Makeup,  Makeup Products

Best Makeup Dupes – 21 Drugstore Dupes Makeup Artists Swear By

Sephora is Disneyland for fellow makeup hoarders like me and so, my life’s purpose is finding the best makeup dupes for those high end products that I can’t afford. And when makeup artists recommend these makeup dupes themselves and pick them over the luxury originals, who can argue?


I have so many makeup dupes now, I might just start maintaining a bullet journal to document them all! From NARS Radiant creamy concealer that is a cult fave to the Hourglass Ambient Lighting powder, this list has makeup dupes for all of those products you hear rave reviews about but never have the budget to buy.


makeup dupes nars orgasm dupe
Image by

NARS Blush in the shade Orgasm has quite possibly been the most popular blush among makeup lovers. I remember trying to get it back when it was always sold out and just really wanting this blush because it was so raved about. It’s an apricot pink blush that has shimmer flecks in gold. The pigmentation is a lot so you have to use a light hand with this one.

Milani’s Baked Blush in the shade Dolce Pink is a very close dupe for the NARS Orgasm. This too has subtle gold shimmer in it but it’s more finely milled. When I use this blush, I’ll get a subtle sheen on my cheeks as opposed to NARS Orgasm which can be a bit chunky looking, sometimes. I’ve been looking at recommended makeup dupes for NARS Orgasm for a long time but this comes closest to being perfect.

Difference: Orgasm is a more vivid pink while Dolce Pink is slightly more baby pink. But on the cheeks, there is no difference. Also, NARS is a lot more pigmented while Dolce Pink is sheer at first & easily buildable. Dolce Pink is also a lot easier to blend.


makeup dupes georgio armani luminous silk dupe
Image by

Georgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation is a cult high end makeup fave for people with dry skin. It gives you this ethereal glow that lasts all day – glowy not oily, essentially. It comes in 24 shades and I think they used to sell a smaller travel sized version that was 18ml and cost 40-ish bucks but I couldn’t find any online except on ebay. The finish is dewy and coverage is medium.

L’Oreal True Match Lumi foundation is another one of those luminous and dewy foundations that oily skinned people cannot wear but dry skinned beauties rock easily. At almost 13 bucks, this foundation comes in 15 shades (c’mon Loreal!) and has the same thin watery consistency. It is one of those makeup dupes that give you the same end result as the original, and I’m glad that I found an MUA rec about this gem!

Difference: Armani is thinner in consistency than Loreal while Loreal has a better natural finish. Armani looks velvet dewy and Loreal looks hydrated and dewy. You can get the EXACT same look with these two if you use Loreal with a brush and Armani with a blending sponge.


makeup dupes hourglass ambient lighting powder dupe
Image by

The Ambient lighting powders from Hourglass are so light and finely milled, you can use them as all over face powders for that angelic glow to your skin. The micro glitter makes your face shine in just the right way, giving a velvet look to your skin. I love them because despite my texture issues, I can still wear these powders easily.

The Color Icon bronzer from Wet N’ Wild does exactly the same thing, except the pan is massive. So you can just swirl your brush in there and get a lot on to go all over the face or just the areas you want to highlight. Why would you want to highlight with a bronzer? It’s such a light shade, I can’t see anyone using this as a bronzer except really really pale people.

Difference: There are two big differences between these two makeup dupes- quality of Hourglass is a lot better than Wet N’ Wild, and the quantity you get with Wet N’ Wild is far superior to Hourglass. While the Hourglass has shades that all flatter almost every skin tone because they are so sheer, Wet N Wild gives you pigment and you have to be careful with the color you pick. They are both finely milled, smooth, and easy to blend.


makeup dupes smashbox rimmel
Image by

Smashbox’s Always Sharp lip liner has a lot of bad reviews not because of the product quality but because people don’t know how to use the retractable pencil. You hold both ends in each hands and push them towards each other. That’s it! That being said, the liners are creamy and smooth so that your lip wrinkles are minimized. They come in a lot of matte shades and can be worn on their own.

Rimmel’s 1000 Kisses lip liners are regular pencils that need to be sharpened but they are so creamy and long lasting. With a lot of colors to choose from, these affordable pencils glide on the lips. The pigmentation is great with these and they are so affordable!

