Beauty Dupes - Affordable Makeup VS High-End: A Full Face That Doesn't Break The Bank

Posted 28th Sep 2022
Update 1
Updated with all the recent prices
With the cost of living crisis getting worse by the day, we are all trying to stick to a budget and try to save money everywhere we possibly can (apparently the only businesses that are gonna see money are blankets producers because believe me no heating is gonna get switched on anytime soon ).

Obviously, at the same time, we still want to treat ourselves and splurge a little bit and for me, the way of doing it is to buy new makeup products. Some people might find it superficial and unnecessary, but for many people, it is a hobby, a necessity, or a way to feel better about themselves.

We have always been conditioned by tv ads, magazines and trends to think that expensive products mean better quality and better performance, but if there is one thing that years of trying brands of all price tags taught me is that affordable beauty items can be as good as luxury ones if, sometimes, not better.

High-end beauty products are having it quite tough at the moment as plenty of drugstore brands are launching their cheaper version of their best sellers and if you are on the hunt for some spot-on affordable beauty dupes, here are my favourites:



A Beauty dupe is essentially a more affordable product that presents very similar characteristics and properties than a much more expensive one and that is sold at a way lower price point.

The current market, mainly thanks to social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, is full of drugstore brands putting out their version of luxury brands staples, with Charlotte Tilbury being probably the most duped luxe brand on the scene right now (Soz Charlotte ).

If you are looking for the best beauty dupes, your go-to brands are probably going to be ELF, Makeup Revolution and Aldi (I know, it sounds bizarre but their LaCura range is a dupe-heaven).

If I have to be honest though, you can buy a full face of drugstore dupes from a lot of different brands for a fraction of the price, with pretty much the same product efficacy.

Let’s start from the beginning…


Now I know that every skin type has different needs but with a good skincare routine underneath, using a primer is the secret to make your make-up last all day.

The most “on-trend” types of primer right now are definitely gripping primers (the tacky ones that make foundation stick on your face forever and ever) and the blurring ones (the kind that gives the idea we are all 15 years old with no pores).

For the Gripping Primer we have the dupe of the dupes: everybody and their mums is using this and to be honest I can understand why. They legit identical. I have tried both and I can honestly tell you there is no difference on my skin.

Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer VS ELF Power Grip Primer (I mean the name too :|)
They are both Gel-based primers that create a tacky and sticky layer on the skin that will make foundation stick and stay in place. (Also, if you want to try the brand and explore the New Sephora's website, there is a very nice starter kit with a deluxe. size of this primer included HERE)

Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer - £31 on Cult Beauty


ELF Power Grip Primer - £10 at Superdrug

For the Blurring Primers I can definitely tell that The Beauty Crop (British brand that is going viral on TikTok at the moment) has the perfect dupe for a very expensive YSL product. They do the same thing, look very similar in the packaging, texture and consistency are pretty much the same. The only two differences are in the fragrance (YSL smells divine, smells luxurious while The Beauty Crop one smells a bit like fake coconut) and the price tag: £32 vs £10

YSL Touche Eclat Blur Primer 30ml - £25.60 (down from £32) at YSL,uk

THE BEAUTY CROP UK Coco Gold Perfecting Primer - £10 on



Now, this is probably the most duped product on the planet: Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter.
It is basically a skin illuminator that gives you a little bit of glow before putting your foundation on.
If you are blessed with no skin imperfections (unfortunately can't relate to such luck ), you can also use this as the only base products for a very light coverage and to give complexion a little bit of uniformed look.
These two products are very very similar, the only two differences for me are in the consistency (the ELF one is a bit thicker) and the shade range: ELF has only 8 shades while Charlotte Tilbury offers 12 shades.

Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter - £36 on

(If you subscribe to Charlotte Tilbury's Newsletter, You Will Get an Extra 10% Off On the Order)

e.l.f. Halo Glow Liquid Filter - £14 on Boots



If you need coverage, welcome to my life! Foundation is a mandatory step in a makeup routine but the prices for this product in the last few years have quite frankly gone mad.

