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Why is Drugstore Makeup Getting So Expensive?

I like to mix make-up brands. My tinted moisturizer costs 1/3 of the price of my highlighter, and I love both products. I have drugstore lipsticks that cost less than a latte that I love, and I am also obsessed with my luxurious Tom Ford lipstick.

I am a firm believer that there are high-end products that are worth every penny, but also amazing steals at the drugstores. It’s all about finding hidden gems in your local Target or CVS, and finding your holy grail products at Sephora. I have never been one to scoff at drugstore makeup, and I believe in saving money whenever possible (I love my ELF matte lip colors, and Colourpop highlighters!). However, it seems recently that the prices of drugstore makeup is escalating dramatic.

I remember when I first started off with makeup, I bought a Revlon lipstick for $5 and a Wet-n-Wild foundation for $3.99. The first eye shadow palette I purchased was $5 from ELF. And I understand that the makeup industry is always changing and revolutionizing, but the astronomical prices of drugstore cosmetics is such a weird phenomenon to me.

When I purchased my Physician Formula butter bronzer, I had to think a lot before I made the plunge… it was fifteen dollars. A drugstore bronzer was fifteen dollars. The L’oreal lumi cushion foundation that I had to stop using, it retails at Target for eighteen dollars. Those prices are absolutely crazy to me, especially for drugstore cosmetics! I could run to Sephora and purchase a higher end foundation for almost the same price!

And the thing is, I believe that part of the fun of buying drugstore making is finding a hidden gem or an amazing product, for a complete fraction of the Sephora counterpart. I love that my highlighter is 1/8th of the cost of the BECCA ones, and it made me so happy when I found that out! When I discovered that my $3 brow gel was a steal and dupe of the Benefit one, it was such a cool moment.

And I think that when it comes to splurging, people tend to splurge on things that they value or care about more. I don’t mind spending a little bit more for my all natural primer/moisturizer, tinted moisturizer, and translucent face powder…but I’ll wear $3 lipsticks and $3 liquid blusher. I have friends that splurge on face makeup and nothing else, and friends that don’t splurge except for lip products. It’s all about using your money to invest (or not invest) in whatever you please!

So when drugstore prices are nearing Sephora prices, that makes you wonder whether or not you should just shell out the extra few bucks to get something deemed “high-end.”

Honestly, why is makeup getting so expensive? And why are these costs going up so quickly? I remember the days when all of ELF’s products were a dollar, and Wet N Wild didn’t have anything over $5. When L’oreal didn’t shell out $18 foundations, and a bronzer from the drugstore wouldn’t cost $15. It’s crazy to think that in just a short amount of time, prices just keep going up and up, and they do not seem to be stopping.

Speaking of drugstore makeup, what is your favorite beauty “steal?” Do you think it’s crazy prices keep increasing like this?

Chrissey

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13 Comments

    • That’s how I feel completely! I recently bought a set at Sephora from Tarte that had mascara, blush, and a little lipstick for $10….that’s only $3.33 a product! And obviously, Tarte is a higher-end brand! Blushes at the drugstore, besides like NYX or Wet N Wild are at least $8 a pop! It definitely makes it seem more worthwile to just make the leap up to high end…especially since prices keep going up! NYX just came out with a $20 palette, which just blew my mind! TWENTY DOLLARS. I could go to Sephora for a palette that much!

      Thanks so much for commenting, I loved hearing your perspective!

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    • That’s crazy!! The L’Oréal cushion foundation I used to use was $19!!! I feel like everything is slowly getting pricier and pricier and it makes it harder to ignore paying a little more to get a little bit higher end products!

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  1. There are some drugstore brands that I just don’t play around with because for the price, I might as well just go high end. I think the drugstore makeup space has changed a lot in terms of popularity of items driven by “beauty influencers” and in the broader selection of products offered, which may make brands feel comfortable charging more. Personally, though, if it’s more than $10, I’m not going for it (save for with NYX eyeshadows palettes – they are my forever exception).

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    • I agree completely, $10 is my cut-off for drugstore products! Like you said a lot of it is because of beauty influencers, and also a lot of it is mimicking higher end products. The packaging and the methods of application (cushion foundations, contour kits, fancy applicators) and attempts to mimic a higher end competitor definitely are factors in the drugstore makeup evolution… and price change! NYX is wonderful, and I often find myself reaching for them regardless of slow price increases!

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  2. Morgan says

    I agree so much with this! I do think some brands have started charging more just to make themselves seem more high end, even if the products aren’t worth the price. I haven’t bought anything from L’Oréal in a while, particularly. The Lumi cushion was so much more expensive than a regular foundation, and had less product.

    I definitely look for steals when I shop at the drugstore. I love that my Maybelline foundation is still only $4.99, and I also am a huge fan of Wet n’ Wild nail polish which I think is around $1. You have to hunt more for the good deals though, lately.

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    • My cut off for drugstore products is $10! L’Oréal I can usually justify though, if it’s around that range (their eyebrow pencils are a dupe for Anastasia and their lip products are amazing!), but I do find that finding gems are so much harder! I think Milani has really been cranking out nicer products with wonderful packaging and quality. I usually try to combine drugstore deals BOGO, BOGO50%, or my Extracare Rewards from CVS! My favorite steal is Essence’s brow gel for $3, ELF’s lip colors for $3, or WNW’s $2 lipsticks!

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  3. Pingback: An Under $50 ELF Cosmetics Starter Kit – THE UNABRIDGED SASS

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