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Generally, I like supporting the people who actually create, rather than just copy others (so not coincidental duping). If it seemed like one brand was just copying another, then I’d want the original, whether I paid or not. It’s the same way I feel about designer products – buy the real thing, not the knock-offs (though it’s really a different, more serious issue that encompasses more far-reaching consequences). I totally get dupes, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying a dupe rather than the original. They can provide a wider group of people access to a product that is overpriced as well as provide an alternative when the original product was limited edition.

— Christine

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Generally I go for the real thing first. Dupes (whether cheaper or not) are second choices when I don’t have access to the original ones.
 
Sometimes I get BOTH the original and the dupe, especially if I really love the color – like with nail polish for example, this allows me to “save” the more expensive ones for special occasions and the “cheaper” one for regular days.

I’d always rather have the real thing. Food, purses, makeup, whatever, I’d rather have a smaller version of the real thing than a larger dupe, if that’s all I can afford, but if I can afford the real thing I’ll buy it. My mom used to say I had champagne taste on a water budget, which was fairly true, but now I have a larger budget so it’s easier to indulge my interests. The only thing I’m not really picky about are my clothes–I don’t need designer shirts or anything. 

@blueraccoon .. I don’t buy expensive designer clothing either .. I’m an unintentional slob and if a spot on my clothing, forget to pre-treat it .. and find the stain after the clothing has been in the dryer .. well, it’s a cheap Target cardigan, I’m not going to boo hoo about it. IF I bought a more expensive cardigan at Nordstrom’s .. waaaaaaaaa!!

[email protected] Thats funny about the champagne taste on a water budget. Ive always heard that saying as Caviar taste Tuna fish money.

@Jen – hee. The one I usually hear is champagne taste on a beer budget, but at the time i had NO money so it was definitely a water budget.

Depending on how unique the item is, I prefer to buy the original for the same reasons. At some point, paying for a luxury item is like buying an art piece and supporting the brand’s vision.
 
That said, I totally get the appeal of dupes. I can’t say I felt 100% comfortable shelling out $25 for a Chanel polish, and there is a lot of satisfaction knowing that you didn’t pay out the nose for an item that looks and functions the same.

[email protected] “At some point, paying for a luxury item is like buying an art piece and supporting the brand’s vision.”
That’s a beautiful way to put it!

Love this question, Christine! I’m excited to read the replies. 🙂 As for me, it depends on the item in question, the brand the dupe is produced by, the difference in cost, and the quality of both items.
 
I know that Victoria’s Secret has a highlighter that looks the same on your skin as Guerlain Cruel Gardenia. However, I don’t want the VS version; I want the Guerlain on account of the high quality of the powder, the beauty of the flower shape, and the luxurious packaging. In this instance, I would rather spend more time and/or money to get the real deal than to get something that gives the same effect.
 
Also, Revlon’s dupes of Chanel’s nail polishes have yet to impress me. (I’ve tried the Mimosa dupe Electric and the Paradoxal dupe Perplex.) Even though they look more or less the same, I hate Revlon’s formula! Also, Chanel has this special sparkle and shimmer that no one can produce. So again, I’d rather break the bank on a special color if it’s something special and high quality. 
 
On the flipside, I know that Revlon has a lot of lipsticks that mirror MAC’s colors. I’m not particularly enamoured with the MAC formula; their lipsticks are nice, but nothing special. I would rather buy two $6 – $8-ish Revlon lipsticks than one $15 MAC lipstick, because I think Revlon’s formulas are just as good, if not better. 
 
As a final example, I just discovered L’Oreal Voluminious in Carbon Black and really like it! It’s not an exact dupe for Diorshow Blackout (my HG!) but it’s pretty close. And it’s SO much cheaper ($7.49 at Ulta compared to $25 for the Dior) that it’s really a pleasure to use the dupe instead.
 
So I guess for me, it matters if the original product is something so special and valuable that nothing less will do. In general, I’m not opposed to dupes at all! As a graduate student, I try to save money when I can. Even with my horrible makeup obsession, it’s nice to know that I can “get by,” so to speak, on something from a drugstore that’s every bit as good as the real thing! 

