​Copycats; Is It Makeup Plagiarism?

I have just seen a post on Facebook talking about the release of the new W7 ‘Blazin’ palette which looks extremely similar in shade range to the Urban Decay ‘Naked Heat’ palette, almost identical in fact. The thread exploded with two different camps of makeup addict; those that were delighted and those that were disgruntled. 
This is a topic that divides the makeup community and definitely raises some heated debates on makeup groups and social media alike; are deliberate ‘dupes’ or ‘copycat’ of high-end products by drugstore brands right or is it makeup plagiarism?

I have been aware of this debate since I rediscovered my love for makeup, I was seeing the whole internet raving about Mac lipsticks and wanted to try some of the colours but at 16 I was worried that I would buy them and end up hating the colour on me so I searched for ‘dupes’ that I could try before investing in the actual Mac product. Also if you are wanting your beauty to be cruelty-free, you will need to invest in the dupes as Mac, like many high-end brands, are not cruelty-free (I will not be buying Mac in the future)

These dupes were only close matches to the Mac shades and did not copy the iconic bullet packaging so I felt there is no real harm in that, after all, I was planning to invest in the Mac versions that I liked anyway so it was a win, win situation. As I was researching into dupes for the Mac shades I liked, I discovered that brands like Nyx had a phenomenal amount of shades that were similar, is this a coincidence or a deliberate attempt to replicate the colours? 

Like in the fashion industry, makeup relies on designer trends that filter down into the high-end brands and then down to the high-street so surely this acceptable, what do you think? Simply copying a lipstick shade does not really cause that much of a stir in the makeup world but there some brands that have been accused of being ‘morally wrong’ for creating their own versions of some of the makeup community’s most famous and hyped products on the market. Brands such as Tam beauty (owners of makeup revolution, freedom and makeup obsession) and W7 have come under fire for being ‘copycats’ and plagiarising the ideas of brands such as Anastacia Beverly Hills, Too Faced and Kat Von D. 

Huda beauty dupe = Chocolate Rose Gold palette 

The Huda beauty palette, which is now being discontinued was a much hyped and sort after palette which was posted all over social media, created by Huda Kattan the face behind the Huda Beauty brand, it has quickly become one of this years must have makeup items of 2017. I saw many of my friends purchasing it and loving it but I was not fully sold, the colours are not immediately the colours I gravitate towards and for £50 that is a lot to spend on something I might only ever use a few times. 

I put the idea of buying that particular palette out of my mind until I saw that Makeup Revolution was releasing their own version of this shimmery palette and I decided that for £8.99 it did not really matter as much if I did not use this palette very often, I could just use it as I wished and then if I did not like it my niece would happily have it from me. I did a Haul and review on it here.

So the shades are extremely similar to the Huda palette with just two shades missing but the packaging is copied from the original Too Faced chocolate bar palette which is actually chocolate scented just like the Too Faced versions. Most of Makeup Revolution products either copy the packaging and have different shades or copies the shades but with different packaging. However there have been occasions when Makeup Revolution has brought out a product that is completely identical to the original, did they overstep the line with the Light and Shade palette? 

Kat Von D Instagram Rant

Earlier this year a great debate erupted when the face of her own high-end beauty brand Kat Von D went on to Instagram to post about how her Shade and Light palette had been completely copied by Makeup Revolution with their Light and Shade palette (they even used the name). She talks about other companies riding her coattails and how wrong it is to copy someone else’s ‘hard work’.

This prompted many a heated exchange on many of the makeup forums and it showed how makeup revolution is like marmite, you either love them or hate them. I remember the threads on beauty groups going crazy with people arguing for both sides, the comments ran well into the thousands and rumbled on for what felt like a century, although it was just a few days.

You can get the full rundown of what happened here if you want to find out more about what went on and judge for yourselves. My opinion of the situation remains the same as it was when the story broke; makeup revolution was pushing a boundary a bit too far with this one, with the packaging, shades and the name being almost identical. However, how many brown eyeshadow palettes had come before the Kat Von D one, probably hundreds, I have no doubt that these colour eyeshadows are not original to the market. Although the packaging and name are a tad too similar for comfort I believe this is a case of ‘there is no such thing as an original idea’.

No such thing as an original idea

Did you know that the most famous playwright of them all took ideas from other stories/people? The one and only Mr William Shakespeare himself ‘borrowed’ from other stories, writers and indeed from history itself (Romeo and Juliet was taken from a poem by another author and the families did exist in Verona). Does this make one of the most highly regarded voices of literature a ‘copycat’ who takes other people’s ideas and hard work and use them to their own advantage? 