Difference: While Rimmel comes in a pencil form, Smashbox has opted for a pump type pencil where you twist the cap to reshape the lip liner. They are both creamy and have the same lasting ability, plus both the options are lightweight. The low price of the Rimmel pencils make them one of the best lip liner makeup dupes for Smashbox’s Always Sharp liners.


Too Faced Shadow insurance is a cult fave because it takes care of every eyeshadow issue imaginable – it covers discoloration on the lids, brightens the colors, stops creasing and fading, and everything else you can think of. You only need a small amount to cover the entire lid with this one.

I don’t think that the Shadow Insurance has too many makeup dupes out there but the Jesse’s Girl Eye Shadow primer is a good one. It has a slightly more watery formula but the color and the results are exactly the same. I like this one (as do a lot of makeup artists) because it works really well for dry eyelids. If you have oily lids, this may not be the product for you.

Difference: The consistency is different with both these – Too Faced has a creamy, bouncy formula and Jesse’s Girl is more liquid. They also have different packaging styles but Jesse’s girl is heaven sent for keeping your eyelids moisturized and yet, not make your eyeshadow slip or slide.


makeup dupes urban decay all nighter dupe
Image by

There is a reason why everyone loves the All Nighter by Urban Decay – it’s just a great product with an amazing mister that not only works to set your makeup but also acts as a finishing spray. If your bronzer and blush look unblended, the All Nighter will melt everything together, giving you a seamless finish.

The NYX Matte Setting spray gives you an ultra matte (but not dry) look that lasts up to 8 hours for my oily skin. And when I say 8 hours, I mean no blotting, no T zone powdering, nothing. It stays matte and velvety and doesn’t crack up your foundation or look funny as the day goes by. In fact, this spray keeps looking more natural matte as your face oils come out to play.

Difference: The biggest difference is the actual mist of product you get – with NYX it is a heavy spray and Urban Decay has a much finer mist that sprays all over your face. However, a lot of combo skin users, including me, have experienced very bad longevity with UD and NYX easily lasts longer, making it one of the finest All Nighter makeup dupes out there.


makeup dupes mac fix plus dupe
Image by

If you don’t like Mac Fix Plus as a setting spray, you’ve been using it wrong. Because it’s not a setting spray. It’s a finishing spray that you use to take away the powdery residue on your face. It soothes and blends everything together and that’s why it’s a makeup artist fave.

ELF’s Mist & Set Spray is an amazing dupe for the Fix Plus because it does exactly the same thing and costs only $4. On top of that, it’s a decent setting spray if you don’t want your makeup to budge for 4 to 5 hours. It’s also got the goodness of Aloe Vera, Vitamin A, C, and E, cucumber, and green tea which further soothes your skin.

Difference: Mac Fix Plus has an awful mister and leaves big, blotchy drops all over my face. I have to spray it onto my beauty blender and then dab it on. The ELF spray, however, has a great mister. I love that it works as a decent first spray moisturizer as well and doesn’t break me out while Fix Plus does. It makes my chin to go haywire with acne for some reason.


makeup dupes kat von d tattoo liner
Image by

Kat Von D is a cult fave because you can sleep in this liner and you’ll wake up with your wing intact. It doesn’t budge and if you are like me and rub your eyes all the time, you’ll love this one. It has a nice, felt tip that dispenses product easily and gives you a smudge free, precise application.

Jesse’s Girl has done a wonderful job with the limited products they have and this one is easily one of the best makeup dupes for the KVD tattoo liner. It comes in a black shade that is pretty close to Trooper (KVD). Again, it’s one of those liners that will not smudge no matter how hard you try. You need a strong makeup remover to take off this one.

