When does makeup stop being a dupe and start being a rip off?

What is wrong with a dupe you might ask? It’s cheaper, more accessible and lets you try out a product that you otherwise wouldn’t have bothered/been able to afford otherwise – what more could you possibly want? Wellllll, it’s a little more complicated than that.

If you are a beauty enthusiast then you will know that there has always been dupe makeup. Products from the high end have always filtered down into more affordable brands whilst still looking very akin to the original product. However, recently there has been more of a fuss around brands that come out with dupes for higher makeup, and claims have began to swirl that their ideas have been flat out stolen.

Dupes in general are not a new concept. Everything we wear from the high street comes from the designer catwalks from around the world. In this day and age it’s almost impossible to come out with anything that someone hasn’t done before, so why is there so much whistle blowing when it comes to beauty?

I have no issue with finding cheaper alternatives to more expensive products – quite frankly I can’t afford all the products I want, and if I can find a version that is cheaper and from a brand I like and can trust then then I’m happy. However, I have a massive issue with companies who completely copy the concept behind the product, their packaging, their branding and their marketing… and there is a hell of a lot of it going around at the moment.

This year’s biggest controversy that kicked everything off was HudaBeauty’s launch of her baking powders which copied Beauty Bakerie. Beauty Bakerie’s entire line revolves around baking, with their powder being called the ‘flour powder’ and coming in a little sack that looks like a bag of flour. Huda, whose brand has always revolved around glamour, then launched her powders and the campaign revolved around wholesome baking, using very similar marketing images to that of BB. To make the link between baking your face and baking a cake is not super original, but the big issue was that it was very off-brand for Huda and as BB is a much smaller brand people considered it stealing. Huda pretty much failed to address it, which in my eyes says that she’s guilty – she did do a video on the powders where she seemingly tried to justify the names and the idea but it didn’t come off well.


More recently, I’ve spoken on my Instagram stories (@smalltownbeautyaddict) about Make Up Revolution’s various rip offs. A few weeks ago they came out with an IDENTICAL dupe of Fenty’s gloss bombs and then this week ripped off the Huda Beauty mini 9 shade palettes. This is nothing new for Make Up Revolution. Here in the UK they are pretty much known for ripping off Urban Decay and Too Faced on the regular. The thing is, a dupe is only a dupe when it’s actually good. To copy the exact packaging and the same colour and order of shadows is not a dupe if the formula isn’t there. The whole point of a dupe is for it to be as good as the more expensive product you’d like to replace. If a product is crap, it can’t be a dupe. That is why dupes don’t exist for entire palettes… because it’s copying. I saw BeautyNews say that they don’t consider duped makeup news and I completely agree. I personally want to buy makeup from a company that has their own ideas and integrity. I don’t want to spend my money on a brand that actively goes searching for ideals to steal in order to make money.

Even Aldi have been getting involved with this. Their own brand ‘Lacura’ has been having a great time recently ripping off Sand and Sky, Pixi and even Jo Malone. If you love beauty, you will recognise that all of the packaging below is IDENTICAL to the original product. And this is where I have a problem. To create a pink clay mask or a glycolic toner is not copying in the slightest – you can find an abundance of them on the market. However, look at the packaging and particularly of the Pixi/Aldi comparison. Most glycolic liquid products do tend to be orange (take REN as an example), but pairing it with light green packaging is not an obvious choice. Even worse still is the Sand and Sky rip off. In the original, the container for the mask is blue and the box is pink. If it’s a coincidence then it is one hell of a coincidence, and frankly I’m not buying it. Get some originality.

Image result for aldi glow tonic pixiRelated image

They’ve even launched their ‘own’ makeup range. Play the fun game of trying to work out which products they’re ripping off below! It. is. PLAGIARISM. Where is your integrity as a brand? It’s actually disgusting and really makes me alter my opinion of a brand. Also, I’m really not sure how they avoid lawsuits with branding this similar…


I’m perfectly aware that not everyone can afford more expensive products, and that is completely fine. But there are far better products to buy instead that are affordable, rather than to purchase a rubbish knock off from a petty brand that completely lacks in any originality. You can create a budget friendly product without completely stealing another brand’s work. I have friends that won’t see any issue purchasing one of these products because they’re getting the product for much less money than the original. What you aren’t getting is a formula that is as good, ingredients that are as sound or potent or a brand that cares who they step on to make money. The real issue arises when the duplication extends further than the actual product itself – i.e to the concept (product name, shade names), the packaging and the marketing. At the end of the day it’s shady, unoriginal and alienates a lot of potential consumers.

I’ll reiterate once again for the people in the back that I have no problem with buying makeup or skincare that has been hailed a dupe for a more expensive product, but I often find that the best dupes are not ones that are explicitly trying to imitate that product. Brands that specifically go out to copy another person’s work don’t have my respect. In any other walk of life, this would be plagiarism. I’ll just leave that there.

Let me know your thoughts on dupes!


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25 year old Beauty Writer Instagram - @smalltownbeautyaddict

2 thoughts on “When does makeup stop being a dupe and start being a rip off?”

  1. Great post and an important topic to discuss! I wrote about Makeup Revolution on my blog a while back for the same reason. It’s a shame cause I like some of their more original products, but I hate that they blatantly copy other brands. It’s like they wait for something to achieve cult status, then they don’t just try to dupe the product but also try to make it look exactly the same as the original. That’s totally wrong to me. I loveeee drugstore dupes/alternatives and I write about them often, but I agree there’s a difference between duping & straight up copying something.


  2. I love dupes like you said I can’t afford the high-end products, and I don’t mind that they are copying as in the end that what a dupe is. anything that makes a product looks like the original is a win, it’s just a different name. Plus really just remember all makeup is made the same way and in some instances even in the same place, your just paying for a brand name.


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