Makeup is fun, but it can also be irrationally expensive. Last week, I dragged my boyfriend to Ulta to grab a new tinted moisturizer and concealer, and it totaled $85 for the two. We both mumbled “what the f*ck”, I paid, he cringed, and life went on.
While I was playing myself by getting products recommended by my favorite MUA on Instagram, it dawned on me that I should do some research and find the best drugstore dupes for my favorite products. Why pay $45 for foundation when I can pay $13.99? Am I paying more for better ingredients? No, turns out most luxury brand ingredients have the same sh*t in them as the drugstore stuff, you’re just paying for the name. Cringe.
So if your New Year’s Resolution is to save money, here are the best drugstore dupes for your favorite luxury products.
It’s been said more times than once that primer is pointless, yet we still continue to use it. There’s heavy buzz around Tatcha’s Silk Canvas Protecting Primer, which retails for a whopping $52. I’m not knocking you if you’ve purchased this in the past, but I am here to introduce you to e.l.f.’s Poreless Putty Primer, which retails for a whopping… $8! At one-sixth of the price, with great reviews, and the seal of approval from Allure, I’m gonna go ahead and deem this the dream dupe.
When it comes to foundation options, the limit does not exist. We’ve got matte finish, silky, luminous, full-coverage, tinted moisturizer, you name it. Following the “glowy” trend, made popular by Instagram-famous MUAs such as @nikki_makeup, I decided to find a dupe for the ever popular ARMANI BEAUTY Luminous Silk Foundation ($64). My choice drugstore dupe is L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Makeup ($12.99), which still gives the hydrating, luminous glow effect at an affordable price.
Liquid foundation needs to be set with a powder (don’t ask me why, I don’t make the rules here) and any makeup lover will tell you that Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder is THE holy grail. It’s $45 of pure greatness, but, it’s $45. So, who can match up to this flawless powder? None other than Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Powder Makeup ($7.79). This has been praised by beauty YouTubers and regular people alike, at a price I am deeming unbeatable.
When it comes to concealer, there are a few staples in the beauty world, one being NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. My friends have RAVED about this product for some time now, and I was always a Tarte Shape Tape cult user, but I finally tried NARS and have not been the same since. It has a more natural finish, but still covers my “I haven’t slept in years” under-eye dark circles. This bad boy retails for $30, and its dupe, NYX Professional Makeup HD Concealer retails for $3.99. Yes, you read that correctly, $3.99. The reviews are as good as the price, so this may be the most valuable dupe yet.
My first non-drugstore blush purchase was none other than NARS Orgasm, much to my parents’ dismay. It is the perfect blend of peach and pink, and gives your cheeks a flawless glow. The blush retails for $30 and has become a staple in the beauty world. So much so that there are multiple dupes in the drugstore world for this iconic shade. After some personal investigating and using my own skin as a test subject, I can say with confidence that Milani Baked Powder Blush in shade Luminoso 05 is the closest to the real (expensive) thing. It retails for $9.49 and is praised by all those who use it.
If you’re like me, meaning you’re so pale it scares people, it can often be difficult to find the perfect bronzer without looking Oopma Loompa orange (this should be a crayon name). The Marc Jacobs Beauty O!Mega Bronzer Coconut Perfect Tan is kind of amazing because they somehow managed to make only two shades that work with a wide range of skin tones. The bronzer retails for $49, which is a bit of a splurge in my book, so I often go with my favorite drugstore dupe, NYX Professional Makeup Matte Body Bronzer. This one retails for $9.59, has three shades, and gives a natural/healthy bronze. Given that you can buy five of these for the price of one Marc Jacobs, I would say this is a steal.
If you’re extra like me, you know that no two highlighters are the same, and you must always proceed with caution prior to purchasing one. I think I have over 100 highlighters (literally, why?) and use maybe two of them religiously, one being BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector® Pressed Highlighter. It retails for $38 and makes my skin look like glass. Worth it? Yes. Is there a dupe for it? Yes. Wet N Wild MegaGlo™ Highlighting Powder made waves this year and was on the radar of major beauty influencers, including Jeffree Star. At only $5.29 (!!!!!) this highlighter is everything and more.
Brows were arguably one of the biggest/most important trends of 2019, and I hope they remain so in 2020. Thin brows are dead and gone (please never return) and fluffy, healthy brows are in. Due to the fact that I have five blonde hairs sticking out of my face claiming to be my “eyebrows”, I’m always in search of the perfect brow products to give the illusion that I have them. My Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz pencil has always been a go-to, and at $23 it’s definitely worth the price. Still, in the words of… me, there’s a dupe for that! At less than half the price ($10.49) I give you L’Oreal Paris Brow Stylist Definer. It looks and operates the same way as Brow Wiz and has over 800 five-star reviews, confirming I am not the only one who thinks it’s great.
