For the past year the beauty industry has seen an increase in copy-cat beauty brands. They've always been around and often come and go, but copy-cat makeup brands are now doing better than ever.
I've been someone that buys from brands like these but often feel on the fence about them. Should it be tolerated or do they rightly deserve a place in the beauty world? I'm still unsure.
But let's rewind a bit, let's talk about what exactly makes someone label a brand a copy-cat. For me this would be low-cost makeup brands that look at the products of popular high-end makeup brands and aim to reproduce some of their key products in both packaging and product as close as they possibly can... without them looking counterfeit of course!
Below I've detailed three makeup brands that I believe to work in this way, which I should importantly point out that I don't dislike (I've enjoyed the odd product from them!) and I'm not suggesting should be avoided. It's definitely a personal choice but I'd love to know how you feel about them in the comments below.
The original copy-cat makeup brand
Ahh W7, the first of it's kind! I have fond memories of finding W7 branded products for £1-2 on market stalls in my teens and feeling I had a bit of Benefit; their no.1 'inspiration' at the time. Of course, as a penny less teen I saw no harm in it, but looking back many products were so close in packaging and actual product to Benefit. Over the years they have focused on producing more Benefit style products, along with Urban Decay look-a-like products and a very similar OPI-style line of nail polishes. From time to time they will also hone in on brands that are doing well with a particular product and attempt to reproduce them - think Kylie Jenner's lip products, Charlotte Tilbury's Filmstar Bronzer and a budget version of the Hourglass Modernist eyeshadow palette. On the whole W7 look the business, but I often wonder are they spending more on packaging and the aesthetics than the actual product inside. As for how they fair against the high-end brands they take 'inspiration' from, I'd say it's pretty hit and miss, with some products falling short against other high-street/budget brands but then other times products will surprise you!
The new high-street player
Now I'm not going to lie, I love Makeup Revolution products! They truly create some amazing eyeshadow palettes at very reasonable prices and I'm a fan of their lipsticks. However what I'm not a fan of is when they blatantly rip-off certain high-end products. This started with a very similar product to the Too Faced Sweetheart Blushers and continued with their I Heart Chocolate eyeshadow palettes that look almost identical to the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palettes. Their latest acquisition - Kylie Jenner's Lip Kits in the form of their own Retro Luxe Lip Kits. For a brand that could have a really strong identity of their own I wish they would stop copying high-end products like this and stick to their strengths, creating amazingly pigmented palettes and face products.
The Bobbi Brown look-alike with a twist
Beauty Pie is a totally new player in the beauty world and with a totally new concept of how we buy makeup they have received a good coverage of press both online and in magazines. If you are unaware of the recently launched brand let me briefly explain! Beauty Pie works on a monthly membership basis. Pay £10+ per month and you are allowed to buy 3-6 products from the brand within that month at a reduced price. For example, you could buy one of their eyeshadow palettes for £35 without a membership but with a membership you apparently pay the factory cost of only £6.94. Will it catch on? I really don't know. I personally wouldn't pay to be allowed to buy makeup, it just doesn't make sense to me, however this kind of business model is definitely new to the cosmetic market and only time will tell. My main problem with this new brand - they look very similar to Bobbi Brown products. From their packaging choices and all black theme, to their double-spaced logo font that's oh so simplistic and Bobbi Brown-like. Their shade ranges also screams Bobbi Brown to me and although I can see they want to go for a luxury feel I don't know if copying an established high-end brand is the way to go.
Is it just the same as high street clothing brands taking 'inspiration' for the high-end seasonal fashion shows and brands? Or does it run deeper than that?
I'd love to know your opinion on this - Do you avoid brands that use these techniques to sell their lesser quality products or do you embrace them?