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Which drugstore brand you think gives department store brands a run for their money?

Which drugstore brand you think gives department store brands a run for their money? Favorite products? Share!

I think some brands do so for certain product types, but I still find that a lot of powder products (blushes, eyeshadows, etc.) are often less impressive (but not always!), whereas lipstick, lipgloss, eyeliner, and mascara are all categories where drugstore brands have put some really excellent products. I love L’Oreal’s Silkissime Eyeliners, Maybelline Vivids, Maybelline Color Tattoos, L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadows, L’Oreal Colour Riche Nail Lacquer, Milani’s Eyeliners, Milani’s Baked Blushes… there are tons of products that rival ones from high-end – particularly because high-end isn’t without its fair share of misses.

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Nadiya Avatar

I LOVE L’Oreal’s mascaras (Voluminous carbon black) and eye shadows. I’ve never met an Infallible shadow that I didn’t love. I also think NYX has great lip products and their eye shadows definitely give MAC shadows a run for their money.

girlsforpandora Avatar

you’re going to think this is weird, but the eye primer from the Fergie W&W collection is the best one I’ve ever used and I have oily eye lids.

Jennifer Pham Avatar

Not weird at all – I have about 12 primers, high end and low end, and I do say this is in my top five. Plus it’s only 5 bucks 🙂

cara Avatar

Totally agree with you Cristine!
Cover girl lash blast to me is better than any other high or low end mascara I’ve tried.
Maybelline color sensational lipsticks, vivid, matte, all the other 2 lines of can’t think of. They are amaze!!!! I have 18 colors lol
Loreal silkissime eye liners are sooo good. Thanks for turning me on to these Cristine!
Last but certainly not least, hard candy glamoflauge concealer, Holy grail!
To me these are all ttop notch and give high end lines a run for their money!

Safyre Avatar

I will say that LA Colors’ quality – I mean the way it applies/looks, not the ingredients – are AMAZING for the $1 price tag. I mean A DOLLAR! I also really like L’oreal and Revlon Lip Butters (and the L’oreal equivalent, I forget the name) – every time I see the same thing in a department store brand I think why pay so much more for a product that won’t be super pigmented anyway?

Mimi Avatar

I don’t think any specific brand matches up or rivals a dept store, but I do feel most drugstore & dept store brands each have certain items that really shine & can top one another. Which is kinda great to see an affordable company whip out a few items even better than some of my beloved high end 1’s. I really like Loreal for their Extra Intense liners, Maybelline & Covergirl for some of their concealers, the Fit Me foundation is even better than some of the high ends & Color Tattoo’s, also Essie & Opi have some polishes that are just as good if not better.

alie Avatar

i love the color tattoos! i was skeptical at first, but i bought the gold one and wow! it works so well, esp under mac primary yellow pigment, under any gold shadow or pigment… really makes the color so intense. so i bought the silver one, the red one, and one of the teal ones too. i was impressed.

Madelyn Avatar

Milani has a great line of products, and Wet n wild, while a little hit and miss has some excellent products! Cherry Pickin’ by Wet N Wild rivals some of my high end lipsticks.

Jennifer Pham Avatar

I’d also like to add that I love Wet N Wild’s: Fergie eyeshadow primer, Comfort Zone 8-Pan palette, Nutty single eyeshadow, and all of the Mega Last Nail polishes (wide brush, opaque in 1-2 coats, self-levels).

Katherine T. Avatar

L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadows, Maybelline Color Tattoos, Revlon Lip Butters, Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain, Prestige Total Intensity Eyeliner , Wet N Wild Bronzer in Reserve Your Cabana (used as a powder), Cerave Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM, Jergens Shea Butter Body Lotion, Yes to Coconut shampoo/conditioner/lotions, some Real Techniques Brushes, Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Soap

Meghan Avatar

I don’t really think it is drugstore, but it is drugstore price so… I would say makeup geek definetly gives higher end brands a run for their money in terms of their eyeshadows and blushes.

