Living in a country where a lot of raved-about products are not available and return policy is virtually non-existent, I’ve had to do a lot of research online to minimize buyer’s remorse. It can be a lot of trouble getting a product, so if I have to go through all that trouble I would prefer to make sure it’s going to be something I’d love. Also, since there’s no taking anything back, once I purchase something I’m stuck with it. I’m just not interested in having a lot of unused/unloved items stashed away in my makeup drawer!
Besides ending up with a grand majority of products I do enjoy and use, my research experience has taught me one more thing: when they call it a dupe, it is not necessarily a dupe. I’m not saying this because I don’t trust all the other hard-working bloggers who spend their resources giving consumers more information. I’m saying this because sometimes, the same product looks SO different on different swatch pictures that I am really surprised. For example, the other day, I saw someone comparing Toasted from the Naked Palette to one of the shades in Wet n’ Wild Comfort Zone. I literally had to rub my eyes and resort to my own swatch pictures to make sure Toasted is the shade I remembered it is. For a moment I thought I was remembering it wrong. Yeah, it was THAT different. To me personally, the two don’t even come close.
Apart from technical problems such as lighting, flash, screen settings, the swatcher’s skintone and undertone play a decisive role. Therefore, I would encourage everyone to keep this in mind. It’s not that a warm-toned girl can’t wear cool-toned eyeshadows. I am not very experienced, but from what I’ve seen, I’m sure almost anyone can “work” anything they want to. It is just that everyone’s resources are limited. For example, if I buy a powdery blue eyeshadow that I can only use in combination with one certain shade I have, and only on my waterline, it would be a bit of a waste. I’m not saying you shouldn’t though, if this powdery blue or whatever shadow you are lemming for really caught your eye. It’s just something to keep in mind. It’s better to come to terms with this than purchasing something you regret about, wondering why it looks stunning on someone else.
For the same reason, I would be a bit cautious when people call something a dupe. Maybe two products can look the same on the same person, but I wouldn’t want to guarantee they’d work that way for everyone. They could be similar enough, but they might not necessarily be the same. I’m not saying we should all forego for example similar drugstore versions of high-end products. As a matter of fact, I have found excellent gems in the drugstore range at a fraction of the cost. However, unless you own both, you wouldn’t be able to say if it’s a dupe. But then again they could be close enough not to warrant owning both.
My unsolicited advice is to keep the swatcher’s general skintone and undertone in mind when you hunt for dupes online. Is he/she warm-toned? Cold-toned? Of at least similar skintone? Your dupe hunt will likely be more fruitful if you analyse it that way. Also, if you think about it in terms of owning something that is roughly the same, you will also be more satisfied with your purchase.
PS: For Belgian shoppers’ reference, MAC does have some kind of return policy here. Within 2 weeks of purchase (if I remember it right) you can return unused and unopened merchandise to the shop. However, I was told on the phone to “give it a second thought,” since all the returned merchandise is to be destroyed. I appreciated the information, but since a return policy exists, I don’t think you should, however subtly, discourage customers from using it.