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How do you justify buying a product that you already have dupes for?

If I’m unhappy with the version I have, and I think the dupe is better, that would generally be the way to go. There are shades that I just really like, and so I enjoy having different finishes (even when slightly different), undertones, lightness/darkness, but they’re shades I would be more likely to reach for (e.g. I don’t have any desire to run out and get every single mustard yellow out there!).

— Christine


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IRockFaces Avatar

If I really love a shade Then I could care less if I have dupes. I have several red lipsticks and to me they are all unique. I say buy what you can get the most use out of and will wear often.

Katherine T. Avatar

I blame it all on the ultimate enabler, Temptalia! LOL Just kidding. I have a big weakness for khaki olive shadows and have collected an entire drawer full. Yes, there are some dupes in there, but I love the color so much that I see a thousand variations in color, finish, lightness, texture, etc. Ditto for red lipsticks with brown undertones. I guess these colors look the best on me, so one can never have enough, but other than that, I try not to buy too many close dupes.

Nancy T Avatar

Hmm…this question has me rolling my eyes at MYSELF. There are some shades that I have dupes for, and then dupes of those dupes. Slightly differences, but then if I look too intently, I then seriously question my sanity! That’s when I ask myself if I can justify any more of that same shade….that mental scrutiny and deep reflection never lasts very lasts very long. ?

Shana Avatar

Some examples of mine.
The LM holiday mini caviar sticks 6x box : I never tried those sticks yet. The texture, longevity etc are well rated.

The Guerlain holiday eye and cheeks palette : The packaging is really travel friendly. The combination of colours are what I love. I can see myself using it often. The fact that I like the idea of combining compact power of eyeshadows and blushes, cause they are more durable than cream products.
What I don’t like is that they didn’t add snow printings on the palette ! It would be so pretty if they did the same as to the rouge G. Instead it just looks like the one of the last year. This years Guerlain holiday collection is really pretty but there are no visual unity in this collection, one’s container is in white the other is in gold, an other is silver case printed with snows (they can make in patend white (like last year’s all in red), an others are not. It’s a pity. They had really good ideas with this collection but didn’t went enough far to make it really look like a collection.

The guerlain holiday meteorite pearls : special snowball container and colour combination, LE, worth collecting.

In general, the colour, the texture, the longevity, the quality and the originality of the packaging should meet my expectation for me to splurge.

Pearl Avatar

I’ll buy a new one of something if the quality is better than the dupe I have. I sanitize and give away all my ‘old’ or lesser quality makeup (except mascara) to family and friends. I’m the only makeup junkie in my family and most of my friends, so it’s a win-win for all involved.

CatherineM Avatar

I don’t think that I will ever stop buying taupy and dark golden eyeshadows, since these are the two colors that I reach for most often and actually hit pan on regularly. Even the slightest difference in finish or intensity can justify for me to buy a dupe, as well as a great rating here. Who knows, the dupe might actually perform better than anything I already have, and you never know when you might find your next holy grail product.

Momo Avatar

Honestly, I have no concrete justification. When I like something, I merely like it and want to possess it; even if I have a product of a similar shade. A lot of the times, I’m simply fulfilling a specific makeup collection desire. That’s it.

Anna Avatar

I like fuchsia bright and bold lipsticks and I like having different finishes on them so normally I don’t need to justify much. Once though, there was a lipstick I really did not need because it was so similar to one I already had. Then I justified with “but this one got the Temptalia recommends stamp”. Haha enabler!

Mariella Avatar

To be honest, often having a dupe is a great relief because my collection of makeup is becoming (it surprises me to say this) almost burdensome! In fact, I’m having trouble finding stuff to buy at the VIB sale! What will be a justification for me is either that it’s better quality (more pigmented, longer lasting, less drying, etc.) or that it’s packaged in such a way as to make my life a bit easier (an eyeshadow for which I have dupes but this new one is in a quad or palette so that everything is in one package and I don’t have to take out two or 3 quads or fumble through single shadows to make a look with the shade I already have in abundance!). Of course, if it’s something I go through quickly (lipstick is about the only product in this category), then it’s not hard to justify buying a dupe of loved (but perhaps LE) colour.

xamyx Avatar

Exactly! I went through a phase where I was trying to find a red lipstick, and as soon as I settled on one, I’d come across one that was more like what I had envisioned. I ended up with 20+ red lipsticks… All were “similar”, and to others, they would be identical, but the differences-albeit subtle-were there.

kellly Avatar

omg i do this, too!! especially when I start using a different color from what I generally use, I try to find the “ideal” one, which means some hits, some misses, all in the same general color family. It might be surprising but even with similar looking colors, the textures, undertones, wearability, ease of use – can all be different and even if they look the same, they can perform quite differently.