One of my favourite foundations is the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation that is a wooping £44. So, what did I do? I asked the internet and I found a really nice dupe: L'Oréal Paris True Match Liquid Foundation. They have a very similar consistency and feeling on the skin. Coverage is pretty much the same but I have to say that the Armani one feels a bit lighter on the skin and lasts a bit longer. (Considering the price difference, we will be alright (lol))

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation £35.60 at Boots

L'Oréal Paris True Match Liquid Foundation - £8.99 at Boots



To delete all your sins, concealers are the best weapon. I personally prefer quite a full coverage effect under my eye but the trend right now is light and juicy.

It is Nars Randiant Creamy Concealer VS Maybelline Fit Me Concealer
Very similar texture and very similar coverage.
The only difference I can bring up is that the Maybelline one oxidise a little bit once dry so just make sure you get the right colour.

One downside is that the Nars one has 27 shades while the Maybelline one offers only 10

Nars Randiant Creamy Concealer - £25 on

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer - £5.39 at Boots



With face powders is really up to you what kind suits your skin the best. Personally, I love a good loose powder and obviously the most duped powder on the planet is the famous Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder that costs a fun £34 for 29g. It is probably the most sold face powder arguably ever as it is incredibly good, but I recently tried a much cheaper one that gives me pretty much the same result: HNB Cosmetics Soft Focus Loose Powder.

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder - £34 on Lookfantastic


HNB Cosmetics Soft Focus Loose Powder - £13.50 on (darker shades are currently on sale for £6.75)



There is no doubt that we are in the era of cream blushes and cream contouring which is a blessing if you are not super young because powder products tend to make the makeup a bit heavier while with cream products the result is much more fresh and "juicy".

This is one of those instances where for me the cheaper dupe on my skin performs much better than the high-end one: Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush VS Makeup Revolution Blush Bomb.

The Rare Beauty Blushes are absolutely stunning, honestly one of the best launches of the past year. The problem I have with them (aside from giving £19 to Space NK every time I want to buy one) is that they are VERY pigmented and if you don't know how to work the product, the clown effect is around the corner. The Makeup Revolution ones have a sheerer consistency and they are easily buildable without becoming cakey. The colours that both brands offer are very similar and the result in terms of payoff is pretty much identical once everything on your face is set.

Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush - £19 at Space NK

Makeup Revolution Blush Bomb - £3.57 (down from £5.99) on Justmylook



Pretty much same as the blush category, the market right now has one rule and one rule only: cream contour.
So many brands are launching their versions of contour sticks and cream bronzers, and right now the most talked about products on the internet are the Merit Bronze Balm (amazing product I got it in the US but is not available in the UK) and the Chanel Les Beige Bronzing Cream.

Never bought the Chanel one because ehm you know, money but a makeup artist friend did let me try it and OH BOY it is beautiful. I found a product from our trusty ELF Cosmetics that does pretty much the same thing for £6 (Ohh yeah, did I mention that the Chanel bronzing cream costs £43? ;()

Both products have a gel-like consistency that makes them extremely buildable and not too pigmented. You have total control on the application with both products but I have to say that Chanel results is absolutely seamless while if your skin is really oily, with the Elf one you might have a bit of an issue if you don't powder.

Honestly? I'll put that face powder on and give £6 quid to ELF, thank you very much.

e.l.f. Putty Bronzer - £6 at Boots

Chanel Les Beige Bronzing Cream - £43 on Feelunique



For this category I feel we would need a separate thread, but I'll keep it simple: it's Urban Decay VS Rimmel

I am a big fan of warm nude tones and one of my favourites palettes of all time is the Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette. I just randomly found this one on Lookfantastic recently and looks pretty much exactly the same except for the price: Urban Decay is £46 and Rimmel is £9.99 ( (shock))

Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette - £34.50 (down from £46) on Lookfantastic


Rimmel Magnif'eyes 12 Pan Shade Palette (in Spice) - £3.98 on Amazon



If you have ever had eyebrow lamination you will probably understand why brow-soaps and brow waxes are so popular at the moment.

