Mascara would be our desert island beauty staple, but do you have to fork out tonnes of cash to bag a winner? We pit Benefit's cult lash-lengthener against a cheap'n'cheerful Maybelline alternative.
Maybelline The Falsies Volum’ Express Mascara £7.99
When Maybelline first launched in the UK, it was their bog-standard, pink-tubed mascara that they were famous for. Decades later and they have built on their reputation by significantly increasing their offering of magic wands for lashes. With the curved brush, this product is easy to apply and makes lashes longer and fuller looking. The young pretender gets a thumbs up from us. Buy it here.
Benefit They’re Real Mascara £19.50
This mascara has only been on the market for three years, but has already attained cult-status, not to mention a fair few imitators. It lengthens lashes without clumping – even when you layer up - and has fantastic staying power. It’s a real beauty heavyweight. Buy it here.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and while Maybelline have done a pretty good job of copying the mascara master, Benefit is better by a whisker. Given the difference in price, it’s fair to say that this dual ends in a draw.
More beauty dupes
The shimmer brick
Seventeen Instant Glow Shimmer Brick in Gold Bronze, £4.99 (left). Seventeen’s version is darker in colour than its high-end counterpart but blends well, without the tell-tale orangey marks that you often get with cheaper products. The light pink highlighter gets a special thumbs up. Buy it here.
Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Compact in Beige, £33 (right). A real beauty classic, Bobbi Brown’s shimmer brick has swanky packaging and is light and subtle in hue. It’s also pretty versatile – the shimmering brown shades handily double up as eyeshadow. Buy it here.
The verdict: Unless you’re an oligarch or minor royal, we’re guessing you’re permanently skint - opt for Seventeen’s surprisingly good imitation now, and ask for the real deal for Christmas.
The '90s red lipstick
MAC Lipstick in Chili, £15.50. This terracotta hue is a real throwback - Chili has been lurking in MAC's line-up since the mid-nineties. Buy it here.
H&M Lipstick in Fareham Brick, £7.99. The fast fashion giant has recently given its cosmetics offering a much-needed makeover. This lipstick is classily packaged and nicely priced, rivalling sister brand & Other Stories. Buy it here.
THE VERDICT: They're 99.9 per cent identical in colour, but MAC's formula has the edge, staying put past lunchtime without smudging or flaking.
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