Dupe Loreal True Match vs Giorgio Armani Foundation


Makeup Dupes: 5 Tips To Help You Decide What To Buy

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Drug Store Dupes Pinterest Image


In today’s beauty landscape, where new products launch daily and social media overflows with influencer recommendations, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and pressured to keep up. But what if I told you that looking and feeling your best doesn’t have to involve a hefty price tag? Enter the world of makeup dupes, affordable alternatives to high-end products that often deliver similar performance.

My name is Natalie Setareh. I’m a professional makeup artist turned makeup educator. You can learn more about how I became a makeup teacher here. I also the author of the makeup book, Be Your Own Makeup Artist and podcast hostess under the same name. If you’d prefer to ‘listen’ to this blog post, I’ve linked it below for you.


Listen To This Episode


I’d like to welcome you or welcome you back to my little corner of the internet. If you want to learn makeup in a gentle and inclusive way with a less-is-more approach, you’re in the right place!


Housekeeping Announcements: 


As always, I want to disclose that I am a brand-agnostic makeup educator.  I spend a lot of my time and money in meaningful content creation and pride myself on inclusivity. This means that I’m not underpinned by brands to promote their products. With all the content I create, the products I recommend were purchased by me and/or used and trusted in my personal and/or professional makeup artist kit. I do use affiliate links, which helps keep my content ad-free!


Before we get started, I need to ask you a question, what’s your skin type? 


What good is a perfect dupe if you don’t know what types of product formulations are right for your skin type?

If you don’t have a skin care routine in place or you don’t know how to prep your skin for makeup, makeup simply won’t work! Makeup will feel uncomfortable on your skin, it won’t wear well (or apply well), and it’ll make you feel like giving up! If you really want to score big when it comes to makeup dupes, you have to know which products are formulated for your skin type!


Natalie Setareh Skin Type Guide

Understanding and knowing your skin type is paramount to any sort of makeup or product advice. If you’re not sure of your skin type, especially as it relates to makeup, please grab my skin type guide! This is a free guide because the information in it should be free! We all deserve to know our skin type, how to care for it, and how to select the right product formulations. This is incredibly useful information when deciding to grab the luxury product or the drugstore dupe.

What is a makeup dupe?


A makeup dupe is short for a makeup duplicate. In a nutshell, it’s finding two beauty products that perform with near similar results and/or share similar colors but are available for sale at two drastically different price points. And we all love a good deal! Oftentimes we find ourselves wanting/needing expensive products but want to find cheaper alternatives. Fortunately for you, there’s nearly a great dupe available at a fraction of the price — so if you like saving money, lucky you! I share some of the best makeup dupes at the end of this post but I want you to first read the tips — they’ll help you decide whether the dupe is the right thing for you or not.


Depotting Your Makeup Like a Pro w/ Grishan Roof (under the cover of makeup brands) >

Tip 1: Stay On Budget


There’s always going to be a new product or eyeshadow palette out there, looking for your impulse purchase. A more expensive product these days doesn’t mean a better product.

If there’s anything you remember from this post, it’s that you can find quality skincare and makeup at every price point. If you like saving money and aren’t loyal to luxury labels or packaging, find a dupe. Like I said previously, there aren’t always dupes for specialty and/or skincare products (especially from indie brands and/or brands that are privately owned and operated). With that being said, you can almost always find a product that performs at/about the same but at a lower price point.

You shouldn’t go into debt or pay interest on your credit card to pay for your skincare and makeup. Ever. 

As a matter of fact, I offer private makeup shopping services and shop within your budget! I know how the beauty industry works, what types of products work for different skin types and skin tones, and keep up to date on brand relationships, so if makeup shopping seems overwhelming or you’re looking for a specific dupe, book a makeup consultation service.

Even when it comes to your makeup tools, you can stick to a budget. Makeup brush technology has come such a long way and you can find quality brushes at every price point.

Always stick with your budget. Remember, less is often more. Instead of splurging on high-end products, Natalie encourages exploring affordable duplicates, known as “dupes.” It’s not just about saving money; it’s about smart investments that align with your budget. Do your research, compare ingredients and product lifespans, and discover the best drugstore makeup dupes for many luxury brand products. While Natalie has her own preferences for certain higher-end mascaras, she emphasizes that finding what works best for you is key, regardless of the price tag.

With the right tools and techniques, you can make drugstore makeup look like a million bucks!

Grab my Essential Tools For Makeup Guide here >


Tip 2: Know The Brand Connection

What The Beauty Industry Doesn’t Want You To Know

What does Maybelline, NYX, Urban Decay, Lancome, YSL, and Giorgio Armani have in common? Despite all being sold at a variety of different price points, they are all under the parent company, L’Oreal Paris.

