Glossier has blown up immensely in the past year because of their a1 marketing game that I can clearly see a lot of upcoming brands are taking note of. They completely encapsulate the idea of The Cool Girl™ look, but rather a friendlier and more fun version. One that’s easier for everyone to achieve. And like literally every other company, they literally sell a dream. Glossier just happens to do it particularly well and in an aesthetically pleasing way.
But while they do have some good products, they’re not totally unique. And I’m telling you that as someone that was a Glossier Rep for a while, I’ve tried every single one of their products (except Super Pure). When I first started, I was asked to pick 4 of my favorite products to feature on my rep page which was Boy Brow, Haloscope, Milky Jelly Cleanser, Cloud Paint. If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know that I was always honest about what I didn’t and didn’t like about Glossier and its products even when I was a rep. I wasn’t going to start lying to people about my thoughts just because I was getting a little money. So you can trust me to give you some dupes, I promise.
Now with that that being said, many of you know that I’m a transparent person that doesn’t fold or shrink myself for anything, least of all Glossier because they sure as hell weren’t paying me enough at all to do that. We parted ways last September over disagreements with how I presented myself and I left it at that because I'm not gonna let anybody tell me how I should carry and present myself. You would at the very least need to pay me enough to do that, and they surely did not.
Now with that little backstory being said, I am making this post partially because I’m petty and Glossier doesn’t deserve another dime from me for a number of reasons, but also because I know for a fact their products aren’t anything special especially for the prices. Most of these dupes I have tried and some I haven’t, but have heard a lot of good things about and still wanted to give you the option of trying something that’s cheaper and potentially better before you waste your money, hopes, and dreams on Glossier.
Boy Brow ($18) —> AOA Go Brow Mascara ($1)
Yes, one god damn dollar. I bought this after a follower recommended this to me and said it worked just as good as Boy Brow and wasn’t as ashy, and she did not lie. Granted the texture of the brow gel isn’t as waxy as Boy Brow but the brush is still tiny and the formula will still give your brows that natural hairy look while holding them in place.
I’ve seen people attempt to give dupes of this by listing products like the Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Eyebrow Gel as a dupe when that is tooootally not it. Boy Brow’s formula and function is what sets it apart from all these other brow gels, its formula is very thick and waxy. You can’t just recommend any old product as a dupe. I’ve tried the Maybelline one and it was the worst brow gel I’ve ever tried. Could never compare to Boy Brow.
Skin Tint ($26) —> Hylamide Photography Foundation ($21)
Actually not a foundation that doesn’t provide coverage much like Skin Tint, this fancy smancy girl is something I really wanna try soon. According to Hylamide, this is a, “Next-generation ‘transparent’ foundation designed specifically to make the skin look better for the camera lens while blurring away imperfections in real life.” Just like the Skin Tint, it’s a filter with light/damn near nonexistent coverage in a bottle. I’m curious to see how this wears because it comes in 3 shades: Transparent, Golden Tan, and Dark Tan. Based on the swatches and reviews I’ve seen, this will provide a tint that’ll give you a warmer glow. This can be applied over, under, or mixed with foundation. We love a multitasking queen.
MAC Face and Body Foundation ($29): I know the FAB is $3 more but it goes like dis: The skin tint is literally that, a skin tint. On a scale of 1-10 the coverage is a 1. For $26? Nah. For $26 you get 1 oz/30 mL of product. But with the FAB you get 1.7 oz/50 mL of product for $29. Not to mention the FAB foundation is a similar concept to the Skin Tint. You get that same natural, glory, dewy, skin-like finish but you actually get some coverage with this. I haven’t personally tried it though I’ve been dying to, but the general consensus is that it has a light-medium coverage.
The Ordinary Serum Foundation ($6): Six mfin dollars! Granted it’s an actual foundation BUT it is quite liquid-y, weightless, and has medium coverage. You can also sheer it out to give yourself lighter coverage, but the finish is definitely natural either way. You can read my review on it here.
