Drugstore Doubles: Save Money, Shop Smarter!

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If you can get past the misconception that "expensive equals better," we promise you'll feel just as beautiful and spend hundreds of dollars less on make-up and skin-care products that work!
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Drugstore Doubles: Why Overspend When You Can Find Better for Less?

The Paula's Choice Research Team believes strongly in Paula's Choice products, but we're also the only cosmetics line that recommends products besides our own. We check out the expensive and inexpensive products you ask about most, and are always thrilled to tell you about a drugstore double for an expensive department store product!

The Beauty of Beautypedia Reviews

To create accurate reviews, The Paula's Choice Research Team uses specific criteria to test and research cosmetics in all price ranges. As a result, we frequently encounter inexpensive products that are astonishingly similar to the pricey department-store options. In fact, sometimes we find you even better versions of high-end, department-store cosmetics at the drugstore or online—at a fraction of the price.

If you can get past the misconception that "expensive equals better," we promise you'll feel just as beautiful and spend hundreds of dollars less on makeup and skin-care products that work!

Drugstore Doubles on Beautypedia

It's a no-brainer that Paula's Choice skin-care and makeup products top our list of recommendations—each product is carefully formulated, tested, and refined until it meets Paula's stringent criteria. Better still, all product claims are based on published, scientific research about proven ingredients, not hype! Simply put, Paula's Choice products are among the best on the market. But because our mission is to help you take the best possible care of your skin, whether you use Paula's products or someone else's, we share all the options with our readers.

Here are some examples of surprising Drugstore Doubles you can find in the Beautypedia Reviews section of this site:

  • Sonia Kashuk's Brightening Powder ($10) is nearly identical to Laura Mercier's Secret Brightening Powder ($22). In fact, we actually prefer Kashuk's compact design—far less messy!
  • Love Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner ($22)? At less than half the cost, the tenacious, neutral shades of Sonia Kashuk Dramatically Defining Long Wearing Gel Liner ($8.99) is a great double at a fraction of the cost.
  • Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation SPF 15($6) and Hourglass Veil Fluid Makeup SPF 15 ($60) are both fragrance-free liquid foundations that perform nearly identically and offer the same broad-spectrum sun protection, but Rimmel's version is 1/10 the price of the Hourglass product! Of course, we also love Paula's Choice Best Face Forward SPF 25 ($16.00), as well as many of the more affordable options on our Best Foundations with Sunscreen list.
  • Revlon's Just Bitten Lip Stain + Balm($9) includes a clear balm rather than the tinted balm that comes with Smashbox's Limitless Lip Stain & Color Seal Balm ($23). Other than that small difference, these two products are virtually interchangeable, although the Revlon version performs slightly better!
  • Clinique's Color Surge Eye Shadow Quad ($25.50) has its drugstore double with Physician's Formula Matte Collection or Bright Collection Quad Eye Shadows ($7). It's a steal whether you want matte or shimmer shades!
  • Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser ($6.59)is every bit as fresh, foamy, and gentle as Laura Mercier's Foaming One-Step Cleanser ($35). Admittedly, neither is quite as fabulous as Paula's Choice Hydralight One Step Face Cleanser ($16.00), but our list of Best Cleansers can always help you find the right cleanser at the right price.
  • Cover Girl Lip Perfection Lipstick ($7) is a brilliant and beautiful lipstick that outperforms cream lipsticks from Dior and Chanel! Even better: The shade Hot is a drugstore double for M.A.C's Russian Red ($14.50). For beautiful lip color plus sun protection, check out Paula's Choice Sheer Cream Lipstick SPF 15 ($11.00).
  • Fans of Peter Thomas Roth's Un-wrinkle Day SPF 20($90) can save big money by switching to Olay's Complete Ageless Skin Renewing UV Lotion SPF 20($14.99) without sacrificing formula or performance! If you want to be truly impressed with a brilliant moisturizer with sunscreen, you must try Paula's Choice Moisture Boost Daily Restoring Complex with SPF 30 ($24.00).
  • The creamy pink end of NYX's dual-ended Push Up Bra for Your Eyebrow ($10) is interchangeable with Benefit's High Brow ($20)—plus you get a bonus brown pencil that's perfect for touch-ups on the go.
  • M.A.C. Eyeshadow ($15) comes in a legendary assortment of textures and shades, but have you checked out NYX's Eyeshadow? For $5.50 you can enjoy the same velvety smooth texture, rich pigmentation, and vivid colors as M.A.C.'s—at 1/3 the price! You'll find the NYX brand at most Ulta stores. Also check out NYX Cosmetics Blush ($6), a powder formula that rivals any at the department store. Another drugstore double for M.A.C. eyeshadows is Wet 'n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Singles ($1.99).
  • If you like Dior's Skinflash Primer ($42), consider checking out Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Correcting Primer SPF 15 ($10.95). The performance and packaging are identical, but Physicians Formula's offers broad-spectrum sun protection, too! Want to prime oily skin and keep it perfectly matte and protected from sun damage? Then Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($24.00) is our first choice!
  • If you're been considering NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base ($24), consider NYX Cosmetics HD Eyeshadow Base ($7) instead! The NYX version has a neutral tone and powdery finish to keep oily lids under control.
  • Touche Eclat Radiant Touch by Yves Saint Laurent ($40) is a favorite for adding a subtle shine to skin (but with a hefty price tag!) For a luminous glow without the expense, try Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer by Maybelline New York ($8) instead.
  • Fans of Prescriptives' *magic Liquid Powder will recognize the unique "liquid-feel" formula of Revlon's ColorStay Aqua Mineral Finishing Powder ($14). With three shades + one translucent, this finely-milled, silky finishing powder imparts subtle sheen to skin.
  • Giorgio Armani Micro-Fil Loose Powder ($49) is gorgeous, but pricey! Instead, try L'Oreal Translucide Naturally Luminous Powder ($12). With its velvet smooth texture and ultra-fine finish, you won't be disappointed!
  • If you can't be without Lancome Definicils Mascara ($26), you MUST try L'Oreal's Voluminous Full Definition Volume Building Mascara ($7.29). The L'Oreal version (in the champagne gold tube) performs every bit as well as Lancome's best-seller.
  • If you like the smooth and polished result of Bumble and bumble's grooming creme ($27 for 5 oz.), then consider L'Oreal's Eversleek Finishing Crème ($8 for 5.1 oz.)  Not only do you save a bundle on the L'Oreal version, but you get a better formula (bonus: it's much easier to shampoo out, too!)
  • Instead of Aveda Smooth Infusion Shampoo ($21 for 8.5 oz.), help add smoothness and shine to thick, coarse hair with Neutrogena Triple Moisture Cream Lather Shampoo ($5.99 for 8.45 oz.) You save money and your hair will look gorgeous! Have fine or thin hair? Try Neutrogena Triple Renewal Volume-Boosting Shampoo ($5.49 for 8.5 oz.).
  • Treating your damaged mane with Kerastase's Nutritive Oleo-Relax Smoothing Masque for Dry & Rebellious Hair ($60 for 6.8oz)?  Then consider L'Oreal's EverCreme Sulfate-Free Moisture System Deep Nourishing Masque ($7 for 5.1oz.)! At a fraction of the cost, your hair (and wallet) will reap the rewards of L'Oreal's virtually identical version!
  • We just couldn't resist telling you about this one…Paula's Choice RESIST Barrier Repair Moisturizer ($27.00) is just as loaded with antioxidants as Clinique's Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer ($42.50), but the Paula's Choice option is half the price!

Start Saving Now!

Our 30 years of research proves without question that there are equal or even better products available at the drugstore or online for a fraction of the price. So, if you tend to indulge in makeup and skin-care products from high-end department stores, just keep in mind that you are most likely paying extra for designer prestige rather than for better products. In fact, you may be missing out on superior, less expensive options available in drugstores and online.

Check back on this article often for updates on new, identical products, or go straight to Beautypedia right now and let us help you save lots of money while looking sensational and feeling beautiful, no matter where you shop.

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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