A Guide to Cheap Dupes for Popular Purple MAC Lipsticks

Updated on February 8, 2017
Alisha Adkins profile image

Alisha Adkins is an author of horror and speculative fiction. A self-described "aging goth," she has a strong interest in creative makeup.

Dupes, Dupes, Dupes!

Why Purple?

Personally, I'm a bit of a purple lipstick enthusiast. If you ask me, one can never have enough purple lipsticks—I actually have more purple lipsticks than red ones in my collection.

Until recently, purple has been a relatively difficult-to-find color. MAC Cosmetics created several iconic shades of the color when other major brands were playing it safe with classic hues. In the makeup industry, the MAC name is generally considered synonymous with quality and, with 190 shades in their regular lipstick line, with variety as well. Their purples are gorgeous, but the quality comes with a price—at $17, a tube of MAC lipstick can be pricey.

If You Can't Beat Them, Copy Them!

So what about those of us who cannot afford to splurge on makeup? Luckily, as of late, purple lipstick has become the rage. Its popularity is encouraging even the more cosmetically conservative woman to be a little more brave in her lipstick color choices. This means that other, less expensive, brands have been emulating MAC's more avant-garde lipstick colors.

Which puts us, as consumers, in an advantageous position—rather than paying for a MAC lipstick, we have a variety of knock-offs from which to choose. Will the knock-off lipsticks be as creamy or long-lasting? In most cases, no. But a lot of these dupes have formulas that aren't half-bad, and when it comes to appearances, they are remarkably similar to their MAC counterparts.

A Labor of Love

As you read this article, you may notice a lack of side-by-side swatch photos comparing a MAC lipstick with its dupes. That is because I don't own the MAC originals (I can't afford them). I have, however, done extensive research, watching more than 20 hours of video (the most pertinent videos that I found have been included here) as well as combing through blog posts, Google pictures, Pinterest, and Instagram posts. There is a lot of information out there, but it's scattered wide. My goal is to bring it all together for easy access and organize it into a definitive guide, at least as it relates to MAC lipsticks in the purple spectrum.

Here, the lipsticks are organized in the following categories:

  • True Purples and Lavenders: Heroine, Pure Heroine, Violetta, Dodgy Girl, Up the Amp, Men Love Mystery, Feel My Pulse, Lavender Jade, Blooming Lovely, Lavender Whip
  • Blackened Purples: Cyber, Smoked Purple, Gunner, Punk Couture, Instigator
  • Purplish Reds, Wines, and Berry Colors: Rebel, Sin, Diva, Dark Side, Eugenie, Acai, Fixed on Drama, Hang Up, Vino, Nightmoth
  • Purplish Pinks: Flat Out Fabulous, Pink Pigeon, Candy Yum-Yum, Girl About Town, Something New, Embrace Me, Lovelorn, Divine Choice, Pink Poodle, Daddy's Little Girl, Palmful, Craving, Pleasure Bomb, Toxic Tale, Happy Go Lucky, Silly, St. Germain, Petals and Peacocks, Pink Nouveau, Brave, Show Orchid

True Purples and Lavenders

Left to right: Maybelline Lavender Voltage, Milani Violet Volt, Revlon Berry Haute, Maybelline Brazen Berry, Revlon Shameless, Maybelline Lilac Flush
Left to right: Maybelline Lavender Voltage, Milani Violet Volt, Revlon Berry Haute, Maybelline Brazen Berry, Revlon Shameless, Maybelline Lilac Flush

MAC is known for for producing strong, flattering statement colors. Many of MAC's purple shades are iconic. For instance, Heroine and Violetta are instantly recognizable names among the "makeup porn" beauty community set. Many cosmetic brands have tried their hands at producing dupes of these striking purple shades.

Heroine

Brand
Color
Price
Milani
"Matte Glam" Color Statement
$5.99
Revlon
"Violet Frenzy" Super Lustrous Pearl #027
$7.99
Maybelline
"Violet Intrigue" Limited Edition #995
$8.99
Maybelline
"Vision in Violet" Color Elixir
$6.99
Colourpop
"Grind" Lippie Stix
$5.00
Wet-n-Wild
"Ravin' Raisin" MegaLast
$1.99
NYX
"Twisted" High Voltage
$5.99
Maybelline
"Vibrant Violet" ColorSensational Creamy Matte #681
$7.49
Black Radiance
"Plum Orchid" Perfect Tone
$1.99
LA Girl
"Love Triangle" Matte Flat Velvet
$4.00
Left to right: Covergirl Vixen Violet, Milani Matte Glam, Maybelline Vision in Violet, Wet-n-Wild Ravin' Raisin, Maybelline Vibrant Violet
Left to right: Covergirl Vixen Violet, Milani Matte Glam, Maybelline Vision in Violet, Wet-n-Wild Ravin' Raisin, Maybelline Vibrant Violet
Top to bottom: Vibrant Violet, Ravin' Raisin, Vision in Violet, Matte Glam, Vixen Violet
Top to bottom: Vibrant Violet, Ravin' Raisin, Vision in Violet, Matte Glam, Vixen Violet

