What do you love about high-end beauty brands?

What do you love about high-end beauty brands? Share! (Please save your dislikes for tomorrow’s question!)

I love that you can often find experts to talk to about the brand, try before you buy, more generous return policies, various sets and kits, stock that hasn’t been tested/tried, and textures tend to be more refined.

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P.S. — This question is not supposed to create a debate between high-end vs. drugstore and which is better or is worth your money – it is purely a question about what someone may like about high-end beauty brands. One of the upcoming questions is about what readers love about budget-friendly brands, as well as what readers dislike about high-end and budget-friendly brands, so all sides will be asked! Please try to stay on topic 🙂 Thank you!

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Carrie Avatar

I love how new trends and unique colors tend to start out with higher end brands – i.e. Chanel Nail Lacquers.

I also like how some products just flat out perform better when you get into the higher end brands; in particular mascara. Trying out mascara in the $20 range absolutely killed my ability to use the drug store stuff. Although you do of course pay for name, paying more also means access to higher quality ingredients and it can make a difference and overall (while there are always going to be misses) it generally does show in the products they produce.

Mimielle Avatar

I’ve heard the same from quite a few people but once I started using CHANEL mascaras, I realized that others had been leaving my lashes a little dry and brittle with some tip breakage. I suspect it’s one of those hair type dependent situations where my own fine dry hair is the culprit, not the mascaras…

Tawni Avatar

There’s often a great difference in blend-ability, coverage and staying power. In things like eye shadows, foundation and lipstick that makes such a large difference for me. I do love good drugstore make up too though.

Ivy Avatar

Nothing. The better drugstore makeup is so much higher quality than a lot, if not most than department store makeup. But I do like department stor testers and sales consultants

Megan Avatar

Honestly, not much. I don’t mind buying Sugarpill or brands like that… but the $50 lipsticks are absurd. They are in nice packaging, but the price is too high to justify buying. I believe that these “designer” brands seriously price gouge people. Maybelline, Revlon and L’Oreal have just as good of lipsticks for 1/5th the price. I won’t pay more than MAC prices for lipstick.

zainab Avatar

I think I mostly like the glamour and ‘treating myself’ aspect. I do think you can get usable to excellent products at other price points, but there’s something about a luxury product that always feels special to me- like if I’m dressing up for an occasion I feel more drawn to the higher end stuff I own versus the good quality cheaper items.

It’s not always true but I also find the packaging a lot more appealing for some higher end brands- I love the gold tube Estée Lauder lipsticks or the NARS packaging because I feel a lot more mature pulling that out of my handbag than somethibg cheap and covered with cracked plastic in garish colours.

stacey Avatar

I do not have anything against drug store brands. But as a youth, I think shopping at the dept. store and my interaction with the SA then, helped me learn about makeup.
1. There are tester for the high end brands. Literally have to guess if the color/shade from a drugstore brand is good for you unless you want to open the brand new product.
2. The packaging. Cannot compare with the packaging. I keep everything I buy in its original packaging. I still have the packaging from over 25 years ago. Tom Ford packaging sucks. But I know I am paying for the price for buying Suqqu, Addiction, Guerlain, MAC Limited Editions, Urban Decay BOS or the Anniversary Stuff, all my brushes boxes, YSL (old version), Halston and Ralph Lauren from eons ago, Caron,….I keep them all. I dont keep anything like I keep my makeup. I think my makeup will have it own carrying box with me when I go to heaven.
3. The containers to the makeup…see about…they are unique just like the packaging.
4. I tried foundation drugstore vs brand names and there is a difference for me…regarding the feel and look on my skin.
5. When I whip out my makeup which I do not do often, people inquire…as I do the same to them. High end brands makeup look sleek. It stands out.

Steph Avatar

The feeling of treating myself when I make a high end purchase, along with hard to find colours and novel formulas. Overall I am quite happy with drugstore makeup (and own more drugstore/mid range than high end) but higher end purchases do feel more special!

