Beauty Break Down

In the world of beauty products, there are some labels to help organize brands, but not enough, in my opinion (as usual).

Let’s begin with categories I think we can all agree on:

No Name: Low Quality. Suspiciously cheap. Knock off. Skin Destroying. Questionable practices. Some might confuse these for drugstore brands, but that’s insulting to drugstore brands.

Drugstore Brand: Consistent quality & growing inclusiveness. Affordable & readily available. Gets the name because these brands are found in drugstore retailers (i.e. CVS, Walmart & Target). See my post on which are cruelty-free & vegan coming soon!
Drugstore Retail Brand: Consistent quality. Affordable basics. Manufactured by & exclusively sold at the retailer selling them. For example, CVS (Beauty 360), Walmart (Equate), Walgreens Brand, Target (Up & Up), & Rite Aid (Daylogic). See my post on quality comparisons coming soon!

Beauty Retail Brand: Usually high quality. Affordable full collections. Developed by & exclusively sold at beauty specific retailers that also sell competitor’s products. For example, Sephora Collection, Ulta Beauty, & Morphe. See my post on my favorite picks from each coming soon!

From here, I’ve probably fallen in line with what most already agree with. However, usually from here, we go to “Luxury” & I think that’s just too vague. Like maybe I’m crazy for differentiating drugstore generic brands from beauty retailer generic brands, but am I?
Storytime
I didn’t start in make up, or as a blogger – per say. I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Writing Arts from Rowan University. In case you, like everyone else in the world, doesn’t know what “Writing Arts” is:

The Writing Arts major provides broad-based study and practice in written communication, drawing on the disciplinary strengths of the College of Communication and Creative Arts and from departments across the University. Writing Arts offers students intensive experience in a variety of writing forms, creative and expository, personal and public. Students learn how writers compose in print and new media forms and how audiences react to their writing.

& It was through the experiences I had growing and graduating from this program that let me learn to love labels. (Alliteration much?) Anyways. Labels have a very long & particularly bad history when it comes to many things, such as race or gender. I realize & respect that good intention is not an excuse for poor execution. However, I find myself feeling bad for labels because their intention in language is simply to allow us to better communicate about the world around us. Technically, every noun is a label – think about it. THAT BEING SAID, I need more labels in order to think & blog about make up specifically, so here I go!
Storytime over.

Guru Brand: Very high quality or highly scrutinized. Usually very affordable. Innovative products designed by beauty community influencers to be audience request/concern driven. (i.e. brighter highlighters, more pigmented shadows & make up suited for darker/deeper complexions) These brands are highly anticipated by consumers. Consumer base begins with fans of the guru, so the products have a lot to prove. For example, Makeup Geek (Marlena Stell), Jeffree Star Cosmetics, Halo Beauty (Tati Westbrook), Em Cosmetics (Michelle Phan), & Beauty Bakerie (Cashmere Nicole). See my post on Guru Brands coming soon!

Celebrity Brand: High quality or highly scrutinized. Expensive to affordable. Beauty products designed by celebrities from outside the beauty community. These products are highly anticipated by consumers. Early on, many celebrity brands had the reputation of being so-so. However, many celebrities are turning to the cosmetics industry full-time. For Example, Fenty (Rihanna), Flower Beauty (Drew Barrymore), KKW (Kim Kardashian-West), Skinphonic (Smokey Robinson), & Circa (Eva Mendes)

*THE REASON WHY I DIFFERENTIATE GURU & CELEBRITY BRANDS IS AS FOLLOWS & IS MY OPINION: Typically, Celebrity brands are passion projects funded by the income that celebrity already has from unrelated ventures. Guru brands are more often funded by beauty related means (Monetized content on YouTube, getting investors, etc). THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH EITHER. IMO, that means there’s just more at stake for gurus than celebrities. That’s really the only differentiation.

Luxe Brand: High quality products made by beauty specific brands. Price matches quality level. These brands & their products have cult followings. For example, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Urban Decay, & Tarte

Luxury Brand: High cost beauty products made by beauty specific brands. Sometimes they’re just not worth the price. It’s best to do lots of research before committing to any luxury makeup product. For example, Natasha Denona, Tatcha, & Charlotte Tilbury

*THE REASON WHY I DIFFERENTIATE LUXE & LUXURY BRANDS IS AS FOLLOWS & IS MY OPINION: It’s simply a matter of price. IMO, Luxe products are priced above other like products, but are consistently high quality, making them worth it. Whereas, Luxury products are priced WAY above the industry standard & the only thing high about quality is the variety of. THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH INDULGENCE, BUT IF YOU SPEND 80$ ON A HIGHLIGHTER YOU BETTER STOP YACHTS.

Designer Brand: High cost beauty products made by fashion designer brands. Quality varies & these products tend to be more a matter of novelty than “must have.” It’s best to do lots of research before committing to any designer makeup product. For example, Christian Louboutin, Gucci, Michael Kors, & Chanel


Ulta is a one of kind opportunity for make up lovers as it offers everything from drugstore to designer brands. I, painstakingly, went through Ulta’s Brands A-Z & grouped each into one of my 9 categories (Obviously Ulta isn’t going to carry knock-off products, so really there are 8). However, it’s taking me WAY longer than expected, so be sure to check back soon!

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