Over at our growing Facebook group, Glossible,  things been heating up over some hot topics as of late. So today, I wanted to write a little piece on one of those topics....cosmetic copycatting. And boy is it ever big business for the cosmetic companies.

Fasten your seatbelts, we are about to hit some turbulence.

If you're drinking wine, be sure it's not's gonna get a little messy.


inside the cosmetic lab....

inside the cosmetic lab....

As I go deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of creating my line of cosmetics, I have to tell you it’s been a difficult road for me on many levels....


The complete lack of innovation in the beauty industry. Not only in the retail side, but even on the development/formulation side.

Everyone has gotten so fucking lazy in this industry. There. I said it... There are some beautiful things out there that the labs are doing, but no one bothers to do it. 

Why? Why bother? Copycatting is big business and it's faster to get to market.

There is no better time than now to be in the cosmetics manufacturing game. Cosmetic labs are working at full capacity and some aren't even taking new customers, thanks to social media.  But because of social media, I find that we are going down a path that is bad for all of us. Read on to know why.


Fellow blogger KJ Bennett writes a really great piece here about how the cosmetic industry works and how it’s done.

In KJ's article, most brands just slap a stock formula in a pretty new dress, throw a few bows on it and throw it out there for all of us to “ooh and aahhhh” over as if it's a dog and pony show with glitter.  A lot of times they don’t even bother tweaking a formula or color to make it unique. As a matter of fact, dare I say if they even care if it's any good? Why bother?
Today it's all about who can get it out the fastest and the cheapest. Why? Because tomorrow the trend may be over and they want to capitalize on that trend before creating the next copycat product.

And where do the big brands get the copycat product ideas? From small lines like Viseart, Melanie Mills, PPI just to name a few.

If I were being completely honest, in my opinion, most big cosmetic companies don’t even TRY anymore. And it’s not just the cosmetic companies, it’s the labs and manufacturers too who take direction from these companies.  I imagine the chemists are crying in their glass beakers because they WANT to create innovative products but the companies won't let them. Why? Because copycatting is big business and easier to do.




Copycats happen in every industry…it's just more apparent now because our easy access to everything through social media. We see it all around us but most of the time do we really pay attention or do we even care? 

It's the same old song and dance in the tech world....everyone knocks off Apple and Apple knocks off Samsung. Basically, all these tech companies are doing is making their version of a popular product hoping to grab a little more of the market share.

Remember when Apple was great? God how I miss those days. Nowadays I can't say that about them anymore. Why? They are too busy trying to be like everyone else, which sucks for Apple. They haven't lost it completely but they aren't the great tech company I once remember them to be. 

No matter what you personally think about Steve Jobs, he took already made objects and made them better. He gave us the iPod, iPhone and iPad. Since then not much has come out that has been ground breaking. (Sorry, Apple Watch doesn’t count, yawn. Even if it was one of his creations) I am all for taking things and making them better, but guess what? Cosmetic companies aren't doing that.... They are just throwing products out there and we are wild dogs fighting over it as if it were our last meal.

First generation iPhone and iPod...

First generation iPhone and iPod...


Bad user experience is happening everywhere. Are you seeing more of these pop up? I am!

Bad user experience is happening everywhere. Are you seeing more of these pop up? I am!

I don't think cosmetic companies really care about us anymore. Or they don't seem like they do. Where is the brand promise? Where is the brand mantra? Now it's just shovel shit out for the masses and watch them feast. 

What happened to luxurious textures and colors that were perfect for skin tones? What happened to a brand being known for their foundation colors? What about a brand being known for their skin products? It's all the same shit just a different day. 

Today it's a dog eat dog world in the field of beauty and racing to market has become so uneventful that I truly have stopped paying attention to most product launches. How many collections did Mac release this year? 457?

To me the beauty industry looks a little something like this: We are the lions and the cosmetic companies just throw us a carcass. 

cosmetic copycatting


Copycatting in the beauty industry isn't the same as having the same kind of products. 
I’m not talking about creating a range of nude eyeshadows and calling them Naked’s or Nudes, there are only so many ways one can call something neutral.  I'm speaking to the blatant knock offs where the one doing the copycatting isn't' even trying to call it something different or even spinning it a different way. To me it becomes a problem is when the design, colors and color names start to look so similar to the brand who made it popular causes confusion in the marketplace.

For Example:

Morphe knocking off Viseart

I was shocked at how Morphe had the balls to knock off Viseart. Why not just make a palette of their own? Why not create their own ICONIC product? Oh yea that's right? They don't care about the user experience or want to bother to create something unique for their brand. It's way too easy and cheap to knock off someone else's baby. (and by the way, don't begin to think for 1 minute these two are the same. It's like buying Kuntry Pop instead of Coca-Cola). As I always say, cheap is the most expensive thing you will ever buy...but I digress.....

Or how about this?

