9 Cheaper Alternatives To Expensive Makeup When You Just Can't Afford To Splurge

A model gets her makeup done backstage prior to Valentin Yudashkin during the 2015-2016 fall/winter ready-to-wear collection fashion show on March 10, 2015 in Paris. AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND GUAY (Photo credit should read BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)
Source: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images

In my experience, no one likes paying full price for anything, which is prcisely why we often find ourselves on the lookout for cheaper alternatives to expensive makeup. Because many drugstore brands are under the same corporate umbrella of a few major beauty companies, the liquid foundation you find in a fancy department store might have the same exact ingredients in it as the one in the drugstore. So who would want to pay full price for a designer item when you can drive down the block and grab basically the same thing at a fraction of the price? I'll tell you: no one.

Unless, of course, you're dedicated to a luxury brand or high street makeup or skincare item because you're convinced it has magical properties and you can't physically live without it. But if you're not necessarily attached to anything in your makeup bag or on your vanity, finding makeup dupes might just become your new hobby. It happened to me, anyway.

I am a huge fan of makeup and like researching new items to expand my collection, whilst getting the best bang for my buck. During my Internet escapades, I one day came across the @dupethat Instagram account, and my life changed forever.

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The account posts swatches and product reviews with almost every post. And not to mention, amazing, nearly spot-on dupes. When Marc Jacobs released the LoveMarc Lip Gels last week, they sold out within hours. But have no fear, @dupethat knows exactly the cure to your woes. As you can see, the NYX Butter Lipstick in "Licorice" is nearly the same exact color and for $24 less. So, see: You get all that from the comfort of your own Instagram feed!

In an effort to make your wallet and your makeup collection smile, here are nine nearly spot-on drugstore dupes that will help you start those spring savings just a little sooner.

1. NARS Blush/Bronzer Duo Vs. ELF Studio Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder

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NARS Blush/Brozer Duo, $42, Sephora
ELF Studio Contouring Blush & Bronzer Powder, $7, Amazon 

Some people swear by NARS' "Orgasm" blush and Laguna Bronzer, and obviously, it's a great product! But ELF's version has almost the same consistently and shades in a package that even looks similar to a NARS product. The major difference here is the price, though. The NARS duo sells for $42, while ELF's version goes for a whopping $3! If you're an avid NARS fan, you may want to try out ELF's product before you completely make a switch. But if you're just looking for a new blush/bronzer duo, ELF might be the answer to your prayers.

2. MAC Russian Red Lipstick Vs. Rimmel Lasting Finish By Kate Moss In 01

MAC Russian Red Lipstick, $17, Nordstrom
Rimmel Lasting Finish By Kate Moss, $4, Amazon

It's impossible not to fall in love with MAC's lipsticks. There are so many, and they are so pretty. There's basically a shade and texture for everyone on the planet! But sometimes you just can't afford them (cry!). They retail around $16, and while that's modest compared to some other luxury brands, it's much higher than most drugstore ones, including Rimmel.

Rimmel's Kate Moss collection features a blue-hued red indistinguishable from MAC's Russian Red, for a third of the price!

3. MAC Viva Glam Miley Cyrus Vs. Wet N Wild Don't Blink Pink

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MAC Viva Glam Miley Cyrus, $16, Nordstrom
Wet N Wild in Don't Blink Pink, $4, Amazon

A find courtesy of @dupethat, this dupe is too good to pass up. MAC's Viva Glam products are so popular and so coveted that they sell out everywhere and are super hard to find. Thankfully, this Wet N' Wild version looks like an exact match for only $2. 

4. Dior Diorshow Mascara Vs. L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Mascara

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Dior Diorshow Mascara, $25, Sephora
L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Mascara, $6, Amazon

Diorshow Mascara, another one of those cult beauty products, is basically magic in a bottle. I have used it before, and I absolutely love it. It makes my lashes look long, without getting too heavy or flaking on me. But I just cannot bring myself to buy it every month because of its $25 price tag.

Good thing L'Oreal has a nearly identical dupe in its Voluminous Mascara. The wands are almost exactly alike, fuzzy and round, and have a very similar consistency that will lengthen and add volume to your lashes. All for just $8.

5. MAC Fluidline Vs. Maybelline Lasting Drama Eyeliner

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MAC Fluidline, $16, Nordstrom
Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Eyeliner, $8, Amazon

When it comes to eyeliner, everyone has their preference, and color, texture, and consistency are all major factors in perfecting that cat eye wing — so it's best not to mess with anyone and their favorites.

But vloggers rave on about how Maybelline's Eye Studio Lasting Drama eyeliner is equal if not better to MAC's Fluidline eyeliner in "Blacktrack." Both in pure black, smooth, and long-lasting, these gel eyeliners are very comparable — except for the $6 price difference. For eyeliner fans, this dupe might be something to look into.

6. The Balm's Mary Lou-Manizer Vs. Coastal Scents's Hot Pot in Flesh Tone

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The Balm Mary Lou-Manizer, $16, Amazon
Coastal Scents Hot Pot in Flesh Tone, $2, Coastal Scents

This highlighter frequently shows up on beauty vloggers' channels, and clearly creates a beautiful sheen and highlight on the high points of the face. That being said, the $24 price tag isn't always doable. But the good news is there's an almost exact copy of it for just $2, Coastal Scents' Hot Pot in Flesh Tone! Even though the Coastal Scents version is an eyeshadow, it does the same job.

7. Makeup Forever HD Powder Vs. ELF High Definition Powder

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Makeup Forever HD Powder, $35, Sephora
ELF High Definition Powder, $6, Amazon

When it comes to translucent powders, because they're, well, translucent, only you will know the difference. That being said, it's a fool-proof product to set your makeup and avoid shine throughout the day — which means it's gotta be good.

While Makeup Forever's product gets rave reviews, it's $32. ELF's version is much more affordable at only $3, and also guarantees the same results.

8. Stila Lipglaze In Apricot Vs. ELF Hypershine Gloss In "Flirt"

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Stila Lip Glaze in Apricot, $22, Amazon
ELF Hypershine Gloss in Flirt, $6, Amazon

Who doesn't love a $1 dupe? Well, yet another ELF product makes it into this article with its Hypershine Gloss in "Flirt." The twist-up lipgloss is an exact match to Stila's Lip Glaze in "Apricot," a product that is $22. If you're a gloss addict, you probably know how coveted the Stila Lip Glazes are, but for one buck, the ELF version has got to be worth looking into.

9. MAC Spice Vs. Beautique Mocha Lipliner

MAC Lipliner in Spice, $18, Nordstrom
Beautique Lip Liner in Mocha, $9, Amazon

Even though lip liner has gone in and out of style, it's a basic staple for evening-out your lips and making your lipstick last super long. Plus, these days it's trendy because of the Kylie Jenner lip fad, and this color is also perfect for recreating her look.

Beautique's lip liner in Mocha is almost an exact dupe for MAC's Spice, a warm brown/taupe color. The difference is in the prices: Beautique goes for $3 whilst MAC for $16. 

Images: Getty; dupethat, jillianbeauty, makeupby_jlo/Instagram; Curious Alisa; YouTube

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