Eyebrows in place all day, lifted in a way where you lid seems much more spacious - what more can you want?

The product that kickstarted this trend last year was no doubt Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Freeze® and recently loads of drugstore brands gave us the cheaper alternative and I have to say I tried a few that for me perform way better than the ABH one. The winner of the brow dupes battle it has to be the Morphe Supreme Brow Sculpting & Shaping Brow Wax.

Exact same consistency, the Morphe one holds my brows for way longer than the ABH one and costs way less. It's a knockout for me!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Freeze® Extreme Hold Laminated-Look Sculpting Wax - £23 on Lookfantastic


Morphe Supreme Brow Sculpting & Shaping Brow Wax - £8 on



Everybody has their own favourite mascara and I am pretty sure most people don't like to change and try new things because we all know what works for our lashes. One of the most acclaimed mascara of the last year is for sure the Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push-up Lashes Mascara. It gives amazing lashes and it doesn't smudge and if you have short lashes (and you can spend the money) you definitely need to try. As a cheaper alternative, I found that the L'Oreal Paris Telescopic Mascara has a pretty identical effect with a much smaller price tag.

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push-up Lashes Mascara - £23 on

(If you subscribe to Charlotte Tilbury's Newsletter, You Will Get an Extra 10% Off On the Order)

L'Oreal Paris Telescopic Mascara - £7.33 on Boots



What is the brand that comes to your mind if you think about the amount of duped lipstick on the market? Yep, them, Mac Cosmetics.

I am pretty sure literally every single one of their shades has a dupe but today we focus on a pretty famous one: Mac Cosmetics Mehr Lipstick.

Plenty of dupes for this one, but my favourite is the NYX Shout Loud Hydrating Satin Lipstick in the shade Chic. Very very similar colour (pretty identical) the only difference is that the Mac one is a little bit softer in terms on consistency and the NYX one comes across a little bit more opaque.

Mac Cosmetics Matte Lipstick Mehr - £20 on

NYX Shout Loud Hydrating Satin Lipstick in the shade Chic - £8


At the end of the day, it is obviously up to you to decide what products work best for your skin and adapt your beauty shopping to your taste but if you can take away something from me (a proud owner of more than 50 lipsticks - please don't judge (cheeky)), is that a higher price point doesn't automatically equal to a better product. Drugstore brands are having a moment and social media is playing a pivotal role into deconstruct the myth that spending more money always assure you the best result.

You can browse some good beauty-related deals HERE, and also, here's a couple of Discussion related to Health, Fashion & Beauty I think could be a nice to read:

How To Save Money On Your Wedding: Get The Caviar-Effect With A Cheese-Spread Budget

Best places to sell clothes online so you can make some extra money + some top tips for selling your fashion items

Community Updates
New Comment
Cost of Living

View all deals


sorted by
's avatar
  1. louiselouise's avatar
    Temptalia is a good website that offers dupes via swatches, searching a product or you can do a comparison (though, it is US-centric)…st/

    Lacura Moisture Boost is a great copy of Clinique's Moisture Surge (my sister orders loads in whenever it appears in Aldi. Shame it's not a regular line).

    Lacura loose powder is supposedly a copy of Laura Mercier but I haven't got round to using mine, still have a stash of Coty Airspun to use up!

    Their Olaplex "tribute" was supposedly excellent but I missed it appearing online (after it was delayed, grr) and couldn't find it in stores.

    Poundland's make up line (Make Up Gallery) is a bit hit and miss, but as a lover of liquid eyeliner** (it MUST have a brush tip, rather than the pen or plastic nub most have), it does have a brush applicator, is sold in black or brown (brown liquid eyeliner these days is like finding a unicorn). Even better, it's water-based (many liquid eyeliners dry on the eyelids rather "plasticky", maybe to make them more waterproof, which makes it a nightmare to remove), and it's £1!

