What do you dislike about budget-friendly beauty brands?

What do you dislike about budget-friendly beauty brands? Share!

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.

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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.

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 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?

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 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.

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.

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. ):

I dislike the packaging sometimes. Depending on the brand, the powder blushes and eye shadows can be chalky. I also don’t like the selection of blushes. Most of the blushes I’ve tried from the drugstore are not dark enough or are powdery.

I agree with you about LE products for sure. After your review of Maybelline’s Infra-red and that it was pretty close to Guerlain Genna (which I’d had on my wish list for a while) I spent months trying to find it in drugstores, grocery stores, Ulta and came up empty handed; I eventually just went ahead and purchased the Guerlain lipstick.

Further, I agree with many of the other reviews here. I don’t like that there’s not ability to swatch or get samples. This makes color matching foundations especially difficult. All drugstore foundations tend to oxidize as well which I can’t stand.

I also don’t like the shorter wear time on most products. I don’t want to have to reapply my makeup multiple times a day (except lippies). The pigmentation and quality is often lacking as well. I find this even with some mid-range brands. I don’t agree with some beauty bloggers who tout drugstore products as being 100% dupes (or even better because they’re cheap!) compared to higher end products. For example the Loreal Infallibles vs Armani ETK, I have and like both products but the Infallibles are not perfect dupes or better than the Armani; they tend to be one monotone wash of color vs the mixture of colors that result in a very dimensional eyeshadow with the ETK.

While quality is improving in some areas (it’s nice to be able to buy drugstore lipsticks that are moisturizing or comfortable; I can’t even wear mac lipsticks), the prices are also getting higher. “High end drugstore” is becoming a thing now. I went earlier this week and picked up two revlon lip butters, a balm stain, a maybelline lipstick and liner pencil and it came out to almost $40, even with bogo 50% off on some of the lipsticks and coupons/discounts on others.

I hate that you can’t test them. From the products I have tried they never seem to love up to brands like urban decay or Chanel. With the exception of clump crusher mascara!

Not being able to try the product in store is a negative. I agree with you Christine, often times people forgo that rule and ruin the products because of the lack of a tamper resistant seal. Often with lower end products, my wear time is significantly less than with high end. I’m a working woman who wears makeup for 16 hours+ everyday. Wear time is ultra important for me. I feel like consistency is something budget brands struggle with as well. Sometimes, (I’m looking at you Maybelline 24/7 Tattoo) one product will be super successful, and they follow up that product with a lackluster spin off. Overall, I do use budget beauty brands, but I find myself reaching for my high end makeup more often.

I HATE the lack of proper shrink-wrap and seals on drugstore items! Such a waste for the companies and stores and so so frustrating as a consumer; once I’ve FINALLY find the lipstick I’ve been searching for at like 5 Targets, all of the tubes have been played with and smeared all over. I don’t want to pay more in shipping and handling than the price of a lipstick that was supposed to be a quick buy :'(

A lot, not all, have poor pigmentation, and sub-standard staying power. I notice this especially with lip products, and eye shadows. There are certain brands that never work well for me -Covergirl,Almay, and Rimmel- just to name a few

I’ve found that drugstore eyeshadows are almost always rubbish. Other than that I’m annoyed about the prices charged here in Australia- $15-$25 for a drugstore lipstick. It just ends up making me buy high end because I feel if I’m going to spend $20+ I may ad well just bite the bullet and get a luxury one instead. Packaging is often low quality, doesn’t last well and is usually covered with labels which I don’t like.

I don’t like the way they sort of cop out when it comes to offering a decent color range. Especially when it comes to concealer. Maybelline is especially guilty of this. Four shades are not going to accommodate a population that comes in a wide variety of skin tones, from very pale to very dark. When the Dark shade from your cosmetics line could match Penelope Cruz, you know you need to offer more shades.

