Dupes are everywhere. These are the best ones we’ve tried.

UPDATE: April 26, 2023 at 12:45 PM EDT This story has been updated to include more cheats for popular products.

Sierra moved around her For your page in January, when he came across a seven-second clip of a woman unpacking the loot from a recent Target order: two large boxes of store-brand toilet paper. “That’s it better dupe for Charmin toilet paper,” the narrator declares in a voiceover.

Sierra, who works in marketing but uses Tik Tok for fun, he had noticed more and more videos about cheating on the app lately, but the seven-second clip he found “outrageous”: Why are we romanticizing generic versions of everyday household items that have been around forever? So he decided to sew it.

“‘Be really fucked up right now’ was the first thought that came to my mind, and I just said it,” Sierra told Mashable, explaining. short and punchy reaction video(opens in a new tab). (We’ve omitted her last name to protect her privacy.) She thought some friends who followed her would find it funny. Apparently, a few other people did too – it’s since racked up over half a million views and 76,000 likes.

While Sierra didn’t go into her video with the intention of going viral, “it makes sense to me that it resonated with people,” she said. “I know I’m not the only person who thinks, ‘Okay, that word.’ [dupe] now it’s overused.'”

Why are hoaxes popular?

Finding dupes (short for “duplicates”), or products that replicate the experience of more expensive or inaccessible items, is becoming the biggest shopping trend of 2023 so far, thanks in large part to TikTok, where videos about worthy copycats rack up millions. of views (The hashtag #dupe has been viewed more than 2.8 billion times on the app.) Search interest for the term “dupe” hit an all-time high this month, according to Data from Google Trends(opens in a new tab)generating related queries for popular purchases like “Dyson Airwrap stuck,” “AirPods Max dupe” and “Birkenstock Boston clog dupe”.

The revival of TikTok’s hoax recommendation has also given rise to a new meme on social media, where users ironically compare two different entities along the lines of “is to give(opens in a new tab)” or “big [blank] energy.” Antidepressants? Serotonin Deception(opens in a new tab). Matty Healy with a silk shirt? Harry Styles cheated. Painted window in the bathroom leading to a hidden room(opens in a new tab)? Coraline cheat on! The cheating mentality is real(opens in a new tab) and ubiquitous

In some ways, our collective interest in hoaxes is simply a sign of the times. Apps like TikTok and Instagram contribute to a dizzying cycle of trends, and there’s a thrill in finding a cheap, readily available version of something that lets us try the latest.”core(opens in a new tab).” Retailers are more than happy to ignite those desires and aspirations cheap and lower quality products(opens in a new tab).


The Shark FlexStyle is easily the best Dyson Airwrap dupe, but we found other contenders under $200

And certainly there have been “missings” of designer handbags, watches and other miscellaneous items for decades (as anyone who’s walked down Canal Street or attended a ’90s “bag party” can attest), but the Internet has ushered in a new era of this long-standing practice.

“For different kinds of people, hoaxes are a way of looking and wanting to participate in a certain aesthetic, but doing it in a more accessible way,” said Amanada Brennan, meme librarian and senior director of trends at the digital marketing agency XX Artists. .

Our compulsion to consider it all a hoax is also a natural response to an unpredictable economy beset by inflation and supply chain challenges. Being able to save money, or not having to wait a few weeks for a back order to be filled, can easily outweigh the quality or appeal of name brands for many consumers. Luxury purchases like the Dyson Airwrap have basically created their own aftermarkets of dupes, with plenty of brands making their own version of the original product. And saying you discovered a dupe is more fun than admitting you bought Up & Up Premium Ultra Soft Toilet Paper because it was a few bucks cheaper than Charmin. Like it or not, we have reached the peak of the culture of deception.

What are TikTok cheats?

Historically, “cheat” has meant two different things, depending on what circles you hang out in players, is the practice of using bugs or exploits to clone in-game currency or rare items. To the general public, it has always been synonymous with tricking, deceiving or swindling.

Brennan points to a 2007 question(opens in a new tab) on a craft forum as the first mention of “dupe” as a substitute for something expensive, sold out, or discontinued: “I’ve gone through 3 different fragrance search sites and googled every keyword imaginable, but I can’t seem to find cheats for Tyler Candle Company,” wrote user TxSioux. The term took off in a bigger way within the beauty industry a few years later, which Brennan attributes in large part to a blogger named Christine Mielke(opens in a new tab) (aka Temptalia) and their long archive of makeup swatch comparisons called The cheat list(opens in a new tab).

Brennan said beauty and clothing content came to Instagram in the 2010s before the genre expanded to TikTok. The reason for its massive popularity there is twofold.

“I think there’s algorithmic play here. Like once you find one [dupe video]you’re probably going to keep going down the rabbit hole,” Brennan explained. There’s also a strange degree of satisfaction, he said, whether you’re the one making the tricked-out video or the one watching it. Buy this instead! it will always be a compelling piece of content (see also: disinfluence and anti-hauls), and the eventual revelation of an unexpected alternative is a rush for both parties involved.

