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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Berkeley chapter.

Over the past few years, TikTok has established itself as the place for all things viral and trendy. With the recent implementation of TikTok Shop, the app’s advertising and marketing has only gotten stronger. TikTok is now a one-stop shop for all things beauty, household, fashion, business, and more. Anything you can think of buying, TikTok Shop has it. Their platform has expanded so much that they’ve begun selling dupes (cheaper alternatives of expensive or scarce items) to further increase their profits. Even though many TikTok dupes are valuable, not all of them are worth it!

1. “Skims” Bodysuit ($60 vs $5.49)

With 14 different colors to choose from, including nude tones, the Skims bodysuit has become the most viral and in-demand shapewear on TikTok. Since she released the Skims brand, Kim Kardashian’s undergarments have gained tons of credibility and attention. Given that her image and brand revolve around her body, people trusted Kim’s ability to produce a quality shapewear brand. After five successful years of business, it’s evident that those people were right! 

Despite the various other shapewear competitors, Kim has dominated the industry with Skims. Even though the Kardashian name helped the brand to gain traction, the quality of products is what maintained sales and popularity. 

Unfortunately, while the products are well made, they’re extremely expensive! As a result, other brands have begun selling dupes to fill the gap in business. Due to its large platform and marketing, TikTok Shop has become one of the more popular distributors of the Skims “dupe”. Labeled as a cheaper alternative, customers get baited into believing that they’ll get the Skims look without the Skims price tag. 

By advertising their bodysuit as a Skims dupe, TikTok Shop was able to sell over 50,000 of them. The problem is their product is nothing like Skims. Not only is the material different, but so is the fit, feel, and shape. Online, the look is similar, but even that’s different in person too! While the so-called dupe may be good shapewear, it doesn’t feel like Skims. Of course, there’s a price to pay for that, but the price is worth it if you’re expecting quality shapewear.

TikTok Shop’s “dupe” is great if you’re looking for one-time, low-cost shapewear, but if you’re not, I recommend saving up for Skims! I’ve tried more than a handful of alternatives, but I have yet to find any that I’d recommend as an actual dupe. Once you get one, you’ll live in it. In girl math, wearing it that much basically makes it free! 

2. “Morphe” Brushes ($10 per brush vs $10.79 set)

In 2008, Morphe came to fruition as a brand built for artists, influencers, and creatives. Today, Morphe has a reputation of being a step above drugstore makeup, but not quite on the threshold of high-end. Their prices certainly aren’t the cheapest on the market, but given the quality, they’re worth their (average) $10 price tag. 

Morphe’s website shows 60 results offering hundreds of brushes in singles and multipacks. Each of the brushes are numbered, measured, and precisely described to ensure customers get exactly what they pay for! Years ago, I bought a few of the singles, and they’re still in perfect condition today. 

While Morphe isn’t exactly in its prime anymore, its quality and longevity have made the brand a household name in makeup. Over the years, Morphe’s credibility has been falsely used to promote illegitimate makeup products; the most popular being brushes. Since the brushes are fairly cheap to produce, they’re some of the more lucrative “dupes.”

Once again, TikTok Shop has used its influencer marketing tactics to sell poorly made items. Advertised as a Morphe dupe, this 30-piece brush set is the same price as a single brush from the Morphe website. Considering the brushes fall apart before you can even use them, the cost makes sense! Before I could even get foundation on my face, bristles were shedding from the brush. 

What makes it even worse is that this problem isn’t isolated. When I went through the product’s reviews, there were dozens of other people detailing the same concern! If you do makeup, you know that loose brush hairs can easily ruin a look. Not to mention, the issue clearly sheds light on the general quality of the brushes or lack thereof. If the brush falls apart from being picked up, what’ll happen when you actually use it? 

3. “Dior” Lip Oil ($40 vs $4.99) 

The iconic Dior lip oil comes in eight different shades, but the color “Rosewood” is the most trendy, often sold out at most Sephora locations. Given Dior’s reputation as a luxury brand, their lip oil is highly sought after, but that also makes them quite expensive. 

For the past couple of years, the virality of the Dior lip oil has fluctuated on TikTok. Each time the topic comes up, the Essence lip oil is suggested as a dupe for the one from Dior. Last year, I finally tested this theory myself, having already tried the Dior lip oil. 

Considering that the Essence “dupe” costs 10x less, I wasn’t expecting much. At first, I was impressed by the shine and opacity of the gloss. Unfortunately, it didn’t take time before I felt a gritty residue when I rubbed my lips together. It didn’t help that the formula was also much more oily than the one from Dior. 

The videos that TikTok promoted on my feed were all positive, labeling the Essence lip oil as a dupe. When I started my own research, I discovered other people who also noticed the lip oil was dry and gritty. Once again, the low price tag proved its worth as such. Instead of saving money, I actually ended up wasting it. Even though I didn’t have the heart to throw the Essence lip oil away, I never used it again. 

Essence has tons of great products. For some people, their lip oil may even be one of them. The problem is that it’s not a dupe for Dior’s lip oil. Its promotion as a dupe is nothing more than false advertising. If you really want Dior quality lip oil, try other dupes, or better yet, save for Dior instead! 

Even though the lower prices seem like deals/savings, they’re not always as rewarding as they seem. Do yourself a favor and ignore the hype surrounding these products! Save yourself any future troubles by doing your research and reading reviews before purchasing. 

Mercedes Chioino

UC Berkeley '25

Mercedes is a junior at the University of California, Berkeley majoring in English. She enjoys personal writing, journalism, current events, and trends. Some of her favorite things to do outside of academic life include shopping, reading romance novels, playing with her dog, and trying new restaurants.