Dupe is short for duplicate. Dupes are sort of like the generic of the makeup and skincare world.
What is a dupe?
A skincare or makeup dupe isn’t an exact carbon copy but a close similar. You can find products that are very similar in color and formulation. Dupes have the same active ingredients as the original. It is important to note that most dupes are never going to be identical to their counterparts – especially when it comes to all-natural or science-based brands that use patented formulas and rare ingredients sourced from around the globe. But in the beauty world even high end brands like Drunk Elephant have their cheaper dupe counterparts. And reading skincare ingredient labels is something everyone can do.
Six reasons why you should try dupes for makeup or skincare
You may discover a new brand you really like.
There are many cruelty free brands out there that have been in business for a long time but they don’t do national advertising ( Like OZNaturals, Refresh Skin Therapy & Nature’s Brands ). Therefore they can afford to put better ingredients inside their products instead of paying big ad prices. If you’re not brand loyal but ingredient loyal you’ll love having a close dupe as a choice.
Because its cruelty free.
Often bigger companies are old school and have continued to test on animals even though in America those tests are not required by the FDA. Many smaller companies don’t have the budget to buy beagles & bunnies for experiments or maintain testing facilities nor do they want to. Finding a cruelty free alternative to a current item will save animals from being tortured & abused when they really don’t need to be. Dupes can be ethical alternatives.
Because it saves money.
Duplicates are exciting for that very reason – you get a close option without laying down the big bucks. That’s definitely an added value. Some brands can afford to put better ingredients inside their products instead of paying for big ad campaigns.
You may end up with more volume of product.
If you have something you use a lot of like sunscreen or soap you’ll benefit from a dupe that’s cheaper because you could likely have more volume for a lesser price.
Because you want an item that has less fragrance.
Cruelty-free brands are good candidates for clean beauty alternatives that aren’t loaded with fragrance. Make sure it’s listed a fragrance free or unscented.
Because something you love has become discontinued.
Here’s where a dupe can really shine. The older the formulation, the easier it will be to find more replicas as replacements.
Honestly, when comparing two items it’s going to come down to highly individual preferences. I have medical background and I love reading ingredient lists and science based skin journals so high quality dupes are of interest to me.
Just be aware many companies don’t disclose active percentages. If you’re looking for specific percentages in skincare make sure the percentage you’re looking for are listed on the bottle.
For some people, skincare is something they do to treat themselves and they will look for the ones that smell nice, have familiar packaging, are gimmicky or just soften the skin, etc. over specific active ingredients. The larger companies know this and that’s why they go after those consumers over the ones that really care about ingredients. This type of skin care tends to be loaded with inactive filler ingredients for marketing purposes and fragrance for brand recognition, which is the exact opposite of what I personally want in my skincare.