The Good, The Bad, & the Unhealthy

Dupe Brands May Be Duping You

Table laid out with beauty products. Dark table, dim lighting. Eye shadow palette in the foreground, blurry. Makeup tools in the mid-ground, brushes, pencils, eyelash curlers. A metal standing mirror, and blush compacts in the background.

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Dupe makeup has been around since 2014 (give or take). It’s a wildly popular trend about finding cheap makeup look-alike to expensive brands. Usually the color of a product is what’s being duped .The idea is to avoid dropping $35 dollars on a Dior lipstick when you can spend $3 on ELF for the same look/affect. But there’s a reason why the dupes are cheaper.

The ingredients in the products have to be cheap to produce, which means they’re often comprised of synthetic, low-grade chemicals. If the cost of making the products is low, then the overall quality is low. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great dupes out there. Like the ones that advertise cheaper makeup sponges? Brilliant. But those aren’t being absorbed by your skin or directly putting your body at risk.

So you’d think that the expensive brands with the higher quality materials and ingredients would be healthier. Nope. They actually aren’t any better ingredient wise.

The high cost can be based on the brand alone, like a Chanel or Marc Jacobs which can up-sell their product for the name alone unlike a smaller brand. A big price tag doesn’t mean the product automatically has better ingredients, is risk free or even cruelty free.

You’re essentially only trading one hazard for another, and the cost to health ratio doesn’t add up.

The dupes you find on the internet, if not all of them, are sold at drug stores and pharmacies. Because of this, it’s really hard to know if the brands sold there have ingredients to cause concern or are ok to use regularly.

To help out my fellow babes, I compiled a list of 30 different makeup brands sold at stores like CVS, Target, and Walmart. This way babes who want to continue to purchase at similar locations, buy their usual products and spend less money, can still do so.

Unfortunately you’ll find that few brands are Bona Fide Babe approved, meaning the majority of these dupes aren’t worth the low prices.

Some Suggestions

Not wanting babes to end up being the ones duped, I went digging through hundreds of dupe makeup visuals and lists to find some Bona Fide Babe approved dupe makeup.

Was it easy? No.

Was it worth it? 100%

There was a really limited number of products I felt were ok to promote as being safe to use. So remember, if some products of a brand are given the Bona Fide Babe approval, that doesn’t mean all of the products from that brand are approved. Some brands can offer low-risk products while other products can cause health concerns.

If you want to check out a product go to EWG Skin Deep and my guide on how to navigate the website/app before buying something not explicitly approved. Fair warning, there are over 60,000 products in the database, but that doesn’t mean it has everything!

Remember, I am approving the less expensive dupes in this post not the expensive products.


All of these blush dupes are Bonafide Babe approved! They score a surprisingly low 1 on EWG and are absolutely killer price-wise. The brand E.L.F. is also Cruelty-Free, and offers some vegan options. Here are the ingredient scores for “Tickled Pink“, “Fuchsia Fusion” and “Candid Coral”.

While this blush doesn’t score as well as E.L.F. health-wise, it’s still a great dupe. Save more than $20 on a sparkle blush with the wet n wild “Fantastic Plastic Pink” scoring a 2 on EWG. Wet n Wild only offers cruelty-free makeup as well as some vegan options. And while I don’t personally have their blushes, I love other Wet n Wild products!


Most drugstore lipsticks rate high on the health risk scale, making it difficult to find any real dupes. So with a lot of searching, and a bit of luck, I was able to find a classic red that rates well. Milani is a cruelty-free brand that offers some vegan options, and their “Confident” lipstick that is Bona Fide Babe approved.

Powder Stick

Not only does this dupe include skin-saving SPF 50 in it’s formula, but saves you $40! Mineral Fusion is the top scoring brand on EWG and completely Bona Fide Babe approved. So while this powder stick isn’t specifically rated in the database, take a look at any of their products to see how well they consistently score.

Illumination Palette

Another dupe by E.L.F. is their Illuminating Palette vs. Anastasia Beverly Hills. This is a product that definitely boarders the fine line between Bona Fide Babe approved and containing some health risks. The “Illuminating Palette” scores a 2 on EWG, but has some ingredients that you may want to avoid. I leave this one up to my fellow babes to decide on. Just know that it is one of the better glow kits you can get for a fraction of the cost (and is why I still recommend).

Setting Spray

This one isn’t so much a dupe as it is two different products, here’s why.

MAC Fix + is often advertised as a setting spray, when really it doesn’t set much of anything. The spray mega-hydrates the skin before you put on primer or foundation and makes the makeup go on so much smoother. It can be used again once all your face makeup has been applied.

E.L.F. setting spray is just that, a finishing spray to lock everything in place.

I actually use both products, but for different reasons! If you’re looking for a setting spray then E.L.F is the way to go. If you’re looking for a hydrating spray or for something to give your makeup a more natural skin-like look then definitely MAC Fix +.

Together, they’re a Bona Fide team.

Dupe Me Baby

This was not the easiest list to compile because so many dupes are of brands that aren’t good for your health anyway. Entire lists were immediately unavailable to me because of this (which definitely narrowed my search), but also potential options.

Lipsticks were especially hard to find because so many of the brands rated very poorly. And I felt strongly to not include something that is so easily ingested and absorbed into the body. I’ll continue to search for good dupes in the future. Let me know if you’d like to see more in the comments below, and maybe I’ll make/photograph my own dupes!

Information Resources

EWG Skin Deep

Blush Dupe Image

As always, be sure to reference the reviews of any product. Never take one person’s word as law because everyone is different! You’ll have different skin needs or desires which can be re-affirmed by other’s experiences.


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One response to “Dupe Brands May Be Duping You”

  1. Aama says:

    The title alone is awesome and it was a good read too!

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