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Drug Store vs. High End Makeup. Who’s Better? Ever Wonder Who Owns L’Oreal or Lancome?

As I walk through the department store or a drug store, I am always wondering if any of these products are truly unique in their elements or components and if these products will perform as well as advertised. I wonder is it worth purchasing a high end product, or can I actually find a drug store item that will perform as well? I hate spending a lot of money on cosmetics and makeup, so I’m always on the lookout for makeup dupes. What’s a makeup dupe? It’s a cheaper identical (or very similar) version of a high end makeup product. So why splurge on a super expensive lipstick or eye shadow if there’s a cheaper version waiting for you at the drugstore?

The price comes from the fact that you expect to pay a high price for a luxury brand. Don’t you often automatically assume that a gorgeous bottle of $60 eye cream sold at a Saks counter is going to work better than the $1.99 tube on the clearance rack at CVS? It’s all a psychological tactic to insidiously reel you into to a consumerist’s mentality.

Although some products are unique, from companies like Cover Girl (owned by Procter & Gamble) and Physician’s Formula (owned by Physicians Formula Inc.) by only owning those particular makeup brands, there are other cosmetics companies that do their best to feed into our vanity, ego, budget, demographic and social standing – not to mention our bank accounts.

Below is a list of Beauty Company Owership of Brands
L’Oreal Estee Lauder Revlon
Lancôme American Beauty Revlon
The Body Shop MAC Cosmetics Almay makeup
Maybelline Prescriptives Ultima II skincare
Biotherm Origins Mitchum deodorants
Kiehl’s Clinique Charlie perfumes
Shu Uemura Grassroots  
Cacharel Jo Malone  
Giorgio Armani La Mer  
Helena Rubinstein Michael Kors  
Dermablend Lab Series  
SkinCeuticals Tommy Hilfiger  
Vichy Laboratoires Coach Fragrances  
Kérastase Kiton  
Redken MISSONI  
Garnier Rodan and Fields  
Softsheen-Carson Sean John  
  Smashbox Beauty Cosmetics  

A company like L’Oreal, who is is the world’s largest cosmetics and beauty organization, certainly will put out similar products in different packaging for you to consume depending on your budget. Even though the same companies own many brands at different price points, the products still get manufactured at the same places/factories, and many of the formulas in prestige brands are nearly identical to their drugstore counterparts. Below is a quick chart of some Cosmetic Companies owning multiple brands.

You’ll get the same if not better results from Lancôme’s maker L’Oreal at much lower prices. If you need the fancy packaging, then just buy Lancôme. L’Oreal owns and makes Lancôme, and a little known ‘secret’ is that several products are essentially the exact same. This is not just an opinion – if you compare the ingredients you will find that many are identical, with the exception of a dye or fragrance component. For example, Line Eraser retinol lotion by L’Oreal is so similar to Lancome’s Resurface, but without the packing it comes in you would not be able to tell the difference.  Also, Rouge Pulp lip gloss by L’Oreal is the same essentially as Lancome Lip Brio, L’Oreal Eye Defense Gel equals to Lancome Primordiale Yeux.

So with that said, how do we test quality? Well…there are a few tricks of the trade to test the quality of the cosmetic.

  • The first trick is testing the pay off. What this means is testing the quality of the pigment. Low cost cosmetics can contain fillers, which dull the intensity and effect the performance. To test, simply take the product, and swipe a little on your finger, then onto your skin. The color of the shadow or blush should not be sheer or washed out unless that is the intended nature of the product. The color should come out fairly true to how it looks in the package. Shadows will come out more vibrant under a primer, so do take that into good consideration. It needs something to catch onto, and very dry skin isn’t a good surface to test on.
  • The same trick applies to foundation, concealer, eyeliner, and other creamy product. Apply a small amount on your skin and test the feeling of the texture. It should not feel heavy or greasy. It should blend easily onto the skin, and appear to “melt” into the skin if it a foundation related product.
  • Eyeliner should glide easily along the skin, not pull. Rub to see how it smears and moves. You do not want anything that will smudge too easily as it will run very quickly and fade off. As mentioned before, these products should have a good pay off. There is no point in getting it if you have to pack it on for coverage.
  • Lipsticks and glosses should be done with the same sort of test as the creams. How sheer or opaque the color is depends on the intent of the product. What to look for is the texture and staying power. It should not be too greasy, sticky or dry. These will cause undesirable results. A lip liner or stain will help with the staying power of the lip products.

So what have we learned? Here are some easy tips to follow while deciding, debating with yourself which products you should purchase high end or drugstore. Learn when to spend or not to spend.

  • Things you use on a regular basis, such as cleanser, moisturizer, & foundation you should invest in. Save on products that you aren’t going to use very often, or if you are experimenting. There is no need to spend $15.00 on a shadow you are only going to use three or four times.
  • Buy from drugstores that allow you to return cosmetics if the color or quality turns out to be wrong. Ask the salespeople first, or check company return policies online if the employees are not sure themselves. Many drugstores will allow you to exchange cosmetic products even after you have tried them.

For good quality brands and products available at drugstores, read the products credits next to photos in fashion magazines. Often, the pros use less expensive and readily available products.

Skin tone breaks down into two types, yellow based (olive skin), and pink based (pinkish, peach skin). Do not let surface redness confuse you; you need to look past it. Take a good look at your overall skin. When you tan do you turn olive, bronze, or golden colored? If yes you are yellow based. If you turn rosy, or red, or a reddish brown, then you are pink based.

To prolong your eyeshadow staying power use an eyeshadow base. A really good one is Urban Decay Primer Potion. Or you can use a good vitamin E cream (this also moisturizes your skin)

Beware, sometime you get what you pay for. Cheaper price, can mean cheaper quality

Some make-up products have been known to cause some side-effects that could be harmful for the skin, read and learn the ingredients contents of your makeup brand and product.

With that all said, the best way is just to try it, wear it and compare what best works for your and your skin type. Happy searching and shopping J. Good luck to all.


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