In this age of oversaturation of ideas and products, how can any makeup brand say that their idea is ‘original’? After all, Kat Von D herself came under scrutiny when she realised her ‘Alchemy’ highlight palette and the shades bore a striking resemblance to the Anastacia Beverly Hills Moonchild palette. With makeup brands being influenced by trends, celebrities and makeup artists isn’t it just a case of taking influences from everywhere? I am pretty sure Urban Decay covered the brown neutral palette with their Naked Basics palette long before Kat was coming up with the whole shade and light concept.

In a world that is constantly influenced by popular culture and designer fashions, doesn’t every idea gets filtered through each stage of the consumer market without much changing? Take the example of the Michael Kors bags, the high-street is littered with slightly different versions of the style of the bag he is famous for because it is a sort after item, even if you cannot afford the designer price tag. Why do the supermarkets make their own versions of what is hot on the catwalk, because people want it but cannot necessarily afford it? 

Principal vs cost

While I do believe that a line is overstepped when near enough everything about the product is copied, like with the Shade and Light palette, I do believe that what these ‘copycat companies’ they are trying to do it with good intentions. The principle of plagiarism is wrong, but when the original idea, like the shades, are used to inspire a cheaper product then I say that is fair play. 

You might be thinking, why are you supporting brands such as MUR and W7 when they are deliberately copying, my argument is down to cost. Some people cannot afford luxury makeup, does that mean they should be persecuted for it? As a parent, I am more willing to spend money on my children than I am on myself and so this provides a great alternative. I would much rather spend my monthly makeup budget getting more than one product; if I bought a high-end one then that is me done for the month. 

People might be shouting, it is about quality rather than quantity, but are these high-end products really the best quality or are they just marked up because of their name? We know of the controversy surrounding the Subculture palette where hundreds were sent back because they were pressed differently which resulted in massive fallout and blending problems. 

We also know that many brands such as Morphe have used ‘private label’ factories to make their palettes for a fraction of the cost that they were charging their customers. High-end brand Kylie Cosmetics get their makeup products made in the same factory that makes Colour Pop, which is a fraction of the price to buy compared to Kylie, so are the high-end brands really producing a superior product? Maybe if they did not take all the ‘Beauty Gurus’ on expensive holidays to exotic locations and make ludicrous profits, then they might be able to make their products more affordable. 

Is it elitism?

Is it wrong to deprive people of these items just because they do not have enough money; what about teenagers or people on a budget, are they not allowed to follow fashion? We are well aware that the dupes that Makeup Revolution and W7 provide probably do not have the top grade ingredients that the high end make up brands do, nor do they have the fancy packaging (which is usually just cardboard now anyway) but what they do provide is an opportunity for all. 

If you are an avid follower of YouTube and of the beauty influencers then you will be well aware that most of the looks they create are based on the palettes that are in fashion at the time. Not every person can afford 50 on one of the current ‘on trend’ products, let alone two or three of them, we have to feed and clothe ourselves after all. Is it elitist to slam companies such as MUR and W7 for providing the opportunity to people less economically well off to recreate their favourite YouTube and Instagram looks?

I will continue to buy products from these copycat brands because, as long as the quality is decent, I want my money to stretch as far as possible and I will remember that there are no original ideas as makeup have been invented and reinvented more times than I can imagine. 

What is your opinion on makeup dupes, let me know in the comments.

Ciao for now beauties xx 

20 Comments Add yours

  1. zakeeyak says:

    Great post! I feel like when you buy the “original” at the markup there’s a strong element of paying for the name. I don’t mind that with some things – I’ll always buy Urban Decay, I love the brand, it’s a choice I make. But when it comes to Kat Von D for example, I’m not inspired by anything she put out (at least – not the eyeshadow palettes). So if I really want those shades, I’d buy the MUR one.
    There are so many variations in personal preference when it comes to makeup. I would love for brands to keep pushing new things, and I like that some brands try to make them more affordable – it’s a case of simple economics, and going on a Twitter rant is really not appropriate.
    Honestly, the palette I was most interested in from MUR was the SophX palette – it was beautiful, inspiring and unique – and it cost £10.
    As far as morals go – that’s something every person must decide for themselves. Asking companies to behave “morally” is a contradiction in terms.


