“There’s a Dupe for That!”- Affordable Options for Expensive Cosmetic Brands.

There’s A Dupe for That!” 

written by Wil Strayhorn

            As a professional makeup artist, I know better than most that makeup is extremely expensive and since most items are things you need to buy on a regular or continual basis, why not save when you have a chance?  Now please don’t misinterpret that I am saying “cheaper” always means “as good as” however, many times the product itself is only priced well above cost due to the associated brand name.  “Why would you want to spend $40 on one piece of makeup if you could spend just $5 on something that works just as well AND looks closely, if not exactly the same in result?  After all, who doesn’t love a good bargain right?

Today I’m sharing just a couple of my favorite makeup dupes (duplicates) as well as the items that I feel you need to sacrifice and invest on.

Before we can get to the areas where you can “cut corners” let me first advise you on where I feel your hard-earned money is better spend.  Tools, Tools and More Tools!  Whether you are a “brush girl” or a “sponge girl”, investing in quality tools for application of your products will make ALL the difference.  Quality brushes, sponges, puffs, etc.. can literally make the difference in you ending up looking like a stunning “Super Model” or Silly “Super Mess.”  You can find these brushes and tools however at your local beauty supply or drug store.  Another investment piece that I suggest sparing no expense on is in your foundation, this product provides you with your base to which everything else builds upon and just as with building a house, if the foundation is weak or not properly laid, disaster awaits.  Lastly, I suggest that you invest in quality skin care products that will help protect and nourish your own skin and in turn, make your cosmetics look more radiant and smooth in finished result.

Now, on to the information that I know you really want to hear about. I have several thousands of dollars’ worth of makeup in my kits combined, many are high end name brand, some are not.  Trial and error will better direct you in determining what products you may be able to substitute a dupe for and which are better purchased in its original brand.

As we anxiously look forward to the Spring/Summer months to start to roll in, my all-time favorite blush is NARS Blush in “Orgasm” it is a MUST for my summer brides and clients who want a nice glowy touch of color.  I love the peachy, pink tones and subtle gold shimmery effect.  The perfect dupe for NARS Orgasm Blush is Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso.The colors are ridiculously similar, but I will say that the NARS blush does last a bit longer on the cheek. For the ridiculous price cut, I think you can deal with a little late afternoon reapplication. Nars Blush $28 vs, Milani $7.50. 

The current makeup trend is all about healthy looking, luminous skin and one way to achieve this is by using a blush/bronzer combination and my fave is Blush/Bronzer combo is by NARS in the Orgasm/Laguna duo, for which you can dupe with St. Lucia from e.l.f cosmetics saving you a whopping $42 vs. $3.  With Rihanna’s hugely successful debut of her cosmetic line FENTY BEAUTY last year, her products have been flying off the shelves.  He signature is her warm, sultry glow. I have found that Face Studio Master Strobing Stick Illuminating Highlighter by Maybelline, Face Studio Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter (100 Molten Gold) by Maybelline, NYX Bright Idea Illuminating Stick are great dupes for Fenty’s line of highlighters.  Fenty’s Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer is priced at $18 in department stores however I get a very close finish using Revlon’s Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in “Rosy Future” priced at $5.89 in your local drug store.

They say, “The Eyes Have It!” and one of the hottest, most versatile eyeshadow palettes that I have ever used is filled with beautiful browns, golds and other neutral hues, the Urban Decay NAKED Palette however, at $54, you can definitely substitute this gem with a very similar product by Maybelline called the NUDES palette for a steal at just $10.

I am a eyeliner junkie and have tried most of the major brands on the market however, my favorite is MAC Cosmetics fluidline gel eyeliner. I love it for its silky, soft finish, but in my opinion, I think you can find great gel eyeliners at the drugstore.  MAC Cosmetics Fluidline $16 and an amazing dupe is the Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Eyeliner $9.99 and to dupe the fabulous brow finish created by using Anastasia brow pencils, try NYX Micro Brow Pencil.

Whether you’re interested in just trying duped products, or finding affordable options to some of your luxury cosmetics it’s important to know that expensive does not always mean better so the next time you are tempted to splurge on a high end brand, just remember, there’s probably a dupe for that!          


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