Natasha Avatar

L’oreal. At least in regards to foundation. I’ve tried a bunch of high end foundations and I keep coming back to my True Match/True Match Lumi. Can’t beat the price.

alie Avatar

nyx is amazing. decent color payoff for a fraction of the price. i also like their lipsticks, not drying and again, good color payoff. *now i want to go shopping, damnit

Lotus Avatar

As well as some places like Dermstore, skin1, etc., Amazon and reputable ebay sellers.. Sister of Chanel, like CdP and Shiseido.. Options are so wonderful with Bourjois and I’ve also a few Wet n Wild palettes with amazing eyeshadows & Bourjois joins them along with their blush and lippies! Remember when they were sold at Sephora? I really don’t understand the comings and goings of brands at Sephora! (My colors are always sold out at I like a lot! 🙂

Huong Avatar

I really love Milani mineral powder, the best powder foundation ever but it was discontinued. Please bring it back Milani!!! I don’t know why but in general I prefer drugstore face powders to high-end ones, I tried Lancôme and Chanel but was not impressed with them.

Some other products that I like:
– Revlon Colorstay eyeliner (pencil and liquid)
– Physicians Formula mineral blush (their talc-free line is so nice!)
– Maybelline Color Tattoos
– L’Oréal Colour Riche lipstick

Dany Avatar

This might be off topic, but well, drugstore brands like Maybeline, Rovlon or L’Oreal are sold in the department stores, right along with the “true” high-end brands like Lancome, Chanel, etc, here in Asia “)

CKG Avatar

I agree with you re the lipsticks, liners and mascaras being able to hold their own.
Although I have more MAC and high end makeup than drugstore I don’t even desire a high end mascara because drugstore brands handle mascara quite capably! Maybelline especially.
The Milani baked blushes are really nice and easy to use wet or dry and and I have a brown eyeliner pencil from them that is really smooth and nice to use.
I liked the Revlon colourburst lipsticks in the criss-cross textured packaging (very pigmented) and the Just Bitten stain in Sweetheart, which wears well all day without fading.
I liked the L’Oréal HIP eyeshadow duos and lip jelly a lot and they wore well without creasing. Their True Match blushes were also nice.
I love the pavonine combo of the Wet n Wild Earth Looks Small From Down Here palette and Jordana has some really good gold and teal eyeliners.
What category does Avon fall in?

Helene Avatar

I’m with Christine on this.
There isn’t one brand, but put them together sure.
I have some L’Oreal eyeshadows that are fantastic, The Colour Tattoos are really good. Generally though, I find that drugstore brands have less pigmented eyeshadows, but I think most seem to do a lot to get better.
The drugstorebrands I tend to get are L’Oreal, Maybelline and Rimmel.

KaseyCannuck Avatar

I agree that certain brands excell with certain products. I’m a huge fan of Maybelline’s Color Tattoos as well as their mascaras, and Essence gel eyeliners wear like iron on me.

Mariella Avatar

There are so many, if you pick and choose items (mind you, the same is true about high end products). I have to agree about Maybelline Colour Tattoos and also some of their regular shadows. Same with L’Oreal – the Infallible pressed powdery/cream shadows are awesome and for the most part every bit as good as Chanel, Clarins, Dior at a fraction of the price. NYX is another brand with some outstanding products. Here in Canada, GOSH and TheBalm are only available in drugstores and their products (with some exceptions, of course) are also amazing. Oh – Bioderma and Nuxe (also “drugstore” here in Canada). Some of these lines do have “department store” prices but they are still pretty much “drug-store-only-available”.

Mariella Avatar

GEEZ – how could I leave out Wet n Wild? Mind you, I only have some of their original 3, 6 and 8 pan shadows as well as 2 of the original singles (Brulee and Nutty). I don’t think I’ve tried anything else from them and I know some of the more recent eyeshadow palettes have not been all that great.

