Cheap Alternatives To Pricy Makeup Buys That Actually Work

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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cheap alternatives to pricy makeup buys that actually work

Beauty with Mi, hosted by Refinery29’s beauty writer Mi-Anne Chan, explores the coolest new trends, treatments, products, and subcultures in the beauty world. Follow along on her wild beauty adventures here.

Finding comparable, low-cost alternatives to pricy makeup, skin, and hair buys has become something of a sport online. I certainly revel in the discovery of a good “dupe” — that is, a beauty product that so closely resembles another item that it could be considered a duplicate — but it’s no easy feat.

A quick Google search for alternatives to the $50 blue eyeshadow you’ve been eyeing will serve up a handful of drugstore options vying for your attention instead. And while side-by-side swatches on hands and forearms can tell you a lot, there’s nothing like seeing the product on the face to tell if it’s worth your money.

So I put ten high-end products and their drugstore dupes to the test. But I didn’t just swipe them on and call it a day; I wore them for twelve hours to really determine how they wear. An added bonus, every single item — from my brushes to my lipstick to my eyeshadow — is 100% cruelty-free.

Curious to see which side held up? Press play to find out and subscribe to Refinery29 ‘s YouTube channel for more videos like this.

High-End Makeup:
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation, $44, available at Charlotte Tilbury; Wander Beauty Concealer in Light $29, available at Sephora, Cover FX Matte Setting Powder in Light, $35, available at Sephora; Marc Jacobs Bronzer O!Mega Bronze $49, available at Marc Jacobs Beauty; Hourglass Radiant Blush in Dim Infusion $38, available at Sephora; RMS Beauty Champagne Rose Luminizer $38, available at RMS Beauty; Natasha Denona Sunset Palette $129, available at Sephora; Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper $20, available at Sephora; Eyeko Sport Waterproof Mascara $26, available at Birchbox; Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Dusty Rose $20, available at Ulta Beauty.

Drugstore Makeup:
Wet n Wild Photo Focus Soft Foundation in Soft Beige, $6, available at Wet n Wild; Wet n Wild Concealer Photo Focus Concealer in Light Ivory and Medium Beige, $4, available at Wet n Wild; Flower Beauty Miracle Matte Translucent Finishing Powder, $13, available at Walmart; Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer in Bronzer, $15; available at Ulta Beauty; Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso $7, available at Target; Highlighter: E.L.F. Highlighting Pearl Paint in Moonbeam $4, availalble at E.L.F.; ColourPop Yes, Please! Pressed Powder Shadow Palette $16, available at ColourPop; Jordana FabuLiner Liquid Liner $3, available at Walgreens; Pacifica Aquarian Gaze Water Resistant Mascara $14, available at Ulta Beauty; Milani Amore Matte Lip Cream in Precious $8.99, available at Ulta Beauty.

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