Do you ever get a makeup purchasing impulse at 2 a.m.? Or realize you’ve run out of a favored color ahead of a late night event? Sephora’s unfortunately not open all night, or it may be a lengthy cab or subway ride away. CVS, Duane Reade and their ilk, present on many more corners, often keep late-night hours for important purchases like penicillin and emergency mascara.
Drugstore products almost never approach the aesthetic quality of their high-end counterparts. Counter brands generally feature more substantial and well-executed packaging, fancier mini-brushes, more finely milled powders and that generally luxe je ne sais quoi that you find wrapped in tissue paper in a pretty shopping bag tied with a ribbon. But for backups and last-minute replacement, these six drugstore “dupes” offer a lot of dazzle for your dollar.
1.) NARS Orgasm Lipgloss vs. NYC Lipgloss in Sungold: The salacious name is only part of the reason NARS Cosmetics’ Orgasm color is so overwhelmingly popular. These peachy-pink nudes flatter skin colors on every end of the spectrum, offering a detectable but demure wash of color belying the naughty name. And at a quarter of the price, you can keep one in your car, your pen cup and on your nightstand.
2.) MAC Smolder vs. Rimmel Soft Kohl in Jet Black: It seems people generally stick to one form of favored eyeliner- gel, a felt tip, a pencil or liquid. I’m a pencil girl, and I’ve noticed that the product cubby for Rimmel’s Soft Kohl in Jet Black is almost always empty in the store. The popularity is for good reason- the pencil creates a variably thick line that’s assertive and sharp, and goes on butter-soft and true black.
3.) Clinique Black Honey vs. Covergirl Lipslicks in Edgy: Intimidating in the tube, Clinique’s Black Honey has amassed a huge following of loyal gloss-lovers due to its eminently wearable, almost individually adjustable brown berry shade. The pretty, sleek packaging, however, has a way of quietly rolling out of clutches and cosmetic bags. Leave the Clinique version at home, and try the slightly less dynamically hued Covergirl version in Edgy for work and after-dinner touchups.
4.) NARS South Beach/Orgasm Duo vs. E.l.f. Contouring Blush, Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick vs. Milani Glimmer Stripes: Falling under the category of “close enough” are the NARS vs. E.l.f. and Bobbi Brown vs. Milani combos pictured above. Strong pigment is expensive, but in a pinch, these bronzing/blushing duos are perfectly acceptable substitutes and a good addition to your beach bag.
5.) MAC Spice Pencil vs. Wet ‘n’ Wild #666: Quite possibly the original widely buzzed about dupe, MAC’s universal lipliner Spice matches literally any lipcolor, and the Wet ‘n’ Wild version is a near-twin and 99 cents a go. Works under the nudest nudes and reddest reds equally well.
Do you have any secret drugstore dopplegangers for your favorite counter cosmetics?
Laura Connell says
This is a useful post not only for late-night runs but for saving money anytime. Thanks!
Thanks! I love makeup of all sorts, and if CVS is the only thing that’s open, I can’t help but pick a few little things up.