Skincare copies: Should we stock-up or avoid?

You will often hear the word 'dupe' thrown around in the beauty industry. Describing a product that is just like something else, but cheaper. We can get on board with being thrifty, but at what point does a 'dupe' become a flat out copy?

Some of the latest supermarket beauty launches have really sparked this conversation online. Many of which are suspiciously similar to some of the beauty world's cult classics. Is what's inside the cheap bottle the same as the more expensive, labelled version? Or am I being conned out of more money just for a fancy name? This all seems a little like it's too good to be true, and so often in life if that's your first thought, you are probably correct.

Packaging problems

The issue here is not the price-point of these products, or where they are being sold. Instead, it's the marketing around them that is troubling. So much effort seems to have gone into making these products look like the originals that it leaves us wondering how much time went into the formulations? The idea seems to be, that people will see it whilst browsing and think, that looks very much like X, Y or Z, but cheaper. It is this familiarity with the packaging of brands we already know and trust that gets us to buy into the cheaper version. We almost believe that because it looks the same, surely the product can't be too dissimilar?

Too good to be true?

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The latest of these dupes to be released is very similar to Pixi's Glow Tonic. A firm favourite amongst skincare buffs, this acid toner exfoliates using 5% Glycolic Acid, but also contains Aloe Vera to soothe skin. Its gentle effectiveness is what makes it so popular as it is easy on the skin for regular use. So how does the cheaper version compare? It contains both Aloe Vera and Glycolic Acid, however a lot less Aloe than the Pixi product. As mentioned, it is this ingredient that helps to make the Pixi tonic usable regularly as it soothes the skin, so the alternative could be a little harsher.

Pixi Glow Tonic; €23.50 at arnotts.ie

More recently, the same supermarket chain released makeup products, which we hadn't seen from them before. They turned a lot of heads as two products, in particular, were incredibly close to a few of our top makeup picks. Firstly, a contour palette that bears more than a striking resemblance to Charlotte Tilbury's Filmstar Bronze and Glow. Also, they came out with a blusher that you would be mistaken in thinking was Nars Orgasm Blusher, one of their best selling products. We have nothing against supermarkets releasing makeup, there are lots of affordable makeup ranges we love. However, we are not fans of blatant copying in order to sell.

Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow; €65.00 at charlottetilbury.com

But what if you can't afford the real thing?

Unfortunately the more these types of dupes sell to the masses, the more they will be reproduced.  Glamglow, Diptyque, Jo Malone, Benefit, Smashbox, Clarins and countless others have been replicated too and with each launch, there seems to be more buzz and  talk about it online

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This leads to more companies creating cheaper knock-offs and this can be a slippery slope, especially at this time of year. Only last year the HSE and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) confiscated countless counterfeit “high-end” beauty products. Many of these were fakes of the ultra-popular Kylie Jenner lip kits and Urban Decay palettes. We have no idea where these products are coming from, or if they have even been tested. Some of these were found to contain arsenic and lead, extremely poisonous substances that can have life-changing effects.

We are under no illusions that not everyone can afford to fork out €65 for a bronzer/highlighter, so something cheaper that looks like the real thing is tempting. Instead, you would be far better off buying from an affordable brand that is innovating and coming up with their own ideas. This way you are far more likely to get a quality product as they haven't spent as much time or money on imitation packaging. Brands like Sleek, Collection and Rimmel have always led the way for cheaper make-up that works. Primark's latest skincare venture with Alex Steinherr was a total sell out, with prices starting at just €4.

The makeup in some supermarkets may well be quality, but it's boring and lazy to see it blatantly copy brands that have worked really hard to create their own products, so we will most certainly be giving it a miss.


More like this:

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  • Beauty School: Jennifer Rock's guide to lactic acid...here
  • My day in beauty with Pamela Laird: 'I apply lip balm ten times a day!'...here

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