First Aid Beauty Triple Protection Skin Tint ($34): This is $8 more than the Skin Tint but I’m not that mad because it has SPF in it unlike miss Glossier. It’s a bit more expensive but I still wanted to include this option just incase anyone was curious or whatever. I wish they would stop being little bitches though and expand the shade range.
Peripera Ink Blurring Skin Tint ($12): The only downside to this is that the shade range is absolute dookie because Asian beauty brands hate us highly melanated folks. So for the caucasian sistren and melanin-challenged, this will be a great dupe for you.
Super Glow ($28) —> Cosrx Triple C Lightning Liquid ($27)
I literally said “LMFAOOOO” out loud when I realized how much you get for Super Glow. Like all the letters. L M F A O. For $28 you get 0.5 oz of product. I’ve tried Super Glow and it didn’t do a thing for my skin and felt like water, not the usual stickiness I get from a good vitamin c serum. What's even more suspect is that Glossier doesn’t give out percentages of actives because it's "top secret" which is code for "we don't put enough actives in our products to actually be effective but we can't let the girls know!" but you didn't hear it from me. So there’s no telling how much Vitamin C is actually in here. This product also has plenty of bad reviews on Glossier’s website to backup my claim, but again, you didn’t hear it from me.
For $27, yes $1 less, you get 1 oz of product and the percentage is 20.5% of vitamin c *chef’s kiss*. Like there’s no competition here at all. I’m on my second bottle of the Lightning Liquid and I looove it. My only pet peeve is that it absolutely needs to be kept in the fridge if you want to preserve it for as long as possible. But other than that? This is one of the most effective and affordable vitamin c serums you can buy. Psst! You can get 20% off your first order with this link. You are welcome!
Super Bounce ($28) —> The Ordinary HA + B5 ($6)
Super Bounce is nothing but hyaluronic acid. I’ve tried this as well specifically during times when my skin was dehydrated from overcleansing or over exfoliating and again, it did absolutely nothing. For $28, of course I would expect a likkle magic. I deserved!
I have The Ordinary’s HA serum on my wishlist and I don’t know what I’m waiting for because it’s only $6 and might help a bit with my oily skin. But I have tried their Marine Hyaluronics ($6) which they say is a lighter version of their hyaluronic acid and I love it. It absorbs quickly and hydrates my skin, giving it a nice smooth, light-reflective look without being oily or greasy. With The Ordinary’s products, I’ve yet to hear anything bad. Like literally.
Super Pure ($28) —> The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% ($6)
Super Pure is a niacinamide serum with zinc PCA that claims to clear the skin of breakouts and sooth redness. I never bothered to try this one because my skin is relatively clear so I don’t need it, but also after trying Super Bounce and Super Glow I didnt’t feel like wasting my money and being disappointed for a third time, so that's that on that. Again, I've heard nothing but good things about this serum from The Ordinary as well and for $6 you don't have much to lose!
Balm Dotcom ($12) —> Vaseline Cocoa Butter Lip Therapy ($2)
It’s vaseline. It’s literally vaseline. The first ingredient of balm dotcom is petroleum with a bunch of other ingredients sprinkled in. This lip balm is more of a quick fix personally than an actual solution as far as chapped lips go because once it wears off, my lips are back to being dry again. And I suppose that has to do with the fact that petroleum is an occlusive ingredient, meaning it acts as a thick layer to lock everything in, not to moisturize.
That’s why I recommended the cocoa butter vaseline because that one in particular actually nourishes my lips and once it wears off, my lips feel great. So if you get vaseline, I’d suggest to at least get the cocoa butter one. Otherwise find a good quality lip balm of your choice, one that actually absorbs into your lips, then seal it in with vaseline. OR you can wet your lips, apply hyaluronic acid, then lock it in with vaseline if they’re feeling super dry. I also didn't give a link for a it because you can find it at Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid, etc. for cheaper than what they're charging for online, of course.
Lip Gloss ($14) —> Girl...
If you don’t take yo ass to the beauty supply store and get you a clear lip gloss for $1. Hell, even get a scented/flavored one. They got 32 flavors of that bootylicious bubble gum, go on and get ya some.
