Save or Splurge: Makeup Dupes Edition

We all know how expensive makeup is. That itty bitty makeup bag in your handbag probably holds a couple of hundred (probably thousands) rands worth of lipstick, eyeliner, powder, blush, etc. Oh, the joys of wanting the best of the best in makeup. But there are a few dupes out there that look, feel and do the exact same thing as the high-end versions. Here's our list!

Primers

Let’s start at the very top – primer, AKA the base for the base. Now, this isn’t absolutely necessary. But if you would like to create a smooth surface for your foundation (think minimal fine lines, less noticeable pores and a baby soft skin) and want to prolong the wear of your makeup, then you best get your paws on a good primer. Sadly, high-end brands that work wonders can cost an arm and a leg (I’ve spent a pretty penny on primers, I know the pain), but don’t fret, there are alternatives!

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Looking to treat yourself to high-end options? The Benefit POREfessional Primer (R475 at Red Square) is definitely one of the most reliable primers out there. This primer is silky and lightweight and can be worn on its own 0r under makeup. It complements all skin tones and, contains a Vitamin E derivative and helps makeup stay put ALL DAY LONG! I swear by it! Another high-end and highly recommended option is the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer (R470 at Woolworths). This beaut creates the perfect canvas for foundation, filling in fine lines and pores for a flawless finish.

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Good news is there are a few what the Americans call “drugstore” versions that are just as good as the high-end primers we lust after. For starters, a great dupe for the Benefit POREfessional is definitely the Maybelline Baby Skin Pore Eraser (R99.95 at Clicks). It looks, feels and works just as well as the POREfessional and best of all – it’s a hell of a lot cheaper. Another affordable option is the L.A. Girl Pro Prep HD Clear Face Primer (R79.99 at Dischem). Longwear, light on the skin and sticks within budget!

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Foundation

There’s a lot of qualities that we look for in a foundation: coverage, staying power, how blendable it is, the perfect finish and how it feels on our skin. And believe it or not, you can find the perfect foundation without having to spend a bunch of cash on it. Yes, the high-end brands offer better quality for your money, but there are some amazing finds amongst the more affordable brands too.

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Foundations are different for everyone. As the rule goes, “use a mousse for oilier skin, use a foundation for drier skin”. So, if you’re an oily skin kinda gal (or guy), I’m sorry, I have no dupes for you. But if you have dry skin, I know a few good ones! First on my list is the Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup (R585 from Foschini Beauty). It comes in 32 shades, it’s long wearing, blends like a dream and makes skin look flawless. You’ll always find this one in my makeup bag. Another fave is the Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation and Concealer (R540 from Edgars). To me, it can feel a little tacky, but the overall look – STUNNING! It’s moisturising, makes your skin look radiant and allows the skin to breathe.

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Not so long ago, I was hunting for a brand-new foundation that I could use every day and not bust my bank account. L’Oréal is known for quality and affordable foundations (so I’ve been told), so I went to see if they had my shade (I’m as fair as it gets and finding the right shade is a mission) – and they did! The L’Oréal True Match Foundation in Vanilla Rose (R185 from Dischem) was a perfect match. As for the quality, it’s medium to full coverage, blendable, long-wearing and light-weight. AKA everything you want in a foundation! A close second is the Revlon ColorStay Foundation (R299 from Dischem). It is a little pricey for a cheaper alternative, but it’s worth every penny. You can build it up and blend it out, depending on what level of coverage you’re going for. It’s a goodie.

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Eyeshadow

Now for my favourite part – eyeshadow! I spend thousands on eyeshadow palettes just to stare at them, never mind use them. No jokes. But when I eventually do use them, it’s like heaven on earth. There are so many different palettes to suit all budgets, and here are a few of my favourites.

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But when it comes to splurging on beautiful, colourful and oh-so-heavenly eyeshadow palettes, I head to my favourite local suppliers (I did an article on them not too long ago) and buy my favourite. I have been in love with the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance and HUDA Beauty Desert Dusk palettes lately. I seem to love the pink, terracotta, brown, mauvy eyeshadow looks lately.

eyeshadows

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I have discovered a brand that creates affordable dupes of the abovementioned palettes, and I must say, it has saved my budget! With almost the exact same colours, the Bad Habit palettes offer you similar palettes to the Modern Renaissance and Desert Dusk, but at the fraction of the price. And the quality is amazing! Blendable, smooth and pigmented.

