I Tried 6 Trader Joe’s Cheap Skin-Care Product Dupes

When I spot the signature black-and-white stripes of Sephora, I can’t help but nearly beam myself into the store. When I walk in and see aisles and aisles of my favorite skin-care products, my shoulder tension eases, my childhood traumas recede to the back of my mind, and my self-image gets a jolt to the system. I leave happier, but I also leave with my bank account at least $100 lighter — especially when I’m buying my go-to Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen, which costs $36 for just 1.7 ounces. 
After seeing the internet go crazy over Trader Joe’s latest buzzy skin-care dupe, an $8.99 sunscreen that’s said to mimic Supergoop!’s clear gel formula, I wondered if I could ease my beleaguered wallet by replacing some of these pricey (but beloved) Sephora essentials with the much less expensive options from Trader Joe’s. Dupes of existing products are controversial for a number of reasons: In most (but not all) cases, products are expensive because of the quality of the ingredients and the research and development that goes into their formulations. Even when the ingredient list is nearly identical, those same ingredients might be used at different concentrations or be of lesser quality, yielding completely different results. There’s also the ethical question of whether it’s even okay to pass off the work of other beauty brands as your own.