Once the go-to supermarket for cheap groceries and miscellaneous middle-aisle purchases, Aldi is fast becoming a beauty mecca. Or rather, a beauty dupe mecca. 'Taking inspiration' from well-known brands such as Charlotte Tilbury, Bobbi Brown, Glossier and even Olaplex, Aldi’s cut-price offerings continue to go viral on TikTok. But nothing sparks a buying frenzy quite like the store’s perfume dupes.
A recent survey by Beauty Daily by Clarins revealed that perfumes are the second product that British women would ditch from their routines if money became an issue (face masks are the first). But 92% of the 2,000 women surveyed also said they would consider an affordable alternative before abandoning a product completely. Here's the thing, though: 'dupe' has become a bit of a dirty word. Brands often claim they undermine the cost and innovation that goes into bringing a product to market, while experts believe the cheap price points contribute to a wasteful, beauty haul mentality. But in a world of rising bills, it can be argued that cheaper equivalents make beauty accessible to all.
The latest news from the middle aisle is that three of Aldi’s sell-out scents are making a return: Lacura Guardian (inspired by Thierry Mugler Angel), Lacura Pour Femme (said to be similar to Carolina Herrera Good Girl) and Lacura Dark Blossom (which takes its cue from Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium). They’re available to pre-order online from 5th March, arriving in store from 12th March while stocks last (which probably won't be very long).
The Hotel Collection also launched this month, which includes Tom Ford dupes for £4.99 (about 99% cheaper than the real thing). But how close a match are they really? We found four fragrance fanatics willing to switch their designer signature scent for its Aldi dupe. Here are their honest thoughts.
Tom Ford Santal Blush
The dupe: Hotel Collection Sandalwood & Jasmine Eau de Parfum, £4.99 for 50ml
"It was around 2015 when I first smelled Santal Blush in Harrods and thought, That's the one! I wear it daily in the winter and then I wear what I like to think of as its summery 'alter ego' in warmer months: Tom Ford Soleil Blanc. It is expensive but my family know a supplementary bottle for my birthday or Christmas is always a winner. If I were buying it myself, it definitely wouldn’t be at the top of my priorities list right now (that little bottle is half my monthly heating bill). When I first sprayed the Aldi dupe it was nearly dead-on the original, the main difference being the staying power. When I spray Tom Ford, I can still smell it on the jacket I was wearing weeks later. It just becomes a weaker-scented version of itself. The Aldi dupe changed scent, resembling Santal Blush less and less as the day went on and becoming a ubiquitous 'nice' perfume. That said, if you're happy to continually top up your perfume, it could be a winner for you." — Amelia Perrin, digital marketer
Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium
The dupe: Lacura Dark Blossom Eau de Parfum, £5.99 for 100ml
"I've been wearing Black Opium for five years now, ever since I sprayed it on during a shopping trip and fell in love with its beautiful floral, coffee and vanilla notes. It smells so sexy and uplifting to me, and spraying it on feels like an indulgence. I ran out recently and didn't repurchase due to the cost. I'm a low-income writer with long-term health issues so just couldn't justify it. So I was over the moon to hear Aldi had a dupe and pleasantly surprised when I tried it. The original definitely lasts longer, which is ironic because it smells lighter on the skin. Lacura Dark Blossom packs more of a punch but the smell faded for me after about three hours. That said, I love the initial stronger, sweeter smell and for that price, a couple of top-ups throughout the day aren't a problem. I'll continue to wear Lacura Dark Blossom and will happily admit to it if people ask. I'm not a perfume snob and think beauty dupes are awesome for people on a budget." — Sunita Thind, writer
Thierry Mugler Angel
The dupe: Lacura Guardian Eau de Parfum, £5.99 for 100ml
"I discovered Angel when a friend wore it to her 16th birthday party. I adore the earthy, musky tones and the sweet hit of vanilla. I find it quite heavy for the day so tend to wear it for special occasions or evenings out, which is good because I'm not planning on buying a new bottle when this one runs out due to cutting back. When I first sprayed Lacura Guardian, it smelled very overpowering but with none of the sweet vanilla. As the day went on, it faded massively. My group chat is always pinging with recommendations for cheaper beauty alternatives so if I thought this was great, I'd be sending red alarm emoji their way and telling them to get down to Aldi. But I think in some cases, if you buy cheap, you buy twice. I'll probably save my money and look for fragrance deals. Plus, Thierry Mugler offers refillable bottles so that makes it slightly cheaper and better for the environment." — Ashley Rudd, PR director
Carolina Herrera Good Girl
The dupe: Lacura Lady Pour Femme Eau de Parfum, £5.99 for 100ml
"I've worn Good Girl for years now but I try to limit how much I spray it due to cost. A good dupe would enable me to smell like me all the time, even if it was just for breakfast with a friend or on the school run. The actual spritz of the dupe felt different — a bit watery and more like a body spray — but I've got to say, it's almost impossible to tell the two sweet-floral scents apart. I can't believe there’s a £100 price difference! I got a few compliments and my sister-in-law even travelled to her nearest Aldi to get a bottle (although it hadn't launched yet). Yes, it faded by the end of the day but doesn't all perfume? And what do people expect for such an amazing price? I even like the bottle. The original Good Girl stiletto is pretty iconic but the chic pyramid bottle of Lady Pour Femme also looks great on my shelf." — Claire Pryer, beauty therapist
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