Gillian Avatar

The brand I tend to gravitate towards is Revlon. I’m a lip product junkie and out of all the brands in places like Boots I feel theirs are the best. Their Super Lustrous lipsticks are great and definitely rival the offerings of much more expensive brands

My next favourite for lip products is Bourjois. More specifically their lipgloss. I think they have to be some of the best available for the price. They also have really nice foundations too and I would use them if the colours ran light enough.

It’s the same with L’Oréal. They do nice foundations like True Match but no colours light enough for me to wear.

Lastly, here in the UK we have you can get make up from a company called Collection and there are a few really cheap hidden gems. Their Lasting Perfection concealer it’s actually really good and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a inexpensive concealer. They also do shadow pencils that stay put and my only criticism is that there isn’t a big enough colour selection!

Rachel R. Avatar

I agree, certain brands for certain products. Max Factor, Nyx, Wet n Wild Megalast for lipsticks. L’oreal Silkissime eyeliners. Nyx, Sleek, and e.l.f. Pressed Mineral for powder blushes. E.l.f. HD Powder, undereye concealer, baked eyeshadows, Mist & Set, Studio (black) brushes. Milani Bella Eyes. Maybelline Color Tattoo. Hard Candy lipglosses; e.l.f. Shimmer and GlossyGloss for lipglosses. Sonia Kashuk brushes. Sally Hanson No Chip Acrylic Top Coat (my HG top coat). Bourjois in general.

Rachel R. Avatar

I know e.l.f., Nyx, Physician’s Formula, Pacifica, Wet n Wild, Burt’s Bees, Bonne Belle, Sonia Kashuk, Milani, Sinful Colors, Jordana, Flower and Hard Candy are cruelty-free brands. As far as I know, Sleek is.

Max Factor, L’oreal, Maybelline, Revlon, CoverGirl are not/no longer cruelty-free, unfortunately, as they sell in China. I’m not sure about Bourjois – I think they might sell in China. I don’t know about Sally Hanson.

Leaping Bunny has lists of Cruelty-free brands. PETA does, but it’s not up-to-date. Phyrra’s website has lists as well.

I hope this helps.

Jenn Avatar

I think I have to give Loreal a shout out even though I don’t use drugstore makeup at all. Their recent liquid lipsticks are very similar to YSL’s (of course same parent company!). I’m not going to count foreign drug store brands since I haven’t tried them and also at one point Bourjois was in Sephora in the really early 2000s.
Real Techniques though are my favorite brushes. I find the Expert Face Brush just as great the the UD Optical Blurring brush. I’m too poor to afford Mac brushes (funny because I have a bag full of Guerlain products- obviously shows my priorities so more so lazy) I do wish they did have more brushes, but I didn’t like their retractable Kabuki brush as a blush brush. (I threw it out)

Jennifer Pham Avatar

Well, I love a lot of the products already mentioned by the other commenters here. The brands that I don’t hear mentioned are: Jordana for their Twist & Shine lip balm stains, 12Hr liners, and blushes. Palladio for some of their eyeshadows, blushes, and lipliners. Prestige for their Total Intensity lines (eyeshadow, liners, primers). Nyx for their cream blushes, slide on pencils, almost all lip colors, some of their eyeshadows. Maybelline for their lip products, esp. their high-shine color sensational glosses, shadows, fitme concealer.

Also, I would say across the line Milani is consistently top-notch in almost everything they offer (powders, eyeliners (pencil & liquid), lip products, blushes.

Pami Avatar

As an overall brand I’d have to say Milani. As others have mentioned, there are great picks from other brands, and if anyone is a taupe eyeshadow lover, the taupe in the Wet ‘n Wild trio Silent Treatment is better than any taupe I have used in any price range bar none. The silkiness, color complexity, application, and wear gives it an A+.