Jordane knocked off a PPI product right down to the website copy. I mean, uh, dude? Really? Silly, silly people. That can get you in a lot of trouble. I will be waiting to see how this plays out. As a matter of fact, I can't wait to see how this affects brands legally across the board? 

Eyeshadow palettes are some of the biggest knock offs I see......

Cosmetic line W-7 has made a whole line of cosmetics doing knock offs of popular brands!

Cosmetic line W-7 has made a whole line of cosmetics doing knock offs of popular brands!

Drugstore brand Elf is also famous for it......right down to the packaging.

Dupes in the cosmetic industry


W7 Isn't shy about it's copycatting....not one bit! 

Cosmetic knock off


Most people don’t realize how or why copycat imitation hurts our industry, or hell for that matter even care.... but let me tell my opinion on why it does. 

As a pro makeup artist, I can go our right now to any Ulta or Sephora and tell you that 85% of all makeup is complete and utter bullshit...

Don’t believe me?

Go on any Facebook group that caters to pro makeup artists and you will see a surge in going back to old brands. (Actually they never left) Graftobian, Ben Nye, RCMA just to name a few.


Because the big brands are not listening to working pros. They are listening to beauty bloggers. And that my friends, is one of the roots of the problem.


Beauty bloggers drive sales.

Beauty bloggers drive sales.

Before you get your knickers in a twisty little mess, let me tell you that I am not against beauty bloggers at all. I think they have an interesting place in the industry by allowing people to discover new products. While a lot of bloggers out there are great, (especially the ones that have worked in the industry for years) these aren't the ones I’m talking about here….
I’m talking about people who have no clue about beauty except that they look pretty on camera and perhaps may have a clever trick or two up their sleeve. 

Over the last few years, however, beauty bloggers have become puppets for the cosmetic companies.  Don’t believe me?

Gather around children, it's story hour....

Behind close door meetings with popular beauty bloggers

Behind close door meetings with popular beauty bloggers

Last year, I sat in on a big meeting with some higher up cosmetic level execs who were giving a talk on how they utilize social media influencers.  The story went a little something like this....

A very popular Youtube beauty blogger was given $100,000 to blog about a new product that was coming out.  (Yes, bitches, you read that correctly. 1 video. 15 minutes long. $100k)

But guess what?

Her videos drove over 2 million in sales… IN ONE DAY! As a matter of fact, MINUTES. I call that a hell of a return on investment for the cosmetic company....and she said exactly what they wanted her to say (in her own words of course).

So what does that mean and how does it relate to copycatting?? 

That means these cosmetic companies can make absolute bullshit products and not care about the actual product they produce because they have beauty bloggers to drive the sales…so they rip each other’s products, have a pissing match on who can knock it off better and play this game of cat and mouse to see who has the bigger balls.

After the meeting, I sat there in the room with my jaw on the floor and cried off my perfectly matched foundation and It was then I knew we were all in a pile of pony poo.

Now before you hand me my ass in a brown paper bag for throwing a beauty blogger under the bus,  just stop right there. Cause I am NOT hating on her for one minute......absolutely not.

The fact that these beauty bloggers can command that kind of cash from a cosmetic company is funny to me. Secretly I laugh and say “GO GIRL” to the beauty blogger and wanna high five her after she hits "publish" on her YouTube channel.  However, in the same breathe, I am also saying "OH GOD NO" this is NOT GOOD. It's this double edge sword that is creating a sea of mediocrity in the marketplace. And who loses? We do. The pro and the consumer. 



Now that you understand a little how the industry works these days,  this is why you see copycatting running wild.  The cosmetic companies watch social media trends, give the masses what the THINK they want, and use the beauty blogger to promote the sales.

What are we left with?

Subpar bullshit. 

For example. Ever notice that foundation color these days is so wrong that you can't seem to find the perfect foundation to save your life? Think about it.

If beauty blogger tells you that the Waffle House yellow foundation she is using is the best thing since Netflix on a cold rainy day, well guess what? People believe him/her. Then women are left with crappy products that don’t perform and are constantly shopping for something that works, leaving us in a constant state of searching for the next hero product for ourselves. ...and this is where we are today. In the dark ages of beauty.


sea of beauty

It's no wonder I find myself on a journey to create something I want for myself and for my clients. At the end of the day, I want a good user experience for my clients and hell for ME for that matter.  Is that so wrong?  I sure wish I had the billions of dollars to create the things I wanted. Unfortunately I didn't even win $2 on the 1.4 billion lottery ticket! HA!

So the next time you find yourself frustrated with beauty prodcuts, trust me, it's not just you. It's us pros too. So come sit close and let's comfort each other. White WHINE standing by.

What do you think of the cosmetic copycatting? Leave a comment below!

Peace & love,

Zoeva Rose Golden Brush Review

Zoeva Rose Golden Brush Review