Musings of a Muse

A Blog of Musings from a Cosmetic Whore

Jan 15, 2009

Musings of the Day: To Cheap or Not To Cheap

So here it is....that scary question of whether you prefer cheaping it out with drugstore cosmetics and finding golden nuggets among epic fails or are you a counter girl who prefers high end to low end?

The Muse happens to be a counter girl and rarely ventures far from it. She's all about high end skincare, haircare, and cosmetics. Sadly, it's very rare I find drugstore products that work. If I think about it I can probably shell out $50 or more dollars before finding a single item at my local drugstore that works. For that I might as well just head to my local Sephora and pick up the item that I know will get the job done and not having to go through a dozen or more products I can't test or return at a drugstore!

I'm not dissing on lower end cosmetics nor am I saying higher end are easy to afford but I just personally feel like about 85% of drugstore cosmetics, skincare, and haircare are simply rubbish in my humblest opinion and I'd rather spend the extra $ on a counter brand. For example I can probably get a quad from say L'Oreal at my local drugstore for around $8.99 or less....chances are it's not a great formula, doesn't blend well, and isn't really all that pigmented. I might as well just throw in the extra $5 bucks or so and snag a single pigmented eyeshadow from MAC and be all the happier for it!

This isn't to say all drugstore brands are bad because I'm found a few gems here and there myself.

So the Muse is in the "not to cheap" category.

How about you?

Love your drugstore cosmetics?

Can't get enough of the higher end counter brands?

Tell the Muse!

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Anonymous petitez said...

I think the drugstore brands over here are pretty good! :) I like Canmake's stuff, inexpensive masks and etc... Now that MM and Gransenbon is here, all the better! hehehe.......... :P

P.S. You got my mail?

January 15, 2009 at 11:32 PM  
Anonymous xisa said...

Well the drugstore at my country has pretty much those great drugstore products from japan, korea, usa so it did rival those highend stuff. USA stuff are quite ripoff since those are pricey for drugstore, might as well buy highend, but those Asians cosmetics more than often exceeded those highend stuff that I own. So yeah, now I often bought more middle end(those standalone store) or drugstore than highend, of course, since I have much more money to spare XD

January 15, 2009 at 11:54 PM  
Blogger Kaoru said...

For me, it's all about what I'm buying. I'm perfectly content with drugstore facial care (though I did try a lot before finding ones that work for me, it's true), and since I have to change my shampoos and conditioners a lot anyway, might as well go cheap (that, and the fact that expensive ones hardly work on me, and natural stuff that does is easier to find in the drugstore). Oh! Mascara, too. Bought expensive, bought cheap, can hardly tell the difference most of the time.

Now non-drugstore must buys cover most everything else. Eyeshadows, pigments, brushes, perfumes, blushes, foundation (to the extreme on this one); I've occasionally found usable stuff at the drugstore, but so not worth it. Let me spend the $25 for a MAC foundation (or the 50 for a MUFE), and save the hundreds that I would spend to find a match that won't break me out at the drugstore...

January 16, 2009 at 12:04 AM  
Anonymous Roxii said...

You're absolutely right, Muse. Drugstore brands are nothing but a nuisance. Sure, I've found a lipgloss or two that was decent...but I'd rather wear the BEST POSSIBLE formula that works for me. I mean, if I force myself to wear a CoverGirl gloss just because I'll save myself $5.00, it'll bug me all day (sticky, tastes bad, clumps, etc). With just $5.00 more, I can buy MAC or Stila.
Is it wrong that their lip products make me feel sexy? ;D How can you beat that? - $5 more and you feel like you can rival any Hollywood glamazon! I feel like I can take on Scarlet Jo! :D hehe - Roxii

January 16, 2009 at 12:44 AM  
Anonymous lily said...

I'm 50/50. I find there are some products from the "lower" end that does just as great of a job as the "higher" end. There are products from both end of the spectrum that work and don't work. You just have to know which one to pick :)
for example, eyebrow pencil/powder, I seriously don't see the point of looking for an expensive 30 dollar kit from say...Benefit, when I am so happy with my Milani brow kit for 3 dollars. works just as well and a fraction of the price! it's all about what works, not the price in the end.

January 16, 2009 at 1:13 AM  
Anonymous Suz said...

Actually, it's more like good drugstore products somehow didn't reach the western side. For example, Japan's @cosme site placed Maybelline's black eyeliner gel as the best eyeliner gel of the year 2008. But sadly, I didn't see this product in Canada or US. ;_;

@cosme's best product 2008 at here:

Sometimes there are *cheap cheap* stuff that make it to the top. ie. DAISO mascara(Best mascara of 2003)
The mascara itself only cost only 2CAN in Canada's DAISO store. :P

January 16, 2009 at 2:36 AM  
Anonymous Nell said...

