not a professional. just crazy.

The Highly Convincing Skin-Care Dupes My Followers Filled Me In On

Photo: Courtesy of retailer

A year ago, I wrote about something my followers and I are equally passionate about: unearthing a good beauty dupe. Beyond the obvious (it’s nice to spend less), there’s something gratifying in feeling like you’ve outsmarted the beauty industry. Whenever I discover a new dupe, I simply cannot shut up about it: I text every beauty lover I know, post about it on Instagram, and share it here on the Strategist. I even created a Reddit account just so I could contribute to a beauty-dupe-focused thread. Some of my holy-grail products (like NYX’s Control Freak Brow Gel, which replaced my Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel) came into my life via a friend saying: “You wouldn’t believe the dupe I found.”

Last week, I put out the call on Instagram once again, asking my followers to share their all-time favorite beauty dupes and explain what formula they mimic and why they love it so much. Below, a selection — from the toner that replaced someone’s precious P50 to the essence that’s as effective (and half the price) of SK-II.

Dupe for NARS’s Primer

“I use this in place of NARS’s Primer. When applied properly, it holds up all day, doesn’t crease, and a tiny bit goes a long way. It’s slightly neutralizing and takes away redness and discoloration on the eyelid, so even if it’s just worn alone (without shadow) it makes your eyes look brighter. I love it.” — Emily Elisa, makeup artist

Dupe for Creme de la Mer Moisturizing Cream

$18 for 3

“Nivea is essentially an old-school cold cream. It’s such a great moisturizer (especially for dry skin), it still has that classic, clean-soapy scent, and it’s $7 for a giant tin. La Mer is basically a fancy cold cream: Yes, also a great moisturizer for dry skin, and it too smells amazing. It, however, is $120 dollars for a pretty, three-ounce jar. The ingredient list is essentially identical (except La Mer has petrolatum). The only other big difference is La Mer has a lot of antioxidants. The seaweed alpha hydroxy acid in La Mer isn’t, in my opinion, a reason to spend the extra money on it. I would just use the Nivea alongside a cheaper AHA exfoliating product.” — Sofie Pavitt, esthetician

Dupe for Biologique Recherche P50

“I was a devout P50 user for years and thought that nothing could ever be as good, until I tried this toner from Moon Juice. It gave me those same intensely brightening, skin-clearing, and pore-tightening effects that P50 did when I first started using it. I know it’s not drugstore-cheap or anything, but it’s far cheaper than P50 (which is around $67 a bottle.)” — Maya Kambe, director of development of Paramount Animation

Dupe for Chanel Joues Contraste Blush in Rose Bronze

“The Milani Dolce Pink blush is my all-time favorite dupe for the Chanel Joues Contraste Blush in Rose Bronze. What I love so much about both of them is that they give this really amazing natural flush effect. It gives off something in between a true look of being in the sun and flushed baby cheeks — without any red tones. But the Milani one is only $8!” — Joelle Hyman, associate visuals editor at Allure

Dupe for Benefit’s POREfessional Face Primer

“I used to love Benefit’s POREfessional Face Primer because it completely blurred and knocked out any pores or textural issues so that my skin was supersmooth for makeup. But then I found The Ordinary silicone primer, which has similar hydrating and blurring effects but for half the price. It’s so good; I love how long it helps my makeup last. Also, I initially wanted to find a dupe because I noticed Benefit’s primer was actually breaking me out. The Ordinary gives me that same smooth feeling, but I’ve found it’s actually a lot less greasy than Benefit’s primer.” — Phoebe Gillan, public-relations coordinator