Beauty dupes deliver afforable options, don’t break the bank

Lucy Lopez, Social Media Coordinator

If you’re a makeup guru, you know this is a hobby that can start to put a dent in your piggy bank.

But, there’s a way to be a beauty on a budget. With a little bit of research, you can find pretty close “dupes” for those coveted high-end beauty products. Tuck away your Sephora gift card for a rainy day and get savings savvy.

Mascara: Benefit’s “They’re Real!” mascara has created a stir in the beauty community, but is it worth it? Covergirl LashBlast has been a drugstore favorite of many and made it on Harper’s Bazaar’s “The 10 Best Mascaras of All Time” list. Both mascaras have wands with flexible bristles and while LashBlast’s is a bit wider, both give your lashes a similar effect. On Ulta’s online customer ratings, .2 points separate the mascaras, giving Benefit the win, but not by much!

Another drugstore mascara you’ll hear about in the beauty community is Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies Mascara. Makeup artist Tanya Burr uses this in many of her affordable makeup tutorials on YouTube, claiming it as one of her favorite mascaras.

Local hairstylist and makeup artist Elizabeth Dugan says she uses “The Falsies” everyday and uses the waterproof version when she’s doing bridal makeup.

Price comparison: $23 to $6.99 (same price for Covergirl and Maybelline).


Nail Polish: One of springtime’s essentials is a pastel nail polish color. Maybelline Color Show Lacquer in “Green Envy” is a perfect match for Essie’s “Mint Candy Apple.”

Price comparison: $3.99 to $8.50.


For the girls looking for a classic red to match a little black dress, try Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in “Red My Lips” as a dupe for OPI’s “Thrill of Brazil.”

Price comparison: $6.49 to $9.


If you’re the type who wants a versatile color, dusty purple toned grey nails might be your best fit. Colors like Revlon “Stormy Night” and OPI’s “You Don’t Know Jacques” can compliment anything you’re wearing. You won’t have to worry about your manicure clashing with your clothes that week.

Price comparison: $4.99 to $9.


Lipstick: The makeup aisles at drugstores can be daunting with the amount of choices in lip product around you. One of the hardest colors to find a match for is red. And then comes Revlon to the rescue. In 1939, Revlon developed “Cherries in the Snow” to match the Hollywood starlet’s nails on their billboard. You won’t have to splurge on Mac’s “Russian Red” to get the screen siren look.

Fun fact: If you purchase the “Cherries in the Snow” lipstick and want its sister nail color, you can find it easily on eBay.

Price comparison: $4.99 to $16.


Eye shadows: The Urban Decay NAKED 1/2/3 palettes are $54 and rated “Fan Fave” on Ulta’s website. Naked Basics, with six eye shadows, five being matte, is also a “Fan Fave” and priced at $28. Each one has twelve different eye shadows in everyday wear shades.

The question: it is worth it? There are arguments for both sides of shelling out this amount of money for a palette.

“I have Naked2/3 and the basics,” said Ashely Heimbach, Arizona State University graduate. “I’ve had the Naked2 and basics for a year and the Naked3 since January. I would say it’s worth it if you love neutrals. It’s easy to make a fun eye look that’s still conservative out of the colors provided.”

For girls who use eye shadow on a daily basis, maybe this is an investment. If you’re unsure though, try a palette that focuses on neutrals. NYX is an overlooked brand that is a happy medium between high end and drugstore prices. Their “Dream Catcher” collection comes in three different neutral sets just like Urban Decay’s Naked1/2/3 collection. Each palette has ten colors.

Buffalo beauty blogger and college student Victoria Benitez created her blog “Victoria’s Broke Secret” serving up her tips on how to find the best deals on makeup. “I love NYX eye shadows, a lot of their products you can find dupes for just because of their wide selection, their eye shadows are long wearing, comparable to Urban Decay,” she said.

Price comparison: $54 to $14.99


Foundations: Here comes the tricky area. When foundation and skincare are involved, keep in mind that everyone’s skin is different. A major complaint with drugstore foundations is that they can be more hazardous for sensitive skin types causing breakouts. Luckily, there are a couple of drugstore brands that are sensitive skin friendly: Almay and Neutrogena. Almay is known for being hypoallergenic and Neutrogena offers makeup with acne medicine built in.

Price range: about $10-$13


A second complaint with drugstore foundations is that there is not a wide enough color range.  “I adore L’Oreal product their True Match line, this foundation line has a great selection of colors to perfectly match your skin tone and from many blogs I’ve read previously that this is a runway favorite,” Benitez said.

It can be hard to determine what shade you are though. Raise your hand if you’ve ever gone home after buying makeup and realized it was completely the wrong color.

Elizabeth Dugan offers tips on how to make this easier, “Before testing, shake the foundation liquid or piercer to make sure it’s blended. Apply a small swipe to your forehead area or nose; this is where your true tones are. When the color completely disappears into the skin you have your match!”

There is also a website called where you can put in a shade you use in one brand and it will find your matches for other brands of foundation. This can save you a headache! Tip: Ulta has a flexible return/exchange policy if this happens to you or if you are unhappy with a product.

If you’re new to the world of makeup, the Internet can be your go-to expert. By reading makeup reviews and watching YouTube tutorials, you can learn a lot and decide what you want to try out next.

So on Monday morning, let your lashes do the talking with a little mascara and for a special occasion, a red lip can make you feel like you walked out of an Old Hollywood movie.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to look your best.


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