Blind Beauty Battle: Affordable vs Luxury

Blind Beauty Battle: Affordable vs Luxury

If you’re a beauty lover, the chances are that you’re familiar with the battle between affordable beauty dupes and luxury icons. Some beauty experts swear by affordable favourites and pin luxury price tags down to packaging and marketing, whereas others recognise that luxury beauty typically features a higher potency of actives – many of which are backed by innovative research.

But if you’re not sure whether you’re in Team Affordable or Team Luxury, you’ve come to exactly the right place. We’ve turned this debate into the ultimate beauty assault course to put affordable beauty to the test against its luxurious counterpart.


How Do We Carry Out The Trial?

We test an Escentual team member – completely blind! Packaging and designer logos are hidden; all they have to base their guess on is texture, finish and scent. They’ll test everything from lip balms to setting sprays in this series.


Who’s in the VS Hot Seat?

We have our Merchandiser, Eleni. She works with many brands here at Escentual, some on the more affordable end and some on the luxury side. However, she claims that she’s terrible at guessing which is which! Let’s see how she gets on…


Round 1: Lip Balm

Blind Beauty Battle: Affordable vs Luxury Lip Balms


Lip Balm 1:

Our first lip balm is a cult-classic! It’s made using 90% natural-origin ingredients that soothe, nourish and restore chapped, dry lips. A rare and precious substance produced by bees (called propolis) helps to regenerate lips, while beeswax heals damaged skin. It has a rich, non-sticky texture and a sweet citrus scent that’s created by grapefruit.

Eleni’s Thoughts…

Eleni was intrigued by the golden colour of our first lip balm, which she felt indicated that it contained honey. She thought the scent was familiar! She also enjoyed its thick and creamy texture as it provided instant nourishment.


Lip Balm 2:

Our second lip balm is an overnight treatment that repairs your skin’s moisture barrier and strengthens delicate skin. Although it’s predominantly a lip mask, the formula can be used as a lip balm throughout the day. It leans on ancient Indian principles, honouring healing Ayurvedic medicine and skincare with its blend of Virgin Islands coconut oil and Rwandan mango butter, which replenish lost lipids for a smooth finish. Our mystery lip balm has a velvety-soft, non-greasy texture and a sweet cocoa aroma.

Eleni’s Thoughts…

Eleni’s initial thoughts were that the second lip balm had a creamier and smoother texture than the first. She loved its creamy cocoa scent.

Eleni’s Prediction: Eleni thought the second lip balm was the luxury formula.


Which Is Which?

Lip Balm 1: Affordable – Nuxe Reve de Miel Honey Lip Balm
Lip Balm 2: Luxury – Kiehl’s Buttermask for Lips


Round 2: Setting Spray

Blind Beauty Battle: Affordable vs Luxury Setting Spray


Setting Spray 1:

The first setting spray in our beauty battle blends and sets makeup for a long-lasting dewy finish. Its minimal vegan formula doesn’t contain any nasties like parabens, sulphates or fragrance.

More than just your average setting spray, it strengthens skin barrier, protects against free radicals and boosts radiance using a blend of electrolytes and vitamin C. Initially, its texture is similar to a refreshing water spray, but it quickly settles to offer a lightweight finish that feels comfortable throughout the day.

Eleni’s Thoughts…

Eleni was shocked about just how watery the initial spray was. She thought it was better suited for setting a more natural makeup look. She thought it had a neutral scent, which she enjoyed.


Setting Spray 2:

Next up, we have a hydrating setting mist that keeps makeup in place for longer. The skin-caring setting spray revives your glow, which may have been lost during the application of foundation and powder.

It brightens your natural skin with a boost of vitamin C, while absorbing excess oils to ensure makeup doesn’t fade or slip. The addition of grapefruit gives it a refreshing aroma.

Eleni’s Thoughts…

Almost immediately, Eleni guessed the second setting spray was the luxury formula. She felt it had a really nice scent and wouldn’t classify it as a ‘water spray’, but rather a ‘fine mist’.

Eleni’s Prediction: Eleni thought the second spray was the luxury formula.


Which Is Which?

Setting Spray 1: Affordable – Real Techniques Glow Finish Blend Extender
Setting Spray 2: Luxury – Clarins Fix’ Make-Up


Round 3: Micellar Water

Blind Beauty Battle: Affordable vs Luxury Micellar Water


Micellar Water 1:

Our first micellar water to be put to the test is a one-step-only cleanser that removes makeup quickly and effectively. The mystery multipurpose micellar water boasts the abilities of a makeup remover, cleanser and toner all in one.

Its surprisingly gel-like water texture removes traces of makeup and impurities instantly, using micelles that are gentle on the skin. Infused with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nigella flower oil, the micellar water leaves skin glowy and radiant.

Eleni’s Thoughts…

During the blind trial, Eleni was impressed with just how easily the micellar water removed her matte lipstick. She felt it had a special scent that was slightly fruity, which added to the experience. She also enjoyed its slightly gel-like texture.


Micellar Water 2:

Our second pick is an iconic micellar water that’s loved by beauty fans worldwide. Made for sensitive and dry skin, the gentle, no-rinse formula is free from fragrance, alcohol and other nasties.

The micellar water removes impurities and makeup (even waterproof mascara) using micelles, while decongesting active ingredients help prevent irritation. It has a lightweight, soft texture without any scent.

Eleni’s Thoughts…

Eleni immediately noticed that the second formula was more water-like compared to the first. She felt the scent was familiar but neutral. Confirming its iconic status, she guessed the brand immediately. She thought it removed her lipstick was ease.

Eleni’s Prediction: Eleni thought the first micellar water was the luxury formula.


Which Is Which?

Micellar Water 2: Luxury – GUERLAIN Eau de Beaute Micellar Solution – Pure Radiance Cleanser
Micellar Water 2: Affordable – Bioderma Sensibio H2O – Micelle Solution


The Results:

Eleni joins the top of the leaderboard with a score of 3 / 3 in our VS series.


Discover More:

Luxury Fragrance: Icon vs. New


Luxury vs Affordable Beauty: What’s The Difference?

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