I shed light on the beauty industry’s hierarchy, revealing brand connections and the dominance of conglomerates in my book, Be Your Own Makeup Artist. By understanding these brand or parent-child relationships, you can often find similar quality products within these “families” at different price points. This transparency empowers you to make conscious choices about where your money goes.

Don’t Take My Word for It, Google It: Unless you purchase from very particular indie brands (and even that isn’t completely original), you most likely buy from one of these companies:

  • Estee Lauder
  • L’Oreal Paris
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Shiseido
  • Coty
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Unilever


Are You Saying There’s A Good Dupe For Every Product Out There?

No. I’m not saying that. You’ll learn more about when you read Tips 3 and 4.

Bottom Line:

Dupes exist in the beauty industry exist because there are only so many factories that can manufacture makeup to scale.

This is the perfect segway to tip number 3… and not limiting yourself to mainstream brands or only buying from one brand.

Tip 3:  Explore New and Indie Brands

Innovation often thrives outside the mainstream. Supporting new and independent makeup brands not only fosters creativity but also allows you to discover unique, affordable products you won’t find on every shelf. I encourage trying out these smaller names, as they often offer fresh perspectives and high quality without the hefty markups of established brands.

Some indie brands to consider:

Many of these smaller brands are cruelty free, vegan, and super pigmented. Because they are smaller and lesser known, products tend to sell out and be restocked frequently. Chances are, if you try them, you’ll love them… so long as they don’t sell out (both literally & figuratively).

Also, check your favorite drugstores for new brands. I know a lot of them are now carrying Korean skincare and makeup brands, and I even found a Girlaktic lippie at a Rite-Aid when I still lived in California and it’s amazing and didn’t cost near as much as some of the higher end department store products.


Tip 4: Cult Classics – Trusting Proven Favorites

If you want one-of-a-kind beauty products, you’ll want to buy from brands who keep everything (research & development, manufacturing, operations, packaging) in-house.  It’s harder to find dupes for indie and/or home-grown brands that still hand-pour their products and/or personally manage all aspects of products! But sadly, many of these brands eventually grow and get bought out by the big brands and/or big brands ‘copy’ these brands.

Every brand has its star product – the one they’re known for. I suggest sticking with these tried-and-tested favorites, often backed by research, quality, and brand commitment. These “cult classics” embody what the brand stands for and can be worth the investment due to their proven track record.

Senna Cosmetics Form-A-Brow

A great example of a cosmetic line with a passion product hails from Senna Cosmetics, founded by Eugenia Weston. It was her eyebrow product lineup that transformed an entire ‘brow’ movement and ‘inspired’ Anastasia of Beverly Hills. Upon learning that Senna is the original brow queen, I’ve switched over to Senna entirely for brow products (and her cream blushes are a dream) and I’ve never looked back.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see me using Senna a lot! It’s a powerful line found in pro kits but also available to regular makeup users. The cost value of Senna products cannot be beat.

It! Cosmetics is another brand with a great passion product, concealer & foundation specifically for rosacea.

Bottom Line:

Find the brand’s passion product — they tend to be the brand’s best. When  about why brands were founded and stick with what put them on the map. You’ll never go wrong and likely not be disappointed!

Tip 5: Focus on Product Performance, not Packaging

In a market saturated with fancy packaging and celebrity endorsements, it’s easy to fall for the aspirational and glitzy marketing. If you check out my interview with Grishan Roof of Depot Chopra, you’ll hear first hand what she has discovered with ‘depotting’ the highest end makeup and the lowest end makeup. She spills all the green tea in what she’s seen when taking expensive makeup out of its’ packaging…

Pretty packaging is just that. Pretty. It doesn’t mean that the actual product performs better.

The same advice applies to makeup tools!

Knowing which makeup tools and brushes to use and knowing how and where to apply makeup is more valuable than the actual makeup you use.  With the right makeup skills, it’s easy to make drugstore makeup look like a million bucks! One of the reasons so many people love my course, Learn Makeup in 5 Days, is that they build a small but mighty skincare routine and makeup kit on their terms, without worrying about buying brand name this or that.

Bottom Line:

Look past the sparkle and focus on the product’s performance and how it fits with your application technique. Remember, honing your makeup skills can make a bigger difference than the product itself.


Most Popular Makeup Dupes

Disclaimer: Please do not buy skincare or makeup products you don’t intend to use up before the product expires or loses it’s luster. As a matter of fact, I have a great post you can read here before buying or adding any new beauty products to your kit. I would also encourage you to cull your collection and/or do a ‘spring cleaning’ and possibly re-discover or re-purpose items you already have that you need to use up. Sustainability in beauty is extremely important to me. You can learn why you should care here:

Makeup Tools

A quick reminder, I have a great Essential Tools for Makeup Guide in my shop — it’s digital so you can download it and have a solid reference sheet when it comes time in building your toolkit.

