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When you go into a department store there is typically sales help behind the counter to help you test and try products to make a choice for a new look. They may even give you samples to try before you buy.

Meanwhile, over at your neighborhood drug store, you run across a lipstick color that's identical to the one you tried at the department store --- but it costs $10 less.

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Department Store vs. Drugstore Cosmetics.

Is there really a difference?

What's the difference? And is the difference worth the extra price?

Your mama might answer - 'for all that money, that lipstick oughta jump out of the tube and put itself on your lips!'

Truth is - sometimes there is a difference.
And sometimes, well - not so much.

Base Ingredients

In most cases, cosmetics are made up of fillers, binders, color pigments, fragrance, emollients, moisturizers, minerals, and even preservatives (yes, that's right - that's want makes them last). That $20 department store lipstick may cost that much because the raw ingredients are better quality. In addition, the cosmetic company may incorporate special compounds that they make exclusively for anti-aging qualities and to make the lipstick crack less and glide on smoothly. High-priced brands also have less water content.

More Pigment - Less Filler

Those famous cosmetic labels typically have more actual pigment versus fillers. That's why colors look richer and truer. Pricey brands finely grind their pigments, while drug store brands add fillers. For that reason, you also tend to find a better match - especially when it comes to buying a foundation - which is an important consideration for women of color.

The Brand and Designer Names

You also pay for that designer name and image. And you can believe that cosmetic companies know this and charge you for it. They know you want to pull out that sleek looking compact that bears their logo - especially when you're in the ladies room and all eyes are on you.

Better Service

Last but not least - you're also paying for service. The woman behind the counter typically knows her stuff and which colors and formulations will look best for you. At a drug store - there's usually little to no help, and you're on your own. Plus, they rarely provide samples. How many one-time products do you have sitting in your makeup drawer because the color was awful?

Where Drug Store Brands Have the Advantage

While department store brands usually have better ingredients and an at-the-ready sales person to help you make choices - drug store brands are so affordably priced that they have an advantage. You can try several colors before you plunk down a chunk of change to find out which one you like best and which one brings you the most compliments. Then, when you make your color choice for something you want to wear regularly - you can upgrade and get that color in a high-quality department store brand. At the end of the day - it's what looks best on you and what you like. Not how much it costs.

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