Differences: While KVD will let you apply the liner or graphic art more precisely with its slightly smaller felt tip, Jesse’s Girl is a much better option for getting a simple everyday winged look because of its longer tip. The black of Jesse’s girl is a shade darker than KVD. I also find that the Tattoo liner will dry up on me in a month or two while Jesse’s Girl lasts for a full 3 to 4 months without any issues.


makeup dupes highlighter
Image by

The Bobbi Brown shimmer strips are excellent for just swirling a fluffy brush to get all the colors and highlighting your cheekbones, nose, and chin area. The colors have subtle glitter but this highlighter is pretty pigmented so use a light hand. You can also use this multitasking product for your eyes if you’re a cheapskate like me 😛

The Physicians Formula Shimmer strips are the exact dupe of Shimmer Brick because they essentially do the same thing, the colors are very similar but more than anything, the final shade you get when you swirl the brush to get all the colors has the same result. You can use the darker strips for bronzer.

Difference: Bobbi Brown is much more finely milled and packs a punch with the pigment, especially when you use a dense brush. The Physician’s Formula one, however, is easier to blend and control because it is buildable. The darker shades don’t look muddy which is why it’s picked over Bobbi Brown by many makeup artists.


Image by

Mac Studio Fix Foundation was the first foundation I used that was buildable to a full coverage and stayed on my face all the time. However, it looked cakey when built up and I had to work in really thin layers to make it look good. The only reason I stuck with this foundation, back in the day, was the shade range. Say what you will about Mac but they do take care of as many skin tones as they possibly can.

The Fit Me foundation, however, had two shades I had to mix to get my exact shade but it is very similar to Mac Studio Fix. I feel like these are both meant to be worn on the camera because they end up looking a bit extra IRL if you use too much. The coverage and the finish are both pretty similar with Fit Me and Studio Fix as well.

Difference: The coverage is the biggest difference in these makeup dupes  – Fit Me will give you a light to medium coverage while Mac Studio Fix starts at Medium and goes up to full from there. Fit Me is a great option for those who don’t have any yellow undertones. Mac Studio Fix feels heavy while Fit Me feels lighter on the skin. MAC is slightly more dewy as well. I prefer Fit Me because despite having to mix shades, it’s still much more natural looking.


Everyone’s heard of the Fall’tastic ABH Modern Renaissance palette. It comes with 11 mattes and 3 shimmers, all extremely pigmented and not one dud color. The shades all revolve around a berry to neutral tone while the metallic shades are high shine and blinding when used with a wet brush. This could be a difficult palette to blend for a beginner but if you are a frequent eyeshadow wearer, it’s a must have palette.

One look at the Bad Habits Royals palette and you’ll know that they had the Modern Renaissance in mind when they created it. While you may not find a dupe for every single shade, it’s pretty close. It looks stunning on the eyes, blends like a dream and is beginner friendly. The colors are essentially the same as ABH, they are just in different locations making it one of the closest makeup dupes for ABH Modern Renaissance.

Difference: ABH is a lot more pigmented, you have to dust off your brush before you start applying or you’ll have a lot on your face. Royals, on the other hand, is pigmented like Morphe shadows, it does build up beautifully and looks as good as ABH when all is said and done. However, this makes Royals much more beginner friendly. I would never part from my Modern Renaissance but I am glad to have found a worthy dupe.


makeup dupes urban decay naked palette
Image by

Ah, Urban Decay Naked palettes were the first high end palettes for me and most of my friends. They have such fond memories attached to them and I still have my original palettes, even though most of them are now unusable. The Naked series from UD has the 12 essential colors to finish a look – from an exaggerated smoky eye to a muted natural look. The best thing about these is that every palette gets you multiple looks without reaching out for another palette.

Makeup Revolution is quite a cheeky brand is the sense that they have exact versions for every popular high end makeup item and amongst all the amazing makeup dupes for UD NAKED, the Iconic series from MUR stands out. The colors are just as blendable, pigmentation just as smooth and the palette is a close copy. You get 12 shades in an iconic palette with minor differences in finish.

Difference: The biggest difference is how travel friendly MUR’s Iconic palettes are – they are smaller and more compact than UD while the mirror is much bigger, which I appreciate. What I love about MUR is the shadows last a longer on my eyes and don’t smudge together to become one muddy mess. UD requires a much more practised hand than mine, I’m guessing.


makeup dupes diorshow mascara dupe
Image by

When you think Hollywood red carpet and glamour, you think lovely voluminous lashes (not obvious looking falsies) that are separated but still fluttery and long. That’s what Diorshow promises and ends up living up to. The wand is a miracle, lifting the lashes and separating them with amazing precision. The color is great, it doesn’t flake, it gives your movie star lashes at a movie star price.

