View Full Version : Difference between drug store & High-end makeup???

07-17-2004, 02:10 AM
Both in cosplay and just for every day use, I've seen lots of differences in opinion between drug store and high end makeup. Some of my preferences are pretty simple: I don't buy 'cheap' eyeshadow or eyeliner usually because I like Urban Decay's dramatic, gritty color ranges better (though at $15 a pop, they're pretty pricey - though with UD a little goes a LONG way).

But what I mean is... how much of a difference IS there in quality? And are there any good 'drugstore' brands (and vice versa - any good 'high-end brands) that you'd reccomend? I'm young so I don't wear a lot of makeup, but any help would be greatly appreciated. ^_^ When one cosplays they want their makeup to last, so I want to figure out which brands are best in general...

07-17-2004, 02:45 AM
i dont know how much insight i can offer into this subject as i dont wear much makeup being a guy... but i do know a little about stage makeup which i use in cosplay and any stage productions i might feel like doing or have done... on stage, ben nye was the makeup of choice simply because it was made for stage productions... it could handle the heat of the lights and being energetic on stage without needing touch-up... i mean obviously going a whole day with it on in the same heat would have required touch up but it wasnt just flowing at the first sign of sweat or melting off under the lights like a wax figurine. such is why i choose ben nye stuff if im needing makeup in cosplay since i liken it to stage productions.. it looks better in pictures... i would probably say the same about other high end brands made for stage use... as far as daily makeup, i would see one reason just any drugstore brand might not be ideal because unless the company is completely devoted to makeup and has been doing it in a specific application for some time, i doubt their ability to formulate their stuff very well, since they probably are only trying to cater to people who want to save money and dont know much about it... as opposed to some high end makeup manufacturers who specialize in makeup and know the formulations and applications well, therefore they can charge a high price.. i will say that i think some of the medium range companies like maybelline or cover girl probably just play the brand name game and are not noticably better than drug store brands....whereas names like max factor and ben nye have been in the business for a while and are more expensive but are used in major production stuff.... but like i said... take this how you will, im just a guy.. i dont wear makeup on a daily basis so i can t provide intricate insight hehe.... just hope i can help!

07-17-2004, 10:21 AM
I think there's often a big difference in quality. High-end stuff tends to have more pigment, so you don't need to use as much of it and the colors are richer and darker. I also think the colors are just better. For example, of course every brand makes a light gray eyeshadow, but the high-end brands will have them in subtle warm and cool tones to complement different colorings, while the drugstore brand will only have one that's not exactly bad but doesn't look wonderful on anyone.

Every time I talk to a cosplayer whose makeup I really admire, to find out how they got that look, they ALWAYS have a stash that's at least 60% high-end stuff. A lot of people get a look that's pretty good with drugstore stuff, but it always seems like the ones who are awesome use high-end makeup.

07-17-2004, 01:21 PM
High-end's always the best, but sometimes you can find low-end makeup that works well, too. I usually go with Neutrogena, Revlon, and Almay products. I can use them all day without needing to reapply. The products you use are important, but how you apply makes a big difference as well.

07-17-2004, 03:32 PM
Short answer: NOT MUCH...

since most high-end companies OWN many of the other drugstore companies.
for a very through list, look HERE (http://forums.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=31558)

Longer answer:
- better fragrances
- more pigment, and less fillers like talc in eyeshadows and powder

Things like lipgloss, mascara and face powder don't vary too much between high and low end so you can use drugstore stuff. And since you are supposed to throw out mascaras every 3-4 months it's easier on the wallet.

For foundation, concealer, and GOOD eyeshadows and blushes I stick with high-end products for a) COLOR b) texture c) more durable wear throughout the day. These products last for a much longer time so it is worth investing in them.

btw: FoxPhyre - space out your posts. your "big block of text" was very hard on the eyes to read... :p

07-17-2004, 05:34 PM
What has been said is right. Most foundation and concealers tend to come in greater variety with high-end lines, and sometimes the quality of the product tends to be a bit better...for example, it has a tendency to be nicer on the face (because of the pigments used, it isn't as harsh in different lighting), and may sometimes stay on longer and nicer. Then again, a lot of high-end makeup lines offer custom makeup products (foundation, etc.), so that is worth the money to dish out.

The differentiation in quality really depends on the large company that owns the smaller lines (see the link for the list above). This is my own personal bias, but I have a tendency to not use anything by P&G (I just hate the quality) and some of the L'Oreal line. While a lot of stuff on that list is found in drugstores, a lot of those listed still have their own boutiques/counters with stuff that is still pretty pricey (most, if not all of the Estee Lauder line, for example).

The "small" makeup things really don't need to be purchased for a gazillion dollars apiece. That's kind of a waste; however, if you prefer to have that (I PREFER MAC's liquid eyeliner), then fine. My friend PREFERS to have Clinique's eyeliner. Cool. There was an article in one of those recent fashion magazines that revealed that a lot of women who shop and more high-end stores for their makeup and other needs still use a lot of the drugstore brands because, they say, there are a lot of what are called "knock-ons" (def: a knock-off of a brand-name product, but better than it). READ: Bonne Bell, Lip Smackers, etc. etc.

