It seems like every time I step into a Sephora I can’t walk out without instantly becoming at least $100 poorer. And nowadays, with beauty vloggers teaching us how to properly do our makeup, it’s natural to want to buy all the products they recommend. The only problem? These products tend to be very expensive. Enter beauty dupes.
Dupes are nearly identical alternatives to high-end products, but for a fraction of the price. Want to try a cleansing balm without paying 30 bucks a jar? There’s one on Amazon for half the price. Need to upgrade your makeup brushes but can’t afford the ridiculous $370 price tag? Here’s the same set for under $15.
I’ve been experimenting with makeup for the past 15 years, and have tried both the expensive luxury items and their affordable counterparts. Keep scrolling to discover the “cheap” items that I can’t live without.
This e.l.f. 16HR Camo Concealer Stick, $6.
Dupe for Fenty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Concealer, $26.
If you’ve been dismissing e.l.f. cosmetics as being “cheap” or “low-quality” because of the affordable prices, it’s time you gave this bargain brand a shot. This 16HR Camo Concealer has serious staying power and covers as well as more expensive concealers at a fraction of the price.
The impressive full-coverage formula hides 100% of imperfections without emphasizing lines and dries to a natural matte finish in seconds. And for just 6 bucks, this is one makeup essential that you don’t have to feel guilty about splurging on.
These NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Hydra Touch Oil Primer Drops, $13.97.
Dupe for Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Primer, $38.57.
Oil primers are the newest “it” product that beauty bloggers can’t stop raving about. It hydrates the skin and preps it perfectly for foundation while leaving a fresh, dewy finish. Luckily, you don’t have to be a big spender to try out this hot new trend.
This NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Hydra Touch Oil Primer is almost identical to the Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Primer in both consistency and application, but with a much prettier price tag. Give it a shot; your face (and wallet) will thank you for it.
This Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Anti Aging Serum, $29.90.
Dupe for ESTEE LAUDER Advanced Night Repair Recovery Complex, $84.
Wake up to smoother, healthier skin every morning with this Missha Time Revolution Night Repair New Science Activator Ampoule. It’s a great alternative for luxury beauty serums that cost the equivalent of your car insurance payment while still delivering on every lofty claim.
Incorporate it into your nighttime routine by spreading a thin layer across your face and neck after cleansing. It absorbs quickly so you don’t get that dreaded sticky feeling and leaves skin hydrated, improves elasticity, and diminishes the appearance of wrinkles.
This e.l.f. Poreless Putty Face Makeup Primer, $7.99.
Dupe for Tatcha The Silk Canvas, $52.
It’s important to start with a smooth base before applying foundation, otherwise, every bump, crease, and line will be accentuated instead of erased. Finding the right primer is key, but with so many on the market today (and most with huge price tags), it can be tough to figure out which one is right for you.
This Poreless Putty Primer by e.l.f. is the makeup secret weapon you’ve been searching for. It comes in a universally flattering sheer color and glides over skin like butter. Try it once and you won’t believe that it’s only $7.99.
This NIVEA Crème For Dry Skin, $6.99.
Dupe for LA MER Crème de la Mer Moisturizer, $180.
Everyone knows that LA MER is the world’s fanciest face cream. According to legend, it’s what keeps J. Lo looking 25 for eternity. But what if you want to keep your skin healthy and glowing without going broke in the process? Well, in that case, this NIVEA Crème is your new beauty BFF.
The thick formula somehow manages to moisturize without weighing down skin or leaving it a greasy mess. Even on no-makeup days when you leave the house fresh-faced, this cream gives you a boost of hydration so you can be confident that your skin looks great even without foundation.
This theBalm Hot Mama Powder Shadow/Blush, $10.99.
Dupe for NARS Orgasm Blush, $30.
I’ve always considered blush to be the most important product for waking up your skin and making you look healthy and vibrant (even when you’re feeling anything but). The problem is, the wrong blush can have the complete opposite effect. But do you really need to splurge to get that rosy-cheeked glow?
Nope! This Hot Mama Shadow/Blush by theBalm is shockingly affordable and oh-so pretty. Just swipe it on the apples of your cheeks with a fluffy brush and everyone will be asking you what your secret is. Plus, you’ll get the satisfaction of telling everyone about this amazing beauty find!
Dupe for Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, $60.
If you’ve never tried a brightening skin mask, you don’t know what your skin has been missing. It instantly sends dark spots and uneven texture packing, leaving your face looking uniformed, awake, and completely transformed. And now you don’t have to go to a fancy salon to get one.
This brightening mask by Andalou uses pumpkin and honey along with other natural ingredients so you can feel good about what you’re putting on your skin. Plus, and you’ve probably already assumed this, it smells amazing. No need to spend 60 bucks when you can get the same results for under $12!
