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One product you should never skimp on - as make-up experts reveal best affordable dupes this summer

By Emily Mee, Money reporter

If TikTok is anything to go by, many of us are seeking that Sabrina Carpenter bronzed look this summer (me included).

But without a pop star's team of make-up artists and the bank account to boot, how can the rest of us get that perfect glow?

We've asked four beauty experts to give us their top affordable dupes for high-end products. Here's what they said (before one of them reveals the product you should never skimp on)...

Suzanne Baum,freelance beauty editor

For Suzanne, affordable make-up brand e.l.f. can't be beaten for its dupes: "Super affordable, long-lasting and provides a perfect finish for a summer glow."

These are her picks from the brand...

e.l.f. Bronzing Drops, £12

It's a dupe for... Drunk Elephant's D-Bronzi drops, £34

"A nourishing tinted serum for a sun-kissed glow," she says.

Just add one to three drops to your moisturiser, face oil or body cream.

e.l.f. Halo Glow Liquid Filter, £15

It's a dupe for...Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter, at £39

"A multi-purpose, liquid glow booster that gives your complexion a soft-focus social filter effect IRL," says Suzanne.

Wear on its own for sheer coverage, under foundation as a luminous base, as a highlighter or mixed with foundation for a dewy glow.

e.l.f. Power Grip Primer, £10

It's a dupe for...Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer, £35

"A gel-based, hydrating face primer that smooths skin while gripping your make-up," Suzanne says.

e.l.f. Halo Glow Contour Beauty Wand, £9

It's a dupe for...Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand, £30

"A liquid contour wand with a cushion-tip applicator for anaturally sculpted complexion," the beauty expert says.

Apply to your hairline, temples, sides of your nose, hollows of your cheeks and jawline, then blend with a brush.

e.l.f. Camo Liquid Blush, £7

It's a dupe for.... Rare Beauty Soft Pink Liquid Blush, £24

"A long-lasting liquid blush that delivers a high pigment pop of colour to cheeks with a dewy finish," says Suzanne.

e.l.f. Glow Reviver Lip Oil, £8

It's a dupe for... Dior Lip Glow Oil, £32

"An ultra-glossy tinted lip oil that nourishes, hydrates and enhances your lips' natural colour," Suzanne says.

Joyce Connor, make-up artist

For Joyce, she'll often go for the high-end brands over dupes - but there was one product that she thought was even better than the original.

Here are her picks...

Revolution Pro CC Perfecting Skin Enhancer, £10

It's a dupe for... IT Cosmetics CC+ Nude Glow, £37

The IT Cosmetics product is Joyce's go-to, but she says the Revolution version makes for a "very good" dupe.

She says it gives a "nice glow without being shiny, because in the summer we don't want to be caked in make-up".

It is worth noting that the IT Cosmetics version includes SPF 40, whereas the Revolution one does not.

Apply before foundation for an added glow.

Boots Glow Essence Serum, £5

It's a dupe for... Glossier Future Dew Facial Oil Serum Hybrid, £30

There's quite a difference in price here, and Joyce says the Boots version gives a "nice sheen" under your foundation.

However, she notes the Glossier product has a more golden tint.

Massage two to three drops onto your skin before moisturising.

Avon Radiance Ritual Touch Of Gold Body Oil, £5

It's a dupe for... Sol De Janeiro GlowMotions Glow Body Oil, £35

For added glow, massage into the skin and do not rinse - or you can use it as a bath oil.

NYX Professional Makeup Fat Oil Lip Drip Lip Gloss, £7.99

It's a dupe for... Dior Addict Lip Glow Oil, £32

"To be honest, I prefer the Fat Oil to the Dior one," says Joyce, picking it out as her favourite dupe.

"It lasted longer on my lips. I didn't have to top it up as quickly. I like the sheen of it. The colour was lovely," she raves.

Sue Moxley, beauty expert

Sue believes you don't have to spend a fortune to get quality products - and she's a fan of "good old" Revlon and L'Oreal.

Here are her picks...

Revolution Fix and Glow Setting Spray, £8.99

It's a dupe for... Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter, £39

Okay, this isn't a direct dupe as it's a setting spray rather than a foundation. But Sue says if you pair this with your favourite foundation, it should give you that "wonderful flawless glow" similar to Flawless Filter.

She recommends spraying it about 10 inches from your face all over and allowing it to dry for a few minutes.

NYX Bare With Me Blur Tint Foundation, £9.99

It's a dupe for... Jones Road What the Foundation, £42

A good alternative to the trending Jones Road foundation is NYX's Bare With Me, which Sue says "smoothes pores but looks really light and natural".

"Apply with a make-up brush all over your face for a professional finish," she says.

Lacura Luminous Filter Foundation, £5

It's a dupe for... Clinique Even Better SPF15 Foundation, £34.50

TikTok went wild for this Aldi dupe, which Sue says is an alternative to the "high end glossy foundations".

"It's such a bargain - it's definitely up there," she says.

She recommends applying all over with a sponge, pressing rather than rubbing into the skin.

Rimmel Natural Bronzer, £6.99

It's a dupe for... Iconic London Kissed By the Sun Bronzer, £25

Sue says this is a light bronzer that "glides on easily with a blusher brush".

Swirl it on the hollows of your cheeks, up to your temples, down underneath your jawline and on the bridge of your nose.

So, how much difference is there between the dupes and the high-end products?

You might be wondering just how noticeable the difference is if you go for the cheaper alternative.

It's a difficult question to answer as it can vary from product to product - and not all the experts we spoke to were in total agreement.

Sue Moxley says a lot of the lower end budget brands use similar ingredients to their more expensive counterparts.

"You can get better packaging or the quality of the packaging is better, but it's also the brand name that is putting the prices up," she says.

The high-end brands do put extra ingredients in, she says, but "they don't warrant the amount of difference in price".

"It's still lovely to go and buy a Chanel lipstick or something and have it in your bag and it makes you feel wonderful. You get it out and it's gorgeous packaging and you put it on in the restaurant," she says.

"It does make you feel good, but I do believe that there are products out there that are equivalent in quality and ingredients wise."

But Joyce Connor says the high-end brands are often worth it - although she does say you can "mix and match".

More expensive brands rarely sell single-ingredient products, she says, and this can make a difference in terms of what you're getting.

For example, she says an own-brand hyaluronic acid cream will often have that single ingredient but a similar product from a high-end brand will likely include peptides and ceramides - all providing extra value.

One item not to skimp on

Joyce says if you're going to spend money on anything, it should be your moisturiser so you can get a perfect base for your make-up.

"There are plenty of dupes out there that that are going to be effective as long as you are moisturising," she says.

Her pick is the Goldfaden MD Vital Boost Even Skintone Daily Moisturiser - but at £60 for 50ml, that might be a bit much for some.

Money blog: 'We have never seen such a spike': Popular coffee brand issues price warning (2024)
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