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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Review: L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow dupes from Ulta and Femme Couture

I don't usually review two products from two separate brands at the same time, but since these L'Oreal Infallible eyeshadow dupes both came out at roughly the same time this year, I thought I'd cover them both in one post. I've been using these off and on for a couple of months now....keep reading for a closer look.

Femme Couture Eternal Color Intense Silky Shadow in Smoky Topaz
(retail: $6.99 at Sally Beauty, 0.11 oz)
Ulta Brilliant Color Eye Shadow in Taupe
(retail: $10 at Ulta, 0.12 oz)

Now you may be saying to yourself, "But G., L'Oreal Infallibles retail for about $7.95 at the drugstores. Why would I pay that price or more for a dupe?" And I would say to you, "Well, you're right! But remember that Ulta and Sally Beauty constantly have sales. For instance, right now at Ulta, the Brilliant Color Eye Shadows are on sale for $4 each, and Ulta makeup is often B2G2FREE and you can also use their store coupons with these sales. Over at Sally, Beauty Club members pay $6.29 for these, and Sally frequently runs BOGOFREE sales on Femme Couture. So you'll never have to pay full retail price for these as long as you're a little patient."

So first let me start with a comparison of these two shadows next to a L'Oreal Infallible shadow:

Femme Couture: 0.11 oz, $6.99, made in USA
L'Oreal: 0.12 oz, $7.95, made in USA
Ulta: 0.12 oz, $10, made in China

NOTE: The Femme Couture and L'Oreal shadows do NOT come safety-sealed. The Ulta shadow DOES come completely sealed in plastic (I removed the seal before taking these photos).

In terms of packaging, the Femme Couture shadow has the exact same shape as the L'Oreal shadow, while the Ulta shadow is more square (see pic above).

All three have inner lids that say "do not discard."

The texture of the Femme Couture shadow is a lot more crumbly. The texture of the Ulta shadow is very much like the L'Oreal shadow.

Ingredients comparison:

L'Oreal Infalilble Eyeshadow: 
Cyclohexasiloxane, Isododecane, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Nylon 611/Dimethicone Copolymer, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Silica, Caprylyl Glycol, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Talc, Polyurethane 11, May Contain (+/-):, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Aluminum Powder (CI 77000), Carmine (CI 75470), Ultramarines (CI 77007), Chromium Oxide Greens Cl 77288, Chromium Hydroxide Green (CI 77289), Maganese Vilot (CI 77742), Zinc Oxide (CI 77497), Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide (CI 77510), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140)

Femme Couture:

The right side of the label  in the above photo does not list additional ingredients--it's just product/distribution info.


The Ulta label did not want to peel apart--sorry about that!

I would say that, based on ingredients alone, the Ulta version appears closer to the L'Oreal version. The Femme Couture shadow contains fewer ingredients overall, and it also contains shea butter (the other two do not).

Now for a closer look at the Femme Couture and Ulta shades (I did a full review of a L'Oreal Infallible eyeshadow when they first came out in 2011, which you can see HERE if you would like more info on that shadow).

Femme Couture Smoky Topaz, Ulta Taupe

Femme Couture Smoky Topaz, Ulta Taupe

Looking at the pic above, you can see that the texture of the Femme Couture shadow is crumbly. I'm guessing that has a little to do with it containing shea butter. The Ulta shadow looks more like a L'Oreal Infallible shadow. 

Left: Femme Couture Smoky Topaz
Right: Ulta Taupe
(both shades swatched with my finger on bare skin)

NOTE: my favorite way to wear Infallible shadows is without primer (they actually last longer that way for me) so I tested both dupes without primer as well.

Here's an eye look I did using just Femme Couture Smoky Topaz:

Femme Couture Smoky Topaz

For this look I simply applied Smoky Topaz to my lid using a standard eyeshadow brush, and I blended up into the crease. I also used this shadow to line my lower lash line. I did not use eye primer before applying this shadow. 

