There has been SO much chatter in the beauty community recently about makeup dupes and the ethics behind them. As a long time budget beauty blogger I have always been pro-dupe because my readers have cried out for them in so many areas but even I can see the darker side.
One particular blogger singled out one brand as having ‘gone too far’ last week and although there’s definitely something to that I was surprised to see only one brand in the firing line. This is not a new concept and certainly not one that was pioneered by this brand and so the post drew mixed reviews. I think the main issue in this case is that it did feel like somewhat of a personal attack aimed at one individual which is not usually the case when a blogger goes off on a rant about a brand. We talk about ‘the brand’ not ‘mr brand’ and so for some there were valid points that would never land because loyal fans saw red and could no longer be objective. There were plenty of people supporting the post, however and there is an argument to be made for both sides.. so I took to twitter to find out in a more simplified way what is actually important to the average consumer.
Bear in mind that I surveyed my twitter followers who it’s likely do err on the side of dupe since I err on the side of budget beauty product reviews but I’d like to think it’s a good mix of people..
I didn’t allow these polls to run all that long before using the results so I’m interested to see the final tally but you get a rough idea from 100 or so people. For me personally, the line is packaging. Where a product has been ‘duped’ at a lower cost and laid out similarly so the consumer has a clear idea of what the original was, I don’t really have an issue – the HUNDREDS of Naked palette dupes, for example. There cannot be a brand that hasn’t had their own version by now. W7 took it a step too far with their tin that could be mistaken for the original just as I Heart Makeup took it too far when they created their ‘Blushing Hearts’ Too Faced dupes and practically every pressed powder from e.l.f is a rip off of NARS.. but every brand does it in some way shape or form. Some are more obvious, some are more prolific, some have built their brands on offering low cost alternatives to the high end must-haves of the moment but my line is always packaging. A suggestion is one thing but an outright copy is a lipstick too far.
The amount of time and creative energy that goes in to producing original products is incredible and having that product reproduced for a fraction of the cost in a very similar format must sting but those brands are still standing because their customers are not being poached by lower priced alternatives. The dupes are making the original concept accessible for the masses who don’t have £40 to spend on makeup! My buying a quilted leather bag on the high street is no skin off Chanel’s nose, is it? Whatever the industry the big ideas always trickle down and what was once an exclusive item becomes more mainstream. Every ‘Splurge vs Save’ column in a fashion magazine is evidence that this is not specific to beauty and definitely not to one brand.
That being said, the fact that it’s everywhere doesn’t make it right. Should beauty brands be able to so easily duplicate original ideas with no recourse? Should you have to pay more for the original item or find a solution within your price range? As a blogger it’s easy to lose perspective, when you are receiving products to review and not always having to purchase them with your own cold hard cash. There have been times when I’ve had to check myself because I’m raving about a palette but.. would I actually be prepared to spend that money if I needed to replace it? Not everyone has the means to buy the current ‘it’ product and often the difference in quality just cannot justify the difference in cost. I believe there will always be a place for dupes but an original spin on that ‘inspired’ product would be a refreshing change of pace.