‘How are they getting away with this?’ When it comes to Aldi’s wide selection of beauty ‘dupes’, it’s a thought that’s probably crossed the majority of shoppers’ minds. It’s certainly crossed mine, most recently when I saw the supermarket’s new range of low-cost Special Buy colour cosmetics that bear an uncanny resemblance to some of makeup’s most sought-after products.
Close inspection of the lookalikes makes one thing abundantly clear - the Lacura team’s attention to detail is insane. From the outside, they give the impression that they could give their costlier sources of inspiration a run for their money. But as we all know too well, style doesn’t always equate to substance. Are these new arrivals the real deal or another example of high street beauty dupes going too far ? Having tried and loved the originals, we thought we might be in the perfect position to find out. Here’s how we got on...
A copy of: Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow, £49
Our verdict: I had to take a double (maybe triple) take when this arrived on my desk - its likeness to the rose gold packaging of the original was a little discombobulating. My surprise continued when I opened it up to see a very familiar looking bronzer and highlighter peeking up at me. The similarities ended there though. Despite having high expectations, the colour payoff was extremely minimal and because it’s only available in one shade (unlike its inspiration), it lacks mass appeal. It’s a no-go for people with darker skin tones like myself.
A copy of: Nars Blush in Orgasm, £24
Our verdict: As far as blushers go, you’re unlikely to find one that’s made as much of an impact as Nars’ Orgasm. It’s the number one seller in the States and has garnered an equally loyal following over in our neck of the woods too. It counts GTG’s lovely Alex Harrison (who’s also a very talented makeup artist) as a fan and so she was keen to try Aldi’s cheaper version. Again, its level of pigment disappointed (its peachy pink tone completely failed to show up on me) and it provides more of a full-on glitter look rather than the original’s much subtler lit-from-within shimmer. Fine if that’s what you’re after, not if you’re looking for a finish that matches the original.
A copy of: Benefit They’re Real Mascara, £21.50
Our verdict: We’re big fans of Aldi’s lash-lengthening wands, particularly their sellout £2.50 volumising 3D Effect Mascara . We had high expectations here, and they were met. Slightly cringey name aside, it provided great lift, separation and length, with its precision end proving extremely effective at reaching lashes in the inner and outer corners of the eyes.
A copy of: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, £26
Our verdict: Oil-free, just like the original, this smoothing primer’s silky feel was a definite plus and it didn’t feel heavy on my skin. It claims to provide a matte finish and so I applied it on my oily T-zone to see if it could help with some much-needed shine control during the day. Sadly, it didn’t really measure up to the original in this regard, but I did like its lightweight texture though.
A copy of: Benefit Hoola Bronzing Powder, £25.50
Our verdict: From its brush to its Hawaiian inspiration, this potential dupe certainly looks the part. However, we found that it fell short when it came to intensity and finish. Alex found it to be warmer-toned than the original Hoola, and it was quite patchy too. It also lacked staying power.
What’s worth buying?
If you’re going to buy one thing from the range, we’d recommend the mascara. Unfortunately, the others didn’t measure up to the originals in our opinion. Looks-wise, yes, they are extremely similar. Performance-wise, we’re afraid not, it's more a case of playing dress-up. If you’re looking for a ‘beauty dupe’ in the proper sense, try Lacura’s £3.99 hot cloth cleanser or £5.99 Naturals Eyeshadow Palette instead.
Aldi’s new makeup Special Buys are available to buy online and in-store.
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