Lars Perner, an assistant professor of clinical marketing at the University of Southern California, noted that the influx of hoax videos on TikTok could also be an example of a psychological phenomenon known as social proof: People are more likely to to restaurants that have more time. lines or to watch a movie that people online recommend because they assume other people know what’s good.


Yes, SKIMS viral TikTok outfit and bodysuits made me look smitten

“I imagine you see other people creating TikTok content of a particular type and you’re drawn to it,” Perner said.

Los Angeles-based alternative rock band Never Ending Fall(opens in a new tab) became one of the biggest players in the TikTok dupe game completely by accident. Members Jack Miller, Tommy St. Clair, Conrad Boyd, Pearce Eisenhardt and Johnny Hohman were wandering the aisles of their local Costco one day when they spotted giant, alarmingly cheap bottles of Kirkland Signature brand alcohol from the warehouse store. A blind taste test with brand-name spirits was introduced as a joke before he decided to film it for fun, setting the footage behind a homemade jazz jingle: “Can it Kirklaaand?”

The views kept coming, so the drinks kept flowing. Since then, the band has filmed more than 30 videos for their hit “Can It Kirkland” series, now in its second season, racking up millions of likes and amassing devoted fans both online and IRL in the process . (His latest single, “Bad Taste,” is no a reference to his critical palettes, for the record.)

“It was really fun to see it all translated [to real-life] when we were on the road on tour, because we literally had people dressed as [series host] Johnny’s coming to our show,” said frontman Miller (aka Contestant #2). People may have come for the trick recommendations, but they’re staying for the cast of characters involved. “It’s great to see how everything flows. also in our careers as musicians.”

According to Perner, this is part of the staying power of the deception trend. “I imagine a lot of the appeal of some of these things would be the personalities of the people on TikToks,” he said. Perner compares DupeTok to QVC, where hosts can get people excited about products that, frankly, can be pretty boring.

“I think TikTok is probably a great illustration of the idea that almost anything can be made interesting in some way,” he added.

What makes a cheat a good cheat on?

Dupes have been placed in almost every product category, but not everything needs be deceived It’s one thing to trick out expensive items and recreate luxury experiences for less, Perner said, but products like toilet paper or water bottles aren’t in the same league.

“I’m not sure most of us could really tell the difference that much, realistically, between different brands,” Perner said.

But since we’re in the age of hoaxes, it’s only fair to talk about what to look for in a hoax product. The goal of a cheat is to reduce cost without sacrificing quality while retaining most of the same features or designs.

An easy way to find cheats is by searching through Google Lens or Amazon Camera Search(opens in a new tab). If you use a photo of the product you want through these tools, results will be displayed for items with similar product images. So you can just scroll and find the closest match in your price range.

You can also, of course, turn to TikTok as dupes search engine. If you sift through the memes, you’ll find actual suggestions for some of the most sought-after products on the app.

The problem with existence lots of dupes is that there are also plenty of dupe-wannabes who are actually just crap products designed to make a quick buck. Just a perennial reminder: If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Perner noted that Amazon is full of third-party merchants, so the risk of receiving a counterfeit product is higher there, especially if you’re looking for a dupe of something that doesn’t look different. There must be some brand recognition when buying dupes or you find yourself with the possibility of receiving AliExpress quality products.

Brands are unlikely to ever label their products as “cheats” because of the legal implications involved. Although Target’s Up & Up brand toilet paper is explicitly labeled as a comparison to Charmin on its packaging, a now-deleted comment on Target’s account on TikTok(opens in a new tab) says the company’s legal team forbids them from actually using the term “cheat.” Target declined to comment to Mashable about not being able to use the term.

screenshot of Target's TikTok comment

Credit: Screenshot via TikTok

Cheating has been very much a user-driven phenomenon. Even when Shein or Fashion Nova spoof a piece of clothing, they won’t label it as such. It’s up to the consumer to make the connection that this is what brands are doing.

Brands may not call their products dupes, but we sure will. We’ve rounded up some of the best dupes for popular products like the Apple AirPods Max, the SKIMS suit, and the Dyson Airwrap, most of which we’ve tried (and loved) ourselves.

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As technology advances, dupes of popular products are becoming more and more common. Fortunately, through trial and error, the team at Ikaroa has managed to curate some of the best dupes we’ve ever tried.

One of the standout dupes is a makeup brush set we tried. It is often compared to the pricier sigma brushes, and while the quality may not quite be the same, it’s quite similar and definitely worth the fraction of the price.

We were also recently amazed when we tried a tablet stand. It was near identical to the incredibly popular tablet stand from rain design and had the same look and feel – but at a much lower price.

We were also pleasantly surprised by the dupe of a popular tech case. It had most of the same features, with the same look and feel, but cost a fraction of the price.

Finally, when it comes to clothing, we especially love a dupe we found of the coveted Ugg boots. The dupe looks nearly identical and keeps our feet just as warm, but doesn’t cost nearly as much.

When it comes to shopping smartly, the team at Ikaroa knows it can pay off. With a little bit of research, you can often find dupes that are every bit as good, if not better than the real thing. In the end, you get the same quality, at a significantly lower price.


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