Jill Avatar

More often than not, products will actually live up to their claims (i.e. full coverage, great pigmentation, long-wearing) in higher end brands. Also, for someone with very sensitive skin like me, a lot of these higher end brands don’t use harsh chemicals that I find in drugstore products all the time. I’m willing to shell out more money for insurance that I’m getting the product I want.

Sarah Avatar

I love how high end powders (eyeshadow, face) feel – usually they are more silky and creamy, and the pigmentation is much better, IMO. Plus, it’s nice that you can test the colors beforehand. Also, I agree with another commenter – I just feel a little more glamorous when I use them!

Terri Avatar

I like the packaging and the feeling that I am pampering myself. Like every brand, even high end ones can have an occasional miss here and there but overall I am usually delighted. I feel like the best foundations for me are the high end ones and wouldn’t consider anything else at this point.
Brands like Guerlain and Chanel rarely let me down because I know which formulas to avoid and which ones are tried and true.
I am also a lipstick junkie and for the most part, my high end lipsticks are just so nice!! Luxe packaging with a great product and lovely colors. I also have a thing for highlighters and find I prefer my chanel, laura mercier and of course my Meteorites for the best glow. And they smell so good!!

Jan Avatar

1) Texture
2) If unscented, I’m less likely to be allergic to high end
3) Blendability
4) A certain level of consistency or “look”
5) More likely to have something that suits my skin tone and texture, even though they are less likely to have my color.
6) Packaging (although I feel shallow on this one)

Steph Avatar

Some drugstore products are ok but for me the high end brands perform better and last longer. Plus many eye shadow and lipstick shades for high end brands appeal to me more than the drugstore stuff.

Malia Avatar

I’m in agreement with packaging… It’s purely arbitrary and at times, snobbish but oh well. Plus the stores and counters are so clean, and usually you can take your time in there.

Sophie Avatar

I love the look and feel of high end brands however, last week I bought a chanel lipstick for €30 ( expensive but said I would treat myself!) when I returned home the box looked as if it had been tampered with and opened it to discover the lipstick had been used! I was disgusted as that is not what I expected from any makeup brand. Luckily the girl at chanel swapped it but not what you would expect after spending €30.

Kris Avatar

The same thing happened to me with Burberry! I bought Trench eyeshadow and when I got home and opened it, the hinge of the eyeshadow was broken! I went to exchange it the next day and I was side-eyed by the SA who thought I had broken it (she didn’t say it out loud, though) and initially didn’t want to swap it for me. After paying £22.50, it definitely wasn’t the experience I thought it would be.

snugglebunny Avatar

Excellent customer service, both from reps and from the generous return policies. Being able to try before you buy, plus high end makeup (at least the stuff worth the money) is buttery, has great color pay off, and almost always caters to my undertones better. Last but not least…that packaging!

Cécile Avatar

Mostly it’s the feeling I get when I use beautiful products. Putting on Chanel lipstick makes me feel like a princess/Hollywood glamour queen for the entire day. It adds that little extra bit of luxury and happiness to my day. It’s the beautiful packaging, the rich textures and the thought of having something a little more unique. I don’t own a lot of high end products, because I wouldn’t be able to afford that, but I think that makes it all the more special. Most days I’ll wear my Rimmel/Maybelline/Revlon stuff, but when I pull out the Guerlain, I know it’s going to be a special kind of day 🙂

Aida Avatar

Better customer service, beautiful packaging, nicer textures, a better experience altogether. I’m not a beauty hoarder, I’d rather have less, but nicer things that I thoroughly enjoy using, making makeup application an enjoyable experience.

Dominique Avatar

Pigments, ” savoir-faire “, some products are patented too ( unique formulas ). Sometimes there is no difference between budget and high end products but sometimes the difference is huge !

Hend Avatar

The overall quality is better, especially in powder products, luxury powders are usually more blend-able, very buttery and just look better. packaging plays a role as well because high-end brands packaging are more convenient and portable than the drug store ones.