Beauty Sponge Dupe

High-End: Beauty Blender

Dupe: Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

I have both and use both interchangeably. I get a pro discount on the beauty blenders so I tend to reach for those — plus, I like the black color. But the RT is a solid dupe.

Foundation Dupes


L'Oreal vs. Armani foundation dupe


  • High-end: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
  • Dupe: L’Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Foundation

It’s no wonder why the L’Oreal Lumi foundation is such a popular dupe for the Giorgio Armani… they are in the same brand family. Also, Estee Lauder and MAC foundations are cult favorites of makeup artists and have strikingly similar characteristics. Interestingly, Revlon ColorStay is the widely-known dupe for MAC foundation. Not in the same brand family. Just saying.


  • High-end: Too Faced Born This Way Super Coverage Concealer
  • Dupe: NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Concealer


  • High-end: NARS Creamy Radiant Concealer
  • Dupe: Maybelline fit me concealer



  • High-end: Benefit They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara
  • Dupe: Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara
  • High-end: Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara
  • Dupe: Maybelline Sky High Mascara

Why you might prefer the high-end: You mentioned liking the way the high-end mascara feels in your hand and the overall experience. While the performance might be similar, if those aspects are important to you, the high-end option might be worth it.



    • High-end: Urban Decay Naked Palette
    • Dupe: Revolution Beauty Naked Heat Palette
    • High-end: Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette
    • Dupe: Wet n Wild Cocoa Bear Palette


    Why you might prefer the dupe: You mentioned not needing a lot of eyeshadow palettes and disliking expired products. If you’re looking for a more affordable option and don’t mind trying new brands, the dupe could be a good choice.



      • High-end: MAC Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo
      • Dupe: Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick in Fighter
      • High-end: Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint
      • Dupe: NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Stockholm


      • High-end: Kylie Lip Kits
      • Dupe: ColourPop Liquid Lipsticks


      • High-end: Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick
      • Dupe: e.l.f Cosmetics Hydrating Core Lip Shine in Ecstatic (Not tried by Natalie)


      • High-end: Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer
      • Dupe: Maybelline Lifter Gloss

      Why you might prefer the dupe: You mentioned price being a factor, and the Maybelline option is more affordable. If you’re looking for a similar gloss effect without the high-end price tag, the dupe could be a good choice.


      Brow Products:

      • High-end: Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade
      • Dupe: NYX Tame & Frame Brow Pomade


      • High-end: Benefit Gimme Brow+ Volumizing Eyebrow Gel
      • Dupe: NYX Micro Brow Pencil

      Setting Powder: 

      • High-end: Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder
      • Dupe: No.7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Translucent Finishing Powder

        Eyeshadow Dupes:

        • High-end: Urban Decay Naked Palette
        • Dupe: Wet n Wild Color Icon Comfort Zone Palette

        Blush Dupes:

        • High-end: NARS Orgasm Blush
        • Dupe: Milani Baked Blush (Debunked by Natalie, not a true dupe but still a good product)
        • Why you might prefer the high-end: You mentioned finding the Milani blush good but not a true dupe. If the specific shade and formula of the NARS blush is important to you, the high-end option might be better.

        Skincare Dupes:

        One of the easiest ways to shop for skincare dupes are to look for the active ingredient and/or the percentage of said ingredient. Obviously, depending on your skin type you may want a higher or lower percentage of something. Vitamin C is a perfect example! This is an ingredient that Some tips

        • High-end: La Mer Moisturizer
        • Dupe: Nivea Creme (Significant price difference)


        • High-end: SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic
        • Dupe: Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster (Effectiveness not confirmed)

        Closing Thoughts & Extra Credit!

        Ultimately, beauty is not just skin deep, and the choices we make in our makeup purchases reflect our values and lifestyle. Natalie invites you to learn more through her book, “Be Your Own Makeup Artist Look, Unleash Your Inner Beauty,” her online course, and bespoke coaching programs. Remember, staying healthy and beautiful is not just about the makeup we wear, but about the sustainable decisions we make as consumers. So here’s to making more mindful choices, one lipstick at a time!

        Bonus Tip: Consider incorporating skin care into your routine. Focusing on healthy skin, regardless of skin type, with the right active ingredients can create a flawless foundation for any makeup look, reducing the need for heavy coverage products.

        By following these tips, you can embrace a more sustainable and affordable approach to beauty, while still achieving the looks you love. Remember, the most important ingredient is your own confidence!

        Be Your Own Makeup Artist book by Natalie Setareh


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        Beauty is about perception, not about make-up. I think the beginning of all beauty is knowing and liking oneself. You can't put on make-up, or dress yourself, or do you hair with any sort of fun or joy if you're doing it from a position of correction.

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