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High-End vs. Drugstore Makeup: Is There Really a Difference?


Written by: Osob Mohamud

When I first started my freelance career, I thought I needed high-end brands in order to be taken seriously. Although I was able to create beautiful looks with the drugstore products, I always looked forward to when I could afford higher-end brands. Luxury automatically meant “better” to me. Now that I‘ve been lucky enough in my career to try almost every major makeup brand — both high-end and drugstore — I realized that’s not always the case. I compare some high-end products and their comparable drugstore dupes.

Tom Ford Brow Scultptor |

Tom Ford Brow Sculptor, Sephora, $65.
NYX Lift & Snatch Brow Tint, Shopper’s Drug Mart, $14.

Tom Ford Brow Sculptor vs. Nyx Lift & Snatch Brow Tint

When I started using the Tom Ford Brow Sculptor, I was impressed by the packaging and the fact that it came with a refill. However, after using it for a few weeks I found that the product tended to dry out quickly — I mean really quickly! After a few uses, it became difficult for me to get through one brow without it drying out and tugging at my skin. On the other hand, I’ve really been enjoying the Nyx Lift & Snatch Brow Tint. Initially, I was afraid that it would show up on my brows like a liner and look too overpowering, but it gives nice subtle hair-like strokes. It’s perfect if you want to achieve the trendy soap brow look.

Related: This is how you pull off an early 2000s look.

Georgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation and L'oreal Age Perfect Foundation |

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, Sephora, $82.
L’Oreal Age Perfect Foundation, Shoppers Drug Mart, $20.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation vs. L’Oréal Age Perfect Foundation

This was tough to compare because Luminous Silk is one of my all-time favourite foundations. It gives my skin an amazing glow and leaves an airbrushed finish. The L’Oréal Age Perfect foundation is marketed for mature skin, but I find it works perfectly for my dryer skin type as well. It covers my dark circles and makes my skin feel well moisturized.

Makeup Forever Velvet Matte Concealer and L'Oreal Infallible Concealer |


Make Up Forever Matte Velvet Concealer, Sephora, $36.
L’Oreal Infallible Concealer, Shoppers Drug Mart, $19.

Makeup Forever Matte Velvet Concealer vs. L’Oréal Infallible Concealer

These are two of my favourite full-coverage matte finish concealers. I find they both get the job done covering my dark circles. What I like most about the L’Oréal Infallible concealer is that it’s full-coverage in every sense of the term. This stuff can cover anything! The Makeup Forever Matte Velvet impresses me by how weightless it feels and it’s a lot easier to blend.

Related: How to find the best skincare products based on budget.

Chanel Loose Powder and Covergirl Clean Professional Loose Powder |

Chanel Poudre Universelle Libre Loose Powder, Chanel, $52.
CoverGirl Clean Professional Loose Powder, Shoppers Drug Mart, $10.

Chanel Poudre Universelle Libre vs. CoverGirl Clean Professional Loose Powder

This is one round where I have to say more is more. I was disappointed in how the CoverGirl Loose Powder performed especially as the day went on. I found the texture to be really chalky and made my skin super dry. I think this would be a better option for someone with more oily skin. The Chanel powder, however, really impressed me with its skin-like finish. The finish is sheer and lightweight and I felt like I had nothing on my skin all day.

Tom Ford Blush in Ravish and E.L.F. Always Cheeky Blush |

Tom Ford Blush Cheek Color, Sephora, $84.
E.L.F. Primer-Infused Blush, Shoppers Drug Mart, $8.

Tom Ford Cheek Colour vs. E.L.F Primer-Infused Blush

With these two, I feel like the only difference is the price tag.  Nearly identical in shade, texture and finishes, I found it hard telling the difference between the two. I love the E.L.F “Always” line of blushes — they are long-wearing, matte and buildable blushes that really give you a great bang for your buck! What I liked best about the Tom ford Ravish Blush beyond the pretty shade is the packaging. It’s beautiful, sleek and feels luxurious.

Those are some of my favourite high-end products vs. their drugstore dupes. I think it’s clear that you can get great quality products at an affordable price point. While I still find myself picking up more expensive makeup products to try out, I know now it’s more of a want vs. a need.


Related: Top new beauty products arriving this June.

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