Dislike the lack of tamper-proof packaging (it’s a shame we need it, but that’s another story), the inability to test, sometimes the color choices tend to be more limited/less unique and the quality isn’t always there which sucks if you can’t return it.

Lack of testers. The textures, consistency and pigmentation of products can be a real miss with some drugstore products (and high end but at least you get to try it out here first). And even if the pigmentation is there, often they just don’t have the refined textures and colours that I like.

And if there are testers, not having access to alcohol to sanitize the testers and no makeup remover to wipe off anything I may swatch usually deters me from even bothering in the first place.

Return policies are not as generous which considering the two points above, they should be. I’ve wasted more money on drugstore products than I have high end.

I absolutely hate drugstore packaging. I just can’t with it. I have a Rimmel lipstick in a purple metallic tube and it’s such an eye sore every time I open my drawer lol.

I don’t trust the quality of the ingredients they put in their products.

So yeah…overall, I rarely bother with drugstore products any more.

I really don’t like Packaging the can be opened in the drugstore. They should have testers so people don’t do this. I refuse to buy any Nyx lipglosses as you can’t tell if they have been tested. I prefer counters with sales assistance and samples. Sephora has the same problem.

1) The packaging is the biggest turn off for me. I enjoy elegant, grown-up looking packaging. I would not enjoy my makeup time of the day if I had to look at cheap plastic/cardboard packaging, which is usually too colorful/sparkly for my taste and generally geared towards a younger crowd.

2) Questionable ingredients that should never end up on someone’s face, eyes, lips, etc.

3) Unrefined formulas

4) Lack of testers or sealed products, thus allowing uncivilized people to open, test, etc.

Well, Christine, you have just about summed it all up. NYX is terrible about wrapping their products in safety plastic so it is tamper-proof. They are the worst offender. Also, I completely agree about the crazy release pattern of the LEs. I literally did drive to all the drugstores in my town (though we don’t have 10) in a crazy, frantic search for one of those Maybelline cream eyeshadows that was a fall release. That was a year ago and I still lament that I could not find it or anything like it. A lovely deep forest green it was. I keep searching and buying a powder es now and then in hopes I can get a dupe…but no luck so far. I decided then and there that I would no longer squander my precious time trying to track down these LEs. And drugstores seem to get such a small amount of them and they go off the shelves immediately. I also hate cheap packaging that breaks almost the first time you use it….not to mention clunky outsized compacts with terrible little scratchy useless brushes…ggrrr….

L’Oreal does this a lot too, and I was just surprised by it since they are such a huge and long-entrenched brand in drugstores, so I was like… what? I think some are but not when I recently wanted to purchase a few lip products!

Where do I start. Poor packaging, no testers, damaged or used products on shelves. More specific to the products I would say poor performance in terms of color, texture, and lasting power. The limited range of eyeshadow textures (tons of frost, shimmer & and some metallic, but few satin or matte). The colors tend to be less complex as well. The face powders are not as finely milled so don’t sit as well on the skin. Foundation tones tend to be quite peachy or overly pink and don’t wear as well, and nearly all cause my sensitive/oily/acne prone skin to go crazy because of the cheap ingredients. The fragrances can be overwhelmingly sweet (Milani lipsticks I’m looking at you) or have a strong chemical scent. Brands and product lines can be very inconsistent in quality and because of the lack of testers you can’t be sure what you’re getting.

I find most drugstore product under pigmented in every category. I’d rather put my money on a products that’s going to last me longer then a cheaper one that only going to last me a week to month as I need to pack the product on.
lack of range in foundation shades, This is a general beef with a lot of cosmetic brands but there is really NOTHING int the drug store range that I can work with.

Individual colours begin hit or miss in the same product line. Although I find this mostly with LE colour there is a number of companies the surfer with consistence.

On the flip side I love drugstore mascara but the keep discontinuing every one I love for a “New” formula and they I have to go waste money again in find one that works (look at you Rimmel). If Lancome’s wasn’t $34 a pop for only 3 month use I’d stick with theirs.

