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Which makeup brand is the cheapest?

With the rising costs of everyday items, many people are looking to cut back on expenses where they can. One area where some costs can be reduced is on makeup and beauty products. When comparing prices across brands, some clear winners emerge as the most budget-friendly options.

Drugstore Brands

For those on a tight budget, drugstore makeup brands offer quality products at affordable prices. Brands like L’Oreal, Maybelline, Covergirl, and Wet n Wild are available at most drug and discount stores. Their expansive product ranges allow you to create complete looks without breaking the bank.

Wet n Wild in particular is known for its huge selection of $1-$5 makeup items. From lipsticks to eyeshadow palettes and complexion products, you can stock up on all the essentials. Their recent launches also show that they are keeping up quality and trends. Overall, you just can’t beat the price per product from drugstore brands.

Price Comparisons by Category

To get a better sense of the cost differences, let’s break it down by makeup category.

Face Makeup

Product Drugstore Price Mid-Range Price Luxury Price
Foundation $5 – $15 $20 – $40 $40 – $60
Concealer $5 – $10 $15 – $30 $30 – $40
Powder $5 – $10 $15 – $35 $40 – $60
Blush $3 – $10 $15 – $30 $40 – $60
Highlighter $5 – $10 $20 – $35 $40 – $60
Contour $3 – $10 $15 – $30 $40 – $60

Foundation and concealer make up the bulk of face makeup costs. Drugstore options provide major savings in these categories. Powder products like blush, highlight, and contour are more competitively priced at drugstores as well.

Eye Makeup

Product Drugstore Price Mid-Range Price Luxury Price
Mascara $5 – $15 $15 – $25 $25 – $35
Eyeliner $3 – $10 $15 – $25 $25 – $40
Eyeshadow $3 – $15 $20 – $50 $40 – $75
Brows $3 – $10 $15 – $25 $25 – $40

Mascara and eyeliner are reasonably priced across the board. The major savings come from drugstore eyeshadows and brow products. You can find all the eyeshadow colors and finishes you need for drugstore prices.

Lip Products

Product Drugstore Price Mid-Range Price Luxury Price
Lipstick $4 – $10 $15 – $25 $30 – $40
Liquid Lip $5 – $10 $15 – $22 $25 – $35
Lip Gloss $3 – $10 $15 – $22 $25 – $35
Lip Liner $2 – $5 $10 – $18 $20 – $30

You can keep your lips looking great on a budget thanks to affordable lip colors. Drugstore lip glosses and liners are particularly cheap.

Best Drugstore Makeup Brands

Now that we’ve compared general price ranges, let’s look at some of the top low-cost makeup brands:

1. e.l.f. Cosmetics

e.l.f. (Eyes Lips Face) is legendary for its $1 – $6 makeup. They offer every category of color cosmetics and tools. Collections are always on trend. With frequent sales and deals, you can try out multiple products without spending much at all.

2. Wet n Wild

As mentioned earlier, Wet n Wild has an array of $1 makeup items. Their color selection is among the most expansive of all drugstores brands. You can find any shade of lipstick, eyeshadow, blush, and more. Quality has also improved in recent years while prices stay low.

3. NYX

NYX is a go-to for lip, eye, and complexion makeup under $10. They have an enormous, inclusive shade range in all formulations. Their Butter Gloss and Epic Ink Liner are especially popular for achieving high-end looks on a budget.

4. L.A. Girl

L.A. Girl offers very cheap prices for trendy, full-coverage makeup. Their Pro Conceal HD concealers and Velvet Contour bronzer sticks are customer favorites. You can pull together a full face using only L.A. Girl.

5. Jordana

Jordana is constantly putting out new, affordable makeup collections. Their huge shade range of lip liners, liquid lipsticks, and matte lipsticks keeps up with trends. All items are under $5.

6. Maybelline

For barely over drugstore prices, Maybelline delivers quality makeup innovations. Their Superstay matte lipsticks, Instant Age Rewind concealer, and Lash Sensational mascara are some of the most popular drugstore makeup items.

7. L’Oreal Paris

L’Oreal Paris majors in foundations, concealers, lip colors, and mascaras around the $10 mark. Their True Match line offers foundation for every skin tone. Voluminous Original mascara is also a drugstore hero.

