I have a decent amount of lipstick, so I was bound to have a few dupes in my collection. Sure enough, I’ve recently found a few ~possble~ dupes for a Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick and two Sephora Cream Lip Stains, so I’ve come up with a highly sophisticated rating system to calculate “dupe-ness.” Read more to find out how much $$ you could be saving!
I love lipstick much more than I love people and slightly less than I love dogs, and as much as I like to defend my stance that no two lipsticks are quite the same, I do have to admit that a few are very close. So close, in fact, that you could say they’re ALMOST EQUAL. But a true lipstick connoisseur would know better than that.
Because color isn’t the only test of how similar two lipsticks are, to evaluate exactly how close some lipsticks are to another, I’ve come up with a HIGHLY SOPHISTICATED rating system to calculate, for lack of a better word (because I’m not creative enough to come up with one), “dupe-ness.” This system is based on a rating out of 5 on four factors: color, formula, scent, and application. Then, I’ll take the average across all four factors, which is an extremely complicated mathematical calculation that should only be handled by the utmost professionals.
Today I’ll be talking about potential dupes for two Sephora Cream Lip Stains: 20 “White Iris” and 03 “Strawberry Kissed,” as well as Jeffree Star’s Velour Liquid Lipstick in “Anna Nicole.” Again, their dupes may not be exactly the same, but I’ll talk about each of the factors and the price differences and whether or not I personally think the dupe is worth it in terms of the tradeoffs you might face in similarities and saving the money.
Before we begin, here are a few notes on my rating system:
Color – This one is pretty self-explanatory; basically, I’m just going to be rating how similar the colors are.
Formula – Again, pretty self-explanatory; I’ll be comparing how similar products are in terms of opacity, finish, and feel on the lips.
*Scent – Ok, this is where things get more complicated. If you’re the slightest bit perceptive, you’ve probably noticed the asterisk I’ve put before the word “scent.” This is due to the fact that if I’m being honest, I’m not entirely sure how much I think scent plays into this whole “dupe” thing. I think it’s important to note both because scent is heavily a part of some marketing play for a lot of products (i.e. the Sweet Peach Cream Peach Oil Lip Gloss by Too Faced) and because based on personal preferences, scent may really factor in purchase intent.
For example, when it comes to scent, I’m basically indifferent (unless something is chocolate-scented… then I’ve been caught), but I know some people who look for products based on if they smell good or not, and I know some people who are very sensitive to scents, so they actively avoid products that smell like anything. For this reason, I’ve decided to kind of modify how I’m rating scent as to not totally skew my whole rating system – the lowest rating I’ll be giving in this category is ‘3’ aka “not similar at all,” followed by ‘4’ aka “slightly similar,” and then the highest being ‘5’ or “no perceptible differences.”
Application – I’m going to be showing what the applicators look like, but application isn’t necessarily a rating on how similar the applicators are; rather, it’s how similar it is to apply the product in terms of how much control I have, whether or not they’re streaky on the first coat, and the like. Granted, there may be a correlation between these things and the actual applicators themselves, but I’m rating the effect rather than the cause here, if that makes any sense.
Omitted: Packaging – I didn’t choose to include packaging in this because I personally feel that if you’re looking for a dupe, you’re looking for something that’s going to save you money, and that concerns the product itself, not necessarily the ~aesthetics~ of it all. Due to branding and the law and whatnot, you’ll be pretty hard pressed to find a product that looks exactly like another product in terms of what it looks like on the outside, unless it’s a knockoff. For dupes, it’s not what’s on the outside that counts, but what’s found on the inside.
1. Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 20 “White Iris” ($14) vs. NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in 06 “Sway” ($7)
Price Difference: $7
Overall Dupe-ness: 2.88
In terms of color, these two are pretty close, but Sway is a bit darker and less fluorescent than White Iris.
I feel like this is less noticeable in flash photography than in natural lighting, but the slight difference is still there, which is why I gave it a ‘3’ on the color scale. On a completely separate note – please ignore how horrendous my lip swatches are. This is more of a reflection of who I am as a person (lazy) than the products themselves.
As you can see in the first swatches above, they’re both pretty opaque on the first swipe; however, where White Iris dries down to a basically completely matte finish, Sway doesn’t really dry down that much and retains its “slip.” I wouldn’t say that the formula is completely different due to the virtually equal opacity (to me, completely different means a lip gloss vs. an actual lipstick), but I think due to the slip factor, Sway doesn’t really stay put. This is especially evident in the flash photo of the lip swatch where you can see that on the innermost portion of my lips it’s a bit patchy. On initial application, it wasn’t patchy at all, but right before the picture, I made the mistake of pressing my lips together. Again, since Sway doesn’t dry down, I think the formula kind of stuck to itself and pulled itself apart (savage!).
In terms of how they feel on, I’d say Sway might be more comfortable due to the fact that it feels more hydrating since it doesn’t dry down, though I wouldn’t called White Iris’ matte finish uncomfortable. That being said, my finish of choice on lipsticks is matte, and drying matte lipsticks don’t really bother me all that much since I’m so used to them. Sephora Cream Lipsticks are actually one of my favorite matte formulas because while they dry down matte and don’t budge, they basically feel like nothing is there, so I’m not actually sure if I have a preference since they feel completely different. Maybe I’d prefer Sway on days where I want something more hydrating, but again, I never really mind a matte lip, even if it is slightly drying.
Overall, I give this a 2. Similarities come from opacity on the lips for initial application, but fall apart once I press my lips together, and Sway is more liquidy while White Iris has more of a mousse-y texture.
I’ve given these two products a ‘3’ in terms of scent because they smell completely different. White Iris has the kind of decently strong vanilla cupcake-y scent that all Sephora Cream Lip Stains have (I personally don’t mind it), while Sway has a faint almost cardboard scent that you have to be actively looking for to even smell it. On the lips, I can kind of detect White Iris, but it fades after a few seconds, and I can’t detect Sway at all.