This Garnier SkinActive Facial Mist Spray with Rose Water, $6.96.
Dupe for Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater, $12.
On a hot summer day when your face feels like it’s on fire, nothing feels better than misting it with a cool, refreshing, sweet-smelling facial mist. But if you’re one of those people who think shelling out 12 dollars for a face mist seems unreasonable (like I do), this one by Garnier SkinActive is a perfect alternative.
The vegan formula includes rose water for a light fragrance that isn’t overpowering and is made without parabens, silicones, or dyes. Simply hold it a few inches from your face and mist away for a quick pick-me-up. You’ll have to use self-control, though, since this stuff can be pretty addictive.
Dupe for Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, $80.
When you struggle with especially dull, tired-looking skin and acne scarring, it’s time to call in the big guns: At-home peeling solutions. And if the idea of using a “peel” frightens you, don’t worry. Your skin will not actually start peeling off in sheets seconds after using this product.
Instead, the layers of dead skin will be sloughed off to reveal newer, younger-looking skin underneath. The Ordinary is known for its no-frills packaging, heavy-duty formulas, and shockingly low price points. Customers just can’t get enough of this AHA 30% + BHA 2% solution.
This wet ‘n wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Palette, $3.28.
Dupe for Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette, $42.
Eyeshadow palettes are so much fun, aren’t they? You lift up the lid on a new shadow palette and suddenly you’ve opened a world of possibilities that you can’t wait to explore. At least, when it comes to your eyelids, that is.
Luckily, you don’t have to drop a large portion of your paycheck on a palette by Anastasia Beverly Hills to achieve that smokey rose eye look that beauty vloggers are obsessed with. This one by wet ‘n wild is a perfect dupe. And no, that isn’t a typo. It really only costs $3.28.
This Yoseng Makeup Brushes Set, $13.33.
Dupe for Artis Elite Brush Set, $370.
For those of you out there who still use your hands to apply your makeup, I implore you to STOP IT RIGHT NOW. Makeup brushes are a must-have addition to your collection. Not only is it harder to achieve a natural finish with your fingers, but you’re also covering your face in pore-clogging bacteria in the process.
This set by Yoseng looks and performs exactly like the 370-dollar version by Artis Elite, so there’s literally no reason to spend that extra 300-plus bucks. And once you try the unique design of these brushes you’ll never be able to go back to traditional ones.
This NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Tinted Brow Mascara Gel, $3.49.
Dupe for Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel, $24.
When it comes to your makeup, brows have gone from secondary characters to the stars of the show. If your brow game is weak, your whole face will be thrown off. Step it up with this Tinted Brow Mascara by NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP.
As a redhead, it’s always tough for me to find brow products that will match my unique color. NYX products come in a variety of shades to match every hair color and look completely natural. This stuff tames, shapes, and fills-in in one quick swipe.
These BEAKEY Cheap Makeup Sponges, $8.99.
Dupe for beautyblender original: The Original Makeup Sponge, $20.
Not all beauty sponges are created equal. I found this out the hard way when my beautyblender kicked the dust and I tried to replace it with a random one at Target that looked exactly the same but costs 3 bucks. It was somehow both too hard and too squishy, and I ended up throwing it out after one use.
This makeup sponge set by BEAKEY, on the other hand, is a completely different story. These sponges (it comes with a total of 5) perform exactly like my beautyblender did and seem to last just as long, if not longer.
This SECRET KEY Starting Treatment For Sensitive Skin, $20.69.
Dupe for Facial Treatment Essence by SK-II, $163.49.
I’m guessing you’ve seen ads online of SK-II Facial Treatment, right? Women with perfect skin holding giant bottles of a clear liquid that looks extremely expensive? Well, the bad news is that it is extremely expensive, and runs roughly $164 per not-so-giant bottle.
The good news? This SECRET KEY Starting Treatment Essence is a perfect dupe that will cost you just over 20 dollars. It creates that sought-after “transparent” or “glass” skin that everyone’s after these days and is hypo-allergenic so it won’t cause irritation.
This Heimish All Clean Korean Cleansing Balm, $14.68.
Dupe for CLINIQUE Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, $30.
Cleansing balm is a relatively new concept in the beauty world, but one that you should definitely try if you haven’t already. And while you could go for CLINIQUE’s Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, which retails for $30 per 3.8 oz jar, this option by Heimish works just as well for half the price.
Simply rub this thick cleansing balm all over your skin and neck for deep cleaning without harsh side effects. You’ll be amazing at how easily it takes off even long-wear makeup, and, thanks to shea butter and coconut extract, leaves skin moisturized and revitalized.