Pure Heroine (Lorde Collection)

Pure Heroine is a shade somewhere between Heroine and Punk Couture—you can see the video below for a comparison.

Brand
Color
Price
Revlon
"Shameless" ColorBurst Matte Balm
$9.49
Wet-n-Wild
"Bordeaux Boulevard" Limited Edition
on eBay for about $7.00

Violetta

Brand
Color
Price
Maybelline
"Lavender Voltage" Limited Edition #1000
$9.99
NYX
"Purple Rain" Slim Lip Pencil
$3.50
Maybelline
"Amethyst Ablaze" Limited Edition #978
$5.46
Milani
"Violet Volt" Color Statement
$5.99

Dodgy Girl

Brand
Color
Price
Maybelline
"Lilac Flush" Rebel Bloom #725
$7.49

Up the Amp

Brand
Color
Price
Revlon
"Berry Haute" Super Lustrous #660
$7.99
Colourpop
"Fern" Lippie Stick
$5.00
L'Oreal
"Violet Chiffon" Colour Riche Lipstick Limited Edition #175
$13.10

Men Love Mystery

Brand
Color
Price
Covergirl
"Divine" LipPerfection #330, discontinued
$10.00

Feel My Pulse (Limited Edition)

Brand
Color
Price
Maybelline
"Brazen Berry" ColorSensational Vivids #905
$7.49

Lavender Jade (Limited Edition)

Brand
Color
Price
Colourpop
"Brills" Lippie Stix
$5.00
LA Girl
"Dare to Date" Matte Flat Velvet
$4.00

Blooming Lovely (Limited Edition)

Brand
Color
Price
NYX
"Power" Round Case
$3.99

Lavender Whip

Brand
Color
Price
NYX
"Power" High Voltage
$5.99

Blackened Purples

There are several affordable alternatives available for many of MAC's deeper purple lipsticks.

Cyber

Brand
Color
Price
Wet-n-Wild
"Vamp It Up" Mega Last
$1.99
Colourpop
"Feminist" Lippie Stix
$5.00
Maybelline
"Midnight Plum" ColorSensational Limited Edition #1005
$7.99
NYX
"Dahlia" High Voltage
$5.99
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Wet n' Wild Vamp It Up and Maybelline Midnight PlumTop to bottom: Maybelline Midnight Plum, Wet n' Wild Vamp It Up
Wet n' Wild Vamp It Up and Maybelline Midnight Plum
Wet n' Wild Vamp It Up and Maybelline Midnight Plum
Top to bottom: Maybelline Midnight Plum, Wet n' Wild Vamp It Up
Top to bottom: Maybelline Midnight Plum, Wet n' Wild Vamp It Up

Laura Lee compares Cyber side-by-side with NYX's Dahlia.

Gunner

Brand
Color
Price
NYX
"Temptress" Simply Vamp Lip Cream
$6.50

Punk Couture

Brand
Color
Price
NYX
"Betrayal" Wicked Lippie
$6.00

Smoked Purple

Brand
Color
Price
Rimmel
"Rossetto" Lasting Finish by Kate Moss #107
$5.29
NYX
"She Devil" Simply Vamp Lip Cream
$6.50
NYX
"Transylvania" Soft Matte Lip Cream
$6.00
Colormates
"Black Orchid"
$1.00

Instigator

Brand
Color
Price
Revlon
"Va Va Violet" Super Lustrous
$7.99

Purplish Reds, Wines, and Berry Colors

Besides all of the outright purple lipsticks in MAC's catalog, there are many plums, wines, berries, and other deep reds with heavy purple undertones. Here are dupes for some of MAC's more striking shades in this color range.

left to right: Wet n' Wild Sugar Plum Fairy, Wet n' Wild Cherry Bomb, Wet n' Wild Black Orchid, Wet n' Wild Vintage Vibe, NYX Aria
left to right: Wet n' Wild Sugar Plum Fairy, Wet n' Wild Cherry Bomb, Wet n' Wild Black Orchid, Wet n' Wild Vintage Vibe, NYX Aria
top to bottom: Aria, Vintage Vibe, Black Orchid, Cherry Bomb, & Sugar Plum Fairy
top to bottom: Aria, Vintage Vibe, Black Orchid, Cherry Bomb, & Sugar Plum Fairy

