We love our cult beauty products as much as the next girl, but the hefty price tag attached to them? Not so much. To help you achieve that high-end look without breaking the bank, we pick 10 affordable drugstore dupes for your favourite luxe cosmetics. Gather ’round ladies, ’cause we’re about to spill some major beauty secrets…
Benefit High Beam Liquid Face Highlighter ($46) vs. ELF Shimmering Facial Whip (US$3)
Benefit’s High Beam regularly tops the list of any beauty fiend’s makeup must-haves. Offering a satiny, long-lasting finish, it offers a subtle dewy glow, perfectly highlights the cheek and brow bones, and is an instant face lifter for the exhausted and overworked. But let’s be honest, $46 for a tiny jar of highlighter can cause a serious dent to one’s monthly expenditure. A fab alternative is the beloved ELF Shimmering Facial Whip – just be sure to only dab a little as the high pigment means one can easily overload on shimmer.
Urban Decay Naked Palette ($83) vs. NYX Nude on Nude ($45.90)
We’ll come right out and say it: We swear by Urban Decay’s original Naked palette and no one could ever take its place. Despite its name, the palette has far from boring nude shades. All 12 shades are outstandingly bronze-hued and versatile enough to perk up a dreary work day to a raucous night out on the town. That being said, it’s rather pricey, so if you’re working your way up to this holy grail of eyeshadows, start off with an affordable dupe like the NYX’s nude on nude palette. Boasting 20 neutral shades and 10 lip shades, the palette’s perfect to slip under your work desk for quick touch-ups before post-work cocktails.
Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation ($72) vs. Revlon Photoready Foundation ($29.90)
MUFE’s HD foundation is known far and wide; it’s easily blendable, buildable and gives maximum coverage without the cakiness and gives skin an overall flawless look. But for an affordable dupe with similar imperfection-covering qualities, head to the Revlon shelf at your nearest Watson’s or drugstore. The Revlon Photoready Foundation is equally full-coverage, and gives skin a poreless look.
MAC Russian Red ($31) vs Revlon Superlustrous Matte in Really Red ($18.90)
Any red lipstick lover knows that a slick of crimson instantly updates any #fotd. MAC’s high-impact Russian Red is beloved by lipstick wearers, and is delightfully matte, vividly red and lasts the whole day. An almost identical dupe is Revlon’s Superlustrous Matte lippie in Really Red, which is extremely pigmented, has an incredible staying power, and is perfectly matte for those of us who scorn shimmer (at least on the lips).
Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder ($64) vs ELF High Definition Powder (US$6)
Available in only one universal shade, HD powders are lauded as being the best finishing powders around, thanks to their mattifying effect and lightweight texture. A cult classic is MUFE’s HD Microfinish Powder: it blurs pores, and lends skin a gorgeous airbrushed effect. ELF’s High Definition Powder is a close dupe as it’s lightweight, translucent and keeps makeup set all day.
Beautyblender Original ($38) vs. Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge (US$6)
The beautyblender is a game-changer. Unlike other sponge applicators, this edgeless baby blends like a dream and creates an airbrushed finish for foundations, BB and CC creams, cream products and powder. But if a $38 price tag is too much for a sponge, pick up the Miracle Complexion Sponge from Real Tecniques. At US$6 a pop, this sponge too boasts a revolutionary foam technology and comes with a flat edge for contouring small edges as well as a precision tip for blemishes.
Lancome Precision Point Artliner ($42) vs. L’oreal Lineur Intense Eyeliner (US$7.99)
These two have been hotly debated about for ages now. Their packaging and ingredients are almost similar, and both boast easy-to-use sponge tip applicators. What sets the two apart though, is the rich pigments from Lancome’s formula and its uniquely shaped foam tip pen. But for the marked difference in prices, budgeting beauties could easily make do with the cheaper version.
Benefit BAD gal Lash Voluminizing Mascara ($34) vs. Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies ($21.90)
Benefit’s BAD gal mascara promises fuller looking lashes, and a dramatic lift in your eye makeup with a single sweep of the huge brush. Maybelline’s The Falsies is a wonderful dupe – it has a curved, long brush and gives lashes an insanely intense appearance with a few coats. Pro tip: For a lower price tag, we strongly recommend ordering from American drugstore sites as it’s loads cheaper.
NARS blush in Orgasm ($50) vs NYX blush in Pinched ($15.90)
NARS’ Orgasm is loved by women of all skin types thanks to its universally flattering peachy pink hues with a slight shimmer. NYX’s blush in Pinched is a great copy of the former iconic blush, with its similar shade of coral pink and subtle gold glitter. Plus, it’s less than a third of Orgasm’s price – making this an unbeatable bargain.
YSL Touche Eclat’ ($59) vs. Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer (US$7.99)
Despite its price tag, YSL’s Touche Eclat’ is a cult classic for many. With just a few clicks of this magic wand, imperfections are erased and faces are illuminated. Celebs, models and everyday beauty fans alike use this product to cover under eye circles, create fuller looking lips, and highlight the highest points of their faces. Maybelline’s championing drugstore dupe offers similar magic retouching properties for a far, faaarrr lesser price.