Generally, if you're only going to use makeup a few times, don't go for the really high-end stuff. Even if you purchase $25 foundation, it won't last forever.

07-18-2004, 03:09 PM
I've found that the more you spend on eyeliner pencils, the better they are. Esepcially the ones that are plastic and twist out instead of being a sharpenable pencil.

As for foundation, the best I've ever found for my extremely pale skin is Maybelline in ivory. Even the more expensive stuff I had wasn't as good and covered as well.

As for eyeshadow, I get the same results with the cheaper stuff as the more expensive, but better colors for more $$.

I'm not really saying anything new, so I'll stop now :)

07-18-2004, 09:37 PM
I'd say there's not much difference as well. The difference in quality should be judged from brand to brand, and not high-end vs low-end. There is expensive stuff that is just as poor quality as the dodgy cheap stuff.

In fact, the difference between some items are simply the same product in different packaging.

There are far fewer cosmetic manufacturers that you'd think - most pencils for example, come from the same few factories in Germany. And many brands simply brand/personalise a manufactured product to their own label.

What is good about high-end makeup comes from having expertise to help you buy, better colour selections (especially with foundations), and testers and samples being available.

But in the end, it's up to you to scrutinise what's good or bad quality, a price tag won't help you.

07-18-2004, 09:42 PM
I have a question. Do any of you have a preference to certain companies? I'm not so great with makeup, so it would be good to know which brands to buy from and which brands to stay away from.

07-19-2004, 01:14 AM
i love my lancome foundation and powder.

i have annabelle eyeliner because it is nice and hypo-allergenic

my mascara is Lancome's gift with perchase eyeliner acquired by my mom and dad in their attempts to reverse time's work. they both use high end face creams.although now they're too lazy so i have to get my GWP on my own v.v

lips, i like bonne belle's lip smackers...they taste nummy.

my eyeshadows are all lancome GWP

i am the master of cheap and free stuff.

07-19-2004, 01:33 AM
Hmm ...

high-end: INOUI ID (from Japan), MAC Face & Body, Becca Cosmetics
low-end: Jane Stay Calm, Almay Kenetin, Cyber 21 (from Korea)

high-end: Shu Uemura, Sue Devitt, Stila, Girlactik
low-end: Jane Eyezings, Revlon wet/dry, Almay (the ones in the tubes)

high-end: MAC
low-end: WnW

high-end: Nars, Tarte (gel), Sue Devitt
low-end: L'Oreal Shine Delice

high-end: T LeClerc loose
low-end: Covergirl pressed

high-end: Nars, MAC, Stila
low-end: Sonia Kashuk

high-end: Diorshow
low-end: L'Oreal

07-19-2004, 10:17 AM
bipolarbunny and China-Lilly: Thank you so much! That's really helpful, now I might have some idea of what to buy ^^. Thanks :)

07-19-2004, 03:45 PM
This is the BIGGESt debate in all of makeup. Here's what I find it comes down to.

Spurge on your foundation, concealer and powder. Those have to look the most natural, and the companies that spend more making and researching their product and put better ingredients into them are generally better product.

I don't spend a whole lot on things like eyeshadows, lipsticks and cheek colors. They can be bought in department stores, drug stores, whatever. Same for mascara. Not that dept. store mascara isn't BETTER, but that you have to toss mascara every month or so, and who can afford definicils by Lancome on that type of scheduale?

For costuming and cosplay, its probably best to invest some moolah into theatrical makeup, atleast a good foundation. I urge everyone to go to http://www.bennye.com and order a catalogue. Their foundations aren't very expensive, last forever and look awesome on stage and in photos. And their catalogue even has these kits of makeup for like 16 bucks that will give you what you need personally to look good. You can supplement this with drug store eye,lip and cheek colors if you want.

07-19-2004, 07:02 PM
With foundation, especially for use on stage or in photographs, I agree that professional might be the best option. Note there is a difference between foundations developed for everyday, photography and stage.

Unless you are specifically working on stage, I'd suggest going for a foundation developed for photography like Cinema Secrets, because stage foundations can look heavy in person. You can control the coverage of Cinema Secrets (thin with water). Everyday foundations with SPF (high titanium dioxide content) can reflect light from camera flashes and make you look too white.

Professional makeup tend to have high pigment (to photograph better) while being at reasonable to low prices. The downside is usually the packaging isn't great, and they aren't available everywhere.

07-19-2004, 09:27 PM
oned designed for minute changes were the other is designed for more drastic ones.

07-20-2004, 01:35 AM
lancome's photogenic reflects light without making me look pale.

actually, my skin looks damn flawless even with my "i haven't slept in days" under eye circles.

07-24-2004, 01:51 AM
Wow. oO; Thanks for all of your responses, everyone. The differences of opinions are surprising but very helpful (I was expecting a majority decision XD).

07-24-2004, 01:26 PM
In some products, I believe there is not much of a difference in quality.