Rebel

Brand
Color
Price
Covergirl
"Embrace" LipPerfection LipColor, discontinued
$14.49
Milani
"Sangria" Color Statement #21
$5.99
Wet-n-Wild
"Sugar Plum Fairy" MegaLast #908C
$1.99
Wet-n-Wild
"Ferguson Crest Cabernet" Creme by Fergie
$3.49
Colourpop
"Flawless" Lippie Stix
$5.00
Maybelline
"Berry Brilliant" ColorSensational Jewels Collection Limited Edition #996
on Ebay for about $5.00
Rebel
Rebel | Source

The video below gives a side-by-side comparison of Rebel to Milani's Sangria and Wet-n-Wild's Sugar Plum.

Sin

Brand
Color
Price
Colourpop
"Creature" Lippie Stix
$5.00
Wet-n-Wild
"Cherry Bomb"
$1.99
NYX
"Feline" High Voltage
$5.99

Diva

Brand
Color
Price
Maybelline
"Divine Wine" Color Sensational Creamy Matte #695
$7.99
Wet-n-Wild
"Black Orchid" Silk Finish #508A
$0.99

Dark Side

Brand
Color
Price
Revlon
"Black Cherry" Super Lustrous #477
$7.99
Wet-n-Wild
"Dark Wine" Silk Finish #522A
$0.99
NYX
"Aphrodisiac" Simply Vamp Lip Cream
$6.50

Dark Side compared with Revlon's Black Cherry.

And here it is compared with Sleek Mulberry.

Eugenie (2015 Giambattista Valli Collection)

Brand
Color
Price
Wet-n-Wild
"Vintage Vibe" Limited
$1.99
NYX
"Copenhagen" Soft Matte Lip Cream
$6.00

Acai (Julia Petit Collection Limited Edition)

Brand
Color
Price
NYX
"Aria" Matte
$6.00

Fixed on Drama

Brand
Color
Price
Revlon
"Wine Not" Matte Limited Edition #010
$15.00

Hang Up

Brand
Color
Price
NYX
"Wine & Dine" High Voltage
$5.99

Vino Lip Pencil

Brand
Color
Price
NYX
"Deep Purple" Slim Lip Pencil
$3.50

Nightmoth Lipliner

Brand
Color
Price
Covergirl
"Sophisticated" LipPerfection Lipliner
$6.74
Impulse Cosmetics
"Pandora" Opaque Matte
$6.99
 
 
 

Purplish Pinks

For those still hesitant to jump into wearing a full-on purple lip, you can always ease into it by tryiing a pink shade that has a hint of purple. Here are dupes for some of MAC's purplish-pink lipsticks.

Flat Out Fabulous

Brand
Color
Price
Colourpop
"Heart On" Lippie Stix
$5.00

Pink Pigeon

Brand
Color
Price
Maybelline
"Fuchsia Flash" Sensational Vivids #865
$7.49
Milani
"Rose Hip" Color Statement #14
$5.99

Candy Yum-Yum

Brand
Color
Price
Wet-n-Wild
"Nouveau Pink" Silk Finish #511B
$0.99
Maybelline
"Fuchsia Fever" ColorSensational #140
$7.99
Milani
"Diva" Color Statement Moisture Matte #63
$5.99
NYX
"Shocking Pink" Matte
$6.00
Revlon
"Showy" ColorBurst Matte Balm
$9.49
Colourpop
"Wifey" Lippie Stix
$5.00

Here's Candy Yum-Yum compared with Milani's Diva.

And below, you can see it compared with Milani's Rose Hip.

Girl About Town

Brand
Color
Price
Revlon
"Lollipop" Lip Butter
$8.49
NYX
"Adis Ababa" Soft Matte Lip Cream
$6.00

The video below shows Girl About Town side by side with NYX Black Label Lipstick in Beauty Queen.

And here you can see it compared to Covergirl's Spellbound.

