· Beauty Tips · 9 Affordable Makeup Products That Look Just Like High-End Faves

9 Affordable Makeup Products That Look Just Like High-End Faves

makeup dupes

While I’ve worn it nearly every day for decades, I’ve always had something of a love-hate relationship with makeup. Especially when you’re looking for higher quality products, even the basics can be really expensive!

But fortunately for me, there are plenty of bargain-loving makeup enthusiasts out there who specialize in makeup knockoffs, or “dupes” (shorthand for “duplicates”). A good makeup dupe is an expensive product that’s comparable enough in color, quality, and finish to use in place of a more expensive makeup item, and they’re a great way to save money on makeup without a noticeable drop in appearance or quality.

Today I’ll be sharing 9 makeup knockoffs for popular, high-end products that are inexpensive and widely available. I also provided links to both the original products and the makeup dupes so you check them out for yourself (mainly Amazon links, with a few links to ULTA for things I couldn’t find on Amazon).

Here’s to saving money and looking great doing it!

9 Of The Best Money-Saving Makeup Dupes

makeup dupes

1. Primer

Original: Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Pore Minimizer ($23)

Budget-Friendly Dupe: Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser ($8)

A good pore-minimizing primer helps prevent makeup from sinking into your pores and making them look larger than they actually are. POREfessional from Benefit Cosmetics is a fan-favorite primer with a hefty price tag, but this Maybelline dupe gets the job done for a lot less.

makeup dupes

2. Blush

Original: NARS Orgasm Blush ($37)

Budget-Friendly Dupe: Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso ($11)

The perfect peachy-pink blush can take your look to the next level! NARS Orgasm Blush is a cult favorite that many claim is universally flattering, but for a more budget-friendly alternative, Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso is a very close match in terms of both shade and shimmer!

makeup dupes

3. Mascara

Original: Too Faced Better Than False Lashes Extreme! ($28)

Budget-Friendly Dupe: L’Oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara ($10)

If you really want to maximize the volume of your lashes, choose a 2-step mascara. It’s two products in one—a lash volumizer plus a normal mascara. Better Than False Lashes Extreme! by Too Faced is popular, but pricey. L’Oréal Paris Double Extend Mascara is not only cheaper, but comes in a convenient double-sided tube too.

makeup dupes

4. Eyeshadow Primer

Original: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($27)

Budget-Friendly Dupe: NYX Cosmetics HD Eyeshadow Base ($7)

Using an eyeshadow primer might sound like overkill, but it’s an easy way to make your eyeshadow last longer, and it really cuts down on creasing too. Makeup fans swear by Eyeshadow Primer Potion by Urban Decay, but HD Eyeshadow Primer from NYX Cosmetics is a great inexpensive alternative.

makeup dupes

5. Makeup Sponge

Original: Original Beautyblender ($20)

Budget-Friendly Dupe: Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, Pack of 2 ($9)

Using a makeup sponge can help you blend your way to makeup perfection. The Original Beautyblender was the makeup sponge that started it all, but it’s hard to justify spending $20 on a fancy sponge. Instead, check out the Miracle Complexion Sponge from Real Techniques, which comes in a set of 2 for half the price.

makeup dupes

6. Concealer

Original: Tarte Shape Tape Contour ($30)

Budget-Friendly Dupe: Instant Age Rewind Eraser Concealer ($9)

Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer (America’s #1 concealer brand, per Tarte’s website) is lauded for providing long-lasting, full coverage and its crease-proof formula. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Concealer also stays put all day with minimal creasing (and for a third of the price to boot). As an added bonus, it also has ingredients like goji berry that can aid circulation and improve the appearance of dark circles.

makeup dupes

7. Eyeshadow

Original: Urban Decay Naked3 Pallet ($59)

Budget-Friendly Dupe: Maybelline The Nudes Eyeshadow Pallet ($13)

Makeup collectors swoon over Urban Decay’s Naked eyeshadow pallets. The Naked3 pallet is packed with neutral shades with various levels of shimmer. But if the $50+ price tag puts you off, take a look at The Nudes pallet by Maybelline, which offers similar shades at a fraction of the cost.

makeup dupes

8. Bronzer

Original: Becca Sunlit Bronzer ($58)

