The makeup dupe. A cheaper, sometimes more accessible makeup product which aims to recreate another brand’s work. A consumer friendly option? Or a lawsuit waiting to happen? If it’s legal, does it make it right? Either way the makeup community is currently very divided on dupes.
One makeup brand in particular has been in the headlines a lot recently after Kat Von D spoke out regarding a palette which looked a lot like one of her own. I’m talking of course about Makeup Revolution which has taken the drugstore by storm over the past couple of years. Their website offers so many dupes for high-end products including Too Faced, Urban Decay and Jeffree Star which are well made, cruelty free and sold at a fraction of the price. It’s not hard to see why their business is booming!
I remember when I first came across Makeup Revolution in my local Superdrug and it literally changed my life. I was very under confident when it came to makeup yet I really admired high-end palettes and wanted to try and test all of the current makeup trends. However money was tight and I didn’t want to spend lots on something that I would only use a couple of times; especially as you cannot normally return makeup in the UK. The large array of beautiful palettes caught my eye and when I saw how affordable they were, I popped some into my basket. From there my love of makeup was born and I fundamentally feel that if Makeup Revolution hadn’t have been there that day, I wouldn’t be the makeup fanatic that I am today. It made the latest trends a lot more accessible and as consumers have grown far more savvy, it’s no surprise that Makeup Revolution keeps releasing more and more dupes.
But is there a fine line between dupe and direct copying? ‘Dupes’ are definitely not a new and revolutionary thing as the high-end fashion industry is continuously duped every single day. But at what point do we say a product is similar and more affordable or exactly the same?
The reality is that drugstore makeup brands have been duping high-end products for years but they haven’t been so vocal about it. Instead they rely on consumers to find similarities and through word of mouth the product becomes more popular. If you want a dupe through these brands you have to actively research whereas Makeup Revolution will very blatantly use similar packaging, layouts and names so the consumer can instantly pick them out. In fact they are not ashamed of their dupes at all and actively celebrate their makeup revolution; why buy a more expensive product when you can purchase a cheaper one which does the job just as well? Personally I really admire that and you can’t help but question the mark up on high-end products. The makeup industry is a business and the high-end one will happily charge us a lot more for increased profits, why shouldn’t we explore cheaper options?
The need for cheaper alternatives will not go away, for years direct fakes have been produced and sold under false pretences; filled with harmful chemicals, lower quality ingredients and are frankly dangerous. Are Makeup Revolution just providing a safer option for those who will look for a bargain anyway? Fundamentally these consumers would most likely not purchase the real deal, so are high-end brands really losing significant custom? Marketing in general has drastically changed over the past couple of years with Social Media leading the way for companies to really show off their products to their consumers. The age of the Blogger and Social Media Influencer can sell out a product in seconds and at a click of a button consumers can read reviews, recommendations and find dupes. This means that more and more people have access to so much information on different makeup products and this increases the chance of consumers finding these cheaper options. Consumers who would normally shop high-end are subject to this marketing and this is where high-end companies could see their profits decrease. I would definitely be interested to see how different brand’s like for like sales are affected each year and whether Makeup Revolution’s are increasing.
This leads me now to the tricky part of this discussion and that’s whether these dupes are not only providing the consumer a different option, but plagiarising a creator’s work. As a creator I would be disappointed if someone copied my own work but as a business manager I can definitely appreciate that it’s simply a gap in the market. I understand the time and effort that a creator will put into their products and I can only imagine how it would feel to see such a close replica sold on the market. But I feel we were all quick to praise discount supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl with their very clever marketing strategies. Who can forget the ‘I like this, but also like this’ campaign offering cheaper, almost exact alternatives to help families? How is what Makeup Revolution doing any different? The truth is it isn’t at all.
As for myself, I don’t have an unlimted amount of money and I like to shop carefully. I opt for a mix of high-end and drugstore products and I really think about my purchases. But while Makeup Revolution produces good quality products and dupes, I will always look to purchase from them. I love my Urban Decay Naked Palettes, I also love my Makeup Revolution Iconic Palettes but mostly I love having the choice of what price point I go for.
I find this topic so interesting and I would absolutely love to hear your opinion on the matter in the comments below. I appreciate this is an emotive subject for some so I do ask we keep all comments respectful and I in return will respect your opinions.
Emily Mae x