world is honestly overwhelming. Whether you like liquid or a classic bullet lipstick, matte or satin, there is something for everyone. There’s no way, as a self proclaimed lipstick junkie, that I could tell you to buy drugstore over high-end of vice versa.
So, here are my favorites from both ends of the spectrum:
We made it to the end! I think this is longest post I’ve written so thank you for staying with me! I hope you found this post helpful and will use what you learned to go out and buy some new makeup faves.
What are some of your favorite drugstore and high-end makeup favorites? Let’s chat in the comments below!
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