I dislike the inability to test products and the lack of pigmentation and lasting power of many drugstore products. I’ve also noticed that many drugstore products dry out my sensitive lips and skin.

Not being able to swatch products is my biggest turn off, UGH! And I absolutely agree on the limited edition products. GOOD LUCK trying to find them.

In my country, we are lucky testerwise, but there are loads of things I’d rather they changed:
-I really hate that sometimes the new products either won’t come to my country or only a really selected shade range (with mostly the unwearable bright colors instead of the wearable, nude-ey shades) or with a 1-2 year delay. And some companies choose to always bring the new mascaras to the country, which every drugstore has thousands of, but not the innovative or more interesting products
-their price is still to high for our wages to be affordable
-they don’t usually cater to people with extreme features (let it be really dark or light skin, really oily skin, red hair and brows)
-just a few brands have some quintessential products (like make-up setting spray, highlighter, heavier duty cream concealer, eye primer)
-the choice and range of brands here is quite narrow – we have two drugstore chains here, and except for one r two brands for each, they have the same choice… and even Tesco has the same brands – I’d rather they had such a range like they have in the US, the UK or German-speaking countries… I wanna have Revlon, Wet n Wild, Sleek, Neutrogena make-up, Soap & Glory make-up, Physicians Formula, NYX, Hard Candy, Jordana…
-you can’t get too much advice from the people working there
-it may only be a country-specific thing, but the security guards follow us around quite visibly and in your aura
-if the product is not sealed, some idiots like to test out brand new products… and that mixed with some lights melting products can result in you taking some nasty melted used product home.

-the quality of some products is truly awful (especially eyeshadows – a blotchy powdery mess)
-the artificial cocoa, vanilla and coconut fragrances (yet I’m not that opposed to perfume-y and slightly sweet fruity scents)
-the packaging – maybe because they wanna save money on it or aim it towards teens, but… I hate cheap looking plastic containers (especially in white), childish fonts and pictures, lipstick caps that can’t be twisted, bulky packaging
-the unusable cheap brushes! they just take up space
-overly sparkly lip products
-that no to few brands have wearable, classic colors in anything (I have NOT seen a proper cream/beige/champagne cream eyeshadow here…)

The lack of return policies? Well now many places offer returns, which i wish i knew earlier. What I dislike about budget friendly beauty brands is poor package for most items. My friends who use drugstore prefer high end because they use up their drugstore products faster than highend, so they are acutally losing more money with drugstore products with quickly restocking.

Drugstore products are likely to not be gluten free and a little bit more ingredient conscious than high end (i react more to drugstore than high end)

I don’t like not having the ability of have swatches or samples in America.

I think it’s hard to control oily/combo skin with drugstore products from my experience but Neutrogena’s Rice Powder is fantastic =]

I dislike that i cant test out products in the store, i also hate that most of the time they have been tampered with, return policies are rubblish, and worst of all drug store makeup breaks me out, i have no idea why. wet n wild blush i will have a pimple in no time, almay lip product pimple. ive never had this break out problem with high end makeup

The only thing I find I dislike about budget items are really, the exact same things I have found in some high end products. For example, pigmentation of items is sometimes terrible and lots of sparkle or the size of the shimmer in products is just awful – like think disco glitter ball! I don’t like that in budget nor high end products.

I feel like a criminal every time I’m in the store. I stare, walk up and down, compare every like shade of every brand wondering how can I tell the difference when there are no testers? So, the bottom line is I shop off of memory and price. We won’t go into the memory portion – but reducing purchases for products that touch my skin down to a price point is counterintuitive. Mind you it takes me forever to find the one or two things I really need, calculate the best bang for my buck, etc. By the time I decide, all staff eyes are on me. I think part of the problem is that they are so close together.

