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Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

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High-end vs. drugstore makeup: Is it worth the hype?

Join+reporters+Mischa+Lee+and+Elyssa+Grillo+as+they+discuss+whether+to+buy+the+drugstore+or+high-end+version+of+makeup+products.+%0A
Credit: Mischa Lee
Join reporters Mischa Lee and Elyssa Grillo as they discuss whether to buy the drugstore or high-end version of makeup products.

Is high-end makeup worth the money and the hype? As the cosmetic industry grows, we see influencers and celebrities promoting products to be the best. Because of this, we were curious to see if high priced make up equaled high quality, so we tested it out. Here, you’ll find out which designer products aren’t worth the money or which drugstore products are hidden gems.

Primer

The first and very important step to a makeup routine is primer. Primer makes your skin sticky, allowing for makeup that stays on all day. The Elf Power Grip Primer ($10) is an amazing dupe for any high-end primer out there. It applies smoothly, but also has a very tacky consistency, making it a highly effective primer.

Foundation

Next is foundation. The Elf Halo Glow product went viral on TikTok, with many raves about it. Video after video, people compared the Elf Halo Glow to the Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter. The price alone has such a difference ($14 vs. $49) that people started to wonder if the Flawless Filter was worth the hype. In our opinion, they’re basically the same. They both blend nicely and are more of a skin tint rather than a heavy foundation. They both give off a good glowy look, but some say that the Flawless Filter can make you look sweaty. We say save your money and buy the Elf Halo Glow instead.

Concealer

Concealer is an essential makeup product due to its ability to cover up anything, from dark circles to scars. However, only certain products can properly hide these unwanted blemishes depending on the recipe of the concealer. In our experience, the Covergirl Trublend Undercover Full Coverage Concealer ($10), does its job pretty well, but lacks the ideal creaminess and color of other higher quality concealers. The consistency is cakey and hard to blend. In addition, the wand applicator is thick, which is nice for covering a larger surface, but can also make meticulous tasks, like cutting an eyelid crease, more difficult. When first applying the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer ($32), we immediately noticed the contrast, recognizing that it’s the ‘#1 Concealer in the U.S.’ for good reason. Nars’s consistency is spot on, creating seamless coverage and breathability for your skin. We were able to mask the most noticeable blemishes on our skin with this concealer through a full day of school.

Bronze drops

Golden bronze drops mixed into moisturizers have picked up popularity quickly. The Drunk Elephant Drops ($38) and the L’oréal Lumi Glotion ($14.50) are two popular options. In our opinion, they’re very similar as they give off the same tanned glow. Some say that both can be hard to apply, especially if not mixed with a moisturizer. Since they’re so similar, go for the cheaper option, Lumi Glotion. However, if neither of these work for you, Saie Glowy Super Gel is a nice choice at $28.

Contour

Contour is a makeup product you won’t want to cut out of your routine after the first try. Contour helps sculpt, lift and snatch your face. After the Charlotte Tilbury Contour Wand ($42) went viral on TikTok, there were extreme opinions on both ends. Some loved it and thought that it blended seamlessly. On the other hand, some hated it and said it felt muddy. When we used it, we thought it blended very nicely, but agreed that it’s just too expensive. The GlamSquad 3 in 1 Creme Stick ($10) is a good alternative. It has a smooth applicator unlike the Charlotte Tilbury Wand, and tones down oil in places that you want to stay matte. We found that when using the same technique, the GlamSquad contour did the same job that Charlotte Tilbury does for a smaller price.

Bronzer

Most people use bronzer on top of their contour for a smoother, tanner and more even finish. Since bronzer is really just a colored powder, is it necessary to buy an expensive, high quality bronzer? In our opinion, it depends.  The Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer ($11.19) is a drugstore favorite. It comes in many colors, applies evenly and makes your skin look silky soft. The Hoola Bronzer by Benefit ($35) is a very popular high-end bronzer. It’s application is similar to the Physicians Formula, but it’s a lot more pigmented. In our opinion, we think the Hoola Bronzer is worth the money. It will definitely become a staple in your makeup routine.

Blush

The brand Rare Beauty took over the cosmetic industry with it’s high quality, cute packaging and beloved founder, actor-singer Selena Gomez. One of her most famous products is the Stay Vulnerable Melting Blush ($22). This cream, compact style blush is something we’ve never seen before, but we loved it as it felt as though it melted onto our skin. The blush is very colorful, with a high pigmented.  The Pixi On-The-Glow Blush Stick ($18) is more on the pricier side of drugstore makeup, but is quality. This product doubles as a highlighter as it’s super shimmery, yet we noticed it doesn’t last all day. For the little price difference between the two products, we say to get the Rare Beauty blush.