Cotton Rounds ($4) —> AOA Pure Cotton Rounds ($1)
Both cotton rounds are 100% cotton and lint-free which I love because a huge issue I have with cotton pads is that they leave lint on my face that gets in my eyes and on my lips sometimes, and it’s annoying. The only difference between the two brands is that Glossier’s cotton rounds are embossed with a fancy G logo and are $4 for 60, while the AOA ones are $1 for 40. The AOA cotton rounds are also 3-layer Japense quality cotton rounds, the good stuff. I use the AOA ones and I love them, they’re super soft and don’t soak up all of your product.
Soothing Face Mist ($18) —> Heritage Store Rosewater Spray ($6)
That mist is overpriced and makes your eyes burn. I don’t know what’s in it but it is demonic. Literally anything besides that would be better. HeyAprill did a roundup of 7 face mists that don’t include Mario Badescu because you ladies need some variety and culture in your life. And Mario Badescu has steroids in their skincare.
Anyway, a mutual of mine on twitter just started making homemade rosewater elixirs that has a bunch of skin-loving ingredients like aloe vera, almond oil, vitamin e oil, honey, etc. so go buy you a bottle and support Black wimmenz. You’re racist if you don’t.
Another affordable dupe that I've found is from Benu Cosmetics, a Black-owned indie skincare brand. Their Eau So Fresh Spray ($12) contains all natural ingredients like rose petals, cucumber, and aloe vera extract to hydrate and help control oil which makes it suitable for all skin types.
Invisible Shield ($25) —> Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion SPF 30 ($12)
Glossier definitely jumped on the K-Beauty train when they decided to make this and it was an absolute flop in my opinion. The texture and finish of it is wonderful as it’s clear, leaves no cast, and leaves a dewy finish. But for a while they charged $34 for 1oz of product. That’s not a good ratio when there’s a certain amount of SPF you need to use in order for it to be effective, you’d need to use a couple of pumps PER use when applying this. The bottle wouldn’t last long with daily use at all.
They’ve recently lowered the price to $25 but I don’t think it’s even worth $25, there’s other SPF moisturizers from higher end brands and K-Beauty brands from the same price or lower that are better formulated and will probably give you more product.
The Neutrogena Hydro Boost seemed to be the most common sensical dupe since it’s way cheaper, you get more product, and I’ve heard it gives a very similar, dewy finish. Plus it comes in SPF 30 and 50, while the Invisible Shield is 35 only.
Solution ($24) —> We got options ladies...
This chemical exfoliant has a 10% blend of 3 different acids in it: AHA, BHA, and PHA. Which means the percentage of each is low as hell since it only adds up to 10%. Glossier pegs it as a chemical exfoliant that will completely transform your skin in 4 weeks. This also may not be ideal if you want a specific acid for your skin type or if a certain type of acid doesn't pair well with your skin. It has a blend of lactic acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid and PHA.
And you know why it takes 4 weeks to see a significant difference? Because their percentages are low as hell. You're better off with one of these babies:
Cosrx BHA Liquid ($15): My bitch! Y'all know I love this and I prefer it over the Paula's Choice BHA, and it's cheaper and so hydrating. It contains 4% BHA as opposed to the 0.5% BHA that's in the Solution and will work a heck of a lot quicker and better in my opinion. I always see results with this within 2-3 days.
The Ordinary 2% Salicylic Acid Solution ($5): It's $5 sis. Cinco.
Pixi Glow Tonic ($4-$29): You have to live under a rock if you haven't heard about this toner and the never-ending praise it receives. This comes in different sizes so it comes at different price points which is cool, it also comes in pad form where you have pre-soaked cotton rounds that you can just swipe on your face which is $18. This has 5% glyolic acid so it's not too low but not too high either. I think this is a great product to try if you're starting out with acids since it's a mild percentage.
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution ($8): I actually really like this toner after putting it back in my routine since I stopped using it for like a year. A few days after using it again may skin was glowing. Right after I apply this my skin just feels really smooth and hydrated, so don't be afraid if you think it's going to dehydrate your skin. It's a mild solution that has other ingredients like Tasmanian Pepperberry (shez exotic), aloe vera, ginseng, etc. to help avoid any irritation and soothe the skin.
