Drugstore or Department Store? What you should really be saving and/or spending on!

As soon as I was old enough to earn a decent amount of money of my own, I remember the first things I splurged on: high end makeup and skincare from department stores or beauty salons. I was 18 at the time and I felt like I could finally use the fancy products advertised in magazines or by Youtube beauty gurus. Don’t tell me you were never dying to try all those brands as a teenager! lol

A few years have passed now and my cosmetic and skincare purchasing habits have changed a lot. I’ve tried and tested a number of brands, spent stupid amounts of money, dealt with breakouts and glowing skin and now here is my verdict on what’s worth buying high end and what’s better for you to just visit the chemist/drugstore to pick up.


Cleansers used to be a big one for me. I used to think “the more expensive, the better”, believing that such products really could wash away all my makeup and more.  Truth is, if you’re a 20-something female, cleansing your face with just a cleanser will not get rid of your makeup. There will always still be residue left over hence leading to breakouts.  Not only that, but cleansers are massaged on your face for about a minute then they go down the drain. I can also definitely say for myself that when comparing the ‘skin benefits’ of a high end cleanser vs. a favourite drugstore one, there really are no differences.

For cleansers, I use cleansing wipes + cleansing oil + a drugstore cleanser of my choice with my Clarisonic.


Mascara, Eyeliner, Lipliner, Lipgloss, Lipstick, Blush etc.

Sure when it comes to makeup, there are differences in the ingredients. If that’s something that concerns you, then by all means go and buy your products where you feel you should 🙂 However, if those things don’t bother you, don’t be too bothered to spend the extra $$$ (unless you want more shades for lipstick or something like that).


Serums & Eye creams

This is one that I believe you should do some research on and purchase at a department store/beauty salon/anywhere that sells more ‘quality’ items.  Serums are supposed to penetrate into the pores more than any moisturiser and provide the most potent nutrition for your skin. Find out what your skin needs and invest in a desired serum – that’s exactly what serums should be: an investment for your skin.

As for eye cream, the eye area is the most delicate on our bodies. As we age, the eye area can really show this depending on how good or bad your lifestyle and skincare regimen is.



You can probably get results that are quite nice from drugstores but I think the higher end face creams tend to be more luxurious and beneficial – just make sure you get the correct range.  Don’t get intense anti-ageing if  you are in your early 20’s otherwise you will just have horrible breakouts! I think the department store brands in the hydrating or whitening ranges are really nice.

Foundations & Concealers

High end department store options are a must here! Don’t get me wrong, I am all about being frugal with many things in life and I have tried the drugstore foundations and concealers after years of high end foundation but as a base, if you really want a perfect and flawless look, don’t waste your time or money at drugstores.

Obviously I don’t stand there and read the ingredients and I definitely believe wearing no makeup is better for your skin, but from the way it looks on the skin you can really tell the ingredients are of a much higher quality when you wear designer makeup.


Department store eyeshadows are a must.  They are way more pigmented and last longer. You only need to use small amounts of the expensive stuff so it lasts you longer too!

Shampoos & Conditioners

I am sure all hair enthusiasts and hairdressers will be offended by this, but I have tried the Kerastase range and many other high end hair salon brands that costs upwards of $30 a bottle and sure they are nice but to be completely honest, I didn’t feel my hair looked or felt any different to when I use the same old Herbal Essences.

I learnt that I could save money by just buying what worked for me instead of what the magazines/bloggers/artists had to say. Besides, who’s money is it that’s paying for all that stuff anyway?

I’m sure for some people with processed hair or hair that has gone through a lot, that more expensive and specific products do help, but as my hair is quite normal, I stopped bothering with that a while ago.

What products do you have that are designer/drugstore and what do you swear by? Were you ever a compulsive department store beauty shopper like myself?

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