Debate: are high end products better than high street?

The high end vs high street debate has been a long running one in the beauty world. I’ve tested hundreds of products and know that more expensive doesn't always equal better quality, so why do we still bother with high end products?

High end or high street mascaras

I recently spent £36 on a Christian Louboutin nail polish (yes, I know this is a ridiculous amount). When I heard it was launching I knew I had to have it. It wasn’t because I thought the polish would be any better quality than that of a high street one, but I felt like I was able to finally buy a piece of the Louboutin brand, without having to re-mortgage my house. That, and the fact it was going to look pretty special on my dressing table.

When it comes to makeup, there are often very small variations in the formulas of the actual products. A lipstick is usually made of the same base ingredients no matter the price, and while there might be small variations, there’s nothing really there to justify the £20 price difference.

To me, the lure of the high end cosmetics comes as an overall package – you’re buying into the brand name, the luxury packaging and quite frankly, helping to pay for the massive marketing campaigns these brands use. In contrast to this, there are some seriously competitive low-cost brands cropping up at the moment that offer products from as little as £1. You won’t find them in a department store or gracing the ad pages of the glossy magazines, but they’re providing decent quality products at rock bottom prices. They might not look as pretty for a public lippie top up, but they provide an attractive alternative to people looking for a cheap alternative.

My makeup bag is a complete mix of high end and high street products and I love finding a great product on the high street. There are so many amazing ones to choose from, and when you consider that the lower end brands are owned by the same parent companies that make their more expensive sisters, it’s not hard to see why there’s often an overlap in terms of products all the time. If something launches onto the high end market, it’s not long before the high street brands follow (Chanel/Bourjois cream blushers anyone… *ahem*).

When it comes to skincare and hair care, this is when being ingredient savvy can be a huge benefit. There are some extremely expensive hair brands that use incredibly cheap ingredients in their products for example. While I might be able to justify buying a Tom Ford lipstick because of gorgeous packaging, the same doesn’t really apply for me when it comes to my shampoo. If the ingredients are the same as a £1.99 shampoo, what’s the point in paying more? I buy these products based on the ingredients in them, and while I’m not an expert, there are certain things I look to avoid and refuse to pay a high price point if a particular brand uses them. Yes, there are some that justify the higher price tag as they’re actually packed with beneficial ingredients, but that’s definitely not always the case.

For me, there will always be products I’m happier to invest more money in, or certain brands that I honestly feel are worth spending more money on, but this is very much a personal thing. How do you feel about high end and high street products? What is it that makes you spend more on certain things but not on others? I’d love to know your thoughts.



  1. high end vs high street for me is a pick and mix, at the moment because I don't work I go for the cheapest! but with a few things I do like high end a little bit more, like with foundations for example, but for shampoos and mascaras etc theres no point in spending more! (even if salon science as won me over)

    Catherine x

  2. I tend not to think of items as high end or high street, if I like it, I like it x

  3. I'd love to see a post on ingredients you look for in shampoos and stuff :) I definitely think high end you're paying for the brand just as much as the product!

    India / Touchscreens & Beautyqueens

  4. I pretty much agree with you - if I fall in love with a makeup product, I'll buy it whether I have to save an extra £10 first or not. In the end makeup is completely frivolous and something that I wear because I want to, so I might as well enjoy it!

    ellabooxo • beauty & lifestyle

  5. I think some products can be bought from cheaper brands and still be great (it will still be hit and miss probably though!) but what really makes the difference for me is how much I end up using something. If I adore a L'Oreal mascara found on offer I'm over the moon, but it gets really annoying when I've wasted money on Maybelline and Rimmel foundations I never end up liking... So that's what makes me usually prefer more expensive beauty items in the end ;) xx


  6. I think you're right about buying something because you are investing in the brand - it's a way of treating yourself! However, I have recently switched my skincare to much cheaper products (Clinique to Aldi own brand) and have actually noticed an improvement - I'm wondering if this is because they are less perfumed?

  7. I tend to find there are some products where high end seem to be better - I've yet to find a high street foundation to rival my Estee Lauder Double Wear. But when it comes to eyeshadows and things I like to switch up daily, I do tend to go more high street as I'll use them a lot less!

    Milly // Mini Adventures

  8. I think it's definitely a personal choice and my makeup is a real mixture. I tend to spend more on base products that won't clog up my skin e.g. mineral powder. I also tend to spend more on skincare and gravitate towards natural brands, but there is also some good, affordable skincare out there! xx


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