NEW YORK -- The line between the prestige and mass beauty markets continues to blur, as drugstores build up their sales staffs and department stores offer more self-service.

Still, major differences between the classes of trade, in particular pricing, remain intact. Which of these points of difference are influencing women in their shopping decisions?

WWD sent reporters to Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas to find out where typical consumers shop for beauty products and why they choose these outlets.

LOS ANGELES

Anne McIntyre, 32, a writer, said she shops at Rexall Drugs and beauty supply stores for sunscreen and Almay moisturizer and at department stores for Chanel lipstick and eye shadow and Clarins and Clinique skin care products.

"Drugstores are easier," McIntyre said. "I would go there more if the selection was higher-end. I don't care about service. It's a hassle. Plus, because they have to pay salespeople, department stores have to jack up their prices.

Michelle Piper, a 26-year-old who coordinates lighting and trucking for a concert-tour firm, said she buys L'Oreal and Cover Girl lipstick and eye shadow at Thrifty Drugs because "it's much cheaper."

Jolynn Lacasse, 31, an office manager, has never bought cosmetics from a department store, shopping instead at Rexall for Revlon mascara and lipstick and for Oil of Olay.

"The selection at drugstores is adequate," Lacasse said. "I'm never in a department store, anyway."

Cathy Schenkelberg, 32, an actress and singer, goes mainly to health food stores for natural lotions and bath salts, buys Botanicals hair and nail care products from beauty salons and gets her lipstick from the MAC store.

"I make better money now so I'm spoiling myself," Schenkelberg said. "I don't go to Walgreens anymore. That's what I did in college."

June Anwar, a 23-year-old art director, goes to Rexall and Walgreens for Revlon mascara, lip pencils and "junk," but buys Shiseido and Lancome moisturizer, foundation and lipstick from department stores.

"I change brands all the time," Anwar said. "I prefer department store brands. Otherwise, I would shop drugstores because I like to be left alone."

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