Packaging – I once wrestled a lip gloss (Revlon Colorstay) to the ground to try and peel the plastic off. I’m not entirely sure I won since I did end up with a little cut. But other products are packaged far worse – almost as heavy as plastic encasements around the electronic devices at Target.

You typically get what you pay for: even when the YouTube reviewers are raving about a drugstore product – I take it with a grain of salt (same if they all tend to be bashing a product). So much comes down to one’s individual skin, taste, coloring, etc. For the most part, the only shadow that applies fairly decently, blends well and wears for hours are some of the original Maybelline color tattoos. On me, the rest of the drugstore eyeshadows I’ve tried are just a mess. Ditto with mascara. Better luck with eyeliner though.

My favorite lip textures are high end – but I have to say I can sometimes find better lip colors from drugstore. And even when I don’t, I’m only throwing away $8 or $9 instead of $15+.

Brands that don’t add a safety seal to their lipsticks (Rimmel especially).
In general, the packaging of drugstore brands is often tacky. (Not always, but often.)

Everything Christine said.

Oh my goodness–I saw a girl at Target the other day who just kept opening SEALED cosmetics just so she can apply or swatch. Gosh, it hit a nerve so bad I was tempted to call her out on it. Then I noticed several other employees walking by the beauty section, take a glance at her, and then NOT call her on it. *shakes head*

And I recall an experience at Kmart where several sales people kept walking by me. I didn’t pay much attention at first, bc I just thought they were doing inventory or something. Plus, I was too busy deciding which lippies to haul. However, one actually stopped me and point-blank asked me if I was swatching or trying on the lipsticks (which I hadn’t of course). That’s when I realized I was being spied on! I just handed her my basket and told her in a helpful tone, “See for yourself if it makes you feel more comfortable.” And with that, I walked out the door. Maybe I made a big deal out of it but they could have been way more tactful about it if they were worried–like, straighten out a shelf nearby to keep an eye on me. Or just ask me if I needed help. *shakes head*

I really dislike most of the packaging with drugstore makeup. I don’t mind the colorful mascaras some brands like CoverGirl are famous for, but most powder compacts are very cheaply made. Rimmel Stay Matte for example. Great product that I use everyday and throughout the day, but I’m terrified it’s going to crack in my purse. It doesn’t even close very securely. I had the same issue with Physician’s Formula powders. The see through plastic cover wouldn’t close all the way so I couldn’t travel with it. The CoverGirl quads and trios are the same way. Very cheaply made and very upsetting.

I dislike the inconsistency with most brands. Maybelline and Covergirl have great mascaras, but crappy eyesahdows. The lipsticks and glosses also vary by type and even shade. I can buy 3 or 4 drugstore foundations hoping for one that will work and end up wasting my money when I could have just shelled out for $30-$40 for a high end

As others have mentioned, the availability of LE shades and products is very annoying. When the LE shades of the Maybelline Baby Lips came out last fall it took me four months and over 20 stores (combinations of Walgreens, Targets and Walmarts) to track them all down! I agree about there being no rhyme or reason to amount available and where and for how long.

I also dislike how dirty and hideous most displays are in drugstores. Although that probably has more to do with each individual store and location.

Another big thing as many others have mentioned is there are no testers to swatch. It would save a lot of guess work if I could swatch a lipstick or eyeshadow. I’m hoping some day soon there will be swatches available for drugstore makeup. And as a few others have mentioned, most drugstore workers don’t know much about makeup, definitely not as much as someone working at Ulta or Sephora would.

I so agree about foundation. I spent tons of money on drugstore foundations and found none of them gave me a naturally good skin look. Whereas my absolute favourite Chanel’s Vitalumiere Aqua is just worth every penny.

What I don’t like the most is colours. Usually I find the colours either too bright or too brown mixed. Almost all pinks are either bright, clean, neon pink or mauve pink. I find high-end colours to be much more sophisticated.
Also I think the distribution of even the permanent ranges vary between shops, areas and countries. It’s not easy to find what you are looking for.

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