Let’s face it, we all love a bargain. Especially when it comes to our skincare and makeup bag, which can cost a fortune if you’re not careful.
For every cult or best-selling beauty product, there’s a cheaper alternative waiting in the wings. Whether that’s a lipstick in an identical shade or a moisturiser with similar properties, you just need to know where to look.
There’s often a compromise to be had if you opt for the cheaper option. It might not smell as nice, the packaging could be less fancy or it might run out sooner, but whether you think it’s worth saving the cash is down to personal preference.
So if you’re looking to save a few pennies while still topping up your stash, here’s our pick of beauty dupes worth trying out.
[For more detailed reviews check out our ‘Spenny Vs Penny’ series, where we compare expensive products to cheaper alternatives]
There’s a reason why Liz Earle’s hot cloth cleanser is a best-seller: it smells delicious and offers a little bit of luxury morning and night. But it doesn’t come cheap, which means we tend to get it as Christmas or birthday presents. If you’re looking for something cheaper, Superdrug’s version is a good alternative – some reviewers say it’s even better. And, added bonus, it’s vegan.
If you’ve got sensitive skin, we’d recommend Superdrug’s Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser, 200ml – Superdrug, £4.99.
The naked palettes have maintained cult status for years, thanks to their wide array of colours, durability and easy to blend shades.
The heat palette launched to much success thanks to its warm-hued versatile range of reds, oranges and browns. But the W7 palette has very similar shades for a whole lot less.
You’ll find matte, shimmer and satin shades in both so you can experiment with bold looks to your hearts content.
Pixi Glow Tonic 250ml, £18 vs Aldi Lacura Glycerol Exfoliating Toner 250ml, £3.99
There’s no denying that Lacura is based on the cult product Pixi Glow Tonic – it has incredibly similar packaging and both contain 5% glycolic acid. The biggest obvious difference is price point.
Having used both for a week, they have very similar results, too. Aldi’s leaves more of a zinging feeling after use – make of that what you will.
With Aldi’s version is notoriously hard to find (and constantly selling out), another decent alternative is The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid Toning Solution 240ml (£6.75). It’s got 7% glycolic acid so is slightly more tingly.
What Sleek Makeup lacks in packaging, it makes up in product with its brow kit containing a pigmented wax and corresponding powder with two angled brushes and mini tweezers – just like Benefit’s Brow Zings Kit.
A wax is particularly good if you have sparse hair and want to create the illusion of perfectly groomed brows. Benefit does offer six shades to Sleek’s four, which is the only difference.
The Beauty Blender sponge is a perfect accessory for applying foundation and contouring that gorgeous face of yours. The only issue is price. At £17 it costs more than most foundations, which feels excessive.
If you’re on a budget, Real Techniques’ version is a great alternative. It’s a little coarser on the skin, but makeup applies in the same way – and it’s a third of the price. Result.
Spending over £30 on a single lippy is a stretch for any budget, but you might make an exception for Chanel’s Rouge Allure Velvet which feels like a real treat. It glides on smoothly over your lips and has a sophisticated bright red tone.
Zara, however, gives Chanel’s a run for its money: it manages to be just as moisturising with a similarly rich red tone, while being longer-lasting and a third of the price. Our only top tip: get a lip liner, as both have a slight tendency to bleed.
You may remember this from our recent Spenny v Penny review. While Primark isn’t as a bold as Too Faced, which claims to be better than sex, but for £2.50, it’s a pretty close match, and if you’re on a budget, it does the job just fine.
Expect long, fluttery, voluminous lashes from both. Our only gripe is the scent from Primark’s version is overwhelming, but if you can get past that, you’re saving yourself £16.50. Result.
Bioderma’s Sensibio Micellar Water has long been a favourite backstage at fashion shows, where makeup artists used to to cleanse skin covered in thick layers of makeup. It removes even waterproof mascaras, all you need is a cotton pad.
However, it is at the pricer end of the micellar market, so if you’re shopping for a bargain, L’Oreal Paris’ version for normal to combination skin is equally good and will remove makeup, dirt and grime without the need to rub or rinse skin. Keep by your bedside table for when you’re feeling lazy.
If you think vitamin C is just something found in orange juice, think again. You should be incorporating it into your skincare regime. It’s something of a multitasker with abilities to brighten, minimise fine lines and wrinkles, stimulate collagen production, reduce discolouration and protect your skin against future sun damage.
Kiehl’s contains 12.5% vitamin C as well as hyaluronic acid, which binds to water to help retain moisture, and our reviewer reported improvement in the texture and clarity within a few days. With this product a little goes a long way, but if you’re on a budget The Body Shop Vitamin C Skin Reviver is a good’un. Our reviewer described it as having an “instant, mattifying and smoothing effect” and it’s half the price of the Kiehl’s one.
Dry shampoo is a godsend for in between washes when you need a refresher and bit of oomph added to your barnet. If you’ve got big bucks to spend, Living Proof’s dry shampoo is nothing short of spectacular. It absorbs the excess oil causing greasy hair and odour and your hair genuinely feels cleaner after.
However if you’re on a budget a trusty can of Batiste also does the trick too and won’t leave any powdery build up and if you’re short on space, grab a travel size bottle instead.
Do you have dehydrated yet oily skin? You need hyaluronic acid in a gel form that won’t encourage oil production but will give you a healthy, plumped and hydrated complexion, and you’ll find that in both of these moisturisers.
While we love Clarins for its matte, shine-free finish, for a fraction of the price Neutrogena’s version is a soothing gel texture that is a great base for makeup application too.
Loved by many for its ‘second skin’ effect, Chanel’s sheer coverage foundation Aqua Vitalumière is famous for it’s glow-giving formula that Chanel recommends to buff into skin with your fingertips.
But if your struggling to afford the £37 price tag, Bourjois’ Healthy Mix Foundation is not far off from delivering the same radiance. Look fresh even if you’re not feeling it with the semi-matte formula with change from a tenner.
Chanel’s Le Vernis may be the ultimate nail varnish status symbol, but at £22 is it the best value for money? We compared Rouge Noir to other burgundy nail varnish on the market, finding that overall Poundland’s Deep Amethyst was the best alternative.
It’s longer-lasting with a great colour and a lovely shine – and it’s £21 cheaper.
We all work hard to earn our money – so it shouldn’t feel like hard work to spend it well. At HuffPost Finds we’ll help you find the best stuff that deserves your cash, from the ultimate lipstick to a durable iron to replace the one that broke (RIP). All our choices are completely independent but we may earn a small commission if you click a link and make a purchase.