Budget-Friendly Dupe: Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer ($16)

Becca Sunlit Bronzer is prized for its creamy, silky texture and warm golden-brown color, but with a price tag of nearly $60, I’m not sure I have the stomach for it! But Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer is a great dupe that feels every bit as expensive with ingredients like murumuru, cupuacu, and tucuma butters. It goes on smoothly with a soft-focus blur.

makeup dupes

9. BB/CC Cream

Original: IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream ($47)

Budget-Friendly Dupe: COVERGIRL Clean Matte BB Cream ($10)

If you like to keep your makeup routine as simple as possible, consider trying a BB or CC cream. These all-in-one creams promise to prime, protect, and perfect your skin with just one product! Makeup fans love the CC+ Cream from IT Cosmetics, but the cheaper Clean Matte BB Cream from COVERGIRL has its own devotees too.

What other makeup dupes would you add to this list?

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Beauty Tips

  • I’ve tried the NYX eyeshadow primer. I was amazed .,Before trying my eyeshadow would always have the line at the crease by afternoon. I also recently discovered a concealer that’s great for the dark circles. It’s called Can’t stop won’t stop by NYX. I use the Vanilla shade. It helps a lot with mine.

  • For makeup powder I’ve been using the NO 7 brand. It’s about $14. It’s. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s supposed to be a dupe for the highly recommended Laura Mercier powder which I refuse to pay $40.00 for. There’s a lot of makeup sites with great ideas. You can also search for Dupes on Google ..You can find great ideas for cheaper brands that are similar to the more expensive versions.

  • Wet and wild makes a great waterproof pencil eyeliner – it’s the Break up proof one. I love their brownish – black. It’s really good in hot humid weather. I’ve also started using Essences – Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara. It’s super cheap $5.00. I’ve found it at Target, possibly Walmart. It’s great if you have thin sparse eyelashes.

  • Do you have a dupe for brow gel? I used one from Maybelline for years that was great, but…now they’ve replaced it with BROW-FastSculpt, which clumps and is stiff and gummy. It’s just horrible.
    Also, how do I see if my question was answered? Do I go back to the original One Good Thing article and check all the comments? Or is there another way?

    • I don’t have a gel recipe, but I do love the brow pencil I use. If you click on the link below (scroll to number 9) you will see the brow pencil that I love. You may even learn some other tips from my post. Hope this helps!

  • Thank you for posting this. Very helpful and appreciated. Another thought for your “review” and selection of alternates would be . BOOM. A few of my friends use it and like it- but it is SO EXPENSIVE!!! There has to be something out there very similar for less. I just got Wet’n’Wild Baton de Maquillage – Floral majority. It was under $3. Vs almost $30 for one BOOM tube. Seems pretty good to me – but I need to order some sponges!
    Thanks for your efforts in making life easier for us out here – struggling.

    AND we need a recipe for Lume! I have used and loved several of your DIY recipes. Thanks!

    • Marcia, thank you so much for sharing this great tip with us! We are always so happy to learn new tips that we can share with other readers. I will look into Lume and see if I can come up with a DIY recipe.

      I really appreciate your kind words. My team and I are so happy that you love our newsletter, website and tips! We are here to make people’s lives easier with solutions to everyday homekeeping, beauty routines, recipes, natural products and more.

  • I’m glad to see an updated list. I love the Physicians Butter Bronzer – I’ve only used the smaller size. My favorite Dupes – ELF – poreless primer is a good base. I’ve started using it instead of Urban Decays pricey primer. The Elf brand is supposed to be a dupe for MACs eyeshadow base. Another favorite one is No 7 Translucent loose face powder- it’s $13.00. Its a Dupe for Laura Mercier ‘s Face powder which is $39.00. I haven’t tried the the original versions of these 2 dupes. There is no way I would pay that for the Laura Mercier brand.

  • Regarding number 7, the eyeshadow paragraph, a “pallet” is a wooden platform used to lift heavy materials. A “palette” is a range of colors and the word you should have used.

  • If you have a Walgreen’s, it used to be Rite Aid, nearby try the Wet and Wild make up. The lipsticks, foundation, blush, eye shadow, mascara, and nail polish, if you have lovely nails like yours, Jillee, are good quality and very reasonably priced. I use all their products, but the nail polish, unless it is clear as my nails are constantly breaking or splitting.