So these applicators are completely different, but as you’ve already read in my notes, that’s not what I’m rating here! White Iris has a standard, doe-tip applicator, while Sway’s applicator is long, thin, and slightly flattened on one side. I’d say that despite the differences, I have basically the same kind of control. I’m not sure if I have preference for one over the another – I think White Iris’ applicator is more comfortable to use because it’s more universal and I’m so used to it, but Sway’s applicator isn’t difficult to use at all.
I will say that i think Sway’s applicator makes it a little easier to get into the corners of my lips, where I usually have a bit of trouble, due to the fact that it’s more narrow at the top. Because of this, I gave application a ‘4’ since I found it pretty similar for both.
Overall Dupe-ness: 2.75
I’d say I’m on the fence as to whether or not these are dupes. The colors, though not identical, are close enough, and the application is pretty similar, but their formulas are pretty different and they give an overall different effect on the lips. If you’re looking for dupes in terms of color, I’d say go for the Sway by NYX – again, they’re not identical, but since Sephora’s White Iris is twice the price, I’d say saving the money is worth the color match tradeoff. If you’re looking for the ~full experience~, I’d say choose accordingly based on your personal preferences on the other factors.
2. Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 03 “Strawberry Kissed” ($14) vs. Colourpop Ultra Satin Lip in “London Fog” ($6)
Price Difference: $8
Overall Dupe-ness: 4
In flash, these two look basically the same, but in natural lighting, you can see that London Fog is just a tad darker.
I’d say that you can see more of a difference when they’re both actually on the lip – London Fog is more red-toned, while Strawberry Kissed is definitely a little more pink. I gave color a ‘3.5’ because while they’re pretty similar at first glance, they do have different undertones.
The formula on these are basically the same, but since London Fog is an ultra satin, it doesn’t dry down completely, hence me taking off .5 points. Strawberry Kissed does have a slight tackiness to it once dry as well since cream lip stains, although having a matte finish, also don’t completely dry down to the kind of “powdery” finish that some of the older Colourpop ultra matte formulas have.
Opacity-wise, they’re both fully opaque on one coat, but I prefer putting on two coats of product in general as just a personal rule of thumb. In terms of texture, they’re both in between a liquid and a mousse.
Again, Strawberry Kissed smells like a pretty strong vanilla cupcake scent that you can still smell on the lips until it fades after a few minutes, while London Fog has a super faint standard lipstick smell that you kind of have to be looking for to detect and goes away completely once on the lips.
Not really sure what to say here other than that I don’t find any differences in application on these, hence the ‘5’ rating!
Overall Dupe-ness: 4
Although not a perfect dupe due to slight variations in color and undertone, I’d say all other factors taken into account, London Fog is a pretty good dupe for Strawberry Kissed. If you absolutely have to have something a bit more pink-toned or really like cupcake-scented lip products, maybe you’ll want to shell out the extra $8 for Strawberry Kissed, but otherwise, I would personally just stick with London Fog!
3. Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick in “Anna Nicole” ($18) vs Wet n Wild MegaLast Catsuit Matte Lipstick in “Flame of the Game” ($4.99)
Price Difference: $13.01
Overall Dupe-ness: 4.88
These two look identical upon initial swatch – it’s kind of crazy, actually!
On the lips, they also look basically the same; however, without flash, Flame of the Game looks a tad more orange. Still, I gave it a ‘5’ since the differences are almost entirely imperceptible.
Another ‘5’ rating! These feel exactly the same on the lips and even dry the same. They both have a very slight tackiness once dry since they’re not totally Colourpop-ultra-matte matte.
Since Anna Nicole lacks the root beer scent that many of Jeffree Star’s velour liquid lipsticks have (which I personally HATE, btw), its scent isn’t as distinctive compared to Flame of the Game’s as the Sephora Cream Lip Stains’ scents have been in this post. Still the scents, though both faint, aren’t completely identical. Although they both basically just smell like standard lipstick, Flame of the Game’s scent almost leans toward wet paint, while Anna Nicole’s leans slightly toward cardboard.
I know this is a strange description, but as you can probably tell, I’m not very good at describing scents. The bottom line here is that although not identical, the scents are both fairly hard to detect and you can’t smell them on the lips at all, hence the ‘4.5’ rating.
Ok, I know I keep lauding about how I’m not going to talk about the physical applicators themselves, but… can we just talk about the applicators here for a second?
I’ve always considered Jeffree Star’s applicators pretty unique due to the slight concave slope the doefoots have (although they definitely changed them for the newer shades, which I’m slightly salty about, tbh), so I was amazed when I saw that the doefoot on Flame of the Game is basically the same. I say “basically” and not “exactly” because I think the doefoot on Flame oft he Game is slightly more concave and pointed at the tip, but still. Basically the same.
No surprises here, but application on these is the same. It was an easy ‘5’ rating to give.
Overall Dupe-ness: 4.88
Honestly, if you did a blind test with me, I wouldn’t be able to tell which was which. In terms of dupes, I think this one is almost perfect – even with the packaging! They both look the same, feel the same, apply the same, and although they don’t necessarily smell the same, you’d have to be a real stickler to even be able to easily tell any difference there.
If you’re super invested in beauty world drama, you may have seen all the controversy surrounding Jeffree Star and his brand, so maybe that factors into your decision. But even then, Flame of the Game is a lot more inexpensive anyway, so I think the choice here might be obvious. I know I didn’t have to mention the Jeffree Star controversy at all, but I just love drama.
So, anyway, you should just definitely save $13.01 (gotta love the extra penny!) and go with Flame of the Game.