Beauty Features

Drugstore vs. Top Brands

A big price tag can still give you a less-than-stellar product, but shelling out only a few dollars for concealer might not produce the best results either. How do you know when to splurge and when you can save a few bucks (or 20)? In an effort to find out, I tested a higher-end brand and a ‘drugstore’ brand for products I use regularly. I wasn’t too shocked to find quality on both sides of the spectrum.

dry shampoo

Dove Refresh+Care Dry Shampoo
For under $5, it’s worth having this on hand. It wasn’t super impressive, but it did the job of cutting any grease on my roots, and it gave my hair some texture and lift—although I did feel some residue throughout the day.
$4.49 at drugstoresShu Uemura Color Lustre Dry Cleaner
This dry shampoo is a little different than most I’ve tried—not a bad thing. Instead of the normal ‘baby powder mist’ I’m used to, it made my roots wet, which dissipated when I combed it through. It is described as not leaving any residue or unwanted texture behind, and it totally delivers there! I didn’t have any noticeable volume after I used it, which I would have liked, but I do appreciate that it is for color-treated hair. I would definitely buy again!
$39 at


face wash

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser
Cetaphil wins! My dermatologist recommends it, and so do I. It’s clean, it’s simple—enough said. That’s really all your face needs to stay healthy and balanced. Now, if you want to tackle aging and sun issues, that’s a whole other story!
$6.39 for 8 oz. at drugstores




OleHenriksen Wonderfeel Double Cleanser (with complexion cloth)
The package says facial cleansing crème, and that’s exactly what this feels like. It’s touted as a modern day cold cream, and I felt like I was putting lotion on my face, which turned me off a little. Because of the black currant extract, it has a strong fruity scent that I found overpowering. It did remove my mascara and make my skin feel soft and hydrated, always a plus. Others might not have the same aversions to smell and texture as I did.
$32 at Sephora




Neutrogena Healthy Skin Brightening Eye Protector
I loved how this brightened my face (just like the name says) when I put it under my eyes, but it fades pretty quickly. I started applying a concealer stick on top of this bottom layer to get the coverage I wanted. Let’s just say I would much rather prefer to use one product instead of two—and, it’s the same price as the higher-end brand.
$14 at drugstores

Sephora Make No Mistake High Coverage Concealer
If you really need coverage, this is your product. I was not expecting it to be so thick, but it definitely does its job, although not sure I would use under my eyes because of its heaviness. There are multiple tone variations to choose from (the one I got was a little too light for my skin tone), so make sure you get a good match.
$14 at Sephora




Catrice Cosmetics Rock Couture 24-hour Extreme Volume Mascara
I didn’t not like this mascara. It performed the same as the tried-and-true ‘cheaper’ brands I have relied on in the past. I loved its dark black color, and if I ‘swiped’ the wand a few times at the end of the tube before applying, the clumps were minimal. The line is new to the states, but is in more than 60 countries (think Zara for cosmetics!). It’s super economical and perfect for those not looking to spend a lot of money.
$7.99 at Ulta

Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara
In the realm of makeup, mascara is the one thing I cannot live without. I have tried dozens and dozens in an attempt to get the perfect volume, length and darkness—with no clumps, of course. This does it all. I’ve always found the go-to drugstore brands worked best, and I didn’t want to spend a ton on something I buy every few weeks. Well, now I’ve met the one and I’m not letting it go.
$27.50 at Sephora, Neiman Marcus & Nordstrom