Monday, 17 February 2014

#2014BloggerChallenge: High End vs High Street

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Hey y'all!

This week, Gaby has challenged us to talk about high end products versus high street products.  For my American readers, "high street" roughly translates to "drug store" in terms of cosmetics and beauty supplies. This prompt really is a challenge for me, because I basically only own one high-end product (but more on that further down in the post).  I've always found success working with my drug store brands, and I don't believe in fixing something that works, right?  So rather than do a comparison type post, I thought maybe I'd list a few of the brands and lines that I love.


I do a lot of blogging about nails, I realize, but I thought it would be interesting to show you what brands actually make up the majority of my stash.  While I'm sure that Illamasqua and Chanel make awesome nail polish, is it really worth it to spend up to 10x as much for a bottle of "superior" varnish?  Some would say yes, but those people PROBABLY don't change their nail polish 4-5 times each week.  Personally, I'd rather save that money to spend it on indies, but when I do buy retail, here's what I use:

I own more elf polishes than any other brand, and the reason is simple: they are highly-pigmented, long-lasting polishes in a color selection that nudges "trendy and current" for a whopping £2.50 each, and I don't even have to put on a bra to go buy them because I can have them delivered in a couple of days.
Quickly coming up fast on my list are OPI bottles. They're a bit more pricey (and harder to find in the UK), but I always manage to snag several on trips back to the States at around $8 each. They apply like butter and I love the wide, flat brushes.

Generally retailing between £2-4, I love the versatile range of Rimmel colors and textures, and the super fast dry time!

Another selection from around the $8 range, essie ranks right alongside OPI for application and wear time.  Slightly smaller bottles, but most of their formulas are self-leveling which is handy when you're working with your non-dominant hand.

I'd never heard of this brand til I moved to the UK, but it has quickly placed itself on my watch list, especially for stamping purposes!  Typically retails for about £3-4, but often found at discount in drug stores (hello, Superdrug 3-for-2)! 
Honorable Mentions: Sinful Colors, FingerPaints, and China Glaze. Great brands with reliable formulas and brilliant color/finish selections, ranging from $2-7, available in drugstores and beauty supply stores in the States, as well as online in the UK.


I use TRESemm√© almost exclusively, unless I can't find it and am in emergency need.  Quality formulas for all types of hair, and very high value for the quantity of product you get.  The jumbo bottles of shampoo and conditioner will typically last me about 6-8 weeks.
Honorable Mentions:  Herbal Essences, for great fragrances and the Ignite My Color line - this my backup brand when TRESemm√© isn't available.  Also, Revlon for their haircolor kits.  Typically I use ColorSilk Luminista, which is usually dirt cheap, but the color choice is spot-on for my needs, and the conditioning packet always leaves my hair feeling soft and smelling great after a color.

Again, we're gonna go with elf for the win here.  At least 90% of my makeup collection is elf products, and that includes brushes and false eyelashes!  This brand was created to dupe the high-end brands and it definitely succeeds.  I mentioned earlier that I have one high-end product - it's a travel-sized Urban Decay All Nighter setting spray that I bought because I had an emergency empty situation on my elf Mist & Set spray.  It was on sale at Ulta, and it was an instance where I couldn't wait for shipping.

The only products from elf that I don't use are the mineral foundation and concealers.  I turn to Maybelline for those, specifically the Mineral Powder and Age Reward Dark Circle Eraser.  In addition I like the Dream Nude Airform foundation for days when I need a liquid coverage with a light finish (plus SPF16).  Also notable:  just about all Maybelline mascaras have been in my arsenal at one time or another.  I frequently repurchase from the Falsies, Mega Plus, and Colossal Cat Eyes lines.

I've used a lot of CG products over the years, and before I found elf, CG and Maybelline were my two brands.  However, I still like a few of their products.  I LOVE the natureluxe liquid foundation (SPF10) because it has beautiful coverage without feeling heavy, and I'm a big fan of the Outlast lip products - all of them.  The stains have great pigmentation (but they're drying like most all lipstains are), and lipcolors and lipshines have incredible staying power.  Also worth mentioning:  Trublend Minerals Bronzer, for pigmented color that's easy to blend for a natural finish.

Honorable Mention:  Revlon, specifically for their Photoready BB Cream (SPF30).  There's a lot of BB creams out there, but this one goes in my kit because I love the non-greasy feel and great coverage plus a high SPF.


While I recognize that not everyone is as thrifty (read: cheap) as I am, in this economy it really doesn't hurt to save a few dollars on cosmetic supplies.  Remember, folks, they're just cosmetics.  They can't make you a better person.  There is some worth to looking your best so you feel your best, but I don't really see how spending more money on a product that does the exact same thing as its less-expensive counterpart can make you feel that much better.  I am not setting out to judge people who spend more on beauty products here, at all - it's your income, so you should use it as you wish, but if you're feeling tight in the pockets, maybe you could consider trying a less expensive high street (drug-store) brand just once.  The worst that could happen is that you don't like it, and even then, it's not like you spent a fortune to find that out.  

I hope you enjoyed reading this guide to my own personal bargain beauty.  If you're interested in other takes on this topic, you can find all of them listed on Gaby's post at Another Girly Blg.

Hope you're having a great day!


  1. My collection mainly consists of Barry M, i dont have many higher end brands, such as O.P.I, but i also have a lot of models own polishes and a few essies. Theyre all pretty good though tbh.

    P.S: Barry M giveaway on my blog if you'd like to enter :D

    1. I've started adding a few Models Own here and there - they're okay, but I find a lot of problems with consistency and dry time. I get a lot of bubbling, and sometimes it takes hours for it to completely dry unless I use SV, Verdict is still out on them. Thanks for the tip about your giveaway!

  2. I am very much like you in this respect, I love trying out cheaper brands, and a lot of them are superb. There are a few duds around, but that seems to be the case with all brands.
    And your comment about not needing to put on a bra to buy elf really made me chuckle - it's like you're in my head, thinking my thoughts :D x

    1. I agree - even high-ends have duds from time to time. I'm so glad we have a mutual hatred of bras in common :)

  3. I have a lot of ELF, both polish and make up. I do like Barry M too!

  4. Awesome post! When I read "like butter" totally thought of older SNL with Mike Myers and Coffee Talk: "like buttah!" :) Oh and Barry M? Hmmm, me likey! I still need to write up my post for this, but I loved reading yours!

    1. I loved Coffee Talk! Can we tawk? Apparently it's a school break week in England, so when I was expecting a quiet trip into town today, I was run over by at least a dozen different children. Shopping is usually so therapeutic, but today... oh, I'm all verklempt. I need a moment. Tawk amongst yourselves. Let me give you a topic. Butterfinger is neither buttah, nor finger. Discuss.


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