Christina Wolfgram
November 01, 2015 11:51 am

You know that feeling you get when you leave a makeup or drug store? The feeling that the one dainty plastic bag full of products doesn’t quite balance out the giant, gaping hole in your bank account? Well, if you’re one of those people who can’t even go into Target for toilet paper without buying three new brands of mascara, don’t worry — you are not alone.

According to Euromonitor, the world spent $56.9 billion on makeup last year. That kind of puts your $50 CVS shopping spree into perspective, right? People are purchasing more makeup than ever – the research company predicts that in four years, the makeup industry will be raking in upwards of $70 billion – but it’s important to understand where all that moola is going.

Quartz recently published some surprisingly revelations about the prices of makeup compared to the makeup’s actual quality. Experts weighed in about why the value of most products does not match the expense. Randy Schueller, cosmetic chemist and co-founder of TheBeautyBrains, shared that ingredients in makeup only account for about 15% of products’ worth. So why do some brands cost noticeably more than others? Packaging, marketing, and retailing. That’s right, sometimes you’re mostly paying for the cute compact (but, like, it’s sooo cute).

Karen Grant, a global beauty industry analyst, says that there are two different ways that cosmetics are sold, which leads to the gap in prices between, say, a lipstick from Rite-Aid and a lipstick from Sephora.

In drugstores, products sit on the shelves and sort of have to sell themselves. This is significantly less expensive than the environment in an upscale store, where an entire staff mills about, answering questions and offering samples. Those testers, those (sob) “free” birthday presents — the entire experience of shopping at stores like Sephora and Ulta simply costs more.

Since it sounds nearly impossible to distinguish which products offer more bang for your buck and not just an awesome shopping day, Schueller recommends researching products before you buy them. For instance, if you’re looking for a long-wear lip color, do a quick Google. A Covergirl Outlast lipstick might really stay on longer than one from Sephora.

So maybe you don’t have to feel so guilty about your CVS makeup hauls after all.

(Images via here, here, and here.)