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Aldi v designer beauty brands: can a £5.99 foundation compete with the £183 version?

If there’s one thing better than a cult beauty product, it is a cheap “dupe” of that high-end favourite. Brands such as Beauty Pie are built on the premise of perfectly replicated designer cosmetics, but this week, all the buzz is about Aldi’s growing line of beauty products that unashamedly ape big brands including Yves Saint Laurent, La Prairie, Glamglow, Benefit and Elizabeth Arden.

The packaging is deferentially worse than the original potions, but similar enough that beauty junkies can immediately identify the pricier product being imitated; even Elizabeth Arden’s Didot Light Roman font is expertly replicated on Aldi’s £3.99 version.

Identifying the original is just the start of the game. The two are then forensically compared online, occupying entire threads on Mumsnet and MakeupAlley. But can a four-quid concealer really replace a YSL bestseller in a beauty addict’s makeup bag? We raided the Aldi shelves to put these products to the test.

Aldi Lacura Illusion Touch 2 In 1 Concealer Foundation, £5.99

The original: La Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer and Foundation, £183

Aldi’s cheap and cheerful version of the ridiculously overpriced original is a very, very good foundation. It is dense and highly pigmented, yet light-reflecting for a dewy look. It delivers a full day of wear, but it doesn’t quite do double duty as a concealer as it looks a little chalky applied to the under-eye area.

Aldi Lacura Healthy Glow Exfoliating Toner, £3.99

The original: Pixi Glow Tonic, £18

Glycolic acid is beloved by beauty experts for its pore-unclogging and mild peeling prowess, and the Aldi version, with a practically identical ingredient list, gives the same reassuring tingle and blackhead-battling effects of the original. As a favourite among teenagers with oil-prone skin, I’m pleased to see another cheaper alternative.

Aldi Lacura Miracle Cream, £3.99

The original: Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, £28

Elizabeth Arden’s multi-purpose balm is perhaps the most fetishised grease on the planet. But, as it contains more than 50% petroleum jelly, it has always been glorified Vaseline to my eyes. The Aldi version seems the fairly priced option, with virtually the same ingredients as the original. A great heavy-duty unguent for chapped lips and hands.

Aldi Lacura Concealer Pen, £2.99

The original: YSL Touche Éclat Illuminating Pen, £26

The original YSL concealer has been a hit since the 90s, when hard-partying, sleep-deprived supermodels touted it as their secret for banishing dark circles under the eyes. The only problem was the price tag – hefty for just 2.5ml of an everyday makeup item. The near-identical Aldi version makes masking that hangover a little less painful on the purse.

Aldi Lacura Hot Cloth Cleanser, £3.99

The original: Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish, £27

Liz Earle’s lovely hot cloth cleanser is already touted as a more affordable alternative to Eve Lom’s £55 muslin cloth cleansing balm, and now Aldi has significantly undercut this. The fresh floral scent is virtually indistinguishable from Liz Earle’s, and my freshly washed skin can’t tell the difference, either.

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