I regularly patrol the drug store makeup aisles to see what's out there. I am often asked about the quality of drug store makeup - truth is I like quite a bit of it. How it compares to department store makeup can be competitive, or not even close. When a product is getting a lot of mention I will buy and try. Last week I decided to do an experiment and only wear drugstore makeup for a week.
My purchasing spree went between Target and CVS. One of my biggest gripes about drugstore makeup is the lack of testers. Target does provide testers for some of their "higher-end" lines. Having purchased too many of the wrong color in foundation formula I headed there for that item and walked away with Napolean Perdis Memory Foundation in Set 2 ($28.00,) and Boots No7 Lift and Luminate foundation in Cool Ivory (14.99). My other purchases were as follows: Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm 225 (9.49) Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain 005 (9.49), Covergirl TruMagic primer 100 (11.99), Covergirl Instant cheekbones Purely Plum (6.49), Maybelline Falsies Mascara (7.49), Elf 3 in 1 Mascara (3.00), Maybelline Master Glaze Just Pinched blush stick (8.99), Covergirl Smoothers concealer #710 (7.79), Rimmel Perfect Match #710 self adjusting concealer (5.99), Maybelline Age Rewind Effaceur Concealer #225 (9.99), and Revon Shadowlinks in blush, copper and plum (3.14 each). .
So here is the good, bad and the ugly. First the Napolean Perdis product, while listed as a "foundation" on the front, states on the back that it is really a tinted moisturizer. Hmmm, that's confusing. I wouldn't really classify it as a tinted moisturizer (which I hate) but a light coverage foundation. I spread this on with fingers which I think is the best method for this product. The coverage was enough for me. For anyone trying to cover up major issues it would not be. I chose set 2 (there are only 3) because the #1 was really light. In hindsight I should have chosen #1 because the #2 has kind of a funky yellowish tone on my skin which can be seen on the close up above. Not awful by any means, in real life not as noticeable as in the photo. I liked this product and it wore well throughout the day though it definitely needs a setting powder. The Boots no7 foundation was far more coverage. You need very little of this product really a pea size amount is enough. Tried spreading with fingers and no go - application was too thick. Reapplied with a sponge and it looked better. This color was a little off as well but corrected easily with bronzer, and a setting powder optional. Of the two I preferred the Napolean Perdis Memory Set. It wore better throughout the day, looked better on my skin, and was more luminous than the Boots no7 product (btw the" Lift and Luminate" description I did not experience lol). Oh wait, I am forgetting about the Covergirl TruMagic primer; understandable because it is a forgettable product. I am not a fan of primers as I have stated before - but I do use and need them at times. This is the worst primer I have ever attempted to use its just awful. To be applied with the sponge included, before or after makeup, and promises flawless looking skin. I say don't apply it all. A thick and weird texture - my skin did feel smoother yet super dry at the same time. It enhanced my pores once the foundation was applied. I did not think the product helped my makeup wear longer in fact I would say it helped it come off. I have yet to try a primer in a drugstore that is worth a shit.
You may have noticed I purchased 3 different concealers. With no tester available - I needed some luck and didn't feel I would be so lucky with just one. At least with the Rimmel product and CG I was able to see the actual color through packaging - not so with the Maybelline Effaceur. I had to go by the color on the package which seldom turns out well. Least favorite of the products is the Rimmel self adjusting match perfection. The color was fine and the applicator with a brush easy, but it did not cover. I tried my own brush, a sponge and patting with a finger to no avail the product is worthless. Next the Maybelline Effeceur - comes with a sponge applicator. I thought I would like this product because I do like its sister product in foundation. Well, I don't like it. The formula glides on easy enough but its hard to control the amount via the packaging. The color was too yellow and after application it was a dry finish which enhanced fine lines. Coverage was ok, not great, just ok. My favorite of the three is the CG smoothers. Simple to swipe on via a tube, covered my circles, smooth, and not drying at all.