Best Drugstore Makeup Under $20

You can get an entire makeup look using products under $20 from the drugstore. Here are some recommendations:


  • Maybelline Fit Me Foundation – $5.99
  • NYX HD Photogenic Concealer – $4.99
  • Wet n Wild Contour Palette – $4.99
  • e.l.f. Blush Palette – $6
  • Wet n Wild Highlighter – $4.99


  • NYX Epic Ink Liner – $9
  • Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara – $8.99
  • Wet n Wild Eyeshadow Palette – $4.99
  • e.l.f. Instant Lift Brow Pencil – $2


  • NYX Butter Gloss – $5
  • Wet n Wild MegaLast Liquid Catsuit Matte Lipstick – $4.99
  • Jordana Easy Liner for Lips – $2.49

That’s a full makeup look with primer, complexion, brows, eyes, lips, tools, and more for under $20! Sticking to drugstore savings allows you to get more for your money.

High-End Brands

At the other end of the spectrum, let’s consider some of the most expensive luxury makeup brands:

1. Tom Ford

Tom Ford’s luxury makeup range features products from $45 – $190. Their lipsticks, highlighting duo, and eye quads sit at the highest end. Expect indulgent packaging and luxe ingredients.

2. Chantecaille

Chantecaille’s botanical-based formulas and elegant compacts come at luxury prices. Face products range from $40 – $150. Lip chics retail for $42 each. Eyeshadows cost around $36.

3. La Mer

As an ultra high-end skincare company, La Mer’s makeup offerings are also expensive. The Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation costs $120 for a standard foundation amount (1 oz). The powder, concealer, and highlighting stick are $95.

4. Sisley Paris

Sisley boasts skincare-makeup hybrid formulas ideal for dry and mature skin types. Their products span $67 – $260. Sisleya Le Teint Foundation is one of the priciest at $260.

5. La Prairie

Known for luxury skincare, La Prairie’s makeup range carries over those indulgent formulas and ingredients. The Cellular Treatment Foundation retails for $245. Pressed powder compacts cost $115. Eyeshadow quads range from $85 – $115.

6. Cle de Peau

This Japanese luxury brand offers makeup infused with skincare benefits. Their products cost from $70 – $200. The Concealer alone is $70, while foundations are priced at $135.

Mid-Range Makeup Brands

Falling between drugstore and luxury prices are mid-range makeup brands. Here are some top options:

1. Urban Decay

Known for their Naked palette franchise, Urban Decay’s makeup prices range from $20 – $65. Stock up on their cult eyeshadows, 24/7 eyeliners, Vice Lipsticks, and All Nighter setting spray.

2. Too Faced

Too Faced offers quality makeup with cute, girly packaging. Their products fall around $25 – $55. Top sellers include the Born This Way foundation, Better Than Sex mascara, and Sweet Peach eyeshadow palettes.

3. Anastasia Beverly Hills

Anastasia Beverly Hills draws customers in with Instagram famous brow products and collaborations. Slim liners and lip glosses cost around $16 – $22. Brow pencils, pomades, and palettes reach up to $55.

4. Tarte

Tarte has a reputation for great complexion and cheek products. Foundations, the Shape Tape concealer, Amazonian Clay blushes, and the pro remix palette are priced from $25 – $65.

5. Benefit Cosmetics

Benefit is known for cute, retro-inspired packaging and cheek products. Prices range from $15 – $60 for blushes, bronzers, eyebrow pencils and gels, highlighters, and mascaras.

Should You Buy Expensive Makeup?

With such major price differences between drugstore and high-end makeup, you may wonder – is splurging actually worth it?

Here are the main pros of luxury makeup:

  • High-quality ingredients
  • Luxe formulas and textures
  • Sleek or ornate packaging
  • Prestige and indulgence factor

However, here are the cons to consider:

  • Much more expensive
  • Products finish faster
  • Less quantity for the price
  • Some excess fancy packaging

Overall, high-end makeup offers an enhanced, luxurious experience. But drugstore makeup has come so far that you can achieve very similar results for a fraction of the cost. Unless money is no object, you’re often better off with drugstore makeup.

How to Save on Makeup

To save the most on your makeup purchases, here are some tips:

  • Buy mainly drugstore brands
  • Stock up during sales, deals, and coupons at drugstores
  • Create a wishlist and only buy what you’ll really use
  • Shop discount stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls
  • Use cash back apps and credit card rewards
  • Purchase deluxe samples when possible
  • Split costs by going in on sets with friends
  • Don’t get caught up in hype for expensive, limited edition collabs
  • Take advantage of return policies if products don’t work out


While high-end makeup brands carry prestige, you can get very similar results from affordable drugstore options and save big. Smart shopping tips like buying on sale, getting samples, splitting costs, and using coupons allow you to treat yourself to more new makeup items while sticking to a budget. Compare prices and pay attention to reviews to find hidden gems at the drugstore.