Dupes — cheaper products that are comparable to more expensive ones. They should — and should is the operative word here — be very similar in ingredients, colour, finish, and/or consistency to the “original”. You might be interested in them because they’re more affordable or by a brand more accessible to you in your area.
I’ve pulled together some Japanese beauty dupes that give their more expensive counterparts a run for their money.
1. If you like Primavista Long Keep Base UV (¥2,800), you might like CEZANNE Matte Keep Base (in Pink Beige) (¥600).
Why? Unless you’re comparing them side by side, there’s virtually no difference between both mattifying makeup bases. While their formulas aren’t similar if you’re looking at ingredients, they have the same oil-control power and long-lasting smooth matte finish.
2. If you like LUNASOL eyeshadow palettes (¥5,000), you might like EXCEL Skinny Rich Shadow (¥1,500) & EXCEL Real Close Shadow (¥1,500).
Why? Both brands’ eyeshadow quads have the same colour pay-off, micro-shimmer finish, and natural, earthy shades. They blend equally well and create the same subtle, office-friendly looks. Packaging would be the only notable difference — Lunasol’s is much nicer but it’s also 3x the price. I dare say that if you were to do a blind experiment with them, most people will not be able to tell which is more expensive.
3. If you like Covermark Treatment Cleansing Milk (¥3,000), you might like ParaDo Skincare Cleansing (¥1,500).
Why? Both brands are from the same companies — Covermark is sold in department stores, whereas ParaDo is sold exclusively in 7-Eleven. These 2 cleansing milks make the same claims and they share incredibly similar formulas. Both have the same texture and they remove makeup and rinse off equally well. Even if you’re not on a tight budget, I see no reason to pay double the price for Covermark’s version — especially when the packaging is just as plain-looking.
4. If you like ALLIE Extra UV Facial Gel SPF50+ PA++++ (¥1,400), you might like Media UV Cut Gel Base SPF50+ PA++++ (¥900).
Why? Both products are produced by same company (Kanebo) with extremely similar formulas. While one is marketed as a facial sunscreen and the other is a makeup base, these 2 gels have 96% similarity in ingredients. In fact, they contain the same ingredients (except for one) but in different order.
5. If you like Shu Uemura The Lightbulb Essence Oil-In Foundation (¥6,000), you might like Maybelline Pure Mineral BB Oil Serum (¥1,600).
Why? Like the products discussed above, these two brands are also produced by the same company (L’Oreal). In addition to having the same skincare oil-infused concept, ultra glowy finish, and level of coverage, they’ve 81% similarity in ingredients. Shu Uemura’s contains a more exotic (i.e. higher valued) oil blend and has a much wider shade selection, but it also costs 5 times more. If your skin tone fits typical Japanese BB/CC cream shades, Maybelline’s version is well worth checking out. (Shu Uemura’s shade 764 Medium Light Beige matches Maybelline’s shade 01 Natural Beige.)
6. If you like pdc Wafood Made Sake Kasu Pack (¥1,200), you might like BEAUCLAIR Sakekasu Pack (¥1,200).
Why? Because these 2 wash-off face masks are identical in every way. While they’re technically produced by different companies, they have the same packaging, amount of product, and ingredient list (in the same order)! Even the price is the same. You are probably thinking why would anyone bother with the dupe if it isn’t even cheaper. Wafood Made’s version is so popular that it can be hard to get a hold of even in Japan. (I often see Chinese tourists swiping clean the entire display.) If you find the famous mask always out of stock, try Beauclair’s dupe instead.
7. If you like ADDICTION The Eyeshadow (¥2,000), you might like Visée AVANT Single Eye Color (¥800).
Why? Both brands are made by Kose Corporation — Addiction is sold in prestigious department stores whereas Visée AVANT is readily available in drugstores. These 2 powder eyeshadow singles are virtually identical — they have the same 1g pan and near-identical ingredients. (The minute differences — for e.g., one has hyaluronic acid while the other has cabbage rose flower extract — make no difference.) Visée AVANT currently offers 36 colours and each is a dupe of Addiction’s. There is zero difference between them, safe for outer packaging and prestige.