Zhanna Avatar

I don’t. I love make-up and supsect I’m more fascinated by it than the average person, but I still feel that there is absolutely no reason for me to have more than 1 or 2 neutral eye palettes, 5 almost identical red lipsticks when I wear a red lip once a month, every new foundation launched just because it might suit me, 2nd Meteorites just because of new pattern on the box etc. As much as it is fun buying new products in sparkly pretty boxes – I resist the urge to purchase most of the time.

Grace Avatar

If it’s a lip color that I wear often, like a MLBB with a different finish or formula than something I have, it’s easier to justify because I actually will use it up. It’s easier to walk away from a blush or eyeshadow, because I typically take longer to go through what I already have.

Lindsay Avatar

I tell myself I’m sampling the brand by choosing shades I’m familiar with. If I like it, I might go back for more unique colors. Hence the reason I have way too many shades of taupe or brown shimmery cream eye shadows!

KJH Avatar

I may have problems justifying shipping one thing, but there are infinitesimal differences in color, texture, app that I perceive as different. So, dupes for ColaPop, Neolita, and brown-red l/s seem the way to go,not an extravagance. I do like to have small sizes, because less can mean more: variation. Tend not to do this with shadows, unless they are too glittery, not the best/best texture. To get dupes, they really have to suit me….. or replace a long discontinued love.

Marina Avatar

For me it’s also dependent on the formula. For example I have a lot of eggplant/blackened purple lipsticks, but they’re all different formulas. Plus I like collecting makeup and trying different brands. It’s kind of my fallback color when I’m trying a new brand and I’m not 100% sure I’ll like the formula because at least I’ll like the color and it’ll be aesthetically pleasing in my lipstick storage.

Olivia Avatar

I find I have this problem with fuchsia lipsticks. I swatched them all next to each other and I only actually saw two different colors. I’m done buying them for a while. The reason I kept buying them was the quality or finish was different from what I already had.

Ginny Avatar

If it’s a color and product I love, I don’t mind having a few dupes (that are all slightly different, of course 🙂 ). For example I have a few “nude” blushes, but I rotate them all. I do not need more than one bright red or bright orange blush. I have a bunch of red lipsticks in different undertones, finishes, and levels of opacity, but they all have their place to me. I do not need more than one black or navy lipstick.

And yes, I think it’s worth it to buy dupes that are higher quality. I have a ton of matte brown and taupe eyeshadows after buying a bunch of the MUFE ones, but they really are better than most of what I already owned.

My one weakness is highlighters. I’m always searching for one more intense than the last!

Lacey Avatar

I probably have too many justifications! The life of a makeup addict, eh?

-Is it something I will actually use up?(Especially helpful for LE products.)
-Is it better quality?
-Is it a formula I will use more often?
-Is it a good staple for travel/multiple makeup bags?

Marissa Avatar

if i have a dupe for it i really try to stick with it and dont buy it unless as you said i’m not entirely happy with the product i already have but most of the time is like “i already have a dupe for this… owwwwww i’ll have to skip” and also for budget reasons 🙁

HeavyMetalJess Avatar

Sometimes you just really like a particular color and want it in every hue, saturation, and finish. I have a LOT of warm toned purple shadows. Some are duochrome, some have glitter, some are metallic. I also own a lot of black shadows. Some are better for shading, some are cooler/warmer blacks, some have better “holding” power, some make the perfect contour. Why do I own three black lipsticks? Because there’s always a chance you might find a new favorite.

Kate Avatar

If it’s something that I realllllly love, like a peachy pink blush, or burgundy eyeshadow, I know I’ll use it just because I already know I like it. So I could have 3 of the same color, and probably use all 3. And if the formulation is different. I like to have a couple formulations of colors, especially ones I use all the time, or are worth having.
Otherwise, I’m really diligent about not having dupes of things, because I’m on a strict makeup budget, and I don’t wanna waste money on products/colors I already have.

xamyx Avatar

Well, obviously if it’s a shade/color I love, I will naturally be drawn to it, and use it most often. My blush stash is very narrow in range, consisting primarily of dusky rose shades, but since that is pretty much the only range I find suitable for my coloring/aesthetic, it’s only natural that’s what I will buy; however, I don’t have very many (in comparison to the size of my overall stash).

