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A lot of them do not package their products at the point of sale well, so they are easily opened and tampered with, whether that’s swatched or used right on the lips/eyes/wherever, and it’s such a waste of product and limits purchasing. I find limited edition products sold at drugstores to be harder to get than the majority of limited edition products from high-end–at least with MAC I can stay up and probably get what I’m looking for, but I can waste 4 hours driving between 10 drugstores and come up empty handed – and never, ever see the product locally. Like there is no rhyme or reason in regards to dates OR quantity for limited edition drugstore releases! I also don’t like a lot of the scents (sweet, fruity scents are not my calling!), but I also don’t like a lot of the high-end scents either.

— Christine

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68 Comments

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Profile photo of Audrey

I dislike that I can’t test products out in stores. I feel like I end up trying 5-10 different products from the drugstore in hopes of finding exactly the right shade/texture/formula when I could go to Sephora or Nordstrom and get it right the first time, and then I end up with a bunch of products I’ll never use. No matter how many reviews are out there on the internet, nothing compares to swatching in person or being able to try it on.

what drug stores do you shop at? Target, CVS and even Walmart are quite friendly about returning anything, including beauty products. It’s not just a local thing–CVS at one point pushed their very friendly return policy for cosmetics quite hard.

Yep! That’s almost exactly my thoughts. I feel like by the time I buy 5-6 different things at the drug store that I end up not liking, I could have just went and got samples of the high-end ones to try and bought one I would actually use! Drug store ends up being more expensive in the long-run sometimes because of that.

Oh that must be annoying! In my country all drugstores got testers ready for you to swatch. The make up for sale stays untouched most of the times.
My biggest issue with drug store makeup is the price difference compared with the US mainly. I have to pay up to 20 dollar (15+ euro) for a mascara or foundation from brands like L’oreal.

Profile photo of Shelly

Yeah, it’s very annoying not having testers. Not to mention it’s very rare to find/get samples, particularly if there’s a new foundation out.

In regards to prices, I feel for you guys outside the US and Canada (at the very least). 🙁

In Australia, we don’t get the range of shades that you guys get in the US. Especially foundation shades and I hate the fact that you can’t really test it either.

What i dislike most about budget beauty brands is when they decide to become higher end. Case in point Nyx Cosmetics. I remember when they used to be retailed in “urban” beauty supply stores with prices only as high as 6.99. Now a product that was once was 2.99 (jumbo eye pencils) now cost 6.99, and the product is still the same – no more or less, and no formulation change.

I remember that about NYX! I remember Revlon use to be really budget friendly and then all of a sudden have been selling their products for at least more than $10 each. Their foundations are at least $12 and their lipsticks are at least $10. I can go to MAC and just spend $5 more on the lipstick and get better quality probably LOL

poor pigmentation, short wear-time. I do like some drugstore setting powders though (Rimmel Stay Matte especially), and a couple powder foundations. I generally find that the powder eyeshadows are completely bunk, and many of the blushes are too (maybelline bouncy blushes I’m looking at you!) Also the liquid foundations are TERRIBLE imo. I’ve tried so many and they pale in comparison to any mid-range liquid foundation. They all oxidize, or wear off, or become oil slicks in 4 hours. And I don’t have particularly oily or dry skin. Drugstore lippies don’t impress me either… at that price point I prefer a chapstick or my Rosebud Salve. I’ve tried a variety of Revlon/l’oreal glosses and they are poor quality compared to my UD, smashbox, MAC, and Nars glosses.

And of course, the cheap, ugly-looking packaging.

I do like the wet n wild Comfort Palette. It’s a diamond in the rough lol

I find that the products that are tested on animals usually contain some sort of harsh ingredient that causes my sensitive skin to react. Especially eye shadows. My eyes will itch for days!

The packaging.
Covergirl’s Clump Crusher mascara is near HG status for me, but that thick neon green packaging is an absolutely eyesore.

The packaging is just aweful on a lot of them. I wish I could swatch. It’s inconsistent from store to store what the lines within the brand they will carry. I may want a Milani product say but what’s at Target vs CVS is different even though they both carry Milani. Many drugstores makeup lines test on animals.

Oh god, the LE stuff. I’m fortunate in that I’m generally lucky enough to run into LE displays at either a Meijer store (while grocery shopping) or the Walgreens in my town before they’ve gotten picked over terribly, but it’s still annoying that there’s no rhyme or reason in timing in when things appear. And some of the displays are just…stupidly organized, I guess is a way to put it.

Apparently, there’s a Revlon display floating about with two new LE lip butters in rather unusual shades. The display has one slot for each lip butter. WHAT, REVLON? On what planet does this make sense?

Profile photo of Megan

I agree with being able to find LE products. It can be very difficult. I think consistency is my biggest complaint. High end brands seem to have a standard for all their products. I feel drugstore brands can drop on quality. A brand may have the best lipstick but then awful gloss and mascara.