Eyeshadow trends have come and gone, but the classic nudes and browns have always stayed in style. One of the most sought-after palettes in the industry is Natasha Denona’s Biba All Neutral Eyeshadow Palette, but it retails for… $129. Yikes. TBH, I don’t think any eyeshadow palette on this earth that could possibly be worth spending so much. Who buys this? World’s youngest billionaire, Kylie Jenner? Idk. Anyway, there are a million and one dupes that are at a much better value, but I specifically enjoy Milani Most Loved Mattes Eye Shadow. This retails for $19.99, a mere $109 less than ND, and is just as pretty IMO.
I have fake lashes because I happened to find the most amazing lash extension place in New York (Iconic Lash Lounge if you live in Westchester), BUT, I am still all too familiar with the quest to find the perfect mascara. Prior to my lash extensions, I was hooked on YSL Beauty’s Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils – The Curler, but $29 for mascara adds up quickly. If you are a living, breathing human, you’ve seen over one million Maybelline mascara commercials, and for good reason. Maybelline Lash Sensational Washable Mascara is an amazing dupe for almost any luxury mascara, and it seriously is volumizing. Again, as a pale blonde, I looked like a naked mole rat prior to mascara application, but this one always held me down.
Last but not least, lipstick. Lipstick can make or break your look, and I am all too familiar with a bad lipstick ruining my night (dramatic, but relatable). My favorite lipstick at the moment is none other than Pat McGrath Labs MatteTrance™. It comes in over thirty shades, my personal favorite being ‘Christy’. The formula is hard to explain because it feels a bit dry when going on, but it looks SO GOOD on the lips and literally does not budge. I’m talking multiple-vodka-sodas-in-drunk-still-looking-flawless level good. So, if you have $40 to spare on a lip, this is your moment. However, its dupe is $6.99 with the same matte no-budge finish. I present you with yet another Milani product, Milani Bold Color Statement Matte Lipstick (Milani, sponsor me?). The 16 shades are all matches for Pat McGrath, and are also vodka soda proof.
If you’ve made it to this point, congratulations, and thank you for listening to my TED talk. Enjoy your beauty on a budget, and feel free to drop all dupe recommendations in the comments below!
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Now that winter is in full swing, my skin has officially lost all its moisture. There are only so many face masks I can do. But putting makeup on top of cracked and flakey skin can be a disaster. Typically, liquid and cream products are your go-to in the winter. Save the powders for the warmer weather. After starting with a hella good moisturizer (see here), use these moisturizing makeup products to stay hydrated af all day and beat the winter dryness.
1. First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer
First Aid Beauty is a fab brand if your skin is sensitive, and the brand is not ridiculously overpriced. This primer and moisturizer is a two-in-one (hello, lazy gals) so you moisturize and prep your dry skin at the same time to ensure your makeup lasts and doesn’t get crusty. But if your skin is super dry, I’d suggest still moisturizing beforehand. Double the moisture, double the hydrating—I can hear the glowing angels singing now.
2. Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer
I don’t think there is anything worse than having a super dry under eye area. It’s not a cute look on anyone (not even you, Beyoncé… sorry). But this concealer is my holy grail. I have probably gone through a dozen of them and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. No matter how dry my under eyes are, this concealer never gets cakey or cracks. It lasts for ages and can be layered to build the coverage.
3. Nudestix Nudies All Over Face Color Matte
Another moisturizing makeup product I am so obsessed with. I bought it over the summer and I have been using it ever since. This cream blush is super hydrating so my cheeks never get dry from the winter winds. It also has great staying power. I use the color Naughty n’ Spice, but there are three other colors to choose from. What’s amazing is I can use it as blush, eyeshadow, and lipstick if I’m going for that monotone look (or just super lazy). Nudestix, if you’re reading, please come out with more colors. Thanks!
4. Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base
I have yet to find a cream bronzer as amazing as this one. I know it’s pricey, but it does last a long time. But if you know of a dupe, hit me up in the comments. It gives you a natural sun-kissed glow even in the dark depths of the winter. The only issue? It comes in one shade. Although it claims to be a universal color, that’s impossible. Chanel, it’s 2019, you can do better.
5. Burt’s Bees Satin Lipstick
This amazing lipstick is incredibly moisturizing, and claims to keep you hydrated for 8 hours. It contains beeswax, moringa oil, raspberry seed oil, and vitamin E. It is all natural, long-lasting, and has amazing color payoff. My fav color is Doused Rose—it’s the perfect your-lips-but-better shade, but there are 17 others to choose from to fit every occasion.
6. Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist
Pricey, I know, but in this case, it’s well worth it. This beauty cult favorite is a suuuuuuuuper moisturizing facial mist to end your beauty routine. Say goodbye to dry and powdery makeup! If your skin is feeling super parched (and your wallet is feeling super full), spray this bad boy on before and after your makeup routine and your skin will be so glowy and hydrated you won’t know what to do with yourself.
Images: Banter Snaps / Unsplash; Sephora (4); Nordstrom; Burt’s Bees
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
I don’t know about y’all but I’ve worked, like, three straight days in a row now, and I’m pretty sure I’m
still drunk functioning off of three percent brain power thanks to Labor Day Weekend. I look and feel like the inside of Scott Disick‘s liver and I’m really in dire need of a way to spend money until I feel human again pick me up rn. Luckily for me there is a God and She’s been monitoring my online purchases because the answer to my fucking prayers is here: ASOS is getting a beauty line. And if you don’t know what ASOS is then I can only assume you’re some sort of home schooled jungle freak because ASOS is literally the only reason I get up and go to work in the morning. Seriously. It’s what I do at work in the morning. Online shop. And since I low-key spent all my money this summer on alcohol and bathing suits that didn’t fit me, I really need a cheaper option than Sephora these days.
In a groundbreaking move, ASOS has decided to call the beauty line—get this—ASOS Makeup. Honestly, inspiring. The line includes a huge range of bright, highly pigmented lipsticks, liners, mascara, highlighters, blushes, and a bronzer, all launching on ASOS.com September 20th and every product is LESS than $20.
Damn. Just fuck me up rn, ASOS. The collection is v fun and v flirty and will inspire you to
give ASOS all of your money shake up your makeup game this fall. And, because at least one good thing was bound to happen during this dumpster fire of a year, there’s another secret round of products that’s scheduled to release this January. Blessings.
This shit is about to hit the internet in less than three weeks, so mentally prepare yourself
and your daddy’s credit card because you will lose your goddamn mind over these products. In case you can’t picture a world where the same store that allows you to buy wide fit shoes (in bulk) and designer label clothing AT THE SAME TIME will also be your new makeup supplier, then let me just paint a picture for you here real quick:
So not only are these products cheap as hell but they’re also Instagrammable AF? That’s what you’re telling me rn? Brb, if you need me I’ll just be refreshing the ASOS homepage until September 20th.
I miss the simpler days when all I had to do with makeup was put some powder on my face, draw a line on my eye, and put a shit ton of mascara on. Now, I have to worry about painting my entire face different colors so that my cheekbones look on point in my selfies. Because all the filters in the fucking world aren’t enough, I guess. I should be thankful, honestly, because it seriously steps up my Instagram ratio, but it’s a lot of fucking work to make your skin look like it naturally glows without looking like you spent at least an hour on your contour. That’s not including the times you mess up and have to start all over.
Me every fucking day ^
Simply wearing enough bronzer to convince people you got a shitty spray tan doesn’t cut it anymore. Of course, there will always be another thing to add to our faces that makes us look more extra than we already are. That, my friends, is a shimmery, holy-looking highlighter that’s supposed to make you glow like you’ve never glowed before.
Assuming you’ve already chosen a highlighter to last you like, 2 weeks tops, it’s honestly fucking annoying and inconvenient when you can’t settle on a perfect highlighter for your skin complexion. It is such a life-ruiner when you spend half your rent check on a palette but end up loving the blush and bronzer and absolutely hating the highlighter. Like, it’s bad enough you spend your entire life savings at Sephora buying other
shit necessities. It’s even worse when you go home and try out yet another fucking highlighter only to be like, “well, now that I look like I just poured gold glitter on my face, I may as well run to the nearest rave.” Then, you have to suck it up and go with it because there’s no way in hell you’re throwing out an Urban Decay powder.
Since I’m completely over this bullshit, I’ve done us all a fucking favor and found the best highlighters for your skin tone so you can look like the glowing goddess you are all the time. Because you, at the very least, deserve to shine like a goddamn diamond.
For Pale Skin
If you find yourself thinking you always look pasty no matter the season, find a highlighter that’s pearlescent in color. Using a highlighter with pink or gold undertones on a light skin tone may actually cause your friends to worry about your health. BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl leaves a smooth, subtle shine with a white finish. If you’re going for a look that shows everyone you’re a fucking queen with an ice-cold heart, try NARS Illuminator in Copacabana. It’s a light-reflecting liquid in a glistening pearl. To add some color, mix with a golden bronzer and light pink blush.