High end all the way! I´m an awful snob!

January 16, 2009 at 4:41 AM  
OpenID vicky-kent said...

oh muse thats a hard question

for things like mascara which I get through quickly and tend to chuck after 6 months I go for drugstore (eyeko is the best) but I have tried high end but for me they were just blah!!

For foundations I go more high end as drugstores do not have a single colour that matches my skin (I have gone through every foundation in boots and not one) so I stick with dior but at the moment kryolan.

Eyeshadows hmmmmm bit of both I love the pigment of mac but I also love some of the french drugstor brands for a suttble shimmer but most of my eyeshadows are urban decay (are they drugstore or counter)

lipsticks I buy counter again I am quite fussy on colours so I stick with benifit and inglot.

hope your well sorry the bost is massivly long

January 16, 2009 at 6:02 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

I am slowly making the transition from strictly drugstore to becoming a label whore. Ever since i bough my first high end eyeshadow palette (Urban Decay Deluxe Shadow Box) I refuse to use drugstore eyeshadow. I'm in the midst of doing that with concealer and foundation and mascara.

January 16, 2009 at 6:43 AM  
Anonymous aretha said...

I too like you prefer high end brands but thats really because I can afford to shell out the money. However, there are some really good finds at the drugstore. For example, the Max factor 2000 calorie mascara is one of my favourite mascaras although my absolute fav is Lancome Hypnose. My philosophy in makeup is that its okay to spend more on skincare and makeup. Skincare because its important to have a good canvas. Makeup because theres really those few items which you really need to look good for a basic look(ie a good foundation, powder, blush and mascara). I also agree with you that most of the time drugstore stuff dont live up to their claims and you probably do waste more money trying out stuff than settling for a good high end one. :)

January 16, 2009 at 7:49 AM  
OpenID missprissdoesablog said...

As I've gotten more experienced in my makeup ventures the more I've found out that what you are saying is true. Quality over quantity. Why spend $50.00 on 5 cheap drugstore products you'll use once, and never again! May as well by one product you KNOW works and adore it.

My exception to the rule is 2 things which I find myself buying over and over again at the DS: Maybelline Mascara (hello, Stilleto, you must try it!) and other random lip glosses.

Other than that I find that I am slowly, but surely, becoming a counter girl. And I'm okay with that! :)

January 16, 2009 at 7:53 AM  
Anonymous Katie said...

I must admit to be abit of both.
I live in London and some of our drug store brands are pretty good, such as Barry M and Gosh for eyeshadows and lip colours, however I adore going to counters and it makes me feel very special when I buy a product from there. I think its balanced, I buy products cheaply for me that work, and treat myself with something special at selfridges. Im a student aswell which doesnt help! Ha!

Katie ! xxxx

January 16, 2009 at 8:10 AM  
Anonymous Chica said...

I'm with you musey, definitely a counter girl.
Drugstore products are where I started off with make up and my knowledge of what I like and works well has expanded from that. There are still some cheapies i like though - Maybelline Define a lash Mascara, Boots 17 lipsticks & blushes + Barry M dazzledusts but I'd rather fork out the extra mulah to get pigmented shadows and liners + good quality foundation.
(My fave brands if you're wondering - Chanel, Urban Decay, MAC, Benefit & Too Faced)

January 16, 2009 at 8:40 AM  
Anonymous Laura R said...

TO CHEAP.....i have splurged on rare occasions but as much as i love makeup, i think there's more to life. plus, i struggle with vanity sometimes, and i think having expensive makeup would only make it worse! :) i read a lot of reviews before purchasing though. and mercifully most colours look good on me- i'm kinda neutral.

However, that said i love reading your $$$ reviews and drooling over the counter makeup.

where do your Asian products fit? they don't seem like either.

January 16, 2009 at 8:59 AM  
Anonymous Pavlina said...

Muse, you know I love you but I have to voice my dissident opinion. I think drugstore products are fine. Honestly. I can use my L'Oreal HIP, or even my Wet n Wild eye shadows and get a gorgeous look that is equal to my Lancome, Chanel, MAC, etc. I bought a Dior es palette that was absolute rubbish and terrible to blend. I but high quality brushes, and I always use an es primer. My only drugstore disappointment was a Max Factor tricolor shadow that had no pigment.

I love this commenting widget! :)

January 16, 2009 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger asiyakei said...