Femme Couture Smoky Topaz

Smoky Topaz is a chocolately-brown shimmer (actually, it's almost a satin as opposed to a full-on shimmer) and it also contains a lot of iridescent glitter. You can't really see it in my pics above, I think you can see the glitter better in this photo:

Femme Couture Smoky Topaz

And here's an eye look I did using just Ulta Taupe:

Ulta Taupe

For this look I simply applied Taupe to my lid using a standard eyeshadow brush, and I blended it up into the crease. I also used this shadow to line my lower lash line. I did not use eye primer before applying this shadow.

Ulta Taupe

Ulta Taupe is actually more of a light cocoa brown than a true taupe. It leans warm on my NC20 skintone. I would consider the finish of this shadow to be metallic, just like many of the L'Oreal Infallibles.

Additional thoughts:

The Femme Couture shadow has a moist consistency (probably due to the addition of shea butter in the formula) and it's also crumbly, so it's not as easy to pick up with your brush as the Ulta and Infallible shadows. But once you get it going, it's a nice shadow that has good pigmentation without primer. It's easy to blend, and the staying power is good as well (I can get about 6-7 hours without primer before I start to see some serious fading). I'm not a huge fan of glitter in my shadows, and that's probably the only reason I won't be reaching for this particular shade a lot. If it didn't have that glitter (and the subsequent fallout due to the glitter), I could see this being a go-to shade for me on weekdays.

The Ulta shadow reminds me very much of my L'Oreal Infallible shadows, on every level. It's easy to pick up with my brush, easy to apply, easy to blend and it has good pigmentation without primer. I can get about 8-9 hours of wear without primer before I start to see some fading, which is very similar to my L'Oreal Infallibles. This shadow even has that same metallic finish that I find in several of my Infallibles.

FINAL VERDICT: Overall, I like both shadows. But I find the Ulta version to be much more of a dupe for the L'Oreal Infallible eyeshadows. It has the same texture, same color-payoff, same finish and same staying power as the Infallibles that I own. The Femme Couture shadow is different in that it has a more moist formula and a crumbly texture, but it's actually not difficult to work with. The color payoff is good, even without primer. It's just not a "dupe" beyond the packaging, really. I'm not a fan of the glitter in the Femme Couture shade, but I do not know if all of the shades in this line contain glitter--hopefully some do not. I think both the Ulta and Femme Couture shadows are both quite nice in their own ways, but if you're looking for a dupe for the Infallibles, go with the Ulta version. PS: I also love, love, love that the Ulta shadows come completely safety-sealed (the Infallible and Femme Couture shadows do not).

Do you own either (or both) of these shadows? How do YOU think they compare to L'Oreal Infallibles? 

The products featured in this post were purchased with personal funds. For more information, click here.


  1. I will check out the Ulta version. How is the shade selection?

    1. There are 10 shades is the range, which you can see if you scroll up to the top of this post and click the Ulta link. The ccolors look similar to the Infallible shades, but I haven't seen them all in person (I ordered mine online). Hope that helps a little! :)

  2. I have a few of the FC ones. They are ok and there are some unique colors. Be very careful with them while they are open.. they are crumbly and I have had one fall out of the container.. it was a huge mess and extremely hard to clean up. I think the big difference between the formulas is the lack of silicones binding the pigment together. In actual application though I found them no more difficult to work with than the Infallibles.

    Speaking of Ulta.. if you have not tried the new pigments you should. They are gorgeous, pigmented, apply great dry or wet, and have the best packaging ever.. very unique, makes them so easy to use.

  3. I haven't been able to find it online, but I just picked up a total dupe from Amuse cosmetics that was $2.95 from Little Tokyo in one of the beauty store there!

  4. Great review comparison. I actually own an Ulta version and word of advice: do as the inner lid says and do NOT discard. I threw mine away and now my shadow cracked into crumbles, I'm sure this wouldn't be the case if I had kept that inner lid cover.

  5. I like the shine of the Ulta shadow. I may have to give it a try!

  6. Hey G! Is it just me or does the Ulta Taupe look a lot like Wet n Wild's nutty? I've been eyeing Ulta's version of the infallibles but never bought them. Now I'm intrigued. :) Thanks for the great review.

  7. Loreal has a ton of new stuff. I sent you an email.

  8. I had the same experience you did with the Femme Couture shadow, and it worked better with a sponge-tip applicator. I love the Ulta shadow and I liked Taupe all the better for not having enough grey in it to qualify as a true taupe!


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