Dupes are a hot topic in beauty. On one hand, who doesn't want a cheaper, similar alternative to an industry icon (hi, cost of living crisis). But on the other, some brands toe the line between offering a wallet-friendly 'alternative' versus a flat out copy, which in my opinion isn't cool.
But there is absolutely space for cheap and cheerful products that afford a similar user experience to their luxury counterparts — in some cases, you might even prefer them. Dupes are also extremely useful when we're hit with the heart-breaking news that something we love has been discontinued.
Everyone knows about Nars Orgasm. The peachy-pink blush is legendary in the makeup world (as it should be). But a scroll through Reddit will confirm that Milani Luminoso has a similar appeal — it's also baked, meaning it blends easily and affords excellent colour payoff. Nothing will beat Orgasm, but it's a worthy contender.
Another Reddit user claims that the pink shimmer in this $7 E.L.F eyeshadow palette has a very close finish to Orgasm. We'll bite.
Remember when we couldn't get Glossier in Australia? That's no longer a problem, but that doesn't mean we're not interested in Drew Barrymore's answer to Cloud Paint. The shade Bubbly also looks very similar to Puff. Big yes.
Nars Laguna Liquid Bronzer + Charlotte Tilbury Contour Wand
Nars discontinued the liquid version of their infamous Laguna Bronzer, breaking hearts around the world. Thank god however for Charlotte Tilbury. Her contour/bronzer hybrid has the same ability to make skin look as if it's just returned from vacation. It also comes in varying shades for differing skin tones.
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal + Ilia Liquid Light Serum Highlighter in Nova
If you were born between 1985 and 1995, chances are you owned a bottle of Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector. One of the first ever liquid highlighters, the fluid illuminator was a cult item. Sadly Becca closed down, but there are plenty of alternatives that still deliver glow in spades. Our pick is Ilia's Serum Highlighter in Nova — it has the same iridescence while melting effortlessly into the skin.
Rationale Beautiful bronze Superfluid + Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi
When I first started using Rationale skincare, they had a range of SPF-infused makeup-skincare hybrid formulas that I loved. Sadly they've since been discontinued, but Drunk Elephant's much-duped D-Bronze Serum is actually an excellent dupe for the Beautiful Bronze. Beauty inception! It doesn't have any sun protection properties, but it does contain a stack of antioxidants and warms up the skin in a believable way. Dupe or duped formula, it's worth having in your makeup kit.
Tatcha cannot be duped, but Neutrogena's Hydro Boost face cream comes extremely close. It has a beautiful cooling texture that gives gives the skin bounce, and comes with all the usual hydrating suspects (hyaluronic acid, amino acids and electrolytes). If you want a lightweight moisturiser for cheap, it's great.
We love the viral Dior Lip Oil. it's glossy, hydrating, smells like cherries. But if you're unsure on gloss, want more pigment, or just want to save a few dollars, the Kosas wet Lip oil is just as delicious.
CHANEL will always be CHANEL. But we get the Transparent shade of the viral Baume Essentiel is hard to come by. Enter Mecca Max Glass Highlighting Stick. It has the same colourless sheen without the shimmer or pearl finish. Use it on your eyes, cheeks and cupid's bow to look like you just had a facial.
The people at Mecca Max are doing god's work, and just launched a range of liquid blushes to rival the iconic Charlotte Tilbury lineup (they also have a similar colour payoff to the Rare Beauty Soft Pinch blush). While it doesn't have the sponge applicator or doe foot, the shade range is great, the wear is 10/10 and the price tag is fair ($24).
Costa Brazil Aroma is maybe my favourite fragrance of all time. But last year, the parent company Biossance went into receivership, and the brand is currently on pause. I can't find Aroma anywhere on the internet (and I'm running low!) but Tom Ford's Ébène Fumé has similar Earthy, woodsy notes. There's palo santo, smoke and ebony wood, and while it's not as resinous as Aroma, the vibe is similar. I love it equally.