Drugstore makeup is too expensive

By Brittany Tankersley | Photo Editor

Makeup gives people across the world confidence in everyday life, but what happens when it’s not everyday affordable? As a regular makeup wearer, I have noticed an increase in the prices of drugstore makeup, making everyday wear less accessible to those with little disposable income. Drugstore makeup is marketed as a cheaper alternative to high-end makeup, but as its prices become more and more similar, many people are left with limited makeup options.

According to Marc Bain, a fashion reporter, a woman in the U.S. will spend about $15,000 on makeup during her lifetime. Following that up, Taylor Bryant with Refinery29 explains “that only 15% of that money goes toward the ingredients. So where is the rest of the money going? Marketing, packaging, and brand prestige.”

Adding sleek packaging and selling a brand has become more important in the drugstore makeup industry than its original creation intent: affordability. With a light makeup routine, concealer, powder, blush, bronzer, eyebrow pencil and mascara are a must. According to an article from Glamour, these products will cost around $70 collectively without any creative options like eyeshadow or lipstick.

“Price does not really correlate to quality when it comes to cosmetic products,” cosmetic chemist Randy Schueller said in Bryant’s article. “You’re mostly paying for having the name on your vanity, the ads and the prettiness of the product and its packaging.”

Simply put, drugstore makeup brands are choosing pretty packaging over making their products affordable. This effectively withholds makeup from those in need over adding some sparkles or colorful packaging. This leads to a greater question about cost transparency.

According to an article from the Orlando Sentinel, Don Davis, editor of Drug and Cosmetic Industry, explains how “Industry observers and insiders estimate a retailer’s share of the retail price averages 40%. That leaves about 60% for the manufacturer … So if a lipstick costs $15 retail, about $9 usually makes its way back to the manufacturer. That must cover the manufacturer’s expenses, such as raw materials, packaging, distribution and general overhead. Advertising costs also come out of the manufacturer’s share.”

This huge markup for retailers and manufacturers causes a huge price increase for makeup products. However, by cutting down on packaging costs, companies could provide a more balanced marketplace between drugstore and higher-end makeup. Bring back the affordability aspect that only drugstores can provide so that everyone can have access to makeup, regardless of economic standing.