    1. lifewithmrst says:

      The Soph x palette is the best palette I have bought all year, it works for everything and I haven’t put it down for a month, I’ve neglected everything else. Urban decay are a brand I would buy, not for the name but for the quality they offer, other high end brands like ABH and Too faced are do hit and miss. You are totally right when you say that makeup is such a personal thing, it has its own set of politics that go with using it. Thanks for stopping by

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am a fan of originality, and I would love to see more of the brains behind the likes of W7 or MUR creating their own unique stuff. But equally, I believe in accessibility. It’s only make up – why shouldn’t someone who can’t afford the £40 palette have a budget alternative instead? I can see why Kat Von D would be pissed off, but as you rightly point out, it’s not like her concept was 100% original in the first place.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. lifewithmrst says:

      It’s amazing how many morals surround the makeup industry. Thanks for stopping by


  3. MeganSays says:

    This is such an interesting post – I’ve often wondered why there haven’t been more law suits filed against companies who completely copy other brands’ work. I absolutely love MakeUp Revolution and I own loads of their products but I think they did take it too far with the Light and Shade palette.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lifewithmrst says:

      Exactly, it is like makeup revolution thought we would not realise it was a dupe so made it blatantly obvious. I think if people did sue, they would find some way it was copied elsewhere years before


  4. Antidote says:

    I don’t support copying just because I know how hard work is not payed off in branches where art is created. On the other hand, I also know that In some countries, one „high-end“ palette is one third of a salary (often times even more than third, know for a fact). But In those countries they are not selling this expensive brands. And even affordable brands are out of reach. When affordable brand is even brought to this kind of country, their products are more expensive (taxes, shipping and most of all greediness of sellers) and it is still not fair considering that in countries where people are well payed, this same products are cheaper.
    This brands that act like parasites can at least change the design on the packaging, or reorder shades. It is not that hard.
    Me not supporting copying does not stop me from buying the makeup that is with the lower price because at the end of the day, they are still a company that makes profit, and I am the buyer that decides what is reasonable. There are customers in the both of the price ranges, and that should be considered. Why expensive brands don’t sell their products in countries in development? Because they can’t sell it (at least not as good as in well developed countries). And as you wrote, that should not be the reason why persons in countries in development should’t look good. From this point of view, they are right for calling out the copying, but that makes them (a little) hypocrite.
    Wow this ended up being a long comment. But I had to explain what I mean. 🙂
    Have a nice start of the week.
    Regards, Antidote 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lifewithmrst says:

      Thank you so much

      Liked by 1 person

  5. mydayinlosangeles says:

    Great post! I love me some makeup but it can cost an arm and a leg sometimes! I feel like dupes are almost necessary if you’re not trying to break the bank.


    1. lifewithmrst says:

      Very true, I also don’t agree that we should shell out 50 for an eyeshadow palette, it’s ridiculous


  6. Britt | Alternatively Speaking says:

    Ultimately I see it as being no different than the fashion industry. You can log on to a knockoff website and order a replica of nearly any high-end style that you desire at an incredibly lower cost. You do, however, get what you pay for, and the knock-off versions are often cheaper materials, poorly made, and fall apart much easier. Makeup is the same if you ask me. Sure, you can get the cheap version – it will likely be less pigmented, cakey or chalky in texture, etc. You get what you pay for…
    Britt | http://alternativelyspeaking.ca

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lifewithmrst says:

      It is very similar to the fashion world, however I feel that you can’t always use the ‘You get what you pay for’ my friend bought the ABH Subculture palette for 50 pound and could not work with it at all whereas makeup revolution are known for good quality eyeshadow, they are just as good as my high end palettes

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Britt | Alternatively Speaking says:

        Yes, there are those cases as well, just as there are similar in the fashion world. My favourite workout tops are from a big box store for far cheaper. Those are matters of personal preference though and each of us just needs to take the time to realize what works for us. My love of my cheap workout tops doesn’t lower the value of Lululemon for someone that prefers their brand name.


  7. Rebecca Allatt says:

    Loved this post, I can see why a brand would be annoyed with their ideas being copied but not everyone can afford some of the stupid high end prices so I think fair play to the cheaper brands that are selling basically the exact same thing for way less! Great read! x


    1. lifewithmrst says:

      It does feel like there is not much difference between high end and drugstore. The quality of drugstore makeup has come a long way. I could get 3 pairs of shoes for the price of one high end palette.

      Liked by 1 person

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