I am totally a counter person, mostly because drug stores here don't offer testers, and I like to try the makeup on my skin before committing to a purchase. Also because a few years ago I had a HORRIBLE reaction to drug-store brand skin care products (I think it was Neutrogena or Clearsil) in the form of red, itchy skin with lots of blisters. D: So I tend to stay away now...

January 16, 2009 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger The Mighty J said...

I prefer higher end counter MU over drugstore brands, with a few expections like Physican's Formula, Prestige, NYX & NYC stuff.

January 16, 2009 at 10:37 AM  
OpenID oldergirlbeauty said...

Good morning, doll!
I have to say that right now I am more of a drugstore diva, but that is because I am still seeing what all is out there and trying things. But, I do have quite a few high end things I use, too, but I don't know that I will repurchase yet.
Ask me this again in a year. ;)

January 16, 2009 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger Vichaya said...

I love everything that I can try on before buying. So if they have samples or just a small size just like Covergirl, that'd be my kind of brand. Most of the time, I prefer the counter since I can try on there, plus there will be someone there help me put it on. Nice!

January 16, 2009 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger jackieg02 said...

I'm a high end counter cosmetics girl. And always have been. When I first wanted to wear makeup, my mother didn't take me to Wal Mart for Cover Girl, she took me to Dillards to the Clinique counter. And it was love at first sight! Who knew it would turn into what it is now!

January 16, 2009 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger Citrine said...

I usually like to cheap out on lip products, since I just like to have a bunch of them and for the price of a Guerlain lipsticks, I can get around 7 sally Hansen gloss (when on sale)plus I don't mind the overall lack of pigmentation on them since my lips are red to start with...and since I eat all the time, lasting power doesn't concern me either...

But for eyeshadow, I prefer more expensive one since when I get something that's too sheer, I feel cheated out and I just like something intense so I can either keep it dark or blend it down...

For blusher,it's the same thing as eyeshadow...As for eyeliner, most drugstore ones aren't that good, but there is one brand I like quite a bit, so I guess I will save on that.

When it comes to skincare, I don't have that much of a elaborate routine so I have sunscreen and cleanser that's around 30 bucks a piece,on the expensive side I guess but they work really well and it was much better spending the big buck on something that works than spending 30 bucks on several drugstore product that doesn't work...

As for body wash, lotion (I don't bother to use it most of the time)shampoo, conditioner...I always cheap out since I've tried the more expensive line and I frankly can't tell the difference...

So I guess I might be on the not to cheap side overall...But I stick with 1 or 2 line for splurging so I don't end up spending more than I can afford.


January 16, 2009 at 12:33 PM  
Blogger Tammy M said...

I love my MAC and all, but.... I think that you can find great finds in the drugstore...
And to be honest, Asian "drugstore" cosmetics are usually better than the "high end" stuff here. Almost EVERY mascara that I like has come from the drugstore(esp my HG, MJ) and every counter brand one I have returned for being crap!

January 16, 2009 at 1:48 PM  
Blogger Anitacska said...

Yeah, I guess you are right. :) I use L'Oreal shampoo & conditioner, and my day & night creams are also cheap from Aldi (German cheap supermarket chain) - although apparently as good as the expensive ones, plus I use some Avon creams and potions too. But there's a huge difference between Avon's Flash Radiance and YSL's Top Secret for example. I love higher end make up, esp Dior, Guerlain and Givenchy, but still get sucked into pretty new eyeshadows and face powders by drugstore bands (like No7 from Boots - although that's probably one of the better ones). I especially hate Rimmel eyeshadows, they are so chalky. Anyway, I'm definitely a high end girl myself too. :)

January 16, 2009 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger Phyrra said...

I'm in the not too cheap. I'll definitely try things in the drugstore, and I've found stuff that I like, but it's usually specific items, not entire brands. I tend to stick to MAC, and now I'm really getting into Urban Decay and Too Faced.

January 16, 2009 at 5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To me it all depends on the brand and formula they use. I am into drugstore brand because #1 I can count on going to walgreens and purchasing the item I ran out of and #2 Because of all this cosmetics competition, brands like maybelline and covergirl are reformulating/improving their eyeshadows (and other cosmetic products) knowing full well that consumers like you and I DO prefer eyeshadows like MAC and even the Sephora or ULTA brand.
But to spend 30$ on a lipstick??? No thanks...

January 16, 2009 at 7:34 PM  
Blogger Crissy K said...

I hate cheaping it. lol the problem with drugstore is no testers. So I end up buying stuff that doesn't turn out the right color, smells bad, doesn't work and then I can't return it. Worse of all I'll spend more money because i end up buying the department store brand out of frustration.