Wwendalynne Avatar

I buy whatever turns my crank whether it be high-end, pro, mid-range, or drugstore. My stash consists of an eclectic mix from all price points and I believe I’m more interested in performance and colour choice. For me though, some high end products are just plain worth it in terms of texture, durability, nuance, etc.. TF blush immediately comes to mind as a seriously outstanding worth every penny product. Conversely, I can find equally outstanding products in the low end, but the packaging isn’t quite as purdy 😀

Jaimee Avatar

I enjoy the packaging, the ability to sample and try something I wouldn’t buy without trying on first, to get expert help, generous return policies, superior quality (IMHO) and great color ranges. I don’t have much luck with drugstore lines. Everything from allergic reactions to oxidation (which also can happen with high end lines).

Michelle Avatar

I agree with others: staying power-I don’t have to touch up my high end products as much. pigmentation- most items need very little product since they are highly pigmented. Quality: less product needed, less waste (read fallout), fewer breakouts, usually sturdier & better packaging. Your stuff doesn’t shatter the first time u drop them. Color or shade selection is often more varied.

Alison Avatar

The only high end brand I love is Illamaqua but there are lots of reasons: their counter staff are really friendly and approachable, their product range is quite innovative, generally excellent quality and in unusual and fun colours, and they create loads of inspiring visuals (in their ad campaigns, how the staff do their own make-up and in the make-overs that they do.) I have a few items from other high end brands but I’m generally underwhelmed and end up with the feeling I’m just paying for glossy packaging and photoshopped ad campaigns!

meganlisa Avatar

I’m so curious to see what people say on this debate!
While I love some drugstore makeup items (Loreal infallible…a few lipsticks…) I much prefer higher end makeup for a number of reasons. It lasts longer, has better pigmentation in general (and colors) and blends better. But it depends on the brand and even item sometimes. The richness of certain high end colors is amazing.
But, one distinction not drawn in this debate is the difference between mid-priced brands (Urban Decay or MAC). And the truly high end (Tom Ford, Guerlain). Christine you did a great post about a month ago listing five high end eye shadows worth the extra money….and I loved it. The truly high end I rarely buy as I agree the other commentator…I will not pay $50 for lipstick. I have on Marc Jacobs I paid $30 for and I regret that purchase!

Ann Avatar

What I love about high end products is that I can try it before I buy it. I have spent so much money on drug store products that looked pretty but didn’t work for me. Foundations/lipsticks are tricky for me so I love being able to see what I am buying. I have lots of drugstore products that I love and I also have my high end products that I love 😀

Danielle Avatar

High end makeup is usually kept cleaner and more untouched in the store, so I definitely prefer that side of it. I also find that a lot of the package/design for high end makeup is usually really unique or luxurious.

Aubri Avatar

Mostly packaging, but also the ability to test – I have never been able to properly find my shade in any drugstore foundation – and return policies.

Veronica Avatar

For me, a lot of it’s the glamour and packaging – it’s often an intentional splurge to get myself something high end. Higher end brands are also likely to have more unique colors or shades that I can’t find in drug store. For somebody who is an NW10 in winter, it’s pretty tough to find foundations in drug stores that match. (Though, admittedly, nowhere near as hard as it is to find shades for dark skin tones.) Higher end brands often give me longer lasting power, as well – which is important when you sometimes pull sixteen hour hospital shifts.

I will say that drugstore brands have seriously picked up their game in the last couple of years. My collection is a mix of low and high end brands, and I often don’t find much of a much of a problem using them interchangeable. The only item I often tend to overlook buying lower end is power eyeshadow because I’ve been burned more often drugstore. If I can hunt down good reviews for it, though, I’ll buy it. 🙂

erin Avatar

they have better quality ingredients and a higher concentration of higher quality ingredients. The packaging is usually more durable as well. higher end products usually layer and blend better.

Liz Avatar

The ability to try before you buy. I also feel like a lot of times the texture of the powder products are more buttery and easier to pick up on a brush. Of course that doesn’t apply to all HE brands, but in general I would say that is true with most brands that I have tried. I also think that when it comes to blushes, there is a lot more variety offered by HE brands.

Amanda Avatar

The packaging is usually sturdier and/or more glamorous, retailers that sell higher end brands usually have a good return policy so you aren’t stuck with an item you don’t like, and usually but definitely not always the quality is there. I’m not saying that drugstore products aren’t good quality because a lot of times they are but i find higher end brands tend to be more consistent in quality.

