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With a lot of makeup products, there is a huge difference between higher end and a drugstore brand. But in the last four years, drugstore brands have been stepping up their game. They are closing the quality gap and are still charging a lot less. The question of whether designer makeup is worth double or triple the cost of its drugstore makeup counterpart – products sometimes called “dupes” in the industry – comes down to more than just one factor.

Knowing when to splurge on high end products and when to try out a drugstore brand is becoming easier with social media. Youtubers are pretty honest about comparing the top products and their dupes. Also, Instagram is a huge resource for beauty product reviews. If you want to know more about one, research the hashtag of that product. (Just be cautious of people pushing products because they are getting paid to “review it”.)

Here are some of my favorite products, both high end and drugstore dupes.


I love MAC blushes because they have great colors, great pigments and last long. My favorites are Melba, Warm Soul and Dainty. I also love Nars Orgasm blush, but I don’t like the packaging – it gets sticky for some reason. The drugstore brand Milani has amazing baked blushes; Luminoso is unreal but all of them are great tones.



I would say go for a drugstore brand of mascara because they’re cost effective and there are so many options. Also, mascaras should be thrown out every one to three months. Period. I love Maybelline Great Lash and Loreal. My favorite high end mascaras are Dior Show and MAC Extended Play Gigablack Lash.



Choose higher end lipsticks because the color payoff is better, they smell better and they last longer. MAC matte lipsticks are my favorite but I love the new line Melt lipsticks. Also, Jefferey Stars Liquid Lipsticks beat everyone on the market. I want my lipstick to stay on and with these brands, it does.


Lip Gloss

I love certain companies’ lipglosses but as a whole, I would push drugstore brands lately. NYX Butter Glosses are giving me life right now. Revlon Balm stains are used daily in my kit.


Concealer, Powder, and Foundation

I would go with a higher end concealer and foundation because of the artist’s ability to match you and get you exactly what you need and want when you purchase. In this case, you are paying for quality products and the companies’ makeup artists’ training and knowledge of the products. I use MAC, Armani, Loreal and Burts Bees.


Eyeshadows and Eyeliners

This is a true toss up! I can blend anything if I have a good base product and the right brushes, but I mainly use MAC, Melt stacks and Armani. I like them matte and with a lot of pigment.


If you’re a diehard fan of your favorite designer blush, that increases the product’s worth to you. Still, just because you purchased something at a department store counter doesn’t automatically make it superior to something you could purchase at a drugstore. You might just be paying for the pretty packaging when a drugstore dupe would work just as well.


Tiana Holiday is a professional makeup artist with 17+ years experience in the industry working with celebrities, on music videos and commercials, weddings, private clients, photoshoots, and fitness models. She is the owner of Tiana Rae Artistry.

tiana holiday

Tiana working with a client.