January 16, 2009 at 8:01 PM  
Blogger En エヌ said...

While the ingredients in drugstore and department store skincare products is usually similar, somehow drugstore products are more likely to give me a reaction and usually a really bad one. I think the quality of department store makeup is much better as a whole, too, and has a greater range of colors. We do have a lot of wonderful drugstore brands here in Japan, though. Can't really say the same for the US, however.

When it comes to packaging, the counter wins hands down. Customer service, too. I guess a lot of what you're paying for is the experience. Getting samples and free products with your purchases is a lot of fun, too!

Speaking of department store makeup, I got Lunasol's eye palette and lipstick from the spring collection yesterday and lots of samples from their upcoming base makeup collection, which wouldn't really happen at the drugstore.

January 16, 2009 at 9:29 PM  
Blogger Sher said...

hey muse! it really depends on what im purchasing! for l/g I love some high end brands but some d/s will do too. Shadows its either, depending on the brand. Mascara.. i only buy one mascara now and its maybelline full&soft WP. so it really varies.

January 16, 2009 at 9:34 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey serene

oh totally...I was referring mostly to the crap we have in US drugstores :P meh!

Sadly, US drugstores are no where near in quality to asian brands :)

January 19, 2009 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi xisa!

You're quite lucky. I think it goes without saying Japanese and general asian drugstore brands are awesome. Sadly, US brands don't have that many brands that are as good.

drugstore brands within Japan well rival those of counter brands...and some are even better...sadly much the same can't be said for US drugstore brands...I'd say 95% of it is crap :P

January 19, 2009 at 10:56 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi Kaoru!

So long as it works for you that's all that matters :) I agree that shadows, pigments, brushes, perfume, etc...should all be purchased high end :)
I think in the end shelling $40 or less on a foundation at Sephora or a counter totally saves me tons after wading through most of the trash at the local drugstore...trying, testing, etc..will prob cost me more that the drugstore hehe!

January 19, 2009 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi roxii!

exactly me mentality hun!

LOL and yes it sure is worth that self esteem boost :) nothing like wearing a full face of costly makeup to make me feel special hehehe!

January 19, 2009 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi lily!

I think the task of finding ones that work is tedious for me and expensive in the long run hehe!

but yes in the end it's what works for you and that's all that matters!

January 19, 2009 at 11:05 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi suz!

exactly :( I noticed that L'Oreal is even better from Japan when compared to the rubbish here!

I find beauty from abroad drugstore brands much much much better quality compared to what I can get here in US drugstores!

January 19, 2009 at 11:06 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi nell!

lol ditto :) except when it comes to asian drugstore beauty finds!

January 19, 2009 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi vicky!

It is lol! I agree! I gotta admit, items that I need to toss within 6-8 months really break my heart if I'm paying $20-$30 for 'em!

I think drugstore quality is considerably better your end than makes some nice product with it's seven line...but we don't get nearly that quality here!

I'm great, hope you're fab too :) hehe that's ok...make it as long as you like it lovie!

January 19, 2009 at 11:08 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi rob!

good for you! Come join the darkside, we have cookies.

Love love the shadow box it's fab isn't it?

You'll be much happier with concealer/foundation from a counter...!

Thanks for the comment and for sharing!

January 19, 2009 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi aretha!

I haven't tried the 2000 calorie yet.....must add it to my list :)

I too have the same philosophy. I think skincare in particular is worth splurging on!

And YES YES YES you do waste way more money trying out stuff when you can just get one high end product that WORKS without worrying about dishing out $30 or more bucks on several items from the DS that don't work ;)

and totally a good point...buying tons is optional but just buying at least the necessities too look good is actually not too badly priced in the long run!

Thanks for sharing hun!

January 19, 2009 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi missprissdoesablog! seems a complete waste for me to spend over $80 bucks on say several mascaras, blushe, etc...having none work...when I can just get items that do the first time.

is that the maybelline in the pink/green tube? Everyone tells me I need to try it hehe!

Good on you! Welcome to the dark side lol!

January 19, 2009 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi katie!

drugstore quality in London is way better than what we have here!
Barry M and Gosh are fabs...I wish we had access here!

Well I think you're way lucky as ds is way better in the UK than it is here :) and balance is always good...I remember being a broke college student hehe, nothing wrong with cheaping with stuff that works well!

and yes buying at a counter does hold something special :)

January 19, 2009 at 11:18 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi chica!

