Makeup Snob Reports: Not all store brands created equal

Guest post! Meet Nitya. She’s 20-something, a dentist, and an all-around bad ass with a makeup obsession. We’re sending big hugs (and free makeup) her way for testing products and sharing her opinions.

Nitya with our founder, Meg! (Photo by Sarah Fortney Photography)

Nitya with our founder, Meg! (Photo by Sarah Fortney Photography)

From Nitya…

Although a bargain shopper in many areas of my life, makeup is one where I exclusively went to Sephora or high end department stores. Perhaps it was the fear of not being able to find the right shade of foundation for my tanned complexion.  Or maybe that social media has brainwashed me into thinking that the only way I could achieve that Kardashian contour is by spending a small fortune. Regardless, I have shelled out thousands of dollars on makeup over the last decade!

After reviewing products for Brandefy comparing Sephora and Ulta Brands as well as some drug store brands to prestige brands, I have discovered several things. First, not all generic brands are created equal. Second, there are some incredible generic brand products out there that are nearly identical or comparable to the prestige brands for a fraction of the cost. Third, there are also fair amount of generic brand products where the formulation is simply inferior to the more expensive alternative. This is where Brandefy comes in and does the hard work for you.


To get our terminology straight, prestige brands are those brands that are sold in high end retailers, rarely go on sale, have luxurious packaging and a heavy price point to match. Some examples include: Smashbox, Nars, Too Faced, Laura Mercier, Becca, and Makeup Forever. Sephora and Ulta sell their own brand in stores as well and will be included under the “generic” or “offbrand” label. Drugstore brands are ones you would find in CVS or Walgreens and include: Maybelline, Loreal, Rimmel.

After reviewing many products I have found that in general the Sephora brand makes much higher quality products than the Ulta brand. Their formulation and pigmentation is superior and more closely matches the prestige brands they sell. Mascara, eyeliner, and beauty blenders are the first items I would recommend buying the cheaper alternatives to. There was little difference between the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara to Sephora and Loreal’s versions of this iconic mascara.  This could be a $10-15 savings! Another area I was pleasantly surprised by was highlighters. I bought Maybelline’s Master Chrome highlighter for $7 on sale and it was nearly identical to Becca’s highlighters, which is a cult favorite but carries a hefty price of $39. 

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Brandefy has opened up a new world for me. While I still may splurge here and there on select items, I am now a firm believer that you do not need to spend thousands of dollars on name brands to get a flawless makeup finish.

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Carolyn Kochard4 Comments