Dupes vs Plagiarism: my honest thoughts

I haven’t done an opinion/informative post in way too long! I love giving my journalistic side a little bit of play, so I decided to go ahead and write a little something on a quite important issue in the makeup industry: Dupes and plagiarism. Here’s my honest opinion on that — as well as my suggestions for you to avoid them if you wish to.

Since the post is rather long and I originally wrote it in English, it is going to be in that language entirely. The Spanish version is coming soon, I promise!

Meaning of “dupe”

Let’s start by defining the term, shall we? It might be old news for most of my readers, but I know many people might not know what a dupe is. Dupe comes from “duplicate, and that word, in makeup, refers to very similar versions of a product. For instance, the drugstore version of the mascaras below are the alleged dupes, as the high-end ones became famous (and were probably released) earlier.


Calling things for what they are: Dupe VS Plagiarism

I don’t mind dupes. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them neither do I think they’ll ever be stopped. If something succeeds, brands are going to copy the idea one way or another whether you like it or not. Because it’s “what’s happening” selling well. The difference between dupes and straight-up plagiarism, which is what I’m trying to expose here, is that plagiarism takes someone else’s work and puts their own name on it. And that’s it. This is most likely to happen in palettes because it’s a lot easier to find out.

There’s a huge difference between plagiarism and duping (at least for me), and you’ll notice the pattern in the examples down below:


Kat Von D‘s Shade + Light Eye Contour Palette (top) and Makeup Revolution‘s Ultra Eye Contour Light & Shade (bottom)

The following picture was actually reposted by Kat Von D herself, who called out the brand for what they’d just done: copying her work entirely. The only changes were the design of the palette (which is always the same with MUR) and the order of the words.


Too Faced‘s Sweet Peach Eye Palette (bottom) and I Heart Makeup‘s Chocolate and Peaches Palette (top)

At least this time they didn’t use the same display of the shadows as in the other palette… but that is probably due to them already having a design, that they actually had previously copied from Too Faced‘s Chocolate Bar Eyeshadow Palette. So they probably were just lazy.

MUR-chocolate-and peaches-palette-4

Lorac‘s Pro Palette and Makeup Revolution‘s Iconic Pro 1

Lorac Pro palette dupe - Makeup REvolution Iconic Pro 1 comparison cropped.jpg

Urban Decay Nakeds and Makeup Revolution Iconics 

The next one is so obvious it’s funny. In the bottom of each of these three pictures, there’s an original palette: the Naked 1, 2 and 3 by Urban Decay. In the top, you can find the dupes: Iconic 1, 2 and 3. That escalated quickly.

Go check out Mikalicious‘ blog for a better comparison with swatches and close-ups!


MUR, W7 and I Heart Makeup, for instance, they not only plagiarize, but they don’t even try to hide it (and I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing). MUR literally took Kat Von D‘s idea, created an extremely similar palette, and they had the guts to switch the words in the title from “Shade and Light” to “Light and Shade”, that being the only change along with the cheap packaging.


The funny thing is, if they had displayed the shades differently, it would have been more difficult to find out that they were copying the shades. Instead, they wanted the palettes to look the same so people would buy them. They don’t even try to be original anymore.

Examples of DUPES

It’s a thousand times easier to catch a dupe when it comes to palettes because there’s more than one shade, and in MUR‘s case, they don’t even change the display. Single eyeshadows, lipsticks, foundations… it’s not like a brand owns a certain color and can call it theirs, right?

So, for instance, there are Instagram accounts like All in the Blush or Dupe That that help you find dupes for makeup products (lipsticks mostly). In this case, dupes help you find different options for brands that you don’t like or can’t find in your country, which I find really positive. They aren’t always “splurges vs rip-offs”; sometimes, the dupe is even more expensive than the product they’re showing you a different option for.

There are brands I would never support myself, so these posts come in real handy when I find something that I really like. And it’s not like I’m giving into plagiarism: there’s a chance the product I’ll end up buying was created before. I actually have a Pinterest board dedicated to this type of duping, which you can find here.

Dupes for palettes

Okay. So you really like this one palette, but you don’t want to give into plagiarism. How can that work? It’s easier to search “the palette I really like dupe” in Google — and guess what? In about 80% of the cases, you’ll find a Makeup RevolutionI Heart Makeup or W7 exact dupe for it! But if you want different options that don’t promote plagiarism as much, here’s what I do.

Pinterest, as per usual, is the best problem-solver in the world when it comes to this kind of issues. If you really, really, really love every shade in the palette and you wouldn’t change a thing, this option is probably not for you (collecting every single eyeshadow dupe for the palette can be rather expensive, and I understand that having the palette is a much more exciting).

There are many brands (Colourpop, Makeup Geek, Nabla, to name a few) that sell individual eyeshadows that (maybe on purpose, maybe not) resemble other pretty famous palettes’ eyeshadows. And, as it happened with the lipsticks, there’s a chance the single eyeshadow might have been created before the palette.

These options can’t and will never stop brands from copying each other. This makeup industry is what it is, and we can only act for ourselves and do what we find is right. I hope these alternatives work for you if you’re concerned about this matter like I am.

Do I support dupes or plagiarism?

As I’ve said before, I’m no hypocrite. I do buy dupes. Sometimes, for the sake of buying (I have to admit it, sometimes I pretend I’ve never heard of the saying “quality over quantity” and give into buying for less — which results in me using the palette a couple of times and then keeping it in the box full of palettes I never use). Sometimes, for the satisfaction of buying something for 6$ that resembles a 60$ product, even if it turns out to be so freaking bad.

I hope you liked this post! Let me know in the comments your take on this — is it important, should we let it go…? Thank you for reading me!

Paula Gómez (@flawdecay) - influencer profile on Dealspotr

2 responses to “Dupes vs Plagiarism: my honest thoughts”

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