    • I love Wet and Wilds Megaglo Highlighting Powder . It’s about $5-6. It’s great . I won’t spend a lot of money when you can find a great cheap Highlight powder at the drug store. Some of the Wet and Wild Eyeliners recently got good reviews in Good Housekeepings beauty pages.

    • I am too old to worry about wrinkles, I figure that I earned every last wrinkle. But do try a Rite Aid/Walgreen’s as they carry quality makeup items at very reasonable prices.

  • My daughter, at 40 is into Urban Decay, etc. I am a complete Avon fan and have been since the early 70’s. I recently went to a “spa” for bit of Botox and the ARNP there was bragging to everyone about the great xcondition of my skin. I aam 74, so could it have been my choice of makeup over the years?

  • TLM color change foundation – on Amazon for less than $10 it’s an awesome foundation that changes to suit your skin color. You can get different tones. I am not a make up fan but at 52, I need something on my face. It also has spf. I think if your complexion is half way decent it’s an AWESOME product and a great value

  • the good thing for me is I can buy only some of the things that I want from the doller store instead of getting them through a club and paying a price and shipping and handling and they are full size from the doller store and only one doller not 7 dollars or 11 dollars

  • Did anyone notice that Jillee did not have a face powder on her list? As we age it will settle into the lines and creases and emphasize them. Blot your face well all over with a clean sponge. If you are oily you can use blotting papers throughout the day. Still working all day? Don’t skip the primer! And you may find you need touch ups or a longer lasting foundation to last 12+ hours. I don’t need mine to last all day so I have not added a setting spray so I can’t speak to that.

    • I recently got a Lancome powder that’s amazing! It doesn’t settle into my lines like others and also makes your makeup waterproof! It is not cheap though so if I find a dupe I’ll let you know! For drug store powders I think the Elf HD powder is decent

      • I have not used powder for several years, the foundation and blush keep me, while not young, at least showing that I care about how I look, even at home. I use creamy eye shadow and mascara, too. No nail polish for me until my nails get to a reasonable length, as they are quick to break and split/

    • I’ve read multiple times that the vintage Coty Airspun powder is excellent (and easy on the pocketbook, keeping with the vintage theme). It’s the yellow-gold flowered round container. I’ve seen it at Walmart. I’m using up powder I received in a subscription box, then will buy Coty. Or I may put cornstarch in a container I already have.

      • Coty Airspun Translucent is my go to powder. Sometimes it’s hard to find because the translucent sales out quickly, so I usually buy two when my last one starts getting low.

    • instead of buying expensive or semi expensive blotters, try perm sheets,Beauty supply stores, same thing only you get like 200 or more for next to nothing.eilee

  • Witch hazel is a great toner and very cheap. If you want it scented why not just put a drop of your favorite perfume or essential oil in the bottle

  • I am so allergic to maybelline makeup. That’s what my mom always bought us when we started wearing makeup. The first time I put the mascara on my eyes swelled shut and turned red. I had to immediately take it off. I tried it again in my 20s and it did it again. I’ve used cover girl then switched to L’Oreal voluminous mascara. I can wear other types of makeup but I steer clear of maybelline. I have green eyes so I can wear a lot of different colored eye shadows. My daughter, the makeup expert, tells me what colors to buy and sometimes she just buys it for me.

  • I love, love, love L’Oreal Double Extend mascara! Been using it for years and don’t worry about losing my eyelashes when removing it. Just wet the eyelashes well and the tubes slide right off. Many women have asked me if I had false eyelashes on because this product gives so much volume and length. You can even use 2 coats of the volumizer if you want to go all out. Thanks Jillee for info on the other products, as well!

  • When you are older matte eye shadow looks better than shimmer especially if the lid has a bit of crinkle to it. However, it is difficult to find matte eye shadow. And, just when you find one you like, they discontinue it. LOL!

  • My issue with makeup is not necessarily the price, but where it comes from. I won’t buy any product that is for the face or body that comes from China, because it has such a bad reputation for quality.

  • Thank you Jillee. I have been out of the make-up game for a while. Health issues; so I didn’t feel like wearing make-up or going out much. Thankfully all resolved. Wen to store recently and had sticker shock; then, what is bb and cc cream. So this post is very, very helpful for getting me back in the game of life.