Nina Avatar

I find that a lot of my favorite lipsticks are drugstore and since lip colors are my favorite makeup product, I love to collect them and I don’t see a huge disparity between my favorite drugstore and higher end lipsticks. I think overall Revlon has a really strong line and I love their super lustrous lipsticks.

Kat Avatar

Like you said, it’s not any one brand but certain products by certain brands. Maybelline mascaras are almost always just as good as, if not better than, higher end mascaras. Nyx glosses and blushes are usually impressive. Revlon lipsticks are decent. The only product I refuse to buy at low end are primers, lip liners and foundations, but that’s just me.

fuji Avatar

I love drugstore makeup products and the surprising moment when you find out they actually out-perform some high-end brands with obviously little amount of money. And I do appreciate them being very bold on colors and following the beauty trends so fast. If there is a new trend going on (say night-glow nail lacquer), I won’t immediately spend $20 on a designer brand but instead, I would pick a drugstore one around $5 just to see if I love it or not. Since they don’t need to hold up so tight to a consistent style (like Tom Ford would never launch a green lipstick coz they are so classy and elegant), a wide range of products with rainbow like colors could be easily found.

Hildegerd Avatar

Artdeco for eye shadows and eye shadow base, Isadora Cosmetics for lipsticks, mascaras, nail polish and eye pencils, Gosh Cosmetics for eye brow products.

mish-mash Avatar

We have the ELF store one block away…can’t beat this line for the money, while not exactly a drugstore line I have seen it in a few…

Valerie C. Avatar

Not too many for me:
Milani eye shadows
Revlon lip crayons
Maybelline Dream lumi for touch ups
Purpose liquid cleanser (love! doesn’t even bother my sensitive eyes)

Pamela Avatar

I think L’Oreal is awesome for a drugstore brand. Revlon comes close. What I like best about L’Oreal is that their foundations are smooth and feel great on skin. They also take the guess work out by classifying them into warm, cool and neutral. Revlon has TONS of lovely lipstick colors. They carry the perfect reds, nudes, darks and brights for every skin tone.

Lisa Avatar

La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid. All the high end lines carry sunscreens, but I have not found one to surpass this french based (but US available) drugstore brand. It feels like silk on the skin and doubles as an amazing primer under foundation.

Edith Avatar

I agree with everyone else, it really depends on the product! I do love googling the products I’ve never heard of. Finding some nifty stuff. I tried a MUA eye shadow palette from the UK, I had to get it on eBay cause they do not sell in the US, but it had some nice colors to it. It did not last as long as my Lorac, but it was worth trying!

txabela Avatar

Maybelline foundations/ concealers, nail polishes. Even the duo bronzer/ blush is a staple for me now… i reach for it more than the mini laguna/orgasm duo in my handbag.
Body Shop bronzers & new nail polishes. Some Top-shop stuff is impressive too.
Sleek powders.
Revlon lip and nail stuff.
Gosh mascaras.
I only have a couple of things from Jordana or Physician’s formula but they are so good value for money.
Barry M nail polishes… but the overall winner in my opinion is Bourjois as most of their stuff, liquid or powders or nail varnishes or primers and their audacious polish removers and other gadgets are so practical and good value.. If only their khol would match that of Guerlain’s… then they would be my 10/10 brand.

Genevieve Avatar

I agree with you Christine. I think the drugstore products that are excellent are: Mascaras, eyebrow pencils, lipsticks (Revlon, Rimmel, Maybelline), nail polishes and foundations (rave about Rimmel’s Match Perfection, Max Factor’s Illuminator). L’Oreal’s Infallible eyeshadows are of excellent quality – if you can get them. The big miss for drugstore brands is eyeshadows – usually these are powdery and lacking in pigmentation. Then you have to read blogs like this to find out the best brands/value for money from the reviews. Yes, even the high end brands have misses (as we have read lately!). Generally Too Faced, Urban Decay, Guerlain, Makeup Forever, Tarina Tarantino and some Lorac palettes are worth their money. In the hit and miss department I would add Dior and Kat Von D and Stila.

alie Avatar

MAC was my holy grail of makeup for the longest time, but i think theyve changed a lot of their formulations in the past few years. which is sad. i loved the vibrancy and colors … and even the longevity of the products. ive been branching out a lot, ive been buying a lot of sephora brand stuff and it’s mostly amazing. urban decay too. but i hang onto my old mac like it’s gold.