I started with ds too :)
Honestly. I think UK brands are way better than what is offered here in the US :P

Some of my favs are chanel, mac, ud, and benefit too! hehe brand twins:)

thanks for sharing hun!

January 19, 2009 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi laura!

awwww I hear ya hun! def more to life than makeup that's for sure :) I have to say that people have vices, mine just happens to be ridiculously expensive makeup lol!

aw thanks I really appreciate your reading my blog and glad you enjoy!

asian brands are out of this completely :) I was speaking solely of US brand cosmetics :) the case of Asian makeup even counters are at war with the awesome quality of drugstore brands. Asian makeup is considerably cheaper and better within drugstores than anything you can find within the US and Europe...or at least in my travels I felt as such!

January 19, 2009 at 11:22 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi Pavlina

You're quite lucky hun! i've never had the success you have had with wet n wild or HIP...most times I have a difficult time blending the product and creating the same look I achieve with say mac. I think it takes a real artist to create something with ds brands...and I'm def not an artist hehe! But in the end I think all that matters is what works for you and what you love :)

Thanks for sharing hun!

hehe glad you're enjoying the comment box!

January 19, 2009 at 11:25 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi there asiyakei!

no testers here either..which I would make life way easier if I can test it out first!

whoa sorry to hear about your skin episode :P that stinks!!!!!! I'm a counter girl too :) all the way!

January 19, 2009 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey j!

I'm with you :) I do like NYX and Physicians Formula myself but higher end is where it's at for me :)

January 19, 2009 at 11:48 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey oldergirl!

I think it takes time :) once you get your first taste of good quality cosmetics you'll switch hehe!

I look forward to reasking the ? to you and curious to see what you're answer will be!

January 19, 2009 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi Vichaya!

Me too! I think testing out plus having someone around who's good about answering ?'s is a perk of loving high end :) I couldn't agree more!

January 19, 2009 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi jackie!

Ditto. Mostly I used ds when I was a teen and I've slowly ventured back to try things out for Musings but for the most part I'm a counter girl.

LOL we can hold your mum responsible for your addiction :)

January 19, 2009 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi citrine!

Hey whatever works for you doll ;) I think that's it rather fab to have variety too and if it's cheaper all the better

for skincare, concealer, shadows, foundation, etc...I'm all about high end counter items!

I think you have it all sorted hehe..sounds like your very balanced about your purchases which is fab...I envy you as I wish I was more balanced myself...!

January 19, 2009 at 11:53 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey tammy!

Oh asian drugstores are out of this particular ? hehe...asian cosmetics are not anything like US brands that's for sure!

I guess I wasn't clear but def not referring to asian cosmetics with this question!

January 19, 2009 at 11:54 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi anita!

I think avon def wormed it's way into my heart :) good stuff!

I do believe that stuff in england is way better quality than US brands :P I really like some of the boots items but I find they aren't as good here in the US :(

I never understood the rimmel craze...people generally love rimmel..and I honestly never found a single product that's actually good...rarely I come across an le they do that's ok..but mostly it's rubbish!

January 19, 2009 at 11:57 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey dd!

Me too :) I love MAC and wish I was converted to it earlier than I was ;)

UD is my staple brand.

I just think the quality is way better compared to ds!

January 19, 2009 at 11:57 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi Anonymouss!

That's a valid point...heading to walgreens when I run out of something would be way better than purchasing something le I love and never finding again :(

I don't think I really indulged in $30 on a lippie before...most of my lipsticks are mac and well worth the price when compared to ds ;)

January 19, 2009 at 11:59 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi crissy!

me too lol! no testers is a pain in the butt so I end up spending more on DS brands than I would on counter b/c I can't test grrr

Thanks for sharing hun!

January 19, 2009 at 11:59 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi en!
Japan is def out of this question. I think asian brands in general are way better than what we have in the US :)

I think that having testers, a wide variety of product, and an artist to help me is always a perk :)

Ahhh lucky :) I'm not indulging in Lunasol Spring but it sure does look gorgeous and yes you're completely correct...honestly you would NEVER get that treatment at the drugstore!

January 19, 2009 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi sher!

thanks for sharing hun :) I'm all about what works for a person so if you find items that work in a ds I'm all for that ;)

January 19, 2009 at 12:02 PM  
Anonymous [a} said...

Drugstore, cuz duuuuude, splurging makes me feel guilty. I'd rather save my guilt for a luscious chocolate cupcake than for face-paint. Some people are quite the opposite! Healthier, too :)

January 30, 2009 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi a!

Everyone has their vices :)

February 2, 2009 at 2:29 PM  

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