Feature Article: DB Review | DB Cosmetics Feature: Designer Brands Review Feature: Designer Brands Review Feature: Designer Brands Review - $15 blush that’s even better than $45 version

We’ve spotted an “almost identical” blush to a top brand loved by millions and it’s three times cheaper!

In this dreadful cost of living crisis, one area of your life that is bound to take a hit is your beauty routine. And it explains why the ‘beauty dupes’ phenomenon has exploded lately – while beauty lovers can appreciate pricier products and their more developed formulations, they simply don’t have the coin to spend on them.

That’s where we’ve seen more affordable brands, like Designer Brands and MCoBeauty, swoop in and create the similar designer looks for much, much less.

But how well do they really work when stacked up against the original versions?


If you’re not familiar with its product line-upDesigner Brands is packed with loads of makeup offerings – covering anything and everything in faceeyes and lips - and a bunch of fragrance options too.

To get a good feel for the brand, the checkout team decided to review six of Designer Brands’ bestsellers. Despite all being heavily inspired by much pricier products, these all ring in at less than $23. Bargain!

Sweet Cheeks Liquid Blush, $14.99 at Designer Brands

Tried and Tested by Melody Teh, checkout Editor

One thing you should know about me is that I’m a blush girly. Liquid, cream, powder, I have it all in my arsenal as I love how it instantly gives your face a nice healthy glow.

So of course I’m a big fan of Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty liquid blush (IYKYK). It went viral for a reason. It’s oh so flattering, the finish is stunning, and the shade range is insane. But it’s also highly pigmented and therein lies the dilemma. I find it can be quite tricky to blend out for a natural look, especially if you’re in a rush (as I always am in the morning). Although I love the blush, I don’t find myself reaching for it for my everyday makeup look.

That’s why I was excited to try the Designer Brands Sweet Cheeks Liquid Blush, which has been labelled “almost identical” to the Rare Beauty one.

And, after just a couple of wears, I have to agree it’s not only an excellent dupe but dare I say it, maybe even better.

Hear me out: like Rare Beauty, the Designer Brands Sweet Cheeks Liquid Blush has a similar texture that glides on skin flawlessly and gives you a natural, dewy finish. It lasts all day and is also infused with hyaluronic acid to help hydrate, firm, soothe and prolong wear time.

So how is it better? While the Designer Brands dupe is also highly pigmented, so a little goes a long way, I find it is much easier to work with, blending it out to give me a healthy flush on my cheeks was easy. And at a third of the price of the Rare option – at just $15 – it’s such a bargain.

Although Designer Brands doesn’t have as extensive a shade range, there are six beautiful shades to choose from. I have the Peppy Pink which gives me a pretty yet subtle glow to my cheeks. After receiving a few compliments at work, I now find myself reaching for it every day. Highly recommend for a Rare Beauty dupe without the price tag!

Centre Stage Curl & Volume Mascara, $16.99 at Designer Brands

Tried and Tested by Claudia Coy, checkout Social Media Producer

One thing about me – I love a good dupe. If I can achieve an expensive look at a fraction of the price, I’m doing it. So when I found out Designer Brands had a product very similar to the popular Kevyn Aucoin mascara, I had to try it out immediately.

When it comes to eyelashes I like a very bold, very elongated look (blame it on my dancing background where ‘falsies’ were just a part of everyday life). While this mascara delivers the goods and provides length, there was less volume than I’m used to. This may not be a bad thing if you prefer a more fanned-out look to your eyelashes.

Luminous Hydrating Foundation, $22.99 at Designer Brands

Tried and Tested by Marina Tatas, checkout Shopping Writer

When this foundation landed on my desk, I have to admit I was sceptical. I’ve tried my fair share of affordable foundations in the past, and they just don’t live up to my trusty favourites from NARS.

But then I heard the Luminous Hydrating Foundation is heavily inspired by the NARS offerings and boy did my interest peak.

I am utterly obsessed with how easy this foundation is to apply and how flawless it makes my skin look.

The lightweight gel texture is super easy to blend and buildable too, so you can go from light to full coverage. And it makes the skin look so naturally radiant, dewy and flawless.

It’s packed with skin-loving ingredients like vitamin C and E, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera and green tea. Plus it’s 100 per cent certified vegan and cruelty-free.

All you need is two pumps and you’ve got plenty of product to cover your face and build the coverage too.

Don’t just take my word for it – five-star rating customers on the Designer Brands website have also named it the “goldilocks of foundations” and “one of the best” on the market.

The one downside I will note is that they can do a better job on the shade range. As you can imagine, lighter skin has tons of undertones to choose from whereas darker shades are unfortunately lacking.

Despite that, this is a must-have foundation that I recommend. And it’s under $23? How good!

Red Baccara (EDP), $12.99 at Designer Brands

Tried and Tested by Marina Tatas, checkout Shopping Writer

OK now this is a beauty dupe that I’m sure we can all agree is as clear as day.

Obviously inspired by Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge, a viral bestseller that’ll cost you upwards of $500, the Red Baccara EDP from Designer Brands is a tiny fraction of that price.

Ringing in at just $13, this fragrance offers starting notes of jasmine and saffron, before closing into a woodier blend of amber accord and cedar.

So how does it compare to the original? While I don’t personally own the $500 perfume, I have sniffed it in-store and the Designer Brands version does come pretty close.

The notes are eerily similar, but I do find this fragrance is not super long-lasting on me. Don’t know if that’s a personal thing, or it’s just not a super strong fragrance, but if you’re paying just a mere $13, I honestly don’t think you can complain too much.

You’re also getting a gorgeous 100ml bottle, which is certainly bang for your buck.

Hi-Def Contour Beauty Wand, $16.99 at Designer Brands

Tried and Tested by Claudia Coy, checkout Social Media Producer

I’ve recently been converted to the liquid blush/bronzer life so I jumped at the opportunity to try this one out. The tone is a little more on the ashy side than the chocolate colour I usually opt for but that didn’t deter me.

In terms of application, the product comes out super easily and glides on the skin nicely. My big note here would be to start with a small amount of product and build from there. Unlike its pricier counterpart (Charlotte Tilbury) this product is very pigmented and a little goes a long way.

While it’s not the bronzing tone I usually wear, I liked the ease of the product and would recommend it to anyone on the go that wants a speedy contour process. The applicator and the pigmentation provides chiselled cheekbones post haste.

Hi-Light Illuminating Beauty Wand, $16.99 at Designer Brands

Tried and Tested by Claudia Coy, checkout Social Media Producer

With a name like ‘champagne fizz’ I didn’t need much convincing to try this out … Much like the contour wand, the application is really straightforward and the applicator delivers a lot of product at once.

In saying that, you’d think I would’ve learnt from the contour process but again, I over-squeezed the tube and was left with a lot of champagne fizz to blend out. The colour is beautiful and provides a really nice shimmer that doesn’t just show up on camera flash (like many others on the market do).

My only note would be to blend out the product asap as it sets really quickly on the skin, which can make it harder to create a seamless highlighted look.


So, what’s our final verdict on Designer Brands?

When it comes to affordable beauty brands, Designer Brands is up there. It nails the whole concept of dupe culture, and does it really well.

All the products worked fantastically well in their own right, with some near identical to the original versions.

In particular, we really loved the Sweet Cheeks Liquid Blush – heavily inspired by the Rare Beauty liquid blush – and the Luminous Hydrating Foundation – feeling very reminiscent of a NARS foundation that I already own and love.

To think that you can pick up all these incredible beauty products for under $23 a pop? Now THAT is really impressive. You really don’t have to break your budget to nail your beauty routine.

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