L’Oreal has an identical wand as the Diorshow and while the Original Voluminous might be a closer formula dupe for it, the Million Lashes is an overall best dupe. It gives you instant volume and separation with one coat, just like the Diorshow and it stays on for a long time at one third the price. With two coats, I am ready to take on the world with sultry, gorgeous looking lashes.

Difference: While the wand shape is identical, Million Lashes’ wand is a tad skinnier which is a good thing because, for sparser lashes, it does a much better job at separating and lengthening while for already great lashes, doesn’t make much of a difference. I think Million Lashes is the hand down winner for me in this battle of best mascara makeup dupes.


makeup dupes tarte shape tape dupe
Image by

Before the infamous Tarte Shape Tape foundation scandal, everyone loved the Shape Tape concealer. People still can’t deny that it’s one of the best concealers in the market with an unrivalled coverage. It will cover your bad debts and get you tax refunds if it could – the concealer is as good as they say. The massive doe foot applicator gives you enough product to conceal both your under eye areas and highlight the center of the face with the leftover product on the brush.

A more recent addition to the great concealers category, the Wet N’ Wild Photofocus concealer has a smaller doe foot wand but the formula is pretty close to the Shape Tape. It dries pretty quickly so you have to work fast at blending it in. It doesn’t crease or crumble under the eyes and gives you a blank, line free zone for up to 8 hours. Amongst all the makeup dupes for the Shape Tape, this one is my fave.

Difference: The biggest difference is the applicator. The bigger applicator from Tarte dispenses a lot of product in one go which negates to need to apply more. Photofocus has a smaller applicator which means that you might have to go back in. However, I like Photofocus better for everyday because it feels lighter and provides the same amount of coverage.


makeup dupes YSL touche eclat
Image by

I’ll be honest, I am not a big fan of click pen concealers – the brush part at the top gets dirty and it’s just so unhygienic to use. However, with a product as smooth as the Touche Eclat, even someone like me would be hard pressed to find a fault. It’s not a concealer but a highlighting pen for the center of the face. There are 10 shades with no actual worthy shades for deeper skin tones except one which looks too grey.

Maybelline Dream Lumi is the same concept – highlight the face and conceal just a tiny little bit but not really. The clicky pin is troublesome from the get go with both the products and there are 5 shades. When YSL has more shades than you, you’ve really messed up but L’Oreal has 2 dark shades, 2 light shades, and 1 medium so at least the distribution is fair (YSL WYD?!!).

Difference: YSL has no coverage whatsoever but Dream Lumi has some amount of coverage to back up its highlighting prowess. With YSL, you get a beautiful gold pen that sits pretty on the dresser and Lumi with its plastic packaging looks just sad in comparison. However, Lumi is a much better product overall because it doesn’t crease and keeps your face highlighted all day.


makeup dupes hoola bronzer dupe

I remember really wanting the Hoola bronzer from Benefit when it took over Youtube when it launched. It was THE dream product that I wanted, even though I knew nothing of bronzing. From the iconic brush to the gorgeous shade, everything about the Hoola is right and on the money. If you’re of medium skintone, you can get away with contouring with this matte bronzer as well.

An exact dupe of the Hoola is the Rimmel Natural bronzer is the shade Bronze. It has the same shade without being too orange so you won’t look like a walking Cheeto. The Rimmel one blends easily but the best thing about it is how much you get in the massive pan. It will last you forever.

Difference: There is no difference except the pan size with these bronzers. They look exactly the same when applied. The formulas are perfect dupes as is the shade, they both blend effortlessly on the cheeks and the perimeter of the face, and I love how Rimmel has three shades so they have a lot of people covered in their range. Hoola traditionally only came in one shade which might be a tad too dark for lighter skin tones and a highlighting shade for darker skin tones, it’s perfect for medium skin tones though they now have something called “Hoola Lite” which is good for lighter skin tones.


makeup dupes mac ruby woo dupe
Image by

Ruby Woo from Mac is a shade that everyone loves – it’s the quintessential red that puts the “us” in “glamorous”! Rich red that makes your teeth look whiter, perfect undertone for making you look more glam, and that classic Hollywood feel – Ruby Woo has everything you could ask for in a lipstick. As far as the formula goes, it’s super matte and extremely long lasting!