Summer, if it’s any consolation, the packaging of Cruel Gardenia is crummy and far below what I’d expect from Guerlain.  Because it’s a screw topped “jar”, I have to be really careful to replace the lid carefully; it’s far too easy to gouge the pretty surface of the product when trying to replace the lid.

it depends, but I must say that price is one of the biggest factor. if i really really like the original and I can afford it, i’ll go for it. I don’t care much for dupes because I know I won’t love them the same way like I would love the original one. though at times, the dupes are actually better or just as good as the original… and this is for makeup and skincare stuff.
 
but when it comes to shoes/ bags/ clothing/ accessories, no dupes please. It feels like I am trying to be one of the fashionable/ rich sorta people when I am not, so I am very much okay with using unbranded items. If I want branded items, gimme the real thing!

I go for either version for a number of reasons.  I’m not going to pay twice as much for a nail polish color that has a dead-on dupe.  There are special, unique colors/formulas out there, but they are very few and far between.  Also, I have way too much nail polish to be breaking the bank on something that isn’t a magical one coat magnetic holo that doesn’t chip.
 
Also, if there’s a dupe of, say, a cosmetic formula, I’ll often buy it in the basic colors on the cheap, and splurge on the unique colors.
 
However, brands I follow, I tend to splurge on first and then go “darn” when dupes come out later.  I’ve got an UD Super-Saturated lip pencil that Milani duped.  Oh well, I had my product earlier?  At least I know they were similar so I could buy out the Milani version in colors UD didn’t make.

I’d prefer the real thing. I want to mention that knock-offs =/= counterfeit goods. Example: Chanel creates a popular wool cape. A month later, mass merchandise stores produce cheap fleece copycats. Those are knock-offs and in no way “a serious issue that encompasses…far-reaching consequences”, as no one would mistake the copycats for the original, and the cheap fleece knock-offs do not compete with Chanel. I love to buy a cheap knock-off to try out a passing trend (say, colored denim.)
 
Counterfeit goods are harmful, on the other hand. Counterfeit goods pose as the real item, and not only are they illegal, they are dangerous (whether by toxic materials, unethical production, or funding organized crime…or all 3.) I would never knowingly purchase or support a counterfeit operation.

If you mean L’Oreal made a just as good eyeshadow in the same colour as a Chanel eyeshadow, then there’s nothing that’s stopping me from buying the L’Oreal one. 
Counterfeit is a different thing, I would never buy fake MAC instead of real MAC only because it’s cheaper. 

I like dupes if the original formula contains ingredients I don’t like or if it was sold out before I even had a chance to purchase it.

I prefer to have the real item rather than the dupe. Generally, it’s a quality thing. If they were precisely the same in quality, then it wouldn’t matter.

It depends on the product ( blush, eyeshadows, lipsticks etc.. ) To me some Nars, Chanel or M.A.C products are not dupable except nail polishes. I don’t like dupes, I prefer the real thing with the notable exception of nail polishes ( but I pay attention to packagings too so I often prefer a Nars polish to a budget one ).

I’m more interested in a unique color than the whole ‘experience’ of buying a high-end brand; the height of a trend, packaging etc. just doesn’t carry much weight with me.  I don’t mind waiting a few months for a reasonably-priced dupe.  I don’t really think Chanel or Dior need my $25 for a polish, whereas I do!  🙂

I think it rreally depends on the item. For something basic like mascara, eyeliner, blush, or lipstick, I don’t really mind getting a less expensive item to use as a “place-holder” until I can buy the “real” one. However, when it comes to eyeshadow, I’m very picky, and if I see a shade I like, I have to have it. Luckily, the brands I like aren’t *too* pricey (NARS, UD, MUFE), nor do they put out very many LE items, so I can actually save up for items I want.

I guess the first question is – is it really a dupe? Was it really intentionally created to imitate another brand or was it just coincidental? Or it just so happened it was less expensive without really copying another brand? Dupes retain their own brand unlike fakes that also carry the exact brand like bags, shoes, etc.

It depends for me on whether it’s something I will wear all the time (in which case, I will likely go for the original) or if it’s sort of a novelty item (in which case, the dupe will do).  All of this is assuming that the quality of the dupe (texture, blendability, pigmentation) are up to par. What’s always interesting is when the cheaper dupe is actually BETTER in those regards than the “real thing”.  Of course, being a makeup junkie, there are times when, despite all logic, I get obsessed with owning the real thing!

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