9 High-Low Beauty Swaps
Posted by Cat Meeker on July 17, 2012 at 11:48 AM
I love makeup. I think it’s so much fun to play with. But always trying the newest and bestest products is out of the question since my budget is pretty tight. So how do you know if a splurge is really worth it? I found this great article on BuzzFeed comparing expensive beauty buys with their low-end drugstore companion, and I just had to share because I definitely agree! As they say, “You might be hesitant to buy a dress or shoe knock-off, but as far as makeup goes, no one will ever know the difference. And in some cases, the cheaper version is actually identical or better.”
Ingredient List Comparison: The ingredients in both mascaras are very similar. Both contain silicones, PEG's, hyodrogenated jojoba oil and palm oil. The Maybelline, however, contains an ingredient called Acrylates Copolymer which is what makes these things waterproof (thought this mascara was not labeled waterproof).
Main Difference: BuzzFeed graphic designer Chris Ritter sampled the two products. "The Lancome goes on much smoother and less clumpy. I like the shape of the brush. You can tell the Maybelline mascara is trying to duplicate it, but it feels much cheaper. I applied two coats of the Lancome, since the formula was smoother and thinner. The Maybelline just felt like a thick clumpy mess."
The Verdict: The end result is pretty similar, so it's up to you if you want to splurge for a more luxurious application.
Ingredient List Comparison: The ingredients are almost exactly the same. Both contain parabens.
Main Difference: The L'oreal eyeliner is actually a thicker, darker formula. The brush is stiffer and therefore easier to apply. The Lancome tip is more like a paintbrush, and feels like you're applying a watercolor because of it's liquidy texture. Both liners have a little ball inside so you can shake up the liquid. Both have good, non-smudging staying power.
Winner: The L'oreal is actually TOTALLY AWESOME and my new holy grail eyeliner. The packaging of these two eyeliners is almost identical, so I don't see any point in buying the Lancome.
Ingredient List Comparison: Unfortunately, the ingredient listing for Flirt Heartthrob cannot be found online, or on the package.
Main Difference: According to BuzzFeed Shift editor Hillary Reinsberg: "The NARS has a smaller, more compact box, but other than that, there's little added value. The colors really do look the same, and the the Flirt one comes with a little brush which is nice. They 'feel' the same."
The Verdict: The NARS packaging is certainly nicer, but that's about all you're getting extra. TheFlirt blush does the job just fine.
Ingredient List Comparison: The MAC Lipglass scored 3 points lower on the EWG Skin Deep Database, which denotes that the ingredients are less harmful for your skin. The Rimmel lip gloss also contains parabens, whereas the MAC does not.
Main Difference: BuzzFeed's executive editor, Doree Shafrir, tried out both products. "The MAC lipglass is much more highly pigmented, it gives that shimmery light sheen. I love the vanilla smell. And it feels goopy and thick in a nice way." As far as the Rimmel lipgloss goes, she says, "I didn't feel like my lips were renewed with moisture. The wand is too flimsy, barely any color goes on, and there's a weird chemical baby powder smell."
The Verdict: Definitely splurge and go for the MAC lipglass.
Ingredient List Comparison: Both contain parabens. The NYX contains mineral oil, which the NARS does not. The NARS also contains harmful ingredients such as triclosan, BHA, and aluminum powder.
Main Difference: BuzzFeed Shift Intern Jessica Testa thinks they're practically the same: "The cheaper version seems to have a looser, thinner powder, so you have to put more on to match the color of one NARS swipe. And the NARS appears to be staying on longer."
The Verdict: NYX is a better value, albeit less pigmented, and contains less harmful ingredients.
Ingredient List Comparison: The ingredient lists are fairly different. The Tom Ford lipstick is known to contain "rare ingredients" such as soja seed extract, Brazilian murumuru butter and chamomilla flower oil.
Main Difference: Hillary says, "There's something really luxurious about a Tom Ford lipstick. Everyone says it's the best. It comes in a pretty tube. It makes you feel fancy. It has a really nice texture, which goes on really smoothly. It feels like an old-fashioned fancy lipstick your grandmother would have. But the BeneFit is also very smooth! The colors are very similar, but the Benefit has a little shimmer in it. The [Tom Ford] rose color is actually a little drab, and the glitter in the Benefit makes it pop more." I would add that the Tom Ford has a light, perfumey vanilla scent, similar to MAC lipglass, whereas the BeneFit has no scent.
The Verdict: The BeneFit might actually be a better bet. But if you can actually justify spending $48 on a lipstick, then you're probably the sort of girl who can't possibly settle for anything less.
Ingredient List Comparison: The OPI and the Chanel are both free of Toluene, Formaldehyde, DBP and camphor, as long as the polish was manufactured in the last year. The OPI, however, contains formaldehyde resin. (See here for more information on nail polish chemicals.)
The Main Difference: The first coat of the OPI was more watered down, but once second coats were applied, both polishes had the same opaqueness. The Chanel brush is thinner, but I didn't prefer one brush over the other.
Verdict: The OPI is pretty much an exact dupe. Only a true obsessive-compulsive Chanel polish connoisseur would be able to tell the difference. I can't tell if my mind is playing tricks on me, but there might be a higher concentration of sparkles in the Chanel one.
Ingredient List Comparison: Both contain silicones, PEGs, and oil. The YSL has a much simpler ingredient list.
Main Difference: The Body Shop "Medium" shade came out a really weird freakish orange. So it's hard to test, as I have no idea whose coloring this could match (an oompa loompa's?) The YSL shade tested was "Luminous Vanilla," a much more natural shade which I judged via the computer screen as being for a medium skin tone, but is actually for a fair skin tone. The YSL comes in 12 shades, whereas the Body Shop only comes in 3.
Both applicators have a tendency to squirt out too much product. Both seem very similar in texture — a foundation-like consistency that doesn't really do much concealing. In fact, I've owned the YSL for years and I only reach for it when I want to psychologically fool myself that I can achieve perfect skin with my makeup. But honestly, it doesn't make much of a difference.
Verdict: Neither. This is a pointless, overhyped product that doesn't do much for undereye circles. The brightening effect is very subtle. As far as color-matching goes though, the Body Shop seems pretty off.
Ingredient List Comparison: They both contain castor seed oil, candelilla wax, and carnauba wax. The Cover Girl, however, contains both fragrance and alcohol (which can be drying).
Main Difference: Hillary says, "The Clinique has much more red, while the CoverGirl has much more purple. The CoverGirl has that really strong lipstick smell, but it feels more like chapstick when you put it on."
The Verdict: The Clinique isn't that much more expensive, plus it has nicer packaging, no offensive smell, and is a more natural color.
What’s the one beauty product you are always willing to splurge on?