Kelly Avatar

I would have to say my top picks…

Loreal- Their Lumi/True Match is a holy grail item for me I pretty much use it daily versus my high end Tarte foundation. I also really love their The Balm tints.

Maybelline- I love their blushes I find they are super pigmented and I constantly reach for them, I also love their lipsticks! The matte ones are fabulous! I also love their mascaras and have never had a reaction with them and I have eye sensitivity to mascara and eyeliners. Their color tattoos are my go to for a base as well.

Avon- While not drugstore I still love their eyeliners as they do not make my eyes itch or water so no allergic reaction there. Where as many higher end ones have made my eyes super puffy and buring.

Lori P Avatar

I have to put my vote in for NYX, their new chunky lip pencils in the REDS are amazing! Loreal’s manga mascara is my go to mascara right now because it’s the only one that helps my lashes stay curled when all others (drugstore or high end) do squat.

Quinctia Avatar

Milani is ridiculously competitive when it comes to the color cosmetics. I wish they got more B&M space. I see them mentioned more and more in blogs and reviews, so hopefully they’ll catch on like Nyx. I keep hoping Ulta gets them in…they’ll devote like 4-8 feet to gel polishes and give space to that mediocre Kardashian line, surely they could make some room for Milani.

Dawn Peterson Avatar

I just bought a liquid blush and a lip gloss from e.l.f. – one of the cheapest brands I know of – and I’m actually pretty impressed. Pretty colors, lots of pigment, smooth application, long enough wear that they rival most of the higher end brands that I own. The blush is a particular favorite – and as highly pigmented as it is, the little bottle holds enough that I can’t begin to imagine when I’ll need to repurchase. I like shopping for makeup at department stores, but I’m going to give some less expensive brands a fairer shot. Seems like they’re upping their game, to keep up – so they’re totally worth at least a shot.

Lotus Avatar

I totally agree you, Christine. And I also think that with the increasing prices and gimmicks, many are running to the drugstores, especially to try to find alternatives! With drugstores adding high-street brands exclusively and other great brands, that once you might have found at Sephora, moving into places more like drugstores, walmart, Kohl’s, for instance, the competition is tight. I think major companies that own both high-low end have similarities that run through their products, and I’m always inclined to try the less expensive products before I proceed to spend more. Yet, even drug store brands make LE items that people go searching for and would pay high prices for, when given the chance to choose on some formulas. The market is all related, competitive, an will forever be making money off of cosmetics no matter where they come from. We are bombarded with commercial consumerism! I think the Indie brands stand the greatest chance for take over. Lastly, not all drugstores are equal in all countries, formulas are different and prices at drugstores are high-end for many people! They would prefer Loreal over, say, Mac,because what’s more expensive is supposedly “better,” hence I think it’s fair game & “drugstores” are doing pretty great! Even displays have changed! Hygenics are being addressed, and testers more professionally kept and available. Good question to think about! Thanks! 🙂

Dandy Ramos Avatar

Collection 2000 lasting perfection concealer, Maybelline Lash Discovery and Cover Girl Liquiline Blast Eyeliner…they make my job easy and fun! 🙂

Diandra Avatar

i love jordana’s fabuliner! it is awesome I’ve bought mac liquid liners but, I always seem to pick up the jordana one and it’s so affordable.

Johnna Quick Owens Avatar

I think that most of the drugstore companies have a product or products that are just amazing! You just have to explore a bit, and listen to what other people are loving, and you can find some true gems.