I also have an issue with using multiple brands of one product (ie, eyeshadow) in one look, so I’ll have a similar shade in each of the brands I use most.

xamyx Avatar

I forgot to mention my seemingly endless quest for the perfect contour product. As soon as I find one, something better comes along… I do contour regularly, so having multiple products isn’t a complete waste. I will also contour/highlight in lieu of blush, which also explains why I have less than 10 blushes in regular rotation…

Emmy Avatar

I buy color dupes mainly for formula options. For colors I wear often (nudes, roses, berry), I like to have different formulas for different needs. Like I might pick a liquid lipstick if I know I’ll need to go a while without retouching, and I likewise may pick a more moisturizing lipstick if my lips are dry. I also like having a variety of finishes, and even if no one else notices the subtle differences, I do.

Also in some cases I pick something up, love the color, but later find a color dupe in a formula I much prefer.

Eileen Avatar

“Dupe” is a word that gets over-used and frequently just refers to a product that looks similar at first glance. That doesn’t take into account the texture, finish, subtleties in color, types and amount of pigments, how it translates onto the skin, how well it blends and wears, etc. Consequently, more often than not, when I see something represented as a “dupe”, my reaction is “No, not really.” For me, as long as a product looks different when applied–even when it is in the same color family–it is not a dupe. So, no I have absolutely no problem justifying the purchase of a product that is similar to ones I already have. Besides, as Christine mentioned, most people tend to gravitate to certain colors so a woman might have many similar products, but if it is a color she loves, she’ll be able to discern the differences no matter how subtle.

Tova J Avatar

I have some non-cruelty free product that I like but want to replace with cruelty free products! And I’ve bought some dupes simply because the formula is better. I don’t buy dupes for stuff I don’t like, obviously, though!

Veronica Avatar

I don’t justify it, haha. I just know what colors I’m going to wear consistently, so I don’t mind having overlap. I’m sure there are plenty of red lip products in my collection that only differ in infinitesimal ways, but I wear the color nearly year round, so I don’t think it’s a real issue. Same with taupe eyeshadow – when do I not wear it?

Rachel R. Avatar

My Top Ten Justifications for Buying Dupes:

10) It’s better quality than the original.
9) It’s cheaper, and I have to test it out for when I use up the other version.
8) It might be a better dupe than my current dupe(s).
7) I got it on sale.
6) I wanted to try that brand’s products, anyway.
5) It never hurts to have a backup (or 10) of a color I love.
4) It’s in a palette, and I’ll use the other colors/products.
3) The packaging is beautiful/cool/adorable.
2) But…it’s just so pretty…look at it!!!
1) It’s not *exactly* the same color/finish/formula. I swear every single one of my fuchsia lipsticks, nude lipliners, bright purple eyeshadows, and pale highlighters are slightly different. I swear it!

Rachel R. Avatar

Pretty much! 😀 😀 😀

I actually am really good at resisting temptation, as I grew up poor and have had financial struggles a good bit of my adult life due to my husband’s and kids’ medical issues and expenses. Since I went back to work, and have more disposable income, I just don’t feel like depriving myself as often. I pay my bills first, so no harm done.

Flaky Avatar

I am pretty good about resisting the temptation. I have a good collection of drugstore staples & basics from prestige brands so I try not to dupe. BUT- I will make an exception for a color (usually lip product) that has more durable packaging for my purse or traveling. I love a lot of Wnw lipsticks, but they will never see life beyond my vanity. A high end dupe with nice magnetic closures seems justifiable in that case.

Anne Avatar

I generally don’t, but I will also get “near-dupes” of things I use often, like lipsticks in a mauve-y shade but in different finishes and wear times. I will sometimes get things that are dupes but are better, for example an identical matte lipstick shade that is waaay less drying. Same goes for certain shades of eyeshadow (bronze is my weakness) that have better lasting power/less fallout/etc. With face products like foundation or concealer I’m a lot more picky, ie if I have a full coverage foundation I won’t get another one until I use it up, except maybe if the weather changes and I need a different formula for spring/summer vs fall/winter. The only concealer “dupe” I have my eye on is the UD Naked one as it creases less than the Nars one. Blushes I’m also pretty picky- I’ll only get a similar shade if it’s a very different finish (ie the Hourglass ones vs the Tarte ones).

Genevieve Avatar

If it is a little bit different, in a palette or a quad that I would use the rest of the colours – then that’s it.
I generally check the dupe list here first to see if I have it. But then again, if I really love the colour combinations I will go for it. Just love my blues, greens, khaki olives and greys.

Vanessa Avatar

This is the exact dilemma I am dealing with today. I am torn as I want to try Charlotte Tilbury matte lipsticks but I have so many dupes for Birken Brown and a couple dupes of Love Liberty. Decisions, decisions. . .