I definetly do think that high end face powders, and foundation DO work a lot better then drug store brands. I mainly say this because being a teenager I have acne problems, and most high end brands are better for my skin because they are a lot lighter and just the quality over all is much better (especially since most are mineral based powders.) I usually get Estee Lauder and Elizabeth Grady brands, which usually run 50 bucks a pop. If you want something cheaper, Origins powder is good and I believe is 20 bucks.

As for stuff like eyeshadows, I use both cheap and high end. I bought some Chanel shadow once, and it was very nice, but I found similar drug store brands that were almost exactly the same. If you want really nice high pigment shadow, I would go with Mac and Urban Decay which run about 13 bucks a pop for either. They apply really well and when mixed with some water they are really vibrant. For drugstore brands I have always liked Loreal's cream shadows.

07-28-2004, 10:34 PM
My recomendations

Anything by maybeline, it's not high end, but it works. Wonder finish works well, so does day-to-night. Most high end stuff works well except for their foundation, and I say this from experience. The foundation will fade or cake up in weird clumps of color. Ben Nye works great, but is way bad for your skin so if you have bad acne, I wouldn't reccomend it because it'll make it way worse. A good thing to carry with you are oil-absorbing sheets. They really work and are great to get rid of oil before taking pictures. That's my advice :)

07-28-2004, 10:40 PM
I always raise an eyebrow when people say "Anything by [BRAND NAME HERE] is great!!" because not every product in a line is perfect.

While Brand A may make great powders, their lipsticks may be horrible. And where Brand B makes great lipsticks, their foundations and powders may make someone break out...

Most lip pencils and eyeliners are made in Germany or Italy in the same factories, and most face powders are talc-based. That said, it's up to you to try out products, use testers at the counters (or drugstore) and ask for samples!! (Don't EVER be afraid to ask for a sample. You have every right to try before you buy!)

Would you buy shoes without trying them on? No. The same goes for makeup. Make sure you like the feel of the product and how it reacts with you. If you hate the taste/ fragrance or it breaks you out or it just "doesn't work" - return it (where possible).

But as the old addage goes - Caveat emptor :)

07-28-2004, 11:06 PM
the woman at the lancome counter applied the make up for me and i wore it around for about an hour first to make sure it didn't make me puff up before i bought it...although she kept telling me i need to buy this and i need to buy that. i don't think i look THAT bad...poor selling strategy. don't fall for it.

anyway, i mainly stick with lancome because i'm allergic to some make-ups and lancome seems to work for me. my friend has sensitive skin too and she uses clinique and lancome

but i always cheap out and get my eyeshadows in gift with purchase, then it's high end and FREE!

makes me feel better when i'm spending $60 for foundation...oh, free listick, moisturizer sample, mascara and eyeshadow, how lovely!

07-29-2004, 02:54 AM
What I meant to say was out of all High End makeup, Clinique foundations fade and the colors cake up, no matter how little of it you use. Also, cream shadows tend to crease up even if you use eyeshadow base and/or powder.

Lisa Honeychan
07-30-2004, 03:45 AM
I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Max Factor foundations , especially Pan-Stik. Actually, both the origional Pan-Cake makeup by MF and the Stik work great. They photograph well (at least for me!) and you can apply it as light or as heavy as needed. I was really surprised neither made me break out, either! The stik does have a thicker, almost oily feel to it, but I think it blends very nice. It's about $8, so it's not a major investment.

As hi-end products go, I LOVE love love Smashbox's line. Almost -everything- in the line feels great, looks even better on film, and they have awesome colors. Also, a personal fave is Tony and Tina. Really fun, funky colors, and they use natural ingredients.

BTW, a really FUN store to browse around in is Sephora. There are lots of them out there now, and even more popping up as we speak. The people that work there don't have to "sell" a certain line for quotas, and i've gotten great advice from them, offering me ideas for brands I would have never thought of.

Oh! Cinema Secrets line is VERY VERY good! Every time I go back home to Burbank , I have to go there and spend lots of $$! They have an a awesome year-round Halloween store too, and decent wigs.

07-30-2004, 12:40 PM
I have used pan-stick before, and it Does cover well, but it did make me breakout.

07-30-2004, 02:19 PM
Sephora is awesome! One of the things I love about those stores, are the sections they have for their mini-size makeup, it's inexpensive, and good quality, and has a large selection of colors and styles (mini eyeshadows and lipsticks and mascaras and nail polishes.) The good thing about the mini stuff, is that if you're getting makeup specifically for a costume, you're not buying a lot (for a lot) that you're not going to use a lot.

Ben-nye (which is available at most costuming stores, as it is a theater/film makeup brand) is awesome for eye and lip colors (allthough slightly pricey) theatrical foundation is a bad idea for cosplay, since unless you're in a Masquerade skit, you're not going to be under heavy stage lights.

But definitely spring for a nice foundation, because with the high-end products you have a better chance of finding the shade that works for you, and one that won't scream "Look I'm wearing foundation!" (it's funny when one of the idea's of makeup is to look like you're not wearing it.)

If you don't have the money for high-end products, but the drugstore stuff lacks your shade, try experiments with blending. If you have success, most drugstores have small plastic bottles, so you can keep your newfound custom, inexpensive foundation.

(edit: and I never thought I'd type so much about makeup.)