I Tried Aldi's NARS, Benefit & Charlotte Tilbury Dupes – This Is My Verdict

When supermarket Aldi unveiled its versions of two cult skincare products earlier this year (Pixi's Glow Tonic and Sand & Sky's Brilliant Skin Purifying Pink Clay Mask), the beauty industry was shocked. Not only did the packaging look suspiciously alike but, if you ask us, the formulas were just as impressive as the originals – and at a snip of the price: Aldi's Lacura Detoxifying & Brightening Purifying Pink Clay Mask retailed for £5.99, while its Healthy Glow Tonic was even cheaper at £3.99.
Jacqueline wearing Aldi makeup
Unfortunately, both are currently sold out thanks to their popularity among skincare obsessives, but the supermarket has since branched out into makeup – and the products are once again causing a bit of a stir. Why? They look strikingly similar to a handful of beauty staples we all know and love, because of course.
First up: Lacura's Broadway Shape & Glow, £6.99. At first glance, the gold palette, which houses a bronzer and highlighter, is pretty much a carbon copy of Charlotte Tilbury's Filmstar Bronze & Glow, £49, right down to the sunbeams and the diamond impress housing the brand's logo. The only really noticeable difference is the price – Aldi's is a whopping £42.01 cheaper.
As someone who wears a full face of makeup every day, I repeat-buy the Charlotte Tilbury version. It's the only palette that allows me to nail a flawless contour and highlight without looking too 'done', so I was intrigued to swap it out for Aldi's – but it's brilliant. Just like Charlotte Tilbury, the Aldi bronzer boasts a subtle shimmer, the pigment payoff is great (a buttery texture and easy to blend) and the highlight imparts a natural glow that's in no way chalky, like I expected. In fact, Aldi's mirror is ever so slightly bigger. Unfortunately, Aldi's version is only available in one shade, whereas CT's comes in Light to Medium and Medium to Dark, making it just a tiny bit more inclusive.
Next up: NARS' Orgasm Blush, £24. This was my first ever luxury purchase and I've been wearing it for years. If it ain't broke... The rose taupe shade suits most skin tones and the subtle shimmer lends a healthy lustre without being over the top. Aldi's £5.99 version is scarily identical, from the black flip case right down to the white font and the protective cover over the pressed powder itself.
Aldi's formula is a little less shimmery than NARS' and in the pan it looks a bit lighter, but it blended just as flawlessly and gave my cheeks the same healthy flush. A lot of cheap blush tends to slip off or separate from foundation over the course of the day, making little holes in your base, but this stayed put and I even received a few compliments on my colour. This is hands down my favourite of the 'dupes'.
Ask anyone what their favourite benefit product is and they'll probably hero They're Real! mascara, £21.50. The mascara has won countless beauty awards and even R29's fashion and beauty writer Georgia Murray is hooked. I'm blessed with long lashes, but that means I find the formula transfers ever so slightly. I'm all for trying something new (ish) though, so Aldi's Too Legit! Mascara, £5.99, came home with me. Again, the packaging is incredibly similar.
Both mascaras are housed in a silver tube with plastic brushes that flare out at the tip to catch as many lashes as possible. Even the hand-scrawled font is practically the same. benefit's mascara usually takes me two to three coats to achieve good length and volume, but Aldi's takes a few more. That said, there is no smudging, transferring or flaking throughout the day. The formula isn't too wet, so dries almost instantly but it comes clean off with a swipe of micellar water. I would definitely use this every day for natural-looking lashes.
Hoola bronzer is another cult buy from benefit. The shimmer-less powder makes cheekbones look naturally sculpted, which is why it's adored by beauty editors and professional makeup artists alike. The box is very recognisable and I did a double take at Aldi's version – Aloha – which also features two bamboo sticks and a tropical flower.
Just like the original, the pigment payoff is fantastic. In fact, I think Aloha is a better match for my light olive skin tone. It also comes complete with a benefit-esque brush to make contouring easy, but I prefer to use an angled brush for sculpting.
Aldi has also launched its own version of Smashbox's Photo Finish Foundation Primer, £26, called Lacura Snapshot Ready Primer, £5.99, and, earlier this year, lifted the lid on an eyeshadow palette – Naturals – which looks eerily similar to Urban Decay's now-discontinued Naked Palette. While some may call this blatant copying, others revel in the fact that the supermarket is making cult makeup products more accessible to those who don't have the budget to drop up to £50 on one palette.
Having access to some of the best products has made me a bit of a makeup snob, I'll admit, but if this swap has taught me anything, it's that the cheaper formulas are just as impressive as their luxe counterparts. Whether you choose to buy into the big name is really up to you, but honestly, I'll happily use Aldi's versions when I'm running low on the cult classics. I predict a sellout.

More from Beauty

R29 Original Series