Professional Grade Makeup Vs. Department and Drugstore Makeup

Professional Grade Makeup Vs. Department and Drugstore Makeup

In the world of professional makeup, there is a crucial difference between professional-grade makeup and the makeup you might buy in a department store or a drugstore.

One of the biggest misconceptions we hear from people who inquire about attending our cosmetology program is that the focus of the program lies in the application of product, rather than the products themselves, however this couldn’t be further from the case.

Professional cosmetologists and makeup artists require professional grade products in order to do their work, and when it comes to professional vs. drugstore products, there’s a world of difference.

In this article, we’ll explain how.


Ingredients have a vital impact on the quality of makeup products– to keep it simple, there are three main ingredients that go into producing makeup:

  • Minerals
  • Mica (Colors, Pigments & Glimmer)
  • Other Additives

There are a great deal of ingredients under the heading ‘Other Additives’, but for the sake of keeping things simple here, we’ll focus on the basics. Various minerals are normally added to create the base of each makeup, while micas, a group of silicate minerals, are added to give the formula color, shine and glimmer.

Drugstore Products

Drugstore makeup, also known in the industry as ‘street makeup’, makes up the bulk of the products that most women wear on a regular basis. With the average American woman spending approximately $8 per day on cosmetics, the drugstore market is enormous– and therefore their makeup must be mass-produced.

In order to keep up with demand while ensuring high profits, cosmetic companies will therefore dilute their makeup with Titanium Dioxide, a mineral that allows them to lessen the amounts of pigment and other ingredients required– this in turn allows them to charge less for the products while still recouping a healthy profit.

This does not mean that the makeup produced during this process is inherently low quality, but what it does mean is that it’s affordable for the average woman who wears makeup during her day-to-day life.

With the rise of shops like Sephora, both designer and professional makeup has become more accessible– these are the makeups that have traditionally been available also in large department stores. These makeups are generally more expensive than drugstore makeups, while still remaining affordable, and the quality can be higher than drugstore products.

While some designer makeups can be used along with professional-grade products, this is generally something that requires at least a rudimentary understanding of the product ingredients.

Professional Products

Professional makeup is designed to last– most are resistant to water, sweat and heat, and hide a multitude of flaws even when photographed with an HD camera. Professional products have much higher levels of pigment than drugstore products. To be considered professional grade, most require at least 50% pigmentation, whereas drugstore makeups can range anywhere from 5% pigmentation for light formulas to 15% formulas for full coverage.

Because of the heavy pigmentation, professional formulas require far less product for great results, which is where technique comes in. Particularly in cases where someone has used drugstore makeup and aren’t used to the effects of increased pigmentation, applying the product with a heavy hand can produce disastrous results.

With professional products, a little goes a very long way.

These products include brands such as Kett, which is widely used in the makeup artist community, cruelty-free and distributed in over twenty countries around the world. Another example is Viseart, which is a professional grade brand sold at Sephora.

Professional grade makeup is higher in price than drugstore makeup, yet the results are better when used sparingly, which means they can also last much longer. Given this, along with the extended coverage, they’re definitely worth it– in a situation where you’re doing makeup for a professional shoot or a television show, you want to be sure your makeup will endure the scrutiny of every tiny flaw, particularly with HD cameras.

There’s a huge difference between using drugstore products and professional products, and by the same token, there’s a world of difference between attending a professional cosmetology program and practicing your love of makeup at home.

We’ll teach you how to develop your skills in cosmetology so you can get started in a career that you’ll love– by attending our comprehensive program, you’ll be qualified to provide professional makeup for events like photoshoots, television appearances or fashion shows– in some of the most exciting industries in the world!

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