Janet M Avatar

The sad truth for me is that it boils down to color amnesia. I repeatedly buy the same/similar shade of brown that I love from different brands. I don’t actually realize until I get home that my “new” shade is virtually identical to the 14th other ones I already have in my drawer albeit in a different package! Selective memory? Maybe But do I return it? Nope! 😉

WildDove Avatar

With great difficulty.

Seriously though, it’s:

– texture,
– “feel” of application,
– ease of application,
– how long it wears,
– whether I have any realistic hope of getting a lot of use out of it,
– how good the color looks on me, since some colors are just stunningly beautiful.

Does this question have anything to do with the Sephora sales coming up soon…? 😉

MONICA! Avatar

Oh gawd, I cant possibly justify myself anymore, I have dupes of dupes of dupes lol. I guess my only excuse is that I do rotate products, so all get some love at some point.

Vanessa V Avatar

Well the hoarder in me tells myself that every single lipstick, eye shadow, blush, liners (eye and lip), and nail polish I own are different in each way ( no matter how slight the difference may be). I really need to break out of this, for my own sake but I’m a lover of all things beauty!!!

BonnieBBon Avatar

I don’t justify it at all. If I can afford it then I have no qualms about buying my bajillionth mauvey/rosebrown lipstick. Just imagine UD’s rapture and Nars Audacious Anna. In that small range of color I probably own every shade and dupe for that shades dupe bc I can’t stop with those. Although our girl Temptalia has me on the Guerlain lippie train so maybe I will branch out. Except I already had a Marc Jacobs dupe that was 95% for that fleur de givre maxi velvet lol someone pull me outta this rut! ???

Sandra Avatar

I try my hardest not too and get really frustrated that I don’t remember the shades I have in my stash.Thats why I wind up with so much. I need clear organizers, this helps me a lot.

Cat Avatar

Christine, I think you nailed my reasons!

Sure, I don’t NEED ten different shades of burgundy/red… but I just discovered, within the past two years, that I can get away with it, and I love it! I guess I also have my “around the house” makeup (if I feel like putting it on) and my “going out” makeup. I’m probably not going to break out the Guerlain or YSL to go to the beach (but I totally have before in the past!).

Susan Avatar

I’m not certain I am aware when I purchase dupes. I used to buy singles of items but now tend to buy only palettes that appeal to me. I always use the same mascara but try a new one about once or twice a year. I don’t usually buy new mascara because I get tons of samples. I probably do buy dupes of lip products but so much is based on the feel in addition to color. I don’t buy nail polish because my nails are hopeless. I’ve tried everything with no success. I stick with the same finishing powder and seldom buy blush. It usually will come with another purchase.
Because of my age, 66, I do experiment with skincare but read extensively before investing. I think much of it is overpriced and the same as good drugstore brands. The condition of my skin supports that theory.
In summation,my answer is, I don’t know.

doroffee Avatar

Right now, I am trying to become more minimalistic, so it’s rare that I can justify a dupe, because for the most part, I am getting rid of stuff that don’t work for me the way that I want to. The rare exception is:
-when I can find a high end version for zilch (flea market nail polishes ftw)
-neutrals, nudes – those I don’t mind having dupes of, because I am going to use the originals up anyways (esp. lipsticks, nail polishes)
-they have different finishes, although the color itself could be considerd a dupe

Phoebe Avatar

I will go and buy dupes because, like other comments have mentioned, there will be a slight difference and I will always hope that the new product will perform even better. It is just that i am attracted to some colours more and so i will always want to buy them.

Helene Avatar

I have a lot of dupes, though I’ve not really been aware I have something very similar when I bought the dupe. I guess I’m just drawn to some colours, like the colour of MAC Rebel, and UD F-Bomb and Illamasqua Glissade for lips. The same colours goes with nail polish.
When it comes to eyeshadows, I have a lot of gold.

Elizabeth Avatar

I seem to buy quite a few dupes of things that really work for me, especially color wise. I have a lot of dupes of eye shadows and lipsticks that the color has been discontinued. I would be kind of bummed out when a favorite color has been discontinued. It’s funny how one brands old red lipstick can become another brands red of the moment. I even bring the discontinued product to the store to compare and swatch right next to the potential replacement. I have done this the most with eye shadows, followed closely by nail colors.

Candice Avatar

There’s always a little something different! Slightly different tone or finish, packaging (like being in a palette or more travel-friendly)… We find reasons, don’t we? hehe

Lindsay Avatar

Certain brands I am sensitive to so there might be a same color for cheaper I don’t think I would normally go for a more expensive dupe unless it’s a color I’m absolutely in love with because I am a budget conscious person but normally I don’t if I have a color that similar to another I will not buy the same one and if I do by mistake I just give it away!

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