Colourpop might be a new player in the game but their Lippie Stix in Trust Me captures the magic and essence of Ruby Woo perfectly. You get the same matte shade and the applicator is great to get precise lines. That’s the best thing about the Lippie Stix, though, isn’t it? You don’t need a lip liner with them, they are so creamy and comfortable on the lips while still giving you the matte lip you want.

Difference: I love my Ruby Woo even though it’s long expired, believe me! But Trust Me just has a better formula – it’s much easier to apply and I think it glides on a lot better once you warm it up. I prefer it over Ruby Woo but I like Mac’s packaging better, I’m just a sucker for nostalgia but it just captures the glam much better even though Colourpop has a superior formula.


makeup dupes benefit porefessional dupe
Image by Kendall Rae

Benefit POREfessional is a nude colored pore filling primer that is only to be applied to the areas of your face where you have visible pores. I usually warm it between my fingers and then dab it on my cheeks and chin, and on the sides of my nose. It dries to a translucent, powdery matte finish and you can barely see the color once it sets. Sadly, though, if you apply it too much, it will start pilling under your foundation so applying this all over it a complete no-no for me.

The Baby Skin Pore Eraser is a translucent primer that is very slippy and silicone like in its texture. The application is the same are the POREfessional – dab on the relevant areas and wait for it to settle in before you put anything else on. It has the same matte finish, once dry. This one does not make my foundation pill but it does turn me more of an oily mess if I use it all over my face.

Difference: The biggest differences between these two products lie in the color and wear. POREfessional is nude and bouncy while Baby Skin is transparent and silicony. Both last the same amount on my oily skin but Porefessional ends up pilling a bit and drying out certain areas while Baby Skin looks slightly oily/dewy at the end of the day. I prefer the Baby Skin also because POREfessional breaks me out on my nose and gives me some bad cystic acne if I use it consecutively for many days Baby skin is one of the cheapest makeup dupes for Benefit out there.


Too Faced Born this Way foundation has a unique formula, so much so that you wouldn’t find too many makeup dupes of this one. It’s thin but not watery, but it doesn’t compromise on coverage whatsoever. If you have a lot to cover, you can easily work in thin layers with this foundation and amp it up to a full, full coverage. The packaging is gorgeous and, although I do love it, I think more of the high price tag goes towards the packaging than anything else.

Milani Conceal + Perfect is one of my favorite foundations because it lives up to its claims. The coverage is the same as Born This Way except you get it in one layer and don’t have to put on multiple layers to look flawless. The end result is the exact same – matte, matter, mattest! I feel like I can get away with not setting the Milani as well because it sets well on its own and with a decent finishing spray.

Difference: The biggest difference lies in the actual foundation texture – Milani is thick and it will cover everything but it is easily blendable and looks natural despite its texture. Born this Way is thinner and buildable to the coverage offered by Milani, and looks natural enough in the end. If you have a lot to cover like me, you’ll prefer the Milani Conceal + Perfect. It’s touted as one of the best makeup dupes for several other high end foundations as well.


makeup dupes too faced better than sex mascara
Image by

The Better than Sex Mascara from Too Faced is so popular (imo) because a) cool name, and b) the wand. The hourglass shaped wand that is pinched in the middle ensures that the product is distributed evenly. It is by no means a unique wand but the bristle placement is such that most of the mascara applies on the edge of my lashes and a bit less in the middle. This gives the appearance of fluttery, almond shaped eyes. Props to the research team that came up with this unique wand.

My latest obsession is the Lash Paradise that even has a similar packaging to Better than Sex and the same wand. There are more denser bristles on the wand though so when you see them together, you might think that you’ll get more product out of Lash Paradise – it’s not true. The application and final results are identical – same fluttery, sexy eyes once your mascara is done and dried.

