MAC Waterweight Foundation and Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water: Dupes and Similar Products

Thursday, September 24, 2015

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MAC's Studio Waterweight Foundation SPF30 is the latest foundation from MAC, and it has been getting tons of raves online for its lightweight, water-like texture. However, the foundation really made its way onto my radar because I was asked by my colleague at work whether I was going to review it or not. After sheepishly admitting that I probably wasn't (not because I don't want to, but because I'm already backlogged on my reviews), she told me that she had heard that it was a dupe of a Smashbox foundation, the Smashbox's Camera Ready BB Water SPF30. So I just had to check it out!


MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation SPF30 vs Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water SPF30: Dupes or not?

Of course, the ingredients nerd in me was piqued by this. Certainly this wouldn't be the first time a product has had a dupe, and is hardly surprising to me. In my 5 years of blogging, I've encountered beauty dupes for everything from brush-washing tools to colour-changing lipbalm to face creams, so nothing fazes me. But it is interesting to see a product being duped so early into its release.


Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water: A new Smashbox product, rumoured to be a dupe for the MAC Waterweight Foundation (Source)

Turns out, as you might guess, the MAC Waterweight Foundation SPF30 and Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water SPF30 are indeed extremely close, if not identical. But I wanted to find out more - what if there were other similar products out there? So began my journey into ingredient nerdiness.

1. Are the MAC Waterweight Foundation and Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water dupes?

There has been much buzz about the two being dupes for each other, so let's clear this up! The only way to tell is to look at the ingredients in both the MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation and the Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water, and to see how similar they are. If they are very similar, they should have quite a lot of ingredients in common (particularly the first 5 ingredients, which make up the bulk of the product). If they are truly dupes in the purest sense of the word, the ingredients lists should be identical.

So, let's take a look at the ingredients lists, and see just how similar they are!


MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation SPF30 (Source)

Here's the ingredients list for the MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation SPF30:

Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 5%, Titanium Dioxide 3.1%, Zinc Oxide 2.1%.
Inactive Ingredients: Water\Aqua\Eau, Methyl Trimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Silica, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Dimethicone, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone Silylate, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Glycerin, Polysilicone-11, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Lecithin, Citrullus Vulgaris (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Sodium PCA, Methicone, Triethyl Citrate, Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, Laureth-7, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Dextrin, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Chloride, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Sodium Lactate, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Zinc Stearate, Litchi Chinensis Seed Extract, Polyglutamic Acid, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, [+/- Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Iron Oxides (CI 77499)]




Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water SPF30 (Source)

And, here are the ingredients for the Smashboxs Camera Ready BB Water SPF30:

Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 5%, Titanium Dioxide 3.1%, Zinc Oxide 2.1%.
Inactive Ingredients: Water\Aqua\Eau, Methyl Trimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Silica, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Dimethicone, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone Silylate, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Glycerin, Polysilicone-11, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Lecithin, Citrullus Vulgaris (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Sodium PCA, Methicone, Triethyl Citrate, Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, Laureth-7, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Dextrin, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Chloride, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Sodium Lactate, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Zinc Stearate, Litchi Chinensis Seed Extract, Polyglutamic Acid, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, [+/- Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Iron Oxides (CI 77499)]


No joke here, the ingredients lists are exactly alike, word-for-word. So yes, the two are pretty much perfect dupes for each other! Of course, the MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation is cheaper than the Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water, but if you've been reading my blog and my ingredients analysis posts long enough, you'll probably already have an inkling that the price of a beauty product is oftentimes independent of it quality and cost, and is really more linked to the brand's image and reputation. The fact that the MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation and the Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water have exactly identical ingredients lists despite being marketed under different brands and in different packaging, is a testament to this.


Yes, both MAC Waterweight Foundation and Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water are dupes (Source)

The Estee Lauder Group does own both Smashbox and MAC, so it's really no surprise that they decided to leverage their economies of scale to put out the same formula under different brands. After all, if you've spent time and money to develop a nice, lightweight foundation that performs well, it makes sense to market it under all your umbrella brands (or as many as possible without decreasing your overall profits) in order to increase your sales. It may not be the most palatable marketing tactic to consumers, but Estee Lauder is by no means the only large beauty conglomerate that does this. In fact, over my 5 years of beauty blogging, I've come to realize that such "self-duping" among brands belonging to the same parent company is quite commonplace, and it doesn't bother me. I understand it makes business sense for the brand, and in my opinion, the onus is on me as the consumer to be as savvy as possible when choosing and buying beauty products (hence all my ingredient geekery). So make of it what you will - and if you have liked the Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water, now you know where you can get a cheaper dupe!