Something New

Brand
Color
Price
NYX
"Beauty Queen" Black Label Lipstick Limited Edition
$5.99

Embrace Me

Brand
Color
Price
Milani
"Matte Orchid" Moisture Matte #64
$5.99

Lovelorn

Brand
Color
Price
e.l.f.
"Classy" Essential Lipstick
$1.00

Divine Choice

Brand
Color
Price
Wet-n-Wild
"V. I. Pink" Creme by Fergie
$3.49

Pink Poodle

Brand
Color
Price
Wet-n-Wild
"Fuchsia with Blue Pearl" Silk Finish Lipstick #527B
$0.99

Daddy's Little Girl (Limited Edition)

Brand
Color
Price
Maybelline
"Hot Plum" ColorSensational Vivids #900
$7.49

Plumful

Brand
Color
Price
Revlon
"Sugar Plum" ColorBurst Lip Butter, discontinued
$11.00
Maybelline
"Mauve Mania" ColorSensational Lipcolor
$7.49

Craving

Brand
Color
Price
Maybelline
"Bit of Berry" ColorSensational
$7.49
Milani
"Plumrose" Color Statement #17
$5.99

Pleasure Bomb (Rihanna Limited Edition)

Brand
Color
Price
Covergirl
"Eternal" LipPerfection Lipstick #350, discontinued
$9.27
Wet-n-Wild
"Cherry Picking" Mega Last #965
$1.99

Toxic Tale (Limited Edition)

Brand
Color
Price
NYX
"Femme" Extra Creamy Round
$4.00

Happy Go Lucky (Limited Edition)

Brand
Color
Price
NYX
"Privileged" High Voltage
$5.99
Maybelline
"Fuchsia Fierce" Limited Edition #990
on Ebay for $9.00
NYX
"Razzle" Butter Lipstick
$6.00

Silly

Brand
Color
Price
NYX
"Pink Lyric" Extra Creamy Round
$4.00

St. Germain

Brand
Color
Price
NYX
"Rose" Macaron Lippie
$6.00
Maybelline
"Porcelain Pink" ColorSensational Limited Edition #850
$8.99

Petals and Peacocks (Liberty of London)

Brand
Color
Price
NYX
"Sweet Pink" Matte
$6.00

Pink Nouveau

Brand
Color
Price
NYX
"Summer Breeze" Matte
$6.00

Brave

Brand
Color
Price
Maybelline
"Warm Me Up" Color Sensational Lipstick #235
$7.49

Show Orchid

Brand
Color
Price
NYC
"Blue Rose" Expert Last #405
$1.99
Revlon
"Fuchsia Fusion" Super Lustrous #657
$7.99
Covergirl
"Spellbound" Lip Perfection #325
$7.49
Milani
"Raspberry Rush" Color Statement Limited Edition
$6.43

But Some of These Dupes Are Limited Editions...

What if the dupe is no longer produced? For instance, Maybelline's "Midnight Plum" was part of a 2013 collection. "How am I supposed to find it now?" you may ask.

Well, just because the lipstick is no longer available in your local drugstore doesn't mean it can't be found. Products such as these are typically still available from multiple sellers on Amazon and eBay. Additionally, there are makeup clearance sites such as allcosmeticswholesale.com and buymebeauty.com that specialize in selling close-out makeup at reduced prices. Just run a quick Google search for the discontinued item you want—you'll probably find it selling for less than its original price!

Some Things to Consider About Dupes

1. Dupes Aren't an Exact Science.

A "dupe," or duplicate, is a close approximation of the original. It may vary slightly in color, as well as in texture, formula, and/or wear time. The lighting your lipstick is worn in can also change color perception, and many of MAC's lipstick shades (such as "Smoked Purple," "Cyber," and "Instigator" or "Fashion Revival," Julia Petit's Limited Edition "Acai," and "Rebel") are similar to one another.

Another thing to remember here is that lipstick can be built up to increase its intensity. A lipstick that may not look like a dupe after the first swipe over the lips might just be a perfect match after the third pass.

2. Will Buying the Dupe Really Save You Money?

If you were actually going to buy the MAC lipstick, then buying the cheaper alternative will definitely save you money. However, be careful. It can be tempting to go on a spending spree because these MAC alternatives are so cheap, but if you decide to buy dupes of MAC lipsticks that you wouldn't have actually purchased for full price, you're not really saving.

Embark on a New Cosmetic Adventure

Of course, saving money isn't everything. Buying lipstick shades you would have never gotten at full price will allow you to expand your collection and explore new horizons. Have fun on your journey of cosmetic exploration!

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    • profile image

      Florencia 8 months ago

      Love this guide! You definitely should do a guide of red MAC lipstick dupes!

    • SmartAndFun profile image

      SmartAndFun 2 years ago from Texas

      I am too old and don't have the right coloring to wear purple lipstick, but I love makeup in general and the idea of your article. I love to save money and find great products that work just as well as expensive ones. Great job!

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