The subject of many a Pinterest board, the entire world seems be completely transfixed on discovering the latest and greatest beauty dupes—that is, a drugstore product that could be mistaken for it’s luxury counterpart at a fraction of the cost. But as is the case with any craze, there are’s hundreds of misses obscuring the hits. To rid the world of any less-than-stellar dupes, I’ve taken it upon myself to test dozens of high-end and drugstore products (rough life, I know), and compile the best three here for you. Go ahead, pin away.
The Splurge: Yves Saint Laurent Illuminating Foundation ($55)
The Steal: L’Oreal True Match Lumi Foundation ($12.99)
Promising skin that appears to glow from within, YSL’s illuminating foundation has a large water percentage for that ever-so-sought after dewy (not oily) complexion. While it does indeed illuminate, the coverage consistency leaves much to be desired, and attempts to build left me looking like I slathered my face in Vaseline. Not a cute look by any means. Enter Lumi. Lauded by many a Pinterest user, Lumi not only delivers the candle-lit glow of subtly applied YSL, but also provides an even coverage that can be built upon or blended out.
The Splurge: MAC Fludline Gel Eyeliner ($17)
The Steal: Maybelline Eyestudio Gel Liner ($9)
Gel liner, the longest lasting and easiest to apply of all eyeliner manifestations, truly had its moment in the sun in 2013. The secret to everything from Alexa Chung’s sharp cateye to Emma Stone’s smoked-out stare, gel liner can vary so greatly in price that many are left wondering if you really do get what you pay for. A longtime fangirl of MAC’s Blacktrack, I liked its staying power but found myself balking at the price. At nearly $20 a pop, seeking a viable alternative became my December mission. So when YouTube sensation (and former MAC employee) Jaclyn Hill said Maybelline gel liner was her ride-or-die, I rushed out to purchase it immediately. Not only did the Maybelline liner glide on with stunning ease, the color payoff was huge. A side-by-side comparison between the two pots showed just how dark Maybelline was compared to MAC. In fact, the MAC liner looked almost grey in comparison. The only caveat with Maybelline is the utter uselessness of the included brush. Chuck it out and find a better one—it will still be cheaper than the MAC liner.
The Splurge: NARS Orgasm Blush ($28)
The Steal: Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso ($7)
I hesitate to use the term “cult classic” to describe a blush, but there is no better way to describe a product that is nothing short of iconic. Drift through any Sephora and you’ll undoubtedly hear an eager salesgirl earnestly telling a hesitant customer, “It looks good on everyone!” While the NARS product is certainly decent, I’ve learned that blushes are all generally comprised of the same ingredients, meaning the perfect dupe was just waiting to be discovered. Once again, I took to YouTube. I spent more time watching haul videos than anyone should, then made my way to CVS for an intense round of swatching. Luminoso blew me away with how similar it was to Orgasm: highly pigmented, universally flattering, and very natural looking. The only difference turned out to be a great one: Milani has considerably less shimmer than Orgasm, meaning it’s much more wearable for day and much less likely to make you look like you’re headed to an ‘80s theme party.