2. Yay, dupes! But how do the MAC Waterweight Foundation and Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water work, anyway?

Ethics of duping your own formula in your other brands aside, I thought I'd also touch on how the formulas work, just for the fun of it (that's my ingredients nerd at work there)! Why has the product been getting so many raves? And is the SPF protection actually worth it?

First, let's look at the SPF protection. The key filters are Octinoxate 5%, Titanium Dioxide 3.1%, Zinc Oxide 2.1%, which is good - I love it when the two physical filters (Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide) are included. There is also Octinoxate for good measure. I've mentioned before in my sunscreen tips post that SPF in makeup isn't very useful because we don't apply enough of it to get sufficient protection, and that is true, but if the alternative is not wearing any SPF at all, then I guess this is better than nothing. On the bright side, though, we're covered for both UVA and UVB rays - while Octinoxate only provides protection from UVB rays, both Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide provide protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Octinoxate does degrade over time, so it's just as well that Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, which are stable, are there. On the other hand, if we check in with the BASF Sunscreen Simulator, we get an estimated SPF of anywhere from SPF16.4 to SPF18. There are various reasons why the Sunscreen Simulator could give readings that differ from the product, such as the inclusion of sunscreen boosters and antioxidants, but ideally, the two should be closer together, as it gives an idea of what the sun protection is from just the UV filters alone.

Of course, noone buys foundation solely for the SPF protection. We buy and love it because it feels nice on our skin, blends in well, and gives us a good match. And on that count, the MAC Waterweight Fouundation SPF30 and Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water SPF30 both do excellently on that front. The products contain a variety of silicones and polymers which have various functions such as emulsifiers, but most of them help the foundation to feel nice on the skin and form a nice layer on top of it (Methyl Trimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone, Dimethicone Silylate, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Polysilicone-1, PEG-10 Dimethicone), thickener (Silica), emollients (Butyloctyl Salicylate, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate), and humectants (Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate). These are the key ingredients that give the product its key properties, and it's interesting to note that most of these are fairly light and don't feel heavy on the skin, hence contributing to the "water"-like feel of the product. Of course, there are other minor ingredients too (such as the plant extracts and so on), but when we are considering a foundation,

3. Are there any other dupes or products similar to the MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation and Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water?

Now that we know how the formula works, we can consider how to find similar products. To get as close a match as possible, we should watch out for products with as many of the top few ingredients as possible, and in particular the main ingredients that give the product its texture: the top few silicones (Methyl Trimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone), emollients (Butyloctyl Salicylate, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate), thickener (Silica) and humectants (Butylene Glycol, Glycerin). Of course, not every product will have all of these ingredients, so the general goal is to focus on these top few ingredients, especially the top 5, which are Water (this is pretty duh, so I guess we won't count this), Methyl Trimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Silica, Butyloctyl Salicylate, and Dimethicone, as they make up most of the product and are the ones that are primarily responsible for the nice feel of the product on skin. If we can find a product with as many of these 5 ingredients in the top few ingredients, then we know we've got one that is fairly close.

Of course, this is about finding similar products, not exact dupes (the MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation and Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water are already exact dupes of each other, as it is). It may not be as helpful if you're looking for the exact same thing, but it might be useful if you've tried and liked either the MAC or Smashbox versions and want to branch out to try similar products, or if you've tried one of the similar products below, and are wondering if the MAC or Smashbox version would give you a significantly different experience. Either way, it's always good to know what products might be similar!

Again, this time we would have to trawl a number of products to see their ingredients lists. It turns out there isn't an exact dupe for these two products, but there are some products that come close. Interestingly enough, they're all from the Estee Lauder Group, and they're all Clinique products.

1. Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus All-Smooth Makeup SPF 15


Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus All-Smooth Makeup SPF 15 (Source)

The Clinique Repairwear Foundation, while not quite a dupe, definitely has some very close similarities. It has the main silicones (Methyl Trimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone), humectants (Butylene Glycol, Glycerin), and also some of the same UV filters, although since we're looking at a dupe for the foundation, rather than the sunscreen part of the product, this is less relevant. This isn't surprising, because Clinique is also part of the Estee Lauder Group, so it's no surprise that we find a very similar formula in another brand.