Maria Thompson Avatar

Textures are more refined and thus user-friendly (more difficult to make mistakes!). However a lot of drugstore brands are equally good and sometimes better if you put the value factor in as well. 🙂

Alizée Avatar

The packaging is always lovely. I love my rouge G even though it’s completely too expensive because it just looks beautiful in my purse and it looks so lovely when you get it out and use it.

I’ll also have to say how light it feels in your face. I cannot stand foundations and most mascaras makes my eyes feel heavy after a while, unless they’re higher end brand. Higher end foundation feels like moisturizer.

Chelle Avatar

I kind of feel bad for all of you in the US saying that you don’t have testers at your drugstores for the makeup. Every brand in Canada at the drugstores has testers out for every single shade (this goes for foundation, eyeshadows, powders, etc.). It’s actually pretty uncommon to find no testers at all.

Mariella Avatar

Not entirely true. I’ve put off buying several drugstore concealers (Maybelline, I think, and L’Oreal) because they don’t have testers of the concealers. I think when Fit Me came out, they did have testers of all or almost all the foundations and possibly the concealers too but I was interested in the Age Rewind concealer and neither SDM nor Pharmaplus had testers (and the same goes for Walmart) so I didn’t buy and won’t buy if I can’t try it first.

Veronica Avatar

It depends on the brand, though I have noticed in recent years that some are beginning to include testers when they release new products. (Only with the initial displays, but still, it’s a good idea.) The flip side of this is that most American stores have very good return policies, so a dud can be exchanged. I know that for a lot of countries, cosmetics have a no-return policy – which can make for some very expensive mistakes!

Jessica Avatar

I like the ability to “try before you buy” with high-end brands. Most places will give out samples so I don’t waste my money if it ends up being a product that doesn’t really work for me.

desiqtie Avatar

Depends on the product. I rarely find mascaras, nail polishes, or lipsticks that are worth high-end prices when drug store products work just as well or better in many cases. With other products, like foundations & especially perfumes, I ADORE my high end purchases. Also, when I pick & choose carefully I do notice a difference in quality and luxury and it does feel like certain products are worth the extra money (although a portion of that money is of course due to the name/reputation & packaging). Also, as a WOC, in the drugstore it’s difficult to find products that work with either my skin color or my specific skin type or problem, with higher end brands there have been times where the associate was the same ethnicity as me and t/f was very easily able to help suggest a product.

Malinda Jane Avatar

The quality, the packaging, unique shades. If it’s something easily duped, I won’t bother. But if it’s something special, I might splurge. I like some of my makeup to feel like a treat. Sometimes when you’re doing your makeup everyday for work or running errands it can feel like a chore (even for someone who loves makeup), just another step before you’re out the door, but having something beautiful and luxurious makes it a little less mundane.

meagan Avatar

What I love most is the option to go test things out! Also for foundations, you can usually get samples before buying. High end may be more pricey, but if you end up buying something in the wrong color, or it ends up being super low quality at the drug store, you’re wasting money anyways! I can’t even count how many times I’ve had to throw something away from the drugstore that either was a completely wrong color or was so low in quality (like foundations and eye shadows).

patsyann Avatar

I would have to echo exactly what Christine says that she likes about high end brands. Additionally, I am such a sucker for beautiful “housing.” To pull a lovely compact or lipstick case out of my purse or make up drawer just makes me feel “special.” I also just love the luxury factor of the beautiful and well established old fashion/cosmetic houses like Chanel, Givenchy, Guerlain and Dior, to name just a few French ones. I grew up knowing about these brands but never being able to afford them when I was living in Paris as a teenager…another lifetime ago.

divinem1 (Melissa) Avatar

How utterly annoying. I would be so aggravated having to travel back to the mall to have the problem rectified.

I had to return a high-end mascara once because she gave me the wrong kind, wrapped it up in all that unnecessary tissue paper so I couldn’t give it a quick look. I was very specific and had a feeling that she wasn’t operating on all cylinders. My bad for not following my gut reaction by checking before leaving the store. Won’t make that mistake again!

