MAC vs. The Competition Box Dupes Vol. 1

Between the upcoming holidays, family illnesses and a rush of kiddie birthday parties, I feel like I haven't had time to do anything for myself. I've actually started and stopped this entry about four seven nine times within the past week two three weeks.

I've had the dance kit makeup I wanted to test against the little girl's MAC collection sitting in my room for about a month now, just waiting to make its way on to a face chart. Alas, it seems that this is not to be. Instead, I will have to just be happy presenting hand swatches until I get this whole face chart mess settled. Hopefully by then I will also have received the complete collection of the second brand recommended to us, Arbonne.

First of all, I'd like to say that my DD has super sensitive skin. She cannot wear just any brand of makeup. Everything I buy has to be hypoallergenic, but also professional quality for the stage. MAC is about the heaviest she can wear without having a reaction. Unfortunately, this gets pretty expensive, since we replace her makeup every season or every other season, depending on the product. As much as I would like to save some cash, I don't want to risk her having a reaction to expired/contaminated makeup. I try to keep it sanitary, but when you're in a rush to re-apply backstage, sometimes poop happens. This is what set me on my mission to find affordable, but quality duplicates.

When I went into the supplier to select the products, I only purchased the ones that focused on coverage and colour. I find that most people use their own mascara (preferable formula: volume) and eyeliner (gel or liquid) and primer. I used Makeup Forever's HD Microperfecting Primer and Benefit's Stay Don't Stray for my swatches. Here's how my selections held up against the recommended MAC items:

FACE: MAC Studio Fix Foundation in C4 VS. TCB's Dual Foundation in 42

Results: Unfortunately, I made the mistake of buying the dupe foundation based on the DD's winter skin tone, and not her spring skin tone (which is what she usually looks like during competition season). I forgot take into account the fact that we fly south every winter for the holiday, right before intense dance rehearsals start. Basically, the colours don't match, but even if they did, MAC's Studio Fix appears to have much better coverage than the dupe I picked up. The dupe applies sheer and has a more natural look, while MAC cakes itself on. For the stage, Studio Fix is the kind of makeup you need.

CHEEKS: MAC Powder Blush in Desert Rose VS. TCB's Blush in 114

Results: I wish I knew how to take photos/edit them better. These blushes swatched pretty much exactly the same on my hand, but have a colour difference in the photo. I'm not sure if that means they show up differently under bright lights and in photos or if I'm just a crummy photographer. The consistency and coverage also pretty comparable.

EYES: MAC Eyeshadows in Gesso and Espresso VS. TCB's Eyeshadows in 30 an 48

Results: Almost an exact colour match, the main difference between the two is texture and pigmentation. The dupes win hands down in both categories. The MAC Espresso had to be swatched a few times over to achieve the pigmentation that TCB's unbranded shadow displayed the first time it was applied. The dupes felt less grainy on my fingertips, which is probably why they went on smoother than the MAC shadows.

LIPS: MAC Lipstick in Russian Red and MAC Lip Liner in Vino VS.TCB's Lipstick in 142 and Lip Liner in Bordeaux

Results: Russian Red just won't go down. The unbranded lip colour isn't as creamy, matte, or deep as MAC's lipstick. Plus, it's too orange. I'll have to keep hunting for the perfect match. Not so for the lip liner though. Bordeaux applies much smoother than MAC's Vino, and looks less crayon-y. Is that a word? Regardless, the dupe lip liner is awesome!

FINAL THOUGHTS: I'm very happy with the results. I've managed to potentially replace four high priced items in my little dancer's makeup kit. Testing the products for staying power will be the next step before I feel confident in offering them as cheaper, yet quality alternatives to MAC products in my dancer's kit. I'm sure after doing some more research I will be able to find something to replace the expensive foundation and lipstick as well. I would also love to know of any other makeup products and colours that dance parents are looking for so I can start my hunt for those as well!

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