Below is the full ingredients list for the Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus All-Smooth Makeup SPF 15:
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 4.1%; Octocrylene 2%;
Inactive Ingredients: Water, Methyl Trimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone, Triethylhexanoin, Butylene Glycol, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Glycerin, Alumina, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Whey Protein, Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St. Paul’s Wort) Extract, Micrococcus Lysate, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Sodium Hyaluronate, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Sodium Myristoyl Sarcosinate, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Sodium Chloride, Tocopheryl Acetate, Acetyl Glucosamine, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Methicone, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Lecithin, Dimethicone Crosspolymer-3, PEG-8, Laureth-7, Dipropylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Phenoxyethanol May Contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Bismuth Oxychloride



2. Clinique Redness Solutions Makeup SPF15 with Probiotic Technology


Clinique Redness Solutions Makeup SPF15 with Probiotic Technology (Source)

Clinique Redness Solutions Makeup SPF15 with Probiotic Technology is another one that's pretty similar. It has some of the same UV filters, of course, but it also has a good match for some of the key ingredients, particularly the silicones (Methyl Trimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone, Lauryl Peg-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone), emollients (C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate), humectants (Butylene Glycol). Some of the other ingredients that are present in larger amounts in the MAC Studio Waterweight/Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water Foundations are also present in this product, just in different amounts, too (e.g. Glycerin, Peg-10 Dimethicone). Again, no surprise there!

Interestingly, the Clinique Redness Solution Makeup is also pretty darn similar to the Clinique Repairwear All-Smooth Makeup - the first 9 ingredients, in fact, are word-for-word identical, and the differences are really quite minor (e.g. plant extracts and things like that). I would consider them to be pretty much almost-dupes of each other. Thus it's not surprising that both made it onto this list!

Here are the ingredients for the Clinique Redness Solutions Makeup SPF15 with Probiotic Technology:
Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 5.90%, Zinc Oxide 3.70%, Titanium Dioxide 2.90%
Water, Methyl Trimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone, Triethylhexanoin, Butylene Glycol, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Lauryl Peg-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Lactobacillus Ferment, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Extract, Magnolia Grandiflora Bark Extract, Poria Cocos Sclerotium Extract, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butte, Glycerin, Caffeine, Sodium Myristoyl Sarcosinate, Caprylyl Methicone, Methicone, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Dimethicone Crosspolymer-3, Lecithin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Laureth-7, Dimethicone/Peg-10/15 Crosspolymer, Sodium Chloride, Dipropylene Glycol, Disodium Edta, Aluminum Hydroxide, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Phenoxyethanol, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499)



3. Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF 15


Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF 15 (Source)

Yes, another Clinique product! (Don't worry, the next one will be something different, promise!) Again, this is an almost-dupe for both the Clinique Redness Solution Makeup and the Clinique Repairwear All-Smooth Makeup, because the first 9 ingredients are again exactly identical! So if any of you have been wanting a dupe for your favourite Clinique foundation, now you know that your dupe is probably another Clinique foundation, haha.

So yes, it is unsurprising that the Clinique Even Better Makeup turns out to also be quite similar to the MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation/Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water. Like the Redness Solution Makeup and the Repairwear All-Smooth Makeup, this one has very similar silicones (Methyl Trimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone) and humectants (Butylene Glycol). It may not be a 100% dupe, but it will probably feel pretty similar.

Here are the ingredients for the Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF 15:
Active: Octinoxate 6%; Titanium Dioxide 2.90%; Zinc Oxide 3.5%.
Inactive: Water, Methyl Trimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone, Triethylhexanoin, Butylene Glycol, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Octldodecyl Neopentanoate, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Extract, Betula Alba (Birch) Bark Extract, Citrus Jabara Peel Extract, Sacchoromyces Lysate Extract, Trametes Versicolor Extract, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Sodium Mannose Phosphate, Glycerin, Sodium Myristoyl Sarcosinate, Methicone, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Dimethicone Crosspolymer-3, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Lecithin, Laureth-7, Tocopheryl Acetate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Alumina, Sodium Chloride, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Polyaminopropyl Biguandine; May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Mica, Bismuth Oxychloride



Bonus: Clinique Repairwear Anti-Aging Makeup SPF15


Clinique Repairwear Anti-Aging Makeup SPF15 (Source)

I was on the fence about including the Clinique Repairwear Anti-Aging Makeup SPF15, because it's actually discontinued and replaced by the Repairwear Laser Focus Makeup. But I thought it might be helpful for people who have tried the Repairwear Anti-Aging Makeup before, or for people who are still able to get their hands on the older version.