For Medium Skin
You already have tan skin or you just vacay somewhere in the tropics every two weeks. Now, you just need to enhance your tan and make people more jealous of you than they already are. For warmer skin tones, find a highlighter with a light pink hue or one in a golden shade. If you’re trying to enhance a rosy glow, go with Lancôme Glow Subtil Silky Creme Highlighter in Buff Lights. If you’re trying to look like you laid out in the sun for hours without stepping outside of your house, go with Natasha Denona Face Glow Cream Shimmer in medium. This stick applicator gives you the perfect sun-kissed dewy look if you can’t make it to the beach. Just swipe right on your face.
For Dark Skin
For darker skin tones, aim for highlighters that have a rose gold or darker bronze variation. Since you probably don’t want to look you’ve aged 10 years overnight, stay away from silvers, pearls, or icy-looking shades—they will give you a gray look that just doesn’t look cute. Immerse your face in
a bottle of rosé a color that reminds you of rosé by using Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Highlighter in Sparkler. If you want something that enhances your skin tone, go for a shade like Dior Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powder in Bronzed Glow.
Are you bummed about everything happening in the world right now? Is it cold? Are Trump’s alternative facts weighing you down? No worries. Since the great US of A is built on the foundations of consumerism, maybe it’s time you buy yourself some shit. But not just any shit. Shit to make yourself look pretty. And therefore feel better. Kind of? I guess?
Here are some spring beauty launches to get you through the cold of winter and the nightmare that lays ahead. Some of them are already available for purchase, some are coming out soon. Godpseed!
1. Stila Heaven Hue Highlighter in Kitten
The cult eyeshadow color, Kitten, is finally available as a highlighter. It only took them like 10 fucking years, but w/e.
2. Urban Decay’s Urban Defense Complexion Primer
As part of their Spring 2017 launch, Urban Decay put out a bunch of new products that help your skin. Not only will this primer make your pores look almost nonexistent (I mean, almost. No one’s perfect except maybe me.) It also has SPF which you need so you don’t get wrinkly and disgusting.
3. Julep Love Your Bare Face Detoxifying Cleansing Stick
If you don’t want to put face wash on your hands, here’s a stick. Congrats. (Read: this is great to use when drunk and/or hungover because during both of those times, washing your face in the sink is the hardest task you’ll ever fail to do.)
4. Murad MattEffect Blotting Perfector
A “liquid” blotting compact might sound backwards (like, why would I want to put more moisture on my already oily face LOL?) but WRONG. One swipe of this and your face is instantly matte again.
5. OUAI Dry Shampoo Foam
Again, putting more liquid into your already greasy hair sounds like a bad idea right? Well, not according to the experts at OUAI. Apparently this stuff, which was released earlier this month, is like regular dry shampoo on crack. Say crack again.
6. Glamglow Firming Treatment Sonic Blue Mask
A limited edition mask inspired by Sonic the Hedgehog (TBT, but nerdy). It does definitely make you look like you’re part of the Blue Man Group, though, so I suggest doing it in a locked room. Alone.
7. Benefit GALifornia Blush
Benefit’s anticipated new Box o’ Blush won’t be here until March, but with its warm golden hues and vanilla/grapefruit scent, p sure it’ll be worth the wait. P sure.
You would think that slapping orange and bright red blush on your cheeks would be a surefire way to make yourself look like a clown, but by some makeup miracle, there are many weird blush colors out there that actually don’t look heinous on your skin. In fact, some colors that you would instinctually throw across the room and set fire to before you would put them on your face, actually look pretty when they are applied. As long as you know which ones to get. Let the following be your guide.
Copper blush is like the halfway point between bronzer and blush. Apply something like NYX’s Copper powder blush on the apples of your cheeks and on your temples to look like you weren’t scowling in a cubicle all week and actually got outside.
If you’re fair-skinned, lilac will show up on your skin as a kind of cool-toned pale pink. It can make you look instantly icy/rude, and for that it’s great. MAC Blush in Sketch should do the trick.
If you’re tanner (jealous), plums and deep magentas will have the same effect mentioned above. Blush Subtil by Lancôme in Plum Charm works like yeah, a motherfucking charm.
Orange hues tend to warm up your complexion the same way getting a lot of sun, or wearing the correct bronzer, does. Clinique Cheek Pop Blush in Melon Pop has the most annoying name you may ever hear, but the vibrance and life it brings to your otherwise sad and dull face helps you forget that fact.
Red blush can go from 0 to WTF real quick, but if you use a small amount and remain light-handed, it can give you the most natural, didn’t-even-try-hard color. Try Exhibit A Blush by Nars, but just make sure to use a large brush when applying—unless you want to appear sunburned, and in that case, you do you (but stay away from me).