Do You Agree With The Dupe? 

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

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16 Comments

  1. Tiffany Creighton

    Love this post! Comparing the two I do feel that Makeup Revolution were treading a little too close to the line with the palette in question, but I love dupes. I can’t afford high-end makeup, all my stuff is Drugstore makeup, so seeing a palette which is a cheaper alternative to something I have seen but can only dream of affording is a breath of fresh air. I know that some high-end brands will reduce prices in sales but even then sometimes I look at them and think that I can still get a dupe for less! I always try cheaper brands of new items to see if I even like the product – I recently did it with CC correctors and oval brushes and as much as I like them, I am not willing to pay through the nose for Artis brushes or Camo palettes which cost a bomb when I can find dupes that do just as good, if not better, a job than the high-end brands xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 21

    I agreed with you, i really love to see youtubers and bloggers talk about expensive makeup and of course i would love to buy it but can’t, but just because i can’t it doesn’t mean i can’t try a cheaper version of it. Kat as the right to be mad but she was to understand that many people can’t afford to buy her makeup, and many high end makeup. Should we don’t use makeup just because we can keep up with their prices?
    I love dupes and as long as i can’t afford urban decay, makeup forever, ABH, Natasha Denona, and many more expensive brands i will choose a good dupe. If this brands don’t want to be “copy” so sell more cheaper items so that everyone can buy it, because let’s be honest i will not stop eat to buy expensive makeup.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. perlamoncada

    I think that as a creator should be sad to see your work copied but at the same time on fashion industry if somebody copy you that means you are good and I think at some point this is part of the success.
    What I would say about the lawsuits is that they are about branding and merchandising but not much about formulation, which is the difference we as a consumers should focus about and not just how similar something looks like, you mention this as how many dangerous products are there in the market and we as consumers are just looking for the best option.
    I will also add that sometimes high end brands are just selling us their name, like the other day I just realize main ingredient of benefit hoola bronzer ($29dlls) is talc, same used in brands like elf so in my opinion, make sense to buy drugstore makeup if is a good deal on ingredients.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ella May Garrett

    This was a really interesting post to read and I loved your take on it. I feel so conflicted since seeing Kat’s video about the matter because I think there are so many arguments for both sides that are important. I totally agree about your point in reference to a safe, cheap alternative. It is so much better than people buying dodgy eBay dupes and things that are packed with harmful chemicals. Like you said, dupes are often just word of mouth and they may not even intentionally be aiming to be a dupe for a higher end product so that seems cool. However Makeup Revolution is one of the first big brands to embrace that it’s what they’re doing. I think they’re great but from Kat’s perspective, all of her hard work is wasted! I think it is better to admit you’re a dupe (if that’s what you’re intending) rather than pretend you’re not but ripping off someone’s artwork, placement of colours etc is close to lawsuit territory and I think it is super risky for them! Pricing is also a massive thing, of course. Like, I want to buy Too Faced and ABH palettes but I just can’t afford it. Maybe these dupes will highlight this ridiculous pricing as a problem – I don’t want to buy a £40-50 palette that I might not even like or use when I get it… nuh uh! Sorry for the long comment, I really am enjoying seeing all the different views on this debate as I can’t really make up my mind! xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. emaalymaae

      First of all I love this comment! Thank you so much for taking the time to type it!! It’s so hard to formulate a solid opinion because both sides are so compelling. But people want choice and they want value for money. That’s never going to go away and I don’t think the dupe will either. Whether they will continue to resemble the original I don’t know but MUR’s marketing strategy is so good and clearly works!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thatmexicangal

    yesss I agree with you, theres a fine lie between them .. they recently got in trouble with kat von d. I guess it depends on everyone? I know I sometimes prefer the high end product but I like having the option of getting the dupe if its cheaper and I don’t want to get the expensive one. Loved this !!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. emaalymaae

      Thank you so much for your comment! I’m assuming that as they still sell the palette it’s completely legal? I think people are definitely waking up to the dupe and as it gets more and more popular, high end brands are now noticing. I like a healthy mix of dupe, middle price and high end but I think it’s great makeup is now far more accessible for everyone

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thatmexicangal

        Aww you are welcome! and I have no idea, I don’t think she took any legal action so I’m thinking its still legal? but that one is wow almost identical they didn’t even bother changing the name that much hahah and yes I love the fact that really inexpensive brands have such good products.. i love makeup revolution’s highlights!!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Sophie in Wonderland xo

    You have made some excellent points, a very well written article! I have to say i am on the fence with the blatant copying but like you said everybody does it and i for one purchase the cheaper alternatives because i just can’t afford high end! I also do it with fashion and groceries and as you pointed out what is the difference? Very good points well made! Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. AmyToriaMakeUp

    I think you’re spot on. I see Kat’s point that she poured her heart into the creative side of her palette, but at the end of the day they aren’t individually hand made, they’re still mass produced and at around £40 it is just inaccessible to some. I think makeup revolution have done such a good job of making makeup accessible to everyone that they deserve every bit of their success.

    I have reviewed loads of their products over at my blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. emaalymaae

      Thank you so much! I agree, it’s made Makeup so accessible and makeup elitism needs to stop! Why should you have to have a lot of cash to try out a new trend? If it works just as well I’ll always go for the budget option

      Like

      1. AmyToriaMakeUp

        Exactly! I mean as you said there will always be straight up fakes, but something that is similar shouldn’t really be a threat to you if you have that much faith in your brand. (No shade intended there lol) So many trends are fads that who has £40 each time the new fad arrives? I defo don’t 😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Rach

    Completely agree with you! Sometimes high end brands need to consider that not everyone can afford their products so we’re always going to turn to the more affordable alternative! X

    Liked by 1 person

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