Oh, one other reason for my preference is my ridiculously sensitive skin and frequent need for returns.

dancinglonghorn Avatar

To me, its the difference in the wearibilty of the color. Drugstore colors are fine for high school girls, but as a professional who has a high-visibility job, I need colors that are current, but match my skin tone. For instance, I recently bought a Chanel coral lipstick. All the drugstore coral lipsticks that I had seen were almost neon coral – that is just going to look ridiculous on a professional woman. The Chanel lipstick has a good deal of brown to offset the coral in the color and gives a much more natural effect.

Emerald Avatar

I will be turning 30 next year, and I cannot agree more with moving on to more mature shades of a particular color. I still love my super bright, neon colors, but will use them sparingly.
Within the last year i have moved up to higher end brands and the quality of the product is what is making me come back to those brands.

abigailod Avatar

I can’t help but echo everything Christine mentioned. I appreciate it a lot too that higher-end brands take the time to *educate their customers (ie. better educated SAs in that sense); and that their samples are typically offered and they don’t make you feel you’re taking anything from them. But most importantly, the products’ form and function are typically worth the splurge.

Judith Avatar

Like many here I do love the costumer service and the possibility to try the products. I also love high end eyeshadow palettes and foundations. I hate to have to pack on the product in order to have results!

Jenna Avatar

Aside from quality, I think the amount of reviews on higher end products are much greater and diverse so I can get a good idea on what I’m purchasing.

Nikki Avatar

I love high-end brands because:
1) the quality of products tends to be more consistent.
2) I can test products before committing to buy them.
3) the products are usually long-wearing and long-lasting.
4) the color ranges are usually more extensive.

juanita Avatar

I completely agree with you christine. I love getting samples and being able to return or exchange if i don’t like the product. I also feel there are a wider variety to formulas, with skin care and foundations (for example).

Laura Avatar

I love the packaging. It always seems to look sophisticated and pretty. I also like that the packaging is better quality and is often weighty. Like my Guerlain Rogue G lippies, I love that they’ve got a bit of weight to them coz they’re metal. They just feel and look gorgeous.

Mimi Avatar

I love the higher quality, lipsticks and glosses tend to taste better and a lot less chemically, creamier lipsticks, richer moisturizers, colors that are more muted and realistic, powder products tend to last longer and are more richly pigmented, but I must admit that I am a sucker for gorgeous packaging. It wouldn’t make me buy an inferior product but it definitely adds to the enjoyment of the feminine experience of makeup and skincare.

Mariella Avatar

I’m not a “high end brand” snob but I do tend to reach for my high end stuff more than my drugstore stuff a lot of the time. What I do love about high end products is that there are testers at the counter and often samples as well, so you can “try before you buy”, which is especially nice if you’re going to be shelling out a hefty sum for a product. And I love that often (not always but it is still often the case) it is the high end brands that have colours and sometimes textures (especially in lipsticks) that are hard to duplicate/replicate in the lower priced brands. The recent Bonne Etoile eye shadow palette from Dior is a good example – amazing colours, truly unique and, therefore, pretty “undupe-able”. Generally (though not always), higher end packaging looks more luxurious (though some of MAC’s LE stuff can be absolutely tacking; ditto Urban Decay) and you’re less likely to get cardboard! Funnily enough, though, I have had shadows come unglued from both Dior and Clarins eye shadow palettes but I’ve never had that happen with a drugstore eye shadow palette!

Glamglitters Avatar

I love the packaging of most high-end products, and there is a ton of variety in every makeup item! I also find higher end concealers and foundations to be much more better than their drugstore counterparts.

