Beauty on a budget: fan favorites that won’t break the bank


Photo used with permission from Google Creative Commons

High end makeup brands like Dior have been made popular by social media influencers.

The popularity of high-end makeup products stems from trend cycles, which are often perpetuated by social media. Oftentimes the perceived quality of a high-end product is what drives demand. Factors such as packaging, aesthetics, and even the luxurious feel of using a higher-end brand all contribute to the popularity of a product. “Sometimes I do agree it’s the packaging that makes it more expensive, but what I’m looking for tends to be on the more expensive and high end side,” senior Caroline Carver said.

Even so, spending thousands on makeup products often isn’t feasible. Due to its high demand, makeup is expensive, and as prices continue to rise in response to consumer demand, the divide between high-end and drugstore products will continue to widen. There is still hope, however, as lower-end brands have begun to focus their production on affordable options. Whether you’re seeking to follow trends or a popular product is sold out, this article has the “dupes” that are perfect for building a solid beauty routine while keeping costs low.

Charlotte Tilbury vs. Elf:

As trends move towards the “natural,” dewy skin look, tinted moisturizers and light foundations have risen to the top of bestseller lists. One such product, Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter, has become a favorite for customers who desire that glamorous, yet light look. This item, which comes with about 1 fl oz of product, costs $49 (according to Sephora), which is more than some customers can afford to spend. While the product itself performs, the amount customers have to spend to attain it makes it exclusive. Amidst the Flawless Filters fame, makeup brand Elf released their Halo Glow Liquid Filter in July of 2022, which immediately went viral as a “dupe” for the coveted skin tint. When comparing the products, both have the ability to give a glowy sheen, perfect for a light, no-foundation look. Elf’s product is priced at $14 (according to Ulta), and comes with 1.06 fl oz of product, .06 more than the Flawless Filter. “I will always prefer the cheaper product if it’s basically the same thing, because usually it is,” senior Maddie Press said.

Dior vs. Clarins

As a luxury brand, it is no surprise that Dior’s products run at high prices. One of their most popular products, their lip oil, has made waves online. The lip oil first went viral due to its ability to provide a perfectly glossy lip, with the added benefits of lip oil, as opposed to just lip gloss. However, the price of the product, $40 (according to Sephora), is considered too expensive for a lip product. Consumers who want to avoid high prices have turned toward another brand, Clarins, which sells a cheaper lip oil, which is priced at $28 (on Clarins website). The Clarins tinted lip oil comes in a variety of shades, similar to the Dior lip oil. The product also boasts similar benefits, which is confirmed by users comparing both products. The product’s finish is just as glossy as its expensive counterpart and has even been credited with lasting longer on the lips.

Milk Makeup vs. Elf

When it comes to facial makeup, preparing the skin is an important step in achieving smooth application. A popular method of preparation is using a primer that serves the needs of the user’s skin. One primer that has gained popularity is the Milk Makeup Hydrogrip Hydrating Makeup Primer. The primer is known for its sticky texture that keeps any and all base makeup, such as foundation and concealer, on all day. The product, which is priced at $38 (according to Sephora), comes with a standard size of 1.52 oz of primer. As the Hydrogrip gained traction online, Elf stuck again, releasing the Power Grip Primer. The Power Grip Primer, which has a similar blue packaging shade, is priced at $10 (according to Target), and comes with .811 oz. Comparing the two, users found that both products have the same sticky magic, which is preferable for consumers who want the same effect, but don’t want to break the bank. While the Hydrogrip comes with more product volume, the difference in price makes the Power Grip a better choice financially, despite running out faster.

Although I only covered three types of products, there are of course lots of other affordable makeup options. There is a variety of information online, both on social media and in news columns, that have other suggestions for makeup “dupes”. As long as you fact-check, you will find success in building your own routine without spending thousands of dollars at Sephora. “If you like a makeup routine it’s better to spend less on products that have dupes, because you’re paying for the same thing, and more on higher end products that don’t have dupes,” senior Esther Pustilnik said.