The magnificence skilled’s dupes which can be simply nearly as good as the true factor

To misquote Jane Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged that every woman loves a beauty bargain. And dupes – products that mimic the look, feel and effect of those many times the price – give the ultimate satisfaction.

Remember when Aldi copied Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin products with, er, Hotel Collection No 1 Lime, Basil & Mandarin? So good they sell out over and over again. But do you get what you pay for? Is a luxury product more efficacious, more responsible – better?

I asked Dr Colette Haydon, who has formulated skincare products for some of the most luxurious brands (including her own Lixirskin). ‘I’ve seen bad skincare at all prices,’ she says. ‘Many brands, cheap and expensive, are made at the same manufacturer, so you are not compromising on workers’ conditions. Often you pay for packaging.’

She does concede that ‘at a very low price point on skincare there will be fillers and you don’t get the quality’. And that ‘natural fragrance is generally ten times more expensive than a synthetic one’, so a brand that uses the former will likely cost you more.

I’ve taken some of my favourite products and put them head-to-head with their dupes. The results may surprise you.

Original Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops

Look The brand’s cute packaging has won it legions of fans.

Product These bronzing drops contain antioxidants to protect against pollutants and peptides to reduce fine lines. Mix into a moisturiser for a hint of glow, or use alone to add a natural wash of colour. Blends easily into the face without patchiness.

Lasts? All day.

Price £34,

Dupe Revolution Bright Light Bronzing Drops

Look Definitely less cool than its rival, but not offensive.

Product It contains hyaluronic acid, grapeseed oil and ultra-hydrating squalane. It comes in two shades, covering more skin tones. It does have fragrance, which Drunk Elephant avoids, but was equally easy to blend – perhaps less glow-inducing.

Lasts? All day.

Price £9.99, 

Verdict I do think Drunk Elephant has a slight edge on the formula – more ‘slip’, more hydrating and with a slightly more believable colour. But the difference was minimal.

Original Tom Ford Neroli Portofino

Look Beautiful blue glass bottle with a chic gold label.

Product The Italian Riviera-inspired scent is fresh, with stylish layers of citrus oils, floral notes and amber undertones. It uses essential oils of neroli and sophisticated distillation to extract the jasmine fragrance.

Lasts? You can still smell it the morning after. It never gets old.

Price £294 (100ml),

Dupe Aldi Hotel Collection Amalfi Brilliante

Look A heavy glass bottle with a clean design that feels classy.

Product This eau de parfum smells remarkably similar to Tom Ford’s, ‘offering hints of amber, angelica and ambrette that pair perfectly with lavender, rosemary and myrtle’. But it does have a synthetic quality to it that’s a little cloying. Think fabric conditioner.

Lasts? Still good five hours on.

Price £6.99 (100ml), Aldi stores

Verdict I was astounded by the initial likeness, though the ‘dry down’ is less luxurious-smelling. I’d throw the Aldi in my handbag for an instant refresh and keep Tom Ford for best.

Original Elemis Superfood Facial Oil

Look The glass bottle and white plastic dropper makes this dressing-table worthy.

Product Using nine oils, from rosehip to flaxseed via daikon radish, this formula feels wholesome – all killer and no filler. It’s easily absorbed, not too heavy and smells like spa heaven.

Lasts? My skin felt supple and soft for 12 hours.

Price £54,

Dupe Revolution x Sali Hughes Face Blanket Facial Oil

Look Glass bottle and plastic dropper. Same, same.

Product With a list of oils nearly as extensive as those in the Elemis (from safflower to strawberry seed and apricot kernel), as well as squalane, this silicone-free formula is absorbed easily, and it didn’t feel too heavy or leave my skin looking shiny.

Lasts 12 hours. 

Price £15,

Verdict The Elemis product has more oils, plus the aromatic smell adds a spa-like feel, but Hughes’s purse-friendly alternative felt just as good on the skin.

Original Dior Addict Lip Glow Oil

Look The sleek lines, silver top and satisfying click as you close the lid all say ‘luxury’.

Product I liked the texture; it’s substantial but not sticky and has a pleasing mintiness. The cherry oil-loaded, non-drying formula gave my lips fullness and the right amount of shine. The packaging still looks good after months in my handbag.

Lasts? A good two hours.

Price £32,

Dupe Elf Jelly Pop Glow Reviver Lip Oil

Look Bright, clean and stylish. The red plastic lid feels a bit teen.

Product With its appealing, well-priced products, it’s easy to see why Elf’s stock price has increased by 1,500 per cent in the past five years. As with Dior, the Elf lip oil claims skincare benefits, including hyaluronic acid, but the level of shimmer was too high for me and I felt my mouth still looked lined.

Lasts? An hour.

Price £8, 

Verdict Elf had less grip and less substance and I didn’t feel it plumped my lips in the same way, but I’m not sure the Dior was four times better.