Toni Avatar

The one brand that doesn’t get the attention that it deserves is Kiko . Amazing lipsticks, great nail polishes and stunning eye shadows. Especially the water shadows. Beautiful! Not sure if you guys can purchase these outside Europe.

Candice Avatar

I think there’s a drugstore product in every category that works as well as a high end product. I find less need to go to high end for primers, blushes, lip products and mascara especially. For eyeshadows, I tend to want to stay away from drugstore, though I really like my MUA palettes and Wet N Wild. For my face, I like Korean BB creams which are more in drugstore price ranges (Etude House, Skinfood). Real Technique brushes and Ecotools do the job for me, there’s the Rimmel matte powder, bunch of elf and NYX products… It sucks that not more of them are cruelty-free.

chris Avatar

L’Oreal’s mascaras
NYX matte lip creams, blushes
Queen Covergirl 3-in1 liquid foundations, pressed powder and bronzer
IMAN cream foundations and oil free pressed powders
Revlon Colorstay foundations, eye liners, nail polishes; lip butters
Nutragena (sp?) face primer

Nurse Ratchet Avatar

-Wet n Wild matte lipsticks, which I find as smooth and pigmented as MAC lipsticks. I am a trauma nurse and as such can’t touch up my makeup, and these last 12-14 hours. My favorites are Purty Persimmon, Stoplight Red, Don’t Blink! Pink, and Wine Room.

– Revlon matte and Super Lustrous lipsticks. They don’t last as long as WnW, but my holy grail matte nude, Mauve it Over (DC) is from Revlon. I also love that they still carry colors from the 40’s and 50’s like Cherries in the Snow, Rum Raisin, and Fire and Ice which my grandmother had on her dressing table and I wear today.

-ELF, especially their sheer HD powder as a dupe for Make Up For Ever HD powder. It sets makeup to a velvety finish that lasts. I have oily, textured skin and most liquid foundations crack or separate on me, especially at work where I am sweating. This locks my base in place, and frankly, I think it is BETTER than MUFE HD powder and it is only 6$! You also can’t beat their prices.

-Maybelline and L’Oreal’s gel liners. These can go head to head with some of the more famous gel liners, like MAC Blacktrack.

-Nyx as a brand. They have so many great products and a good price point, and with such a huge variety of items, there is something everyone can love. Me, I love their salmon toned under eye concealer, lip pencils, matte lip creams, lipsticks, and setting powder.

I could go on and on, as I love drugstore makeup. Christine, I would love to see you spend more time in the drugstore price point. I appreciate how you have reviewed MUG and Milani products, and I want to see more like that from much maligned but really great brands like WnW, Jordana, etc. Thank you!

Liz Avatar

Good choices. For me, I don’t want products from China nor loaded with the bad chemicals like parabens. But Maybelline lippies are nice and I was just impressed with Colour Pop lippies and shadows.

Brian Avatar

Cover Girl CG Smoothers foundation is really good in my experience but I cant continue giving them my money. NYX is great, I havent had any duds from them so far, though I do try to only buy things Ive seen reviewed online and its one of the only drugstore brands that is still cruelty free as far as I know!

Diana Ferrell Avatar

Cover girl 24 hr retractable lip pencil. A wonderful base for your lipsticks and so reasonable. They are matte based, so everything works well over them. Rimmel also has some nice ones with staying power.

Brenda Avatar

I feel most of the drugstore lip products are so much better than the highend ones because they have no scent or sweet fruity scent. I found that most of my highend lip products smell so costimeticy (Chanel rouge coco, Tom Ford, Estee Lauder envy sculpting), and they are usually quite slippery that i feel super self-conscious when i wear them, like they are gonna go everywhere on my face. Anyways i prefer drugstore lipsticks (especially Maybelline color sensational) so much better and they have crazier colors too, which is good for me cos im never a nude/pink lip girl…

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