When using skincare and makeup, I’ve gone through a few phases in my life. I’ve run the gamut from high end department store skincare down to drugstore or pharmacy brands. There was even a time when I used and swore by Estee Lauder Idealist and La Mer lotion and spent thousands at the drop of a hat.
But I did not have the budget after a while (or rather didn’t want to spend that much), so I started looking for slightly cheaper items that might work the same i.e. dupes or duplicate products.
Skincare dupes cost me more in the long run
At the time, the story was rife online that a drugstore dupe for Estee Lauder’s Idealist serum was the Olay Regenerist Serum. Cosmetics forums claimed they worked the same and some even said that the drugstore dupe was better at a much smaller price. So, I tried it and while Idealist was lovely for me, Olay Regenerist Serum turned my face into a mess of pimples that took me ages to cure. I no longer use Idealist but I’ve been meaning to get back because I read that the new formulation is even better than the old. Maybe some day
Ditto La Mer. I ended up spending more than I would on a jar of La Mer cream trying to find a dupe for it in other “cheaper” or “more affordable” brands. They didn’t work for me as well as the original either.
My few experiences trying to dupe skincare has taught me that with skincare, there is just no substitute for the original item that works for me. It might feel similar on the skin but there will always be something that does not quite fit or an ingredient that irritates my skin.
One exception to skincare dupes that cost me less
An exception is Lancome Blanc Expert SPF50 sunscreen where the L’oreal UV Perfect sunscreens are widely known to be dupes because they share the same parent company. From a personal point of view, I prefer the L’Oreal version because it works better for me (and is more affordable).
In general however, even if it costs a lot, I’d end up paying more trying to find a dupe (or to treat the skin problems the dupe caused). However, for makeup, for me the converse is true.
Cosmetics and Makeup dupes can work better than the original
I’ve found numerous low end dupes of high end colours that work very well and sometimes, even better than the original. Sometimes, a “dupe” might work better because the colour tone suits our skin better. Personally, I prefer the dupes for Nars Orgasm blush to the original. That said, some colours are very unique and just cannot be duped although you can find close substitutes cue Lancome Erika F eyeshadow.
However, I’ve read of many people who go round the circuit trying various dupes of colours, only to end up buying the original product anyway. Sometimes, there really is no substitute for the original because you just have to try it to know what the hype is all about (or not as the case maybe).
Dupes in Cosmetics and Skincare is part of the market
What I’m really driving at is to say that the world of cosmetics and skincare is a small one. If a product achieves cult status or is known to be good, then there will always be followers. Lower end brands will try to “dupe” the texture, colour or formula to cater for the mass market. Sometimes, even high end brands dupe each other but really that isn’t quite as common because when people look for dupes or duplicates, they tend to try to find a cheaper substitute. Its not to say the cheaper substitute will work as well, but its always worth a shot.
Consumers love finding dupes that bring value for money
So, really, in my personal view, there should be no “threat” to a brand or product to be compared to a lower end dupe. It might feel the same or look the same, but it might not work the same nor might it be as good as the original for everyone. As consumers, we are always looking for the best value for money and if it comes in the form of a duplicate product with a smaller pricetag, so be it.
The thing is, having tried bunches of different products, I will sometimes find similarities in 2 different brands and as a consumer first, I will usually go for what brings me value for money. So, if I find a similar product in the market at a smaller price tag that works as well for me, I will tell everyone about it. It may not necessarily work for others the same way it does for me. It may contain different ingredients. It may even not be as good. But that is for the consumers to find out for themselves.
People who buy dupes may end up sticking to the original product
BUT here’s a thought from a consumer’s point of view. At the back of our minds, we will always be wondering how the original performs. And in time, we will buy the original item if only so WE can tell if the dupe works as well as everyone says. And that’s when we might find that the original product might work even better for us. Its a psychological thing but something that everyone has to figure out for themselves.
I’m first and foremost a consumer and this is how I think. And if this scares the brands, I guess they just have to up their ante and make even better products eh?
How do you feel about dupes of skincare or makeup? Have you gone round trying various dupes of a product only to find the original works best? Share your story!