  • I completely believe in buying drugstore versions of more expensive products, it’s a great savings. However the one thing I will never buy from the drugstore is eyeshadow. I have learned time and time again it irritates my eyelids, the color isn’t as good and it doesn’t stay as long .

    • I don’t think it’s that drug store eye shadow isn’t as good, I just think that not all brands are created equal. Covergirl always creases on me no matter how I prep my lids. Wet n Wild is a waste of money. My favorite brands are Hard Candy, Loreal & Sonia Kashuk (Target). Ulta brand eye shadows & blushes work well for me too.

      I have ultra sensitive skin & have never had an eye shadow irritate my eyelids unless it has mica in it. I can’t use any of the mineral makeups that contain mica or my face will itch all day long! It makes me wonder if there may be a particular ingredient you may be allergic to.

      As I’m nearing 50 I find that matte shadows work best for me with my combination skin. Since I was a teen I’ve always put primer on my entire face, including my eyelids (the green one by NYX is my fav), then foundation followed by the lightest possible dusting of loose powder on the entire face before I begin applying eye products & cheeks & lips. Then I follow that with another very light dusting of loose powder. The finished look is not heavy at all & still allows for a natural look because of using neutral colors & not over applying them.

      The only time I’ve ever had eye shadow crease or fade was when I was in too big of a hurry & skipped a step or two in preparing my lids, or when I used a lesser quality brand. I do think it’s funny that at least every couple of months a cashier, or another stranger will comment that I have the smoothest complexion they’ve ever seen. I smile & say thank you while knowing that it’s all technique of makeup application because without it I have quite a bit of pink undertone to my face.

      • As far as drugstore eyeshadows I love the Revlon and L’Oreal quads. I sometimes use Maybelline. I love their color tattoo brand eye shadow crayons. I’ve never had a problem with it budging. It stays on until I take it off.

    • I have experienced the same thing except with Revlon and L’Oreal. The product that gives you a barrier is an eye shadow primer or base. But the good news is you can splurge a little on higher priced shadows with what you save on your other drug store makeup.

  • These are great suggestions. My only comment is that some of the less expensive brands are not as highly pigmented as the higher end brands, so the color is less saturated and intense, and it fades much more quickly.

      • This will probably sound weird, but my lashes were beginning to look sparse too until I started using castor oil on them. I tried it thinking it was all hype that it helped lashes grow, but it really does. I’ve always been jealous that both my kids have their Dad’s long eyelashes. I mean what does my son need with long eyelashes, right? lol I ordered some castor oil eye lash serum from an Amazon lightening deal just to see if it would do anything & my lashes are nearly as long as my daughter’s now. I was shocked. If anyone wants to try this be sure to look for castor oil that is hexane free. It’s my understanding that you don’t want to put one containing hexane on the eyes, but I’m not sure why. Also look for cold pressed castor oil. You can buy castor oil that is both hexane free & cold pressed, but I prefer to order the ones that bottled for lashes. They come with a dropper cap, and also come with applicators that are fine tip brushes & also mini spoolies for easy application. I just put it on a couple of hours before I go to bed, then since I’m a stomach sleeper I just blot it off before I go to bed.

      • I have used castor oil with great success to remove my waterproof mascara. Over a few weeks I noticed a great difference not only in length but density. My lashes were thicker than ever. I used it on my brows also before bedtime. Very helpful!

    • Voluminous is my favorite , too! After years of wearing Lancome mascara, at more than double the price, I switched to this – I did save the Lancome applcator ( washed all the old stuff off) and I use that in the Voluminous tube. I take another tube of Voluminous with me in my purse.

    • Hi Candy! There’s actually a “print friendly” button on every post! Towards the bottom of the post, but before the comments, there’s a green button. After pressing it, you’ll get a preview of what you’ll print. From here, simply click on anything you don’t want included! You can remove some or all of the photos, make the font smaller… Hope that helps! :-)

  • For the primer I use the pink one by ELF cosmetics. I don’t know if it’s a dupe for anything. It’s $6.00. I use under my moisturizer. On the Urban Decay eyeshadow I one very similar from cover girl for about $ 10.00 it’s called trunaked nudes. Not sure if their still making it.