Before I started using more moderate to high end brands, I would buy half a dozen similar items trying to find the right color, pigmentation, look, etc. Since you can’t test, I wasted more money that way than buying something once that is higher priced after testing it out. I keep trying budget brands hoping to find a good deal and just get disappointed. Poor quality, bad pigmentation, fall out, burning eyes, no staying power. Etc. The one mainstay in budget brands is my clear mascara by ELF to tame my eyebrows and whatever mascara is on clearance at CVS.

I don’t like that you can’t try on the product. Also quality is inconsistent particularly in the wet and wild shadows.

I hate that the products are underpackaged – some people are disgusting and open them in store. I never open a new product even if there’s no tester available! Then they might be overpackaged with scotch tape and multiple stickers. Then you put them off and your stuff is sticky. Yuk. Other thing is that formulas mostly aren’t as refined as high end and scents are cheaper also sometimes.

Budget friendly products don’t tend to have as much pigmentation as something like an Urban Decay eyeshadow or stay put as long as a MAC Lipglass. Plus the packaging tends to be flimsy.

My biggest issue with DS brands is they are constantly “improving” the formulas, but they end up worse. Also, when a brand actually puts out an amazing product, it’s DC’d, particularly with foundation & eyeshadow.

When I moved last Summer, I came across a box of really old makeup from HS (25 years ago, LOL), and before I tossed it, I decided to swatch some shadows on my hand. Revlon, CG, & Max Factor had some products that would hold their own against MAC, NARS, & UD. Now, they’re all crap…

I hate that so many of the big brands are animal tested, which means I cannot buy them.

Also, it is much harder to track down a release in a budget brand. If I want the new Urban Decay, I can go to Sephora, Urban Decay or Ulta. If I want the new Sinful Halloween colors I have to go to Walgreens or CVS like a stalker every other day and have the counter people look at me like I am shoplifting. Sad but true.

I also hate not being able to test the colors, or the fact that some people break open the package and ‘test’ the product and it is still for sale. Gross!

Yes to stalking for products and being harassed by sales people because it looks like your up to no good. Also the way displays are organized is really inconsistent.

I’ve had to stalk Sephora in the past, as well. Yes, there are products available online, but I don’t feel as if I should have to be bothered with that hassle. I live in a gated building, and delivery people are either too lazy, or dumb, and don’t bother to read delivery instructions. I therefore have to go far out of my way to pick up a package, or pay for a box rental, which is still an inconvenience. I tolerate this issue for a good discount, but if I’m paying full-price, I should at least be told when a product will be available in-store. Just last week, I went to ULTA, and both Sephora’s in the mall, and neither could (or *would*) tell me when UD Vice 2 would be in. However, Macy’s gave me an exact date… Between this, and Sephora always being out-of-stock on harder to find brands, I’ve all but stopped shopping there.

I have had to stalk Sephora as well. More and more I find the people who work in mine to be rude!

Also had a similar experience trying to find out when UD holiday sets would be available at Sephora. I called my ‘special’ hotline and the CSA said she had no idea, that Holiday sets did not come out this early and to try back in a month or two. They were on the website two days later. Sigh.

My biggest pet peeve about budget brands is their packaging. I don’t mean the look of their packaging, as some of that has improved over the years. I mean that a lot of it doesn’t hold up very well over time. Plastic casing will crack and often times the lipstick and pencil caps don’t fit very securely. It can create such a mess when the cap of a lipstick comes off in your purse.

Second peeve is how difficult it can be to track down LE collections. Stores seem to put everything out at different times so collections are easy to miss, and LE items are rarely sold online (not including ebay!).

I really hate that they don’t seal their products especially lipsticks, it’s gross to think that someone could have swatched the product you take home.

Profile photo of Mimielle

Hit and miss quality. No testers. Unsealed product just sitting on the shelf. Local selection is usually limited in shade range and Limiteds are often not shipped to my local stores.

Often color payoff in very low end eye shadows is not great, which irks me enough to avoid a couple of budget brands entirely. Frequently texture and finishes are less complex. It’s one thing to dupe a color but it’s usually the performance and subtle finishes that set the more expensive product apart. Often that matters to me but sometimes it doesn’t. 😉

The shopping experience isn’t usually as nice though my Ulta SA’s are changing my mind about that despite the new local no take-home policy on high end samples there. I’ve completely stopped even going into the cosmetic aisles at the grocery or big box stores unless it’s to quickly pick up something I know I want exactly. It’s crowded and junky and not the fun experience I look for in that aspect of my cosmetics hobby.
The last thing is that unless you get to know your HBA manager at a place like Walgreens, most employees know little to nothing about the products.

Profile photo of Bee

Testers are available for drugstore products where I live so that’s usually not an issue for me!

I find drugstore eyeshadow to be vastly unpigmented. Many lip products tend to have too-strong scents as well, like the soap smell of NYX round lipsticks or the overtly perfumey L’Oreal glosses. They give me a headache. ):

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