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Mascara

Time to add some drama to those eyes. Mascara is a must, especially if you’re looking to define those lashes and beautiful peepers of yours. It just brings the entire eye look together, don’t you agree? And the best thing about mascara is the fact that there’s a formula for every effect you’re looking for, from lengthening and volumising to lash separated and building. Amazing!

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A wonderful mascara that does wondrous things to lashes is definitely the Clinique High Impact mascara. It volumizes, separates and lengthens lashes, leaving them looking oh-so-beautiful. This is one of my go-to products and I couldn’t recommend this one enough. It’s R310 at Red Square.

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For a beauty product that needs to be replaced every three months, maybe it is better to stick to the less costly options. A firm favourite for everyday wear is the Yardley Volume Lash Mascara. It looks like it’s in a black, chrome tube. Why we love this one? Because it volumises, the colour is bold and it looks good on the lashes. Enough said. Oh, and it’s R75 from Dischem.

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Eyebrows

If like me, you have the fairest brows of them all, I feel your pain. Filling in eyebrows should be considered a fulltime job, but the result is stunning! Who doesn’t love a bold and shapely brow to frame the artwork you’ve just created on your eyelids using stunning eyeshadows? Exactly!

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Go all out on brow products at Benefit Cosmetics (found in Red Square). They’re the best in the brow business and have just about every type of brow product imaginable. I’m there ever so often looking for a new item to add to my collection. A few options include the Benefit Gimme Brow, 3D Browtones, Brow Zing, Browvo! Conditioning Primer, the Foolproof Brow Powder, Goof Proof Brow Pencil, High Brow pencil and the Precisely My Brow pencil (R175 – R475 depending on the item). Worth every penny!

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Maintaining and beautifying brows doesn’t need to cost a fortune though. There are a few affordable brands that offer great alternatives including Catrice (all under R100), Essence (under R100 too), Eylure (R145 max), L.A. Girl (R120 for the Inspiring Eyebrow set) and Maybelline. The options are endless!

Lipstick

Lipsticks are life! From nudes and mattes to shimmers and vibrant colours, lipstick brings the whole look together, which is why we need to get our hands on the best of the best formulas, finishes and colours.

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When budget allows it, MAC Cosmetics lipstick is amazing! Not only do they have an amazing variety of shades, formulas and finishes to suit your style and look, but they also have a sweet deal if you have plenty of empties. If you return six MAC packaging containers to a store, you’ll get a free MAC lipstick of your choice as thanks for your support. How cool is that? Colours we think every gal (or guy) should have are Ruby Woo (a striking true blue red) if you’re feeling bold and Velvet Teddy (a deep-toned beige’ with a matte finish). These retail at R220 each.

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Don’t have the cash to splurge a little at MAC? Don’t worry, there are dupes for the above two mentioned colours. Firstly, Wet n Wild’s Spotlight Red is a close (and cheaper) match to Ruby Woo. And for Velvet Teddy, Wet n Wild’s Bare It All looks exactly the same! What I have noticed is that a lot of MAC shades can be found with Wet n Wild, so if you happen to be looking for a certain lippie at MAC, try the Wet n Wild makeup section at Clicks first. About R50 per lippie. Bargain!

Setting Spray

Now to lock it all in! Setting spray is a must if you want to keep your makeup in place all day. Just make sure you shake the bottle EXTREMELY WELL. It’s no fun spending all that time creating the perfect look then spraying unmixed setting mist on your face and getting those clumpy white specks all over the place!

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One of my all-time favourite setting sprays is the L’Oreal Infallible Fixing Mist. You can get it for R190 at Dischem and it works like a dream. A few sprays of this in the morning after applying all your makeup and you’ll be set for the entire day. It’s light and comfortable on the skin and prevents your makeup from fading, melting and cracking throughout the day.

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Setting sprays can be pretty pricey, but if you’re looking for an alternative to the Infallible mist, then Essence Keep It Perfect Makeup Fixing Spray is just the ticket. Same qualities, same purpose, just a different price that won’t leave you feeling light in the pocket. You can get your hands on this goodie at Dischem for R60.

Do you have any makeup dupes that you’d love to share with us? Leave a comment below!