    • You kind of have to adjust your makeup as you get older. For powder I just use the baby powder on a pouff with my brush. I’ve never bought department store eyeshadows. The quad I have from L’Oreal I think is named Oreo with grays. I use it work. It has plenty of pigment. I think the higher end drugstore eyeshadow like Loreal and Revlon have enough pigment too them. I probably wouldn’t use the Blush by NARS. It’s one of those shades that won’t show up on my pale skin. I look sickly whenever I’ve tried the peachy blushes.

  • I am 65 years old and do not wear any makeup except for eyeliner and mascara. I never liked the feel of anything on my face so never used toner. My skin is smooth and even. I guess I was lucky. BUT….being older I would like to know how to put on eyeliner for someone my age so it looks natural and makes my eyes look bigger without outlining them . I don’t use black liner because it looks silly on me. I heard there is a way to use a white eyeliner along with a brown but I don’t know how to apply. Can anyone help? Thanks

    • Good morning, Cindy!
      For most of my life, I’ve gotten lots of compliments on my eyes. They are what’s known as, “Big, brown eyes” with long, lush eyelashes. Now that I’m much older & competing with mostly considerably younger Women in the Workplace, I’ve “adjusted “ my makeup application to a younger, more flattering look.
      In my opinion, this is the best eyeliner look for older Ladies & I believe it’s what you’re asking about.
      Using a brown or gray eyeliner pencil, line the “under lash” area of the top eyelid. Then, with a white eyeliner pencil, line the bottom where many ladies use a dark pencil. It’s a great look! It’s not a harsh look & definitely a “younger”, more flattering look. Hope you like it.

      • The upper lid technique of lining under the top lashes is also known as “tightlining”
        Stopping the practice of dark liner on the bottom lashes was a good thing for me- this “closes in” the eye and makes it look smaller, plus I smeared it a lot.
        YouTube tutorial on this – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwH8AhW5N2A

    • I sold makeup and skin care in a retail setting and as a personal consultant for many years. No one whose skin tissue is losing it’s elasticity should use any eyeliners. It further narrows the eye opening. As we age, our sclera (white of the eye) begins to lose its brightness. It may even discolor a bit. The white pencil will point to this contrast.

      Eyeliner, in the wrong hands, even young ones, can be harsh looking. I always encouraged teens to use a darker shadow at the lash line. It can be blended out and is so much easier to “fix” if a mistake is made! Please no liquids! They are not attractive!

      Use careful applications of mascara and brow color to emphasize your eyes. And don’t forget lipstick!

  • Love this, many thanks fo the suggestions of dupes. Being high end and pricy does not make better quality. I knew of a couple of these but not all, cannot wait to get and try.

    • Sherrill, I do the same thing! You’ll be interested to know that Covergirl states that it doesn’t test on animals. There are good lists available online if you want to check out a specific company.

  • If you haven’t tried Baby Skin, you don’t know what you are missing. It is AMAZING!! I have used so many expensive primers and couldn’t imagine this would do anything. I mean, it’s called Baby Skin and it is in a pastel tube which looks anything but sophisticated. LOL! PLus it costs next to nothing compared to other primers. I’m happy to say I was wrong. It glides on over your skin — not sticky or slippery but literally glides where you put it. And once it is on and you apply your foundation, your skin will look like velvet! I gave some to a friend of mine who is the harshest critic ever on things like this and she LOVES it. She said she didn’t get as good a result as I did but she “freaking loves it!”. LOL! Best thing ever — I can order it on Amazon and have it the next day. Often I get it for $6ish and free shipping with Prime. Occasionally, Target carries it for $5 something. However, if you find it at one of these stores, I suggest buying two tubes. They don’t ever seem to stock enough and they are often out because it’s so good. There, the secret is out! Go forth and BUY! ;-D

  • Do people really use all of these products (primer, blush, etc.)? I mix a bit of Cover Girl foundation with sunscreen and I am out the door. Don’t women realize that piling on all of that heavy stuff (both on the skin and over the top eye makeup) makes you look so unnatural and sometimes even trashy! Besides, how many chemicals are you putting on that gets absorbed into your skin!

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