Department store versus Drugstore: When to save and splurge on makeup

Published by adviser, Author: Katie Ellis - Campus Life Editor, Date: November 20, 2014
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When buying makeup, women are faced with the question of whether to save or splurge on the products they want, and often times that means choosing between items from drugstores and department stores.

Whether you shop at drugstores or department stores for your beauty products, being knowledgeable about what you’re buying is the best way to choose a product that will suit your specific beauty needs. Looking at cult beauty products from both ends of the spectrum is a good starting point because these products wouldn’t have become the commodities they are today, without favorable reviews and recommendations from the women that have tried them.

Beauty balms, or BB creams as they’re more commonly known, have become makeup bag staples for women in the last few years thanks to their success in Asian markets, which helped launch their cult following at makeup counters across the United States. One of the first brands to bring BB creams stateside was Estee Lauder, known for their high-quality products beloved by women of all ages.

Their Clear Difference Complexion Perfecting BB Crème which retails for $40 is the perfect department store splurge for first time or devoted BB cream users. It comes in three shades from light to medium deep and with the benefit of SPF 35 protection, its oil-free formula helps to conceal and control breakouts, and give skin a flawless finish.

The best drugstore BB cream on the market is produced by Maybelline and retails for just $9. Maybelline’s version of the cult favorite product comes in five shades which range from light to deep, and with the addition of 2 percent salicylic acid, the most available to consumers without a prescription, it helps to clear acne and reduce redness. This item consistently ranks high among readers of magazines like “Seventeen” and “Teen Vogue” as their BB cream of choice.

No mascara on the market whether it comes from the drugstore or the department store has as great a fan base as Diorshow mascara. This ultra-popular department store buy comes in three colors, catwalk black, blue and brown, and retails for $25. This mascara is favored by celebrities for high-profile events, because it gives a false lash effect without the commitment with just a few swipes of the XXL brush.

Diorshow mascara has an equally impressive drugstore counterpart in L’Oreal’s Voluminous Original mascara. For around $7, you can get an equally impressive set of lashes thanks to the brush that promises to separate and thicken lashes to make them look fuller for a polished, clump-free look. This mascara will last for hours without flaking, and doesn’t require any touchups as you take your makeup look from day-to-night.

If Urban Decay’s Naked eye shadow palette isn’t the first product that comes to mind when thinking of cult favorite shadows, then it’s time to brush up on your makeup IQ. The original Naked has become so popular that Urban Decay has developed two additional 12-shadow palettes in varying nude hues that compliment all eye colors. For $54, you can add the Naked palette into your beauty routine, and begin experimenting with the colors that range from the pale pink Virgin to the silver-blue Gunmetal.

Recognized by the acronym e.l.f., the eyes lips face brand has been a popular drugstore staple for years because of their affordable products that are known to last. They have a variety of eye shadow palettes, but the Studio Baked Eyeshadow Palette in California which sells for $10, is among the highest rated with customers. The 10 shadows in this palette look great alone and even better blended together.

Nothing ensures long-lasting color for cheeks quite like cream blush. There’s no better department store blush than Chanel’s Le Blush Crème de Chanel in Chamade, a rich coral shade that goes well with all skin tones. Ever since Lupita Nyong’o wore this shade to the Oscars earlier this year, Chanel has had a hard time keeping this new cult favorite stocked at their makeup counters across the country. This $38 blush can be easily applied to cheeks by using your fingertips or a makeup sponge.

Revlon’s Cream Blush in Coral Reef has the some rich pigment that Chamade does, but on a drugstore budget of just $13. It will give you a dewy glow all winter long thanks to its lightweight, non-greasy formula that will last for hours without any touch ups.

Deciding whether to save or splurge on beauty products can be a tough decision, but making sure that you’re buying the best quality products you can afford will get your look noticed for the right reasons. Invest in one department store buy that highlights your favorite feature to ensure that you’ll want to wear it as often as possible. Mixing drugstore and department store buys is the best way to achieve the ultimate beauty look.

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