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The best budget-friendly beauty dupes you can buy in Australia right now

IMAGE VIA @meccamax/INSTAGRAM
WORDS BY CHRISTINA KARRAS




They stack up to some of your cult-favorite products.

If you’re into beauty and makeup, you’ll be all too familiar with the financial sting that comes along with this expensive obsession. You head into Mecca or Sephora for one thing and end up leaving with more than $100 worth of products – complete with an impulse purchase or two from the mini products section cleverly placed by the register.

This is where the humble beauty dupe really has its moment. I remember spending hours watching the (arguably) golden era of beauty vloggers share their exorbitant hauls that teenage me could obviously never afford. But the one useful piece of information they would often reveal was how the high-end product fared in comparison to a cheaper supermarket or pharmacy duplicate.


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And for most cult-favorite beauty products on the shelves, there’s a more affordable counterpart somewhere out there. Some can be a bit hit and miss, especially when it comes to quality, but luxury doesn’t always equal better. So if you’re in savings mode, here’s a look at some of the best beauty dupes you can buy in Australia right now.

Mecca Max Off-Duty Cream Contour Stick, $18

Dupe for: Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour, $46

Clinique’s Chubby Sticks have been the brand’s signature makeup product for years, helping makeup artists and no-fuss types alike achieve a sun-kissed and sculpted look with one swipe. And I consider Mecca Max’s own cream contour stick the OG product’s more accessible, younger sister. Both achieve the bronzed, buildable ‘no-makeup-makeup’ look and blend out well without any trouble.

Get it here.

Face of Australia Translucent Loose Powder, $11.95

Dupe for: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder, $58

Fire off a quick Google search for dupes of the beloved Laura Mercier setting powder and you’ll find plenty to take your pick from, but I can’t go past the Face of Australia powder. It’s just as finely milled with a perfectly matte finish that’s like an IRL beauty filter. Unlike other affordable powders, there’s no white-cast and nothing cakey about it. And it’s just over $10. What more could you ask for?

Get it here.

MCoBeauty Cheek and Lip Tint, $16

Dupe for: Glossier Cloud Paint, $24.77

Given Glossier is inexplicably still not available in Australia, I’m always on the hunt for a good dupe. I got my hands on the US brand’s unique liquid blush formula way back in 2017 and have struggled to find something like it since, but MCoBeauty’s Cheek and Lip Tint comes pretty close.

While the consistency differs from Cloud Paint’s weightless and watercolor finish, the slightly thicker Lip and Cheek Tint have more than a few similarities. It offers a warm and supernatural blush with just as much pigment, but just with more of a glowing sheen.

Get it here.

Mecca Max Wink Ink Super Mascara, $20

Dupe for: Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara, $42

It’s fair to say the Kevyn Aucoin mascaras is high up on most beauty buff’s wishlists. It’s perhaps one of the most talked-about products, thanks to its tubing formula made up of lash-building fibers. But for me personally, some more affordably priced mascaras with tubing formulas work just as well – one being Mecca Max’s Wink Ink Super Mascara.

Both boast lengthening and volumising properties (as all good mascaras should!) and ‘flake-free’ formulas. It even has a similar tiny wand, for that ultimate lift right by the lash line.

Get it here.

MCoBeauty Highlight and Glow Beauty Wands, $32

Dupe for: Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wands, $56

As far as dupes go, I can confirm this one is a winner. MCoBeauty has earned its reputation as the go-to affordable Australian beauty brand that can hold its own against luxury heavyweights. One of its newest bestsellers is an impressive alternative to the sold-out highlight and contour wands from Charlotte Tilbury.

Not only in the product’s similar soft cushion applicators, but the liquid formula finish and glowing shade range too, offering a pink, peach and champagne tone.

Get it here.

German Nivea Creme, $19.40 for 400ml

Dupe for: Crème De La Mer, $730 for 100ml

An intriguing rumor started circulating among beauty circles on the internet years ago that the most iconic (and most expensive) moisturizer on the market, La Mer, was the exact same as a good old tin of German Nivea Creme. Although both are thick, rich and hydrating creams, Nivea and La Mer aren’t identical.

Analysis of the ingredients reveals Crème De La Mer contains more antioxidants, algae and acids that aren’t present in the budget-friendly Nivea version. But beyond that, they are very similar, and for a tiny fraction of the cost of a La Mer tub (which retails for an eye-watering $1730 at the largest size), it’s definitely worth a try.

Get it here.

For more beauty dupes, head here.

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