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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Merrimack chapter.

Have you ever clicked through makeup-tutorial after makeup-tutorial wishing that you had the products to create these looks yourself? There is something so intriguing about seeing TikTok makeup gurus apply products so seamlessly and achieve the perfect look. After seeing them apply these products, you are tempted to buy them and replicate these looks at home. You immediately hop onto the Sephora website and begin browsing through thousands of products. There’s only one problem, makeup is so unreasonably expensive. For most people, it is unrealistic for you to buy all of this makeup and recreate the looks that you love to see online.

At this moment, it feels like your makeup dreams have crumbled. There is no hope that you can create the looks that you want to achieve if you can barely afford one product from Sephora, let alone the products necessary to do a full-face look! 

Oh, wait! You can create your desired looks with makeup dupes. 

So, what exactly are dupes? “Dupe” stems from the word duplicate, this pretty much tells you all that you need to know about what a dupe truly is. At its core, a dupe is a more affordable product that shares similarities with a more high-end product. These similarities can range between the quality of the product or the packaging that the product comes in. Dupes are meant to perform closely, if not at the same level as their more expensive competitors. 

One brand that has been killing it in recent years is el.f. There are so many expensive brands out there that are so unattainable for many people. However, that is where e.l.f. Comes in and saves the day. 

In this guide, we are going to break down some of the best dupes that e.l.f. has created. So, next time you are looking to buy an expensive product, refer back to this guide and check if there is a “dupe” available. Most of the time, there will be a more cost-effective option that performs just as well. 

The list of makeup dupes that currently exist seems endless. Here are my top 5 personal favorites:

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Retrieved from Google

1. e.l.f. “Halo Glow Liquid Filter” (sub for Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter).

The full size of the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter costs $49, the e.l.f. dupe is $14, and in my opinion, performs better. Both of these products can be used on normal, oily, dry, or combination skin types. These products both create a beautiful glowy look that looks healthy and radiant on the skin. They can be worn in 4 different ways: alone, mixed in with foundation, over or under makeup, or as a liquid highlighter. The Hollywood Flawless Filter only has one shade option which is dark. While the dupe has four different shades that are all designed for darker complexions. Each shade of the e.l.f option is also available in cool, neutral, or warm tones. Overall, e.l.f options tend to be more inclusive for a diverse group of skin tones and textures. The similarities between these two are endless. The only true difference that I can see between them is the price tag. 

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2. e.l.f. “Squeeze Me Lip Balm” (sub for Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm for Hydration & Shine) 

The Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm costs $24, while the dupe e.l.f. created only costs a mere $4. This product has been extremely popular ever since Sephora put it out on the shelves. There is no denying that the Lip Butter Balm is a great product, but the price attached to the product is not so great. Both of these products range in flavors and help alleviate dryness and dullness. There is also a sheer tint of color and very similar packaging between these two products. Summer Fridays and e.l.f. products are also vegan and cruelty free, which is absolutely necessary. The main difference is that you can buy all five flavors of the dupe and still be spending less than you would on one single Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm. 

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The Aesthetic Edge

3. e.l.f. “Power Grip Primer” (sub for Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer)

The Milk primer retails for $38, this is a pretty costly primer. Especially when there is a near identical dupe from e.l.f. That only costs $10. Primers that contain ingredients which cause them to “grip” become sticky and prevent makeup from sliding around or melting off of your skin. Both of these products create a long- lasting, hydrated, dewy, finish. The gel based formula with hyaluronic acid smooths skin, and can be successfully used on all skin types. This dupe is considered the #1 primer in America, if that is not enough of a reason to try the one made by e.l.f. Then I don’t know what it is. 

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Retrieved from Google

“Freezing” your eyebrows became a huge trend when the “clean girl” aesthetic first started. This aesthetic essentially means looking simple, clean, put together, and never looking like you have too much makeup on. Many people get their eyebrows professionally laminated, but, that can be costly and time-consuming, the same look can be achieved with brow freeze. The Anastasia brow freeze costs $23, the e.l.f. the competitor is only $6. Both of these products do virtually the same things and give a great end result. We live in such a fast-paced world where trends are always circulating in and out of society. We have no idea how long a fad like this is going to last, in the long run, it makes so much more financial sense to buy dupes for trends like this. 

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Mia Burroso

Merrimack '26

Hi my name is Mia, and I’m a sophomore. I am majoring in communication and media. After graduating, I plan on going into professional sports media. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with friends, going to the beach, attending sports games or concerts.