Onto eyes - Revlon Shadowlinks is super cool packaging allowing the purchaser to choose whatever color and then link the shadows together for a "custom" palette. Its a little bit like playing with legos. 3 colors for less than $10 total my choice is awesome! As for perfomance - the copper metallic and the plum both perform well though need a couple of coats to build. The lightest pink color isn't that great. Even with several coats I still did not get the opacity I was looking for. Throughout the day the copper stayed, the plum faded a bit. I also used the plum wet for an eyeliner and it did fine going wet/dry. Thumbs up to Shadowlinks by Revlon. Elf 3 in 1 mascara states it lengthens, defines, an volumizes. This is incorrect - stubby, short and clumpy is accurate. This is the worst mascara I have ever used not even worthy of my tendency to hoard makeup and keep it for "just in case". In a pinch I would use wet, black, eyeshadow to stain my lashes rather than this. Maybelline Falsies, on the other hand, is awesome. I love Maybelline mascara! I'd put this product up against any department store brand and feel confident Maybelline would perform as well or better.
For blush both the Maybelline Master Glaze and Covergirl Instant Cheekbones did well. Between the two I choose the Covergirl product. I prefer to contour with blush anyway - here you have it all a contour, blusher and highlight. Only gripe, the pans are really small and the packaging flimsy. I know the lid will break on this one before long. The Maybelline Glaze provides a nice sheer coverage and plenty of pigment. I don't like cream blush so I am trying to be unbiased. If you like creams then this is a great one. I don't like them because I feel they disrupt the foundation and for the average user are harder to use than powders. I also don't feel they have the durability of a powder blusher, on top of a foundation with setting powder.
Finally lips - I love Revlon Colorburst Velvet Matte Balm. The texture is smooth, lasting, and not drying. The big girl "pencil" applicator negates the need for a lip brush or lipliner. While shopping I wanted to try something "mattish" in the dark burgundies for Fall. The color of the packaging matches the lip and I chose 005 Crush (as I already owned #225). Unfortunately, this is a different formula, a balm stain instead of a velvet matte - oops. The color was more purple than burgundy. The finish is very shiny - its not what I wanted. I still like the product - it will stain your lips. This is one of my biggest irritations over shopping in the drugstore - often the products are different formulas, but look the same. You have to read the very tiny small print to make sure you are getting exactly what you want.
After wearing these products for a week my conclusion - powder products like eyeshadow and blush you just do not get the same durability as department store. I do love the Revlon Shadowclicks, and I will keep them around. Foundations - I recommend if you are going to splurge on one department store product that it be foundation. Foundation color changes (most of the time) once applied. I do like the Napolean Perdis product - I just want more coverage for Fall - so I am switching back to my own liquid mineral brand, and will use NP next year in the summer. The issue with foundation in a drugstore is the lack of colors offered, and the inability to test color more so than the formulas themselves. Kudos to Napolean Perdis for supplying a tester, if only we could get Target to put up a mirror so you can see if the color looks right (hint hint). Maybelline Falsies will be staying with me as well as the Revlon Colorburst Matte. I like the CG smoothers though I still have my Ben Nye color sticks and Camofleur Concealer which are hard to beat.
Drugstore products while considerably less expensive add up when buying a face full. Time is money and ending up with a product that isn't right because you couldn't try it negates the ease and cost of shopping in a drugstore. I sure would like these companies to provide testers of their products. Why they do not I don't know. As far as a comparison well - being a little realistic here. Did I expect a $3.00 mascara to compare to a $30 Lancome? No. I also didn't expect that it would be such a horrible product either. Same for the shadows. Is a $10 trio going to compare to a $50 Dior quad? Do they compare to my own shadows which are $12 each? Dior shadows are simply outstanding in texture and pigment as are my own artist's line. Long lasting. clinging and blendable. The Revlon trio will not last as long, it produces more shadow dust, and I have to use more to get the same result. End of my work day it faded more than my line of makeup. The packaging is flimsy and more likely to break. It is a good product nonetheless. I would put the Maybelline $7.49 mascara up against many department store brands, and the Matte Balm by Revlon as well.
As far as investment pieces think of makeup like clothing. Essentials should be from the best brand you can afford. Beginning with brushes, sorry folks, the drug stores just don't offer brushes that perform well or are long lasting. My 4 essentials for higher end purchases - Brushes, Foundation, Setting Powder, and a Neutral Eye quad. From here colors can always be added in as the season's change with less expensive choices. I think its reasonable that there are really good products in the drugstore that combined with some higher end cosmetic purchases will make a good bounty for any girl.