Several years ago I compared professional hair products to drugstore brands, and I just wrote a post about pro and generic makeup brands. I don’t write a lot about skincare, but I couldn’t leave it out of the product comparisons series!

Just as I mentioned in the makeup brands post- I haven’t always used professional skincare products. I started out with drugstore brands, but once I switched I couldn’t go back.


Remember, no matter what you use- always maintain a regular routine. If you are inconsistent or change it often then you will not get the results you’re hoping for!

Professional Skincare


Drugstore Brands


1.Professional skincare products are more specialized to your needs.

Have you ever noticed that professional skincare options seem endless compared to drugstore brands? Pro skincare lines are so specific to your needs that it can often be a little confusing. That may be why a lot of people choose to shop for their skincare products at their local drugstore rather than a spa, department store, etc.

For example:

When choosing a product at the drugstore(we’ll say you’re shopping for Clean and Clear skincare products)…you have a few options to choose from- dry skin, normal skin, or oily skin.

When choosing a professional skincare product(we’ll say your’re shopping for Clinque skincare products)…there’s a skincare system for dry skin, dry combination skin, normal skin, normal to oily skin, combination skin, oily skin, etc. It’s all very specialized and that’s why it works so much better!


2.Drugstore brands are more harsh.

For starters, cheap skincare products often have high alcohol content. It dries out your skin(which is often mistaken for a really clean feeling at first), so if you don’t balance it properly with the right moisturizer then you’re just going to be more oily than you would be if you were using proper skincare.

I could get really deep in this subject, so I’m going to save that for it’s own post. Basically…you need to cleanse, tone, and moisturize to properly take care of your skin. A lot of people get scared of the moisturizer because they think it’s going to make their skin more oily, but that’s not going to happen if you’re using the right products from the start.


3.Professional skincare often comes with free professional advice!

If you shop for skincare products at a department store, Sephora, Ulta Beauty, etc.- there will be someone ready to help you analyze your skin and recommend products that are perfect for your needs!

For example:

If you like Dermalogica, Lancome, Estee Lauder, or Clinique- most department stores have a knowledgeable and trained professional specific to that brand(except Dermalogica, you’ll find a trained pro for that brand at Ulta Beauty).

If you’re unsure what skincare brand you want(or you know you like Origins, Juice Beauty, Exuviance, etc.) there are beauty experts at Ulta Beauty and Sephora that will help you narrow it down and find the right products.


4. Drugstore brands are cheaper than professional skincare.

Yes, you can find some great deals on skincare at drugstores, but you can also find deals on professional skincare products too!

I know there’s more of a price gap when it comes to skincare products than there is with makeup, but you just have to do your research first.

Here are some ways to save money on pro skincare brands:

  • Look for seasonal deals and promotions. July, November, and December usually have unbeatable deals at stores like Ulta Beauty. I buy Clinique skincare products before Christmas because they have sets with larger sizes that are usually priced at lower than what you would pay for a regular sized set.
  • Shop at outlet malls. My favorite for pro products is The Cosmetics Company(you can usually find them at Prime Outlets locations). They always have discounted sets that are the same as what’s sold at department stores. The sets were simply discontinued and sent to an outlet retailer because they were replaced with a new set(usually when seasons change).
  • Take advantage of store loyalty programs and use coupons. There’s a lot of money to be saved everywhere you go, but most people don’t know it or don’t bother. Some stores even feature special sales on pro brands throughout the year for a limited time(ex: extra 20% off Dermalogica for one week)


5.Professional skincare brands have better ingredients.

You’re not paying for the name…you’re paying for quality. Better ingredients cost more. It’s just like buying organic produce instead of the other stuff- it’s better and doesn’t contain sketchy chemicals, so it’s more expensive.

Unfortunately, that’s how it is these days. If your health is important to you then sometimes you have to pay for it. What you put on your skin is absorbed into the body, so it’s just as important as what you eat.

Remember, if your skincare routine and products are working for you, then take caution in changing anything. Even if you want to upgrade to professional skincare products…you need to make sure you choose something that is right for your skin type!

Also, if you experience changes when you switch products…give it some time.

You may also like:

Professional Makeup vs. Drugstore Brands

Professional Hair Products vs. Drugstore Brands

Product Comparison Charts

About The Author


Professional Hairstylist | American Board Certified Haircolorist | Makeup Artist | Beauty Blogger

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