Powder

Depending on your skin type, powder is either an essential or a product to be avoided. Glossier’s Wowder ($22) is as fluffy as a cloud, and only the tiniest dab of this powder can hide oil. This product blended nicely with our contour, helping to sculpt our cheekbones and jawlines. For the drugstore powder, the Elf High Definition Powder ($6) looked very similar in appearance, but felt more like chalk dust than cosmetics. We tried to blend it in, but it didn’t feel flush with our skin. Wowder is a more impressive product.

Mascara

Mascara can completely dictate your look. The L’oréal Teleoscopic mascara ($9) is an extremely popular product due to its universally great results. It has a stick thin brush that swiftly separates every lash, creating length and allowing your eyelashes to look as though they’re defying gravity. On the other hand, the Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes! ($29) has the opposite effect. This high end mascara adds volume to the root of your eyelashes, but doesn’t add nearly as much length. Overall, the quality was extremely similar, so the high price of Charlotte Tilbury seemed unnecessary. Also, we personally liked the Telescopic mascara because it made our lashes longer, therefore making our eyes look bigger.

Eyebrow gel

There are many different ways to do eyebrows, but many methods require brow gel. The most popular eyebrow gel on social media is the Maybelline Great Lash Clear Mascara ($6), which doubles as both brow gel and mascara. However, we noticed that too much of the gel made our eyebrows look glossy, while too little resulted in our eyebrows reverting back to their natural, messy shape very quickly. The Benefit 24-Hour Clear Brow Gel ($15) is a product we love. The name of this eyebrow gel doesn’t lie–it keeps your eyebrows in place all day long. It doesn’t have white excess and it fluffs your brows up beautifully. For such a great product at a good price, Benefit’s eyebrow gel is definitely one to buy.

Highlighter

Highlighter makes your makeup look shine. The Chanel Poudre Lumière Highlighting Powder ($58) should be applied lightly and doesn’t need to be blended. This product is just the right about of glimmer. If you are willing to spend the money, we think that this designer highlighter would be an eye-catching touch to a good makeup look. Competing with Chanel is hard, but the Milani Conceal + Highlight Liquid Highlighter ($11) is an solid drugstore product. It makes your skin shine and glow, but it’s not sparkly at all. Yet, it has a sponge applicator which makes it easy to apply.

Lip

To top off a plain or bold makeup look, a lip product is essential. The Dior Addict Lip Glow oil ($40) blew up on the internet and still hasn’t lost its popularity because of its wide, soft applicator and thick, sticky formula. It makes your lips super glossy and the product stays on for quit some time But, just like Chanel, it is a designer product and very expensive. We find it’s ridiculous to spend so much money on cosmetics, but if you are looking for something special, this is definitely it. Since Dior’s lip oil gained recognition, countless brands rushed to duplicate the recipe with cheaper prices. We deemed the Milani Fruit Fetish Lip Oil, one of the dupes, pretty close to the original. Although it comes in multiple flavors and is larger than Dior’s, the brush is not as luscious and the smell is less aromatic, but it is a pretty close match. We recommend this lip oil for anyone who loves Dior’s or is interested in trying it without paying so much.

Setting spray

A setting spray is the last step to a makeup routine. It locks all your makeup in with a dewy finish—or it’s supposed to. Both the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray ($38) and the Elf Stay All Night Micro-Fine Setting Spray ($10) apply evenly onto faces. While the Charlotte Tilbury spray might make your makeup last a little longer, the Elf spray runs a close second. Given the price difference, get the Elf spray. But, if you want the Charlotte Tilbury Spray, we assure you that it won’t be a waste of your money.

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About the Contributors
Elyssa Grillo
Elyssa Grillo, Staff Reporter
Elyssa Grillo, Class of 2025, is a first year reporter for WSPN. Elyssa plays for the Wayland high school field hockey team and is a member of Window Dance Ensemble. Outside of school, she enjoys ballet, spending time with friends and family, reading and shopping. Contact: [email protected]
Mischa Lee
Mischa Lee, Copy Editor
Mischa Lee, Class of 2025, is a third year reporter and a copy editor for multimedia and podcast. She is a member of the swim team at WHS. In her free time, Mischa likes spending time with friends, traveling and watching movies. Contact: [email protected]
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