The Ordinary 5% Lactic Acid + HA ($6): This is also another great acid to try if you're a beginner with acids or if you just have sensitive skin. I tried this myself and was pleased at how much it hydrated and softened my skin, but I stopped using it because I personally wasn't seeing much difference as far as my dark spots disappearing. I'm almost positive it's because lactic acid is super gentle by nature and this is only 5% (also comes in 10%). My skin has grown tolerant to acids far stronger than this so don't let my experience steer you away because I'd literally add this back into my routine just for it's ability to gently exfoliate and soften my skin alone.
PHAs, polyhydroxy acids, work similarly to AHAs as they promote surface level exfoliation on the skin to reveal brighter, fresher, and smoother skin. Similar to mandelic acid, an AHA, PHAs' molecule size is larger which means it doesn't penetrate the skin as deeply, making it the perfect exfoliant for sensitive skin since it has a much lower chance of irritating the skin. What makes PHAs unique as well is that it's also great at moisturizing the skin and helping to retain the skin's moisture by reducing trans epidermal water loss (TEWL).
Cosrx Moisture Renewal Cream ($17): This cream contains 3% PHA and is designed to mildly exfoliate the skin while also giving your skin the ability to retain moisture at the same time, as chemical exfoliation can often lead to dryness and dehydration. It also has 50% coconut fruit extract for hydration and 2% niacinamide for brightening purposes. This cream may also be good for you if you're interested in exfoliation and have dry or sensitive skin.
Affordable liquid blush is something that's surprisingly not as common as I thought it would be? Most liquid blushes I've seen are from higher/mid-range brands like Benefit and Nars and cost over $25. Cream blush is way more common but 1) I don't bother with it since I have oily skin and 2) Cloud Paint has more of a creamy liquid consistency to it, but definitely not cream. Now I don't know what's going on with Sephora's wonky ass website but the single version of the cheek gels aren't coming up for some reason which sucks because they're $7 each, so right now the only option is the trio which is $21 which is still cheaper than Cloud Paint. You get 3 blushes for $21 vs. one for $18. The Sephora Cheek Gel
Peripera Cushion Blusher ($12): My brown/dark skinned girls... look away!! I've read reviews saying this product is best for those with paler skin because the color is a lot lighter than what it looks like in the pictures which is disappointing but again if you're lighter, go for it.
Penney's K-Pop Cloud Cream (€3): Why is that a EURO sign you say?! Because Penney's, aka Primark, only sells the Cloud Cream in Ireland as of now. Am I an asshole for listing this when most of my readers live in America?
My Irish cousins need love too you know. But hopefully Primark decides to expand it and sell it outside of Ireland as well soon. But fear not, because I will still keep looking for dupes of these products. Mostly for myself. But I will still be nice and share them with you all still.
Glossier Haloscope ($22) → Peripera Ink Highlighter ($12)
I've tried a lot of highlighters so far and none of them give me the same finish as haloscope unfortunately. Benefit Watt's Up, Benefit High Beam, Maybelline Strobing Stick, Becca Cream Shimmering Skin Perfector (and liquid), NYX Born To Glow, etc. I'ma keep it real witchu chief, none of these girls have the range. But I'm a persistent woman so I'm not giving up my search until I find haloscope's twin.
Update 5/2: I tried this on after receving it in the mail and despite what I've heard about this highlighter, there IS some shimmer in here so this probably isn't the most accurate dupe unless you layer it on top of some lip balm.
L'Oreal True Match Lumi Glow Amour Glow Boosting Drops ($12): Long ass name for what! But anyway, based on the swatches and Youtube reviews I've seen, this gives a very glowy sheen with no glitter or shimmer which is exactly what you'll want. Again, I will be buying these and testing them out for myself soon to be sure. They come in two shades, Golden Hour and Daybreak, which are similar to Topaz and Quartz.
