DEPARTMENT STORE DRUGSTORE SMACKDOWN: MAKEUP

by Catherine Spinley

 
Image:  @eggcanvas  via  Pinterest

A few weeks ago we brought you the most epic of battles - the Department Store Drugstore Smackdown: Skincare. We weren’t sure if you wanted it or needed it when we put our heads together wrote it, so we were pleasantly surprised to receive so much positive feedback (and a ton of questions, which we are ALWAYS happy to answer). If you missed it, check it out here.

As promised, we’re back with the second round:  Department Store Drugstore Smackdown: Makeup.

Once again, we found ourselves completely overwhelmed. Like last time, we pooled our collective product reviews and results, read a lot of beauty guru and editorial opinions, reviewed past Top of the Towers and crowd sourced our readers and friends for their opinions.  When we finished, we were completely exhausted. We could have spent an entire post on just lipsticks or bronzers - that’s how passionate we are about trying everything we can get our hands on. And, s while we’re loyal, we’re always hoping something new and better will come along so we have an *excuse* to add to our collection. For all items, we didn’t specify specific shades. For a product like lipstick or eyeshadow to make this list, there had multiple colors we loved to ensure it wasn’t a fluke. Stay tuned to @thesundayissues IG - we’ll be sure to give you more details on our favorite colors.


Primer

Drugstore

Department Store

WINNER: DRUGSTORE

Yes, we bounce between buying primers from the drugstore and the department store but, the truth is, you do not need to spend a lot of money on a primer to prep skin and prolong makeup wear time.


Foundation

Drugstore

Department Store

WINNER: DEPARTMENT STORE

This one is easy; we gravitate towards the department store because there are more options and there is assistance in pinpointing which of these options is right for your skin and makeup preferences. Getting your foundation right is the most important part of your makeup routine and can make or break your entire look. It’s worth it to splurge here and save on other products. When shopping, think about ingredients, coverage, shade availability, undertone, finish and wear time when determining what you’re looking for in a foundation.


Concealer

Drugstore

Department Store

WINNER: DEPARTMENT STORE

Full disclosure: we’re working with some hereditary dark circles so we wear layers of concealer. The best ones we’ve found are at the department store but there are some solid drugstore picks for days we don’t need heavy coverage.


Powder

Drugstore

Department Store

WINNER: DEPARTMENT STORE

Like foundation, the wrong powder will ruin your look by making foundation look dry, cakey or clumpy as the day wears on. Experiment with a few formulas and if you find a drugstore one works for you - stick with it! We’ve included some that have worked for us, as well (we’ve just found true love with our Department store picks).


Eyebrows

Drugstore

Department Store

WINNER: DRAW

If you are simply looking to fill in the shape of your brows, there are a ton of drugstore products you can use. If you’re looking to reshape or create a brow from scratch, you may need more help finding a product formulation and color that works and this is when the department store brands really bring their A game.


Mascara

Drugstore

Department Store

WINNER: DRUGSTORE

In no category is packaging and formulation innovation more ubiquitous than with mascaras. The big companies that own both department store and drugstore brands share secrets, which is why you see similar products in both channels. And, if you’re following the rules, mascara only lasts 3 months so save your money and go drugstore for this!


Eyeshadow

Department Store

Drugstore

WINNER: DEPARTMENT STORE

The color payoff and pigmentation, the color combinations and choices, the packaging... unfortunately, the drugstore can’t compete in this category.


EYELINER

Drugstore

Department Store

WINNER: DRUGSTORE

The drugstore has a myriad of pencil, liquid and gel eye liner options, especially if you’re just looking for brown or black. This is one category you can easily save $10-$15 by finding a drugstore product you love.


Blush

Drugstore

Department Store

WINNER: DRUGSTORE

We look for three things when we choose a blush: pigmentation, blendability and long-wear formulations.  It’s completely possible to get this at the drugstore nowadays.


Bronzer

Drugstore

Department Store

WINNER: DEPARTMENT STORE

Bronzer is tricky. You want to look naturally sun-kissed but one too many brush strokes can quickly take you from bronzed beauty to baked and muddy. Many of our department store picks are finely milled, buildable, and come in many undertones which helps you avoid looking like you and Paris Hilton are best friends, circa 2004.


HIGHLIGHT & CONTOUR

Drugstore

Department Store

WINNER: DEPARTMENT STORE

At The Sunday Issue we’re really picky about highlight and contour. A highlighter should look like you’re glowing from within, free of chunky, dry, crumbly glitter. A contour should simulate a subtle, hollow shadow which is usually cool in color tone. This is why we’re going with our department store picks; they just get us and know how to create an effect without making a loud statement.


Lipstick

Drugstore

Department Store

WINNER: DRAW

Much like mascara, innovation and formulations move from prestige beauty to mass products quickly. If you are adventurous and wear a lot of different colors, you may want to consider using drugstore brands to try trendier colors and formulations and department store brands for your “go-to” red or nude, everyday lip color. Whatever you decide, once you find a color that works, just pray it never gets discontinued….


LIP LINER

Drugstore

Department Store

WINNER: DRUGSTORE

Life is too short to spend a ton of money on your lip liner, especially if you don’t use it everyday. The drugstore has plenty of amazing options from which to choose.


SETTING SPRAY

Drugstore

Department Store

WINNER: DRUGSTORE

Much to our surprise, the drugstore versions worked as well as our go-to department store picks. May we never splurge on a setting spray again!

 

Disclosure: Some of above links are via the Amazon Affiliate program. The Sunday Issue is not compensated for our opinions and we have paid for all products mentioned in this post. This post is not sponsored.


Catherine Spinley is a sometimes-writer and photographer based in New York. When not stalking other people’s dogs or yelling at people who refuse to walk up the left side of the escalator, she works in the beauty industry and practices yoga. You can read more from her at Worepaint.com.