Mimielle Avatar

The pigmentation, firstly, then performance. The first time I tried an Urban Decay eye shadow, I made a vivid mess, but it stayed put all day!! ! 😀 Also texture/scent. The ability to try out the product or even have it put on me on the spot or take home a sample. Trends thankfully matter a little bit less here in Arkansas to most people so I can follow them as I please and hang on to one if I want to, they take a year to trickle down plus there is a very rebellious “I’ll wear what I like, not what’s in style” attitude that I like a lot even if the theory often works better than the practice. The shopping experience…my local CHANEL, Sephora and MAC SA are knowledgable and fun and they know I like to test things so are both generous with the samples or quick to do a demo for me and they like to chat about brand news and upcoming releases. I know many don’t consider MAC “high end” but my local shopping experience and the product performance set it up there for me. I don’t debate the high vs low because I buy both and my favorite category to test is actually Indie. Hope you include that category in opinions too, please!

Dawn Reed Avatar

I much prefer high end products because I always go to them when it’s time to actually do my makeup. I’ve bought tons of drug store products that I use once or twice and then lay down and never pick up again. It is a huge waste of money. One $40 lipstick that I actually wear time and time again is preferable to me than four $10 ones that are somewhere in the bottom of my purse.

VickyM Avatar

I love everything about high end makeup, I´m a high end makeup worshiper, I love the way it looks and feels in person and I love the way it looks in the packaging 😀 . Long live high end makeup!

Amanda R Avatar

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I liked the packaging of high end brands (for the most part). I also like that the quality is generally more consistent from product to product than one might find in a drugstore brand, where it’s often hit-or-miss.

ProperIntro Avatar

I enjoy the option to try out and sample high end products. I usually get the awesomeness out of the price. There are more high end products that are gluten free compared to drug stores (there a few, but only A FEW). I love the quality that high end products can have (I tend to reach for high end products then my drug store stuff). Also,from my experience drug store face products tend to break me out than the high end stuff I’ve tried. I have acne, oily skin that has only been tamed by high end stuff, sadly for my wallet. Packaging is what I love about high end products (it’s my weakness).

There’s a lot of good drug store stuff that , too bad I can’t use then >.<

Question: Have you done a question on concealers for oily/combo skin?

Karen Avatar

I honestly don’t buy a huge amount of drugstore makeup but I do have some WNW shadows, some Physicians Formula products, Maybelline Falsies mascara and lipsticks from a few brands. UD 24/7 liners are the only ones that last other than gel liners. I like higher end because the pigmentation is usually better, powders are more finely milled, wear time is longer, packaging is prettier. Another plus is being able to try things at the counter or get samples to try later which helps to avoid wasting money.

Geneva Avatar

I love the time they take with you, how nice the consultants are. I’ve only purchased high end brands from Nordstrom and have always had a great experience. I went to the Guerlain counter to try the meteorites and the consultant was really very nice even though I let her know that I was only looking and not ready to purchase at that time.

Geneva Avatar

I love my Chanel Perfection Lumiere liquid foundation, as long as my skin is moisturized, it looks beautiful and flawless. My Chanel cream blush is beautiful, pigmented and long lasting. So far Chanel is the only high end beauty brand I’ve purchased and I am really pleased.

Maya Avatar

Your disclaimer made me chuckle, Christine! I love how you nip things in the bud before controversy starts… Smart girl indeed!

I love high end brands because of the great return policy, helpful sales associates, ability to test the product before purchasing and I also feel they do come out with some innovative products or unique colors before drugstore brands.

Leticia Avatar

I love the experience of buying a high end product – sales persons are usually kind and helpful, there are testers for everything, I get nice free samples and then enjoy a lovely packaged, great quality item that I took the time to test and choose!

Danielle Avatar

I love the quality of foundations, though I can find drugstore dupes if I’m lucky. As well as wonderful concealers. And also, a lot of the time the ladies at the counter give free samples so you can try the product first.

Maggie Avatar

I seem to love this continuously:
-The packaging
-refined textures and finishes
-unique formulations
-The pigmentation, quality and performance across many high-end brands tend to be better than across the board for low-end. I also love the try-before-you-buy.
-great return policies

I don’t always love the customer service but I have to admit that my best customer service experiences have been from high-end counters.

I’m not going to say color variation bc I find indie brands (like Fyrrinae) make up for the lack in the mass market range.

Ally Avatar

You can almost always, always get testers and samples which I think is key when buying higher end products. I also find that higher end cream products are better (blushes, eyeshadows, highlighters) then drugstore.

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