High End vs. Drugstore Skin Care? Have You Ever Asked Yourself That Question?

Common Question I Hear Often


This is for sure the question I ask myself every single time I purchased a new skin care product! And I think most women feel the same!

I always used to think “go with the high end, you get what you pay for so it MUST be better”. Without spending an arm and a leg, the middle of the road seemed to always be the final decision. I also have always had this “thing” about looking older than is necessary. To this day, I find myself asking does it really truly matter which product is high end or drug store version,, as long as it WORKS?


When it comes to beauty—there’s no true price point on looking great! But for those of us on a budget, there’s a fine line between when its appropriate to save versus splurge. Which gets me  thinking, is there really a difference between department store and drugstore beauty brands? 



Here are some ideas to ponder…

Figure Out What You Are Paying For

A lot of what is spent in cosmetics is on packaging and advertising,” says Dr. Robin Ashinoff, director of cosmetic dermatology at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, N.J. The cost can also be determined by the contents of the cream. “Some ingredients can be very exotic and expensive or difficult to prepare,” says John Bailey, executive vice president for science for the Personal Care Products Council (formerly known as the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association).[With department store brands, you are paying for] ingredients, formulation, the way the ingredients are actually mixed together, packaging, prestige, and perception,” shares New York City-based dermatologist, Dr. Neal Schultz, Founder of DermTv.com and creator of Beautyrx.com. “In some cases, you may be paying for efficacy as well.”



High End Skin Care
Drug Store Skin Care
Drug Store













First of all, realize that a lot of the high-end brands and drugstore brands are owned by the same company (e.g. L’oreal owns both Lancome & L’oreal), which means that the difference between their 2 product lines is that the high-end one includes better ingredients and newer technology – none of which really matter when it comes to face washes, because the anti-aging/brightening ingredients don’t stay on your skin long enough to do squat.



Dr. Ellen Marmur:

Don’t Skip Any Steps
“When it comes to skin care, the first step is generally cleansing,” shares dermatologist Dr. Ellen Marmur. “For daily skin cleansing, you can absolutely trust a drugstore purchase like Dove to provide effective, gentle skin cleansing benefits. By using a cleanser—whether a bar or body wash—with non-irritating ingredients and hydrating moisturizers, you will be setting yourself up for success.” 

OK Dr. Ellen, but for me,, I have tried Many cleansers over the years, and Nothing compares to this product! 




  You Can Mix and Match Different Brands
“It’s really all trial and error—90% of consumers mix and match  with very few issues  shares Dr. Schultz. “There’s an advantage in using one brand because you can be sure they are consistent internally in terms of ingredients and formulation. The clients that don’t mix are more apt to be in the department stores for their perception and loyalty of a brand.”  I can say for sure , right here, I DO!  I have no problem mixing my High end  Chanel foundation and/or lipstick with my 4.99 lip gloss!  Again, what ever works for you!  I would love to research and find  out what so many celebrities do!


Skin care is a commitment

Keep An Eye on Expiration Dates
“Expiration dates are fairly reliable as long as you keep your products at room temperature,” shares Dr. Marmur. “Even a hot humid shower environment can destroy some products—so always be aware of the conditions you expose your product to. If it changes consistency or color, toss it.”

Do Skin Care Products Expire?

Moisturizers, Face creams and Eye serums:  6 months to year.The danger with expired creams isn’t just possible less effectiveness, but also irritation and possible bacterial infection. Ones that are in a pump are less likely to introduce bacteria, while creams in jars should be tossed 6-9 months. It may seem harmless, but expired beauty products can compromise skin.  

PAO= Period After Opening

Many products carry a PAO symbol (a number followed by an M and an open jar icon). Although this is NOT a 100% sure bet, the PAO symbol tells you how many months after  opening a product , it should be thrown away. Example: a 12M would mean you should toss the product  after 12 months after you have opened it. It is a very good idea to follow that advice!



Hydration and moisturization , all visible sign of aging

Certain Products Are Worth The Splurge
“I’d recommend splurging on treatment products like eye creams, moisturizers, exfoliants and antioxidants. These products contain large amounts of active ingredients, which often are at least marginally better in department store products,” explains Dr. Schultz. “Infrastructure products like cleansers, toners and sunscreens can be purchased at the drugstore.

When it comes to my skin, I favor the products that are scientifically proven because in order for key ingredients to  get deep enough into the skin   to protect it, they need to be in a very well formulated  vehicle.  And I get that !  But I can not tell a lie, I have purchased drug store  OTC brands and as long as it’s a quick fix, I think they do the job.  BUT, anything I am going to use over long term,  and because I probably already have read reviews and  the science behind it if there is one!


Think Beyond Skin Care
“Remember to choose smart makeup too!  Ideally select products with three qualities: light-weight, made with moisturizing ingredients (like glycerin or hyaluronic acid , AHA’s & BHA’s , and SPF 30-50” adds Dr. Marmur. Very easy to remember!  


Youth is A Gift Age Is A work of Art

Would You Agree With This Analogy?  

Beauty is like…A Plane Ride?
“I always give my patients the airplane analogy when asked about drugstore versus department store products. Whether you are flying coach or business class on a flight, you are still getting to the same destination—in the same amount of time,” explains Dr Schultz. “With business class you will have more space, better service and more amenities. Despite the cost of the ticket being 5 to 10 times more in business class, you are not getting 5 to 10 times more material benefits (but you do get marginally better material benefits). Different people choose to spend their discretionary money in different ways. There really is no right or wrong answer—it’s all about personal preference and perceived value!”



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