    Being Captain Obvious, you'll get branded makeup cheap from Poundland anyway (though, prices are creeping up). Particularly good for getting your hands on what's left of the UK stocks of Bourjois (who are a great loss, they were one of the better high street brands).

    As for mascara, I can't see past Max Factor 2000 Calorie - there's even US fans of this mascara who buy it from abroad (after Max Factor pulled out of the US market a few years ago).

    I sometimes see the brand "Equate" (Wal-Mart) in discount stores - most recently, it was a make up accessories kit in Home Bargains. They also do some Clinique moisturiser dupes! Saw one moisturiser of theirs in One Below a few years ago - which I assume was an Olay Beauty Fluid Moisturiser copy (some info here).

    Lidl is the king of dupe scents for me (all I have tried have been excellent). Aldi, not quite so good, though I haven't tried their recent perfumes. Some information on this thread.

    I know Milton Lloyd has a bit of a following, but the fragrances I've tried didn't last and I wasn't impressed by. I also hate Milton Lloyd's pressurised-spray cans, which makes them seem like cans of deodorant (!) and you can easily overspray (maybe me nit-picking). is a quick resource for copycat scents.

    Poundland also had a range of copycat sprays, wasn't that keen on the women's offerings, but the men's weren't bad (some of them don't seem to be in stores now, such as the Dior Sauvage copy Ferine, not sure why). The men's ones don't last too long but make an acceptable, cheap body spray. Some chatter here and here

    **The Mirror has an article from 2014, implying Makeup Gallery liquid eyeliner came in more colours originally, but my store most recently only had brown or black)

    **Edit 11th March - updated range of Lidl scents, from the end of January 2023, here (edited)
  2. MrsFourFive's avatar
    Primark do fantastic dupes. Their range of foundations are amazing. They do an Estee Lauder Double Wear copy which is almost identical, it just doesn't smell as good.
  3. ass_ass_in's avatar
    I heard the Catrice HD Liquid Coverage Foundation was a dupe for fenty matte foundation/estee lauder double wear (i have both and two bottles of fenty (winter/summer colors)) and i didnt want to believe it so i picked up a bottle when i went to Portugal on holiday. I tried and it has such good coverage and it is sweat proof; it is not like fenty. Fenty is so much heavier on the skin and you feel it throughout the day. I also have the eaze drops by fenty which are as lightweight as catrice but the eaze drops pick up on dry patches in the skin which catrice does not. I would definitely recommend trying the catrice if you want the fenty matter coverage but feel its too heavy on your skin
    MariR's avatar
    Catrice is my absolute go to!! I love that thing so much Every time I go to Italy I pick up 2-3 bottles. Drugstore wise is definitely in my top 5 foundations of all time. Paired with their pot concealer ... flawless base!
  4. Myusernamehasgone234's avatar
    I think natural beauty is trending at the moment so going without completely could be an option and save a fortune.

    MariR's avatar
    That natural beauty you are talking about is actually called make-up no makeup and believe it or not takes around 10 products to achieve that “natural beauty” look (edited)
  5. Pinksparkles1973's avatar
    What a great post, very informative, thank you for your hard work that must have gone into creating it, some very useful tips!
    I think we must be long lost twins as I have a make up and skin care collection bigger than the whole of Boots! (let's not mention shoes and bags!)
    I love my skin care and make up, don't get me wrong I don't cake meself in it, far from it, I simply enjoy looking after my skin and giving myself a little helping hand to try and look my best
    There's a big difference between enhancing what you have, to going absolute overboard full slap...each to their own of course!
  6. mysmugcat's avatar
    I know I am late, however thank you so much for this. I'm siting here with Covid and have a lot of time to read and I did love this as I said. I may edit this.
  7. thepuffpastor's avatar
's avatar
Top Merchants