We all love makeup – you wouldn’t be reading this otherwise. But it can get mighty expensive if you buy all the luxury name brands so often seen on social media.
Now, I’m in the very fortunate position of being sent products as part of my job. I know many of you would love the same, but trust me, very few products are actually worth the spend. But I do have some high end products that I use on a daily basis that I think are worth it for the results. But if you don’t have the budget for a R800 foundation, or would rather spend the money on wine (I get ya), then below are some dupes for some of my most-loved products.
I’ve spent ages compiling this list, testing out SO MANY products to get the best dupes I could find. Most are not quite as good as the luxury ones, but there are a few that may just replace the more expensive products.
Luxury: CHANEL Vitalumiere Aqua in 20 (R835) is the foundation on which all others are rated. It’s a light to medium coverage foundation that leaves your skin looking like skin.
Dupe: Wet n Wild Photofocus Foundation in Soft Beige (R100) is the closest I could find to the glorious finish of the Vitalumiere Aqua. It isn’t quite as dewy as I’d like, but not bad for less than an eighth of the price.
Verdict: I’m sticking with the CHANEL on this one. Will anyone ever be able to recreate the finish? I highly doubt it.
Luxury: Clinique Even Better Glow Foundation in Cream Chamois (R470) is what I reach for on days when I want a little more coverage. It is buildable and will last all day if set with powder. (On a side note: It contains Vitamin C to fight pigmentation, but I wear Vitamin C serum everyday and the amount you’ll find in a foundation will oxidize the second you step out of the door, so its moot to me.)
Dupe: essence Fresh + Fit Awake Me Up Healthy Glow Foundation in Fresh Ivory (R110) is just as glowy and delivers a similar coverage and finish, I was very impressed with this formula.
Verdict: I would choose the essence if I wasn’t wearing it for a long time, but the Clinique wins just on pure longevity. If you don’t mind touching-up throughout the day, then save money and go with essence.
Luxury: Benefit Boi-ing Concealer in 01 (R275) is what you need if you have some serious covering to do. This formula will cover pretty much anything you want it to.
Dupe: Catrice Camouflage Cream Concealer in Ivory (R60) is a little creamier than the Benefit, but works just as well at concealing. The slightly more slippery formula does mean that it doesn’t last as long, though.
Verdict: If you’re happy to set the Catrice with powder, then it’s definitely the way to go!
Luxury: Sisley Instant Correct Color Correcting Primer in Just Lavender (R1110) is what I use to balance out my yellow undertones when I’m doing a full face of makeup. It creates a perfect base for foundation and it doesn’t aggravate my skin and cause breakouts.
Dupe: Nyx Studio Perfect Photo Loving Lavender Primer (R220) is a great dupe. It does pretty much the same thing, but feels like it has a bit more silicone in the formula.
Verdict: I hardly ever wear primer, so I’d always go for the Sisley, but if you wear it every day, then you won’t be disappointed with the Nyx.
Luxury: Sisley Phyto-Sourcils Design in Cappuccino (R795) is a clever little multi-tasker with brow pencil, highlighter and brush in one. I love the texture of the pencil and the highlighter and brush makes it super easy to groom your brows.
Dupe: Sorbet Browsability in Medium Brown (R150) was the closest thing I could find to the Sisley. While there are so many brow products on the market these days, very few are multi-taskers. This one is a dual ended pencil (no brush, sadly) that works well enough for a dupe, but I found the colours a little too warm for my skin tone. The texture is also a little too oily, so I found it didn’t last all that long.
Verdict: Sisley wins on colour offering and longevity.
Luxury: Lancôme Hypnôse Waterproof Mascara in Black (R435) has been my ride or die mascara for absolutely years now. But the constantly increasing price has had me searching for a replacement for a while now. Most cheaper, waterproof formulas dry out my lashes and are more like tar than mascara. I need it to hold a curl and stay in place all day long.
Dupe: Nyx Worth The Hype Waterproof Mascara in Black (R170) is exactly what I’ve been looking for! It is just fabulous – it does everything I love about the Hypnôse and it does it at less than half the price.
Verdict: For a quick turnaround product like mascara, I’ll take the Nyx any day, sorry Lancôme.
Luxury: Urban Decay Naked 2 (R860) is iconic for a reason. It has the perfect selection of shades for everyday wear and the payoff is unlike anything else.
Dupe: Maybelline The Original Nudes Eyeshadow Palette (R270) comes pretty darn close, though! Yes, the colour payoff isn’t quite there, but nothing that a good eye primer can’t solve.
Verdict: Honestly, unless you are serious about eyeshadow, and will use all 12 shades in the Naked 2, go with the Maybelline.
Luxury: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit (not available in SA, £79) is one of those products I didn’t know I needed until I got it. This particular one isn’t available anymore, but they bring news ones out each year. I cannot believe how long these powders last! They look like I’ve barely used them, and I use them almost daily! I adore the subtle glow the highlighters give to my skin. (I’m not including the blush in this, but they are phenomenal, too.)
Dupe: Revolution Reloaded Lustre Cool Palette (R130) is the closest you’re going to find. I tested so many highlighting palettes, and this was by far the best. Most cheaper highlighters are just full of nasty glitter, but this delivers a great, subtle glow, just like the Hourglass.
Verdict: I think that the Hourglass is hideously expensive, but worth it for the colour payoff. You have to use a fair amount of the Revolution one to get the same effect, but then again, the price does reflect that. If you are just getting into highlighters, then 100% go for the Revolution.
Luxury: CHANEL Powder Blush in Caresse (R850) was a limited edition, I think, but they have similar shades now. As with the Hourglass, the pedigree really shows in this formula. It blends like a dream, lasts all day, and the baked powder never seems to decrease. I’ve had this one for years, and it’s still going strong.
Dupe: Wet n Wild Color Icon Blush in Apricot in the Middle (R80) is the best shade match I could find. I like Revlon blushes, too, but find their payoff can be a bit strong. This one delivered the same amount of colour, although it took a little more work to blend.
Verdict: You many have noticed a trend by now. I rate CHANEL makeup so highly that I doubt it will ever be beaten (in my mind) by a high street brand. But I completely understand that R850 for a blush is a lot for most people, so the Wet n Wild is a great alternative.
Luxury: I’ve lost count of how many shades of CHANEL Rouge Allure Lipstick (R645) I have. All I know is that it is pretty much the only formula that I wear. The only other one I rate as much as this is the Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils, but I don’t wear those nearly as much as Rouge Allure.
Dupe: There just isn’t anything that comes close enough to this formula to be called a dupe. The closest was Rimmel The One, but the longevity and hydration just wasn’t there. I found that if the comfort was there, the longevity wasn’t and if the colour was right, the formulas were drying. If you’ve tried anything that comes close, let me know below.
Overall verdict: I’m a CHANEL fan girl, so will always favour the brand over others. But, that being said, if you are looking for more affordable options, Catrice, essence and Nyx have great offerings. The best find of this exercise, though has to be Wet n Wild. It’s a massively underrated brand that we should all be paying more attention to (especially when it goes on 3 for 2 at Clicks!)