On the left is the L’Oreal Glow Drops in Daybreak and the right is Haloscope in Quartz. The swatches vary ever so slightly in color on my hand, as the drops look a tad more silver and the Haloscope looks a little warmer. But when I apply them on my face the color is literally the same shade. They’re both sort of a pinky pearly highlight basically.
The Haloscope’s formula is a bit thicker and more moisturizing I guess because of the oil center and cream formula, whereas the drops is just a liquid that dries down and blends into the skin completely and doesn’t leave a sticky feeling like the Haloscope does. But they both give me the same results which is a blinging ass, but natural, highlight.
Milky Jelly Cleanser ($18) → Bliss Makeup Melt Cleanser ($12)
This might be one of the most accurate dupes on this list so far. The packaging is the same and the texture is that same pudding, gel-like consistency which is very unique imo, as I've never used a cleanser like that. I've used gel cleansers, yes. But I almost wouldn't even call it a gel cleanser, it's literally as the name suggests; a milky jelly cleanser. There are a lot of suggested dupes for this cleanser that included Cetaphil and it made me wanna cry, you know? Why lie? For $6 less you get the same gentle cleanser/makeup remover that melts away all the impurities and leaves your skin feeling soft and hydrated. We love it!
Update 5/2: I tried this recently and although it's not a dead-on dupe, I still like it. The Bliss cleanser definitely has a lavender scent to it and the consistency is a bit more liquidy compared to the Milky Jelly Cleanser which is annoying because I know for a fact that they were trying to copy the Milky Jelly Cleanser, If you're gonna do it, do it right ya know? You had one job that you half-assed but for $6 less I might be willing to overlook it.
There’s 7 products out of the entire line that I’m not gonna bother duping because they’re literally nothing special, like you should get like me and pretend they don’t exist. They’re that basic.
Generation G Lipstick: It’s literally sheer lipstick, you can sheer out literally any lipstick that you own. For $18 she’s not really that girl when you think about it if we’re being real.
Body Hero Duo: I remained an ashy bandit after using and applying these. I was told my Apple Care that I would be glistening and glowing goddess after using this but that was not not the case. You can read more on the distressing matter here.
Stretch Concealer: Was way too dewy and creamy for my tastes, it never set. I’m certain you can find a concealer like this in a drugstore, maybe even one that’s better and wears well on the skin.
Mega Greens Galaxy Mask: - I don’t care for clay masks in general and this one never did anything special for my skin. I think most of the hype from it is just a placebo effect.
Moon Mask: Literally any Asian beauty sleeping pack/overnight mask/etc. will do the trick for a fraction of the price.
Priming Moisturizer Rich: There's a ton of night creams out there for way less than $35. This cream doesn't help with anti-aging, evening out the skin, etc. Personally, I think this was also a culprit that broke me out because it has plenty of fatty and oleic oils in it which is terrible for oily skin, especially if you struggle with fungal acne like me. I don't specifically use a night cream but I do have some I plan on buying soon and will do a roundup post after I test them.
And lastly, there are products from the lines that I want my dupes to be as accurate as possible for because they’re some of my favorite products and I will not allow myself to steer anyone in the wrong direction by being flimsy with my dupe recommendations.
Priming Moisturizer: I actually really enjoy this moisturizer even though the price isn’t cute for $25. It’s a cream but it’s very lightweight and almost runny, not heavy at all and perfect for my oily skin since I do prefer creams over gels. I’ve never used anything like it thus far. The closest thing to it that I have in my skincare stash is my Hada Labo Hyaluronic Acid Milk (my baby) and my Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentrate. The milk is as the name suggests, a runny and thin moisturizer with a milky texture while the Embryolisse is a lot thicker. Sometimes I like to mix them to get the best of both worlds but it’s still not the same. *sigh* Let the dupe hunt begin.
Wowder: I’m not fond of loose powders in general because they're messy so I won’t be buying any more for duping purposes but, I will be trying out the Sephora Microsmooth Powder to see if it measures up because I've heard that it makes the skin look perfect while providing a hint of coverage without looking cakey which is what Wowder does.
If I find any more dupes in the future I will add them to this post and continue to update as time goes on. Bone app the queef.