This product has some similarities within its first few ingredients, with similar silicones (Dimethicone, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone), humectants (Butylene Glycol), and thickener (Silica) within the top few ingredients. Some of the other major silicones (Methyl Trimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone) are either absent or lower down the ingredients list, so while the formula has some similarities, the absence of two of the major silicones might mean that there will be some differences in how the product feels on skin. I suppose the newer formulas probably feel lighter than the older one with the addition of the two silicones.

Here are the ingredients for the Clinique Repairwear Anti-Aging Makeup SPF15:
ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: TITANIUM DIOXIDE 12.6%, ZINC OXIDE 2.0%
Inactive Ingredients: Dimethicone, Water, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Butylene Glycol, Lauryl Peg-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Silica, Lauric Acid, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Yeast Extract (Faex), Astrocaryum Murumuru Butter, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Phenyl Trimethicone, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract, Betula Alba (Birch) Bark Extract, Artemia Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, Ascorbyl Tocopheryl Maleate, Potassium Sulfate, Glycerin, Mimosa Tenuiflora Bark Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid, Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate, Caffeine, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, Sodium Rna, Linoleic Acid, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Cholesterol, Squalane, Linolenic Acid, Phospholipidis, Zinc Stearate, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile), Sodium Hyaluronate, Polyethylene, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Sorbitan Olivate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Sucrose, Caprylyl Glycol, Maltodextrin, Sodium Chloride, Lecithin, Alumina, Laureth-7, Xanthan Gum, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Betaine, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Zinc Oxide, Iron Oxides


4. TL;DR, What can we conclude from this?

I guess this post is pretty straightforward, as compared to some of the more complicated posts that I've done in the past. But if you need a quick 2-minute takeaway of this post, it is that:

1. The MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation and Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water are dupes for each other
Contrary to popular belief, it is not always the case that a more expensive product is automatically better, as seen by how both the products are exactly alike, word-for-word, down to the last ingredient. It's also no surprise that they are dupes for each other, since both brands are owned by Estee Lauder.

2. The lightweight texture of the MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation/Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water is due to a combination of lightweight silicones, emollients, and humectants
Despite how dupe-y they are, it is true that both products have received rave reviews. The mix of silicones (Methyl Trimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone), emollients (Butyloctyl Salicylate, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate), and humectants (Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, give the product a very non-heavy, "waterweight" feel on the skin indeed.

3. There are 3 Clinique foundations that are pretty similar to both the MAC Waterweight Foundation as well as the Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water
The Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus All-Smooth Makeup SPF 15, Redness Solutions Makeup SPF15 with Probiotic Technology, and Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF 15 aren't dupes of the MAC Waterweight/Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water, but they are quite similar, with some of the same silicones, emollients, and humectants. The now-discontinued Clinique Repairwear Anti-Aging Makeup SPF15 was also somewhat similar too.

4. The 3 Clinique Foundations are also pretty darn similar to each other.
I think they are pretty much almost-dupes, since the first 9 ingredients, which are the key ingredients that give the product its texture and feel on skin, are identical. The differences come in at the minor ingredients, and plant extracts.

Foundation choosing (for me anyway) can truly be one of the most painful parts of being a makeup junkie, just because it is quite literally the base for all your make up look, and can be pretty subjective, depending on your skin type, formula preference, lifestyle and so on. Also, there's the difficulty in finding a shade match, before you even consider the formula aspects of the foundation! But now that you know that the MAC Studio Water Weight Foundation and the Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water are dupes, and and what other similar foundations are out there, I hope this helps in the search for the perfect foundation!

2 comments:

  1. Hi, just curious, beyond the ingredients, is it similar to other water based foundations (eg. Nude air one by Dior, etc. ) that were all the rage earlier this year (maybe in terms of consistency and coverage?) ?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have MAC's Studio Waterweight Foundation and I haven't even swatched it yet not to mention actually tried it on my face, oops. D: I think it's kinda sneaky how they sell 2 exactly similar foundations with a different price, though.

    ReplyDelete

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