Cheap Eyeshadow, Revealed!

Tawdry enough post title for ya?

All right, cheap makeup aficionados, I’m here to let you in on The Secret of the Drugstore Eyeshadow! The suspense is killing you, isn’t it? ISN’T IT??? Well, allow me to put you out of your miserly misery!

The cheap eyeshadow is …

Did you get it right?

On the left, we have Urban Decay Deluxe Eyeshadow in Scratch, which retails for $18 for 2.5 g. (All prices in this post are in US dollars.) On the right, we have Urban Decay Loose Pigment in Shag, which retails for $20 for 1.2 g, although I got it for $5 on sale. And in the middle, we have Wet ‘n’ Wild Color Icon eyeshadow in Penny, which retails for $1.99 for 1.7 g, but which I got for a buck because I bought it at a BOGO sale at Rite Aid (still going on! Run, don’t walk!).

Or, to put it another way:

  • UD Deluxe Eyeshadow: $7.20/gram
  • UD Loose Pigment: $16.67/gram (!!!), $4.17/gram on sale
  • Wet ‘n’ Wild Color Icon eyeshadow:  $1.17/gram, $0.59/gram on sale

And a few other mid-/high-end eyeshadow price breakdowns, just for the hell of it:

  • Urban Decay regular eyeshadow: $17 for 1.5 g, $11.33/gram
  • Make Up For Ever eyeshadow: $19 for 2.5 g, $7.60/gram
  • MAC eyeshadow: $14.50 for 1.5 g, $9.67/gram
  • MAC loose pigment: $19.50 for 4.5 g, $4.33/gram (I knew there was a reason I thought these were a good value!)

And this, my friends, is yet another chapter in the book I’m writing in my head entitled “Holy Shit, Is it Just Me, or Does High-End Makeup Seem Like … Well … Kind of a Rip-Off Sometimes?” I’m not saying that all high-end makeup is overpriced crap, or that all drugstore makeup is affordable and wonderful. I just don’t think that high-end makeup is uniformly wonderful, or that drugstore makeup is uniformly crap. I love most of my high-end stuff, but some of it is downright disappointing. I’ve been disappointed by drugstore products too, but I’d rather be disappointed by something that cost me $1.99 than by something that cost me $16, $20, $30.

(And for what it’s worth, I don’t think that UD’s loose pigments are worth what they charge for them. I’d rather pay $4-8 for a comparable amount–or, in many cases, more–of a gorgeous, complex loose mineral eyeshadow from one of the fine Independent Makeuppers over yonder in my blogroll. I love the UD pigments I have, but I’m glad I didn’t pay full price for them.)

I understand that there are other considerations, too. For one, some high-end products probably do have more pigment and less filler than their cheaper counterparts (pigment is expensive, after all). And some lower-end products might not have quite the intensity or staying power of the pricier stuff. But it is absolutely possible to get highly pigmented, high-quality products for under $5.

And some high-end products are INCREDIBLE values. Using Urban Decay as an example again–hey, it’s only fair–I will happily jump on the Naked palette bandwagon and urge you to go and get this thing RIGHT NOW. If you can, that is, because it’s so popular they can’t keep it in stock. Twelve eyeshadows, 1.3 g each, 15.6 g total, for $44, or $2.82/gram. Them’s practically Wet ‘n’ Wild prices! Plus it comes with eyeliners and a mini primer!

So if you’re pinching pennies, it pays to do your homework (and the math!). Read the reviews, wait for sales, seek out independent sellers–hell, learn to mix your own shadows (more on this later today) and glosses. Your bank account will thank you!

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Published in: on August 31, 2010 at 7:29 am  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I definitely agree with you on high-end makeup not always being awesome… and drugstore makeup is definitely not always cheap and crappy! You really have a mix of good & bad products either way. But I do love my indie eyeshadows the best :3

    • Me too! I’ve had the best luck with them being more uniformly high-quality … the ratio of “disappointing” to “not-disappointing” is a LOT better with indie stuff, IMO.

  2. I agree about Urban Decay not always being the best value, especially with regard to the pigments. I think their solid eyeshadows are much better. Better color, better packaging. I love the challenge of identifying the cheap one and being wrong, well, the two times you’ve done it! I will say, though, that I haven’t been disappointed with MAC ever, but maybe that’s because I know what I like of theirs and am familiar with the brand. I HAVE, however, been very disappointed with the color and vibrancy of many other high-priced makeup brands. For instance, Aveda. I love their face/body/hair products, but I won’t use their makeup. Long enough comment for you? 😉

    • I am having a lot of fun with these posts. I have at least one more in mind, actually. I’ve never bought anything by Aveda at all, I don’t think.


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