Drugstore or Prestige- Which Is Better?

Drugstore or Prestige- Which Is Better? | Caitlin Cosmetologist

In the social media beauty world, there is a clear distinction between drugstore products (aka low-end) and prestige products (aka high-end). You’ll see bloggers refer to “affordable products” or YouTubers post videos with all “high-end products”.

If you’re like me, you think all the prestige makeup items look so beautiful but you mostly stick to your drugstore budget. Buuuut, every so often some high-end products make their way into your makeup bag and you’re hooked for life.

So, are prestige really better? Is there even a difference between the 2 types?

Let’s start by defining these terms.

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Drugstore or Prestige- Which Is Better? | Caitlin Cosmetologist


Brands that you find in CVS, Target, Walmart, or one side of Ulta, etc.

common brands: Cover Girl, Maybelline, L’Oreal Paris, Wet n Wild, Simple Skincare, and Rimmel


Brands you find at a department store, Sephora, or the other side of Ulta.

common brands: Tarte, Lorac, Urban Decay, Too Faced, First Aid Beauty, and Estee Lauder

Drugstore or Prestige- Which Is Better? | Caitlin Cosmetologist

 Some of my lipstick favorites (Top to Bottom): HD Kisses | Perla | Gumdrop

Girl Next Door | Whipped Caviar| Limited Edition color- Similiar finish


– Strength: Sometimes low-end products are just less concentrated versions of their high-end counterparts. For example, L’Oreal owns many brands- one of those is Lancome. While I worked at a department store makeup counter, I learned that many of L’Oreal’s products are the same as Lancome products just a little “‘watered down”.  Meaning, they aren’t as powerful and it may take multiple uses to reach the same effect.  So, a Lancome serum may give the desired effect after a bottle, a similar L’Oreal serum may not give the same result until after 2 or 3 bottles.

– Price Point: The price point is another big difference.  In fact, this is the main reason people choose drugstore products- they don’t cost as much.

While low-end items can be found at many different retailers, high-end is more exclusive and can be harder to get your hands on. Especially brands that are only sold online, by one retailer, like Sephora, or a department store, like Nordstrom.

Drugstore or Prestige- Which Is Better? | Caitlin Cosmetologist

Some of my drugstore favorites: Foundation | Whipped Caviar Lipstick | Mauve Liner | Concealer

Mascara | Transparent Powder | Luminoso Blush

Drugstore or Prestige- Which Is Better? | Caitlin Cosmetologist

Some of my prestige favorites: Setting Spray | Pro Palette 3

Brow Whiz | Mattifying Primer | Blush

Which Is Better?

In theory, I think prestige products can be of better quality and therefore are worth the higher price. However, there are exceptions. I’ve tried some I don’t like or that don’t work for me. I’ve also tried drugstore products that are wonderful and some that aren’t so wonderful.  Every person’s tastes are different.

So far I’ve mostly mentioned makeup and skincare brands but there are also drugstore and prestige haircare brands as well. Some common low-end brands are Tresemme, Garnier, and Suave. Some common high-end brands are Kenra, Big Sexy Hair, and Redken.

Personally, I use only professional hair products as that is what I recommend to my clients. They are more expensive but I agree with the idea that if you are spending a lot of time and money on your hair, you want to properly maintain it. Cheaper hair products are known to be made with chemicals, like sulfates, that actually strip your hair.  And waxes, which make your hair very shiny, but also build-up and keep the nutrients from penetrating your hair shaft.

When it comes to face products I am willing to splurge but I don’t always.  I currently have a mix of both low and high-end in my makeup bag. But I’ve recently switched to a high-end skincare routine in hopes of clearing up skin issues.

Which Type Is Right For You?

The answer is different for everyone. It really comes down to what you are looking to achieve with your products. Are you looking for a fun everyday eye shadow palette? Or a palette you will use one time? Are you having trouble with your skin and want something with beneficial ingredients only? Are you on a tight budget? The answers to these questions will help you decide if you should stick with drugstore, prestige, or both.

There is no right or wrong answer- it’s a personal preference.

Do you prefer drugstore, prestige, or a mixture of both?

 What are some of your favorite products?

Speaking of beauty products, if you haven’t read my post about Spring Nail colors, you can do that here.

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