Difference: The formula of Better than Sex is slightly thin and wet, it takes a while to dry giving you ample time to work. Lash Paradise has a drier formula which you think would make it clumpy but I actually love that about this mascara because it lets me get multiple coats on quickly. Apart from that, there is no difference and the final results are the same – these are exact mascara makeup dupes.


makeup dupes nars radiant creamy concealer dupes
Image by

NARS Radiant Creamy concealer is one of those OG concealers that is a tried and tested war horse – it works and it works well. My only issue with this concealer is that it’s a tad too drying on the under eye area and although I love matte finish concealers for the rest of the face, I’d prefer something that didn’t suck the life out of my thin undereye skin. It provides exemplary coverage though, almost as good as anything else I’ve tried before Shape Tape.

Maybelline Fit Me is a drugstore fave and a close dupe for the NARS concealer. It is equally creamy but a bit more slippy and workable, and it dries velvet matte with a bit more moisture. It is also quite easy to build up and covers well. I tend to wear my makeup for not more than 8 hours so both of these last the same on me.

Difference: The big difference is the coverage and finish which makes these two close makeup dupes but not exact makeup dupes. NARS is creamier and more matte while Maybelline Fit Me is wetter and more luminous in the end result. NARS has better lasting ability if you want to wear your concealer for upwards of 12 hours while Maybelline keeps your under eye area hydrated and natural looking. It’s a preference thing really and NARS does cost a lot.


Some of the dupes were good but didn’t make their way in this list because they are either not close enough or something I haven’t tested out for myself. I will still list them out though, in case someone wants options other than this list. If you’re looking for a decent list of drugstore products that cost under $10 and rival high end makeup, you can check out my post here.

Beauty Blender ($28) vs Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge ($11.99)

makeup dupes beauty blender dupe
Image by

I have never used the Beauty Blender because, personally, I can never justify spending that much over a sponge that I would eventually have to replace. Sure, the Real Techniques sponge wears and tears a lot faster but with a little bit of gentle handling, it works really well. Also, I am dependent on the flat side for setting my face with powder and the Beauty Blender does not have that. I might get the smaller beauty blender in the future though.

Anastasia Glow Kit – Nicole Guerrero ($40) vs Colourpop Gimme More Palette ($18)

ABH glow kit makeup dupes

I love highlighters, I really do but spending $40 on a palette is something I can’t understand (or afford). I’m guessing, if you’re a diehard Nicole fan, you can possibly think about buying the ABH palette as you’d be supporting her as well. For me, though, my Colourpop Gimme More palette has worked very well and looking at the shades, it seems that it is one of the most perfect makeup dupes for the expensive Anastasia palette.

Anastasia Brow Wiz ($21) vs NYX Micro Brow Pencil ($10)

makeup dupes abh brow wiz dupe
Image by

I was a fan of the tiny and precise ABH pencil but I kept using it up, so I moved on to the NYX Micro Brow which is cheaper and lasts a lot longer. I prefer the NYX pencil over ABH but I don’t consider these to be perfect dupes. The formula of ABH is waxier and creamier, so it’ll give you good pigmentation but you’ll have to replace the expensive pencil quickly. Micro Brow, on the other hand, has a firmer formula that lets you draw eyebrow hairs.


If you want to try out an expensive and high end product, I’d say check out the dupe first and see if you even like the product. My dupe fascination has actually introduced me to some awesome products that I wouldn’t have found otherwise!

Pin It


  • Pam

    This is a really good article. I especially liked the way you ended each one with an explanation of the differences. FYI….I won a full sized version of the UD All Nighter setting spray from Sephora and loved it. But I thought it was pricey so I read a lot of reviews and settled on the NYX spray…I read about the mister issue so I just poured it into my UD bottle, problem solved. I cannot tell the difference between them.

  • Smritiprabhat

    Yeah they’re such close dupes, aren’t they 🙂 thanks so much for leaving a comment!

  • Dorothy

    I am 85 years old and on a fixed income. This is a wonderful service you have rendered for “seniors” as well as the younger women. Thank you!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.