As a fresh-faced recent University of Virginia grad, Meg Pryde was working in manufacturing and—to her surprise—learned that oftentimes there’s not really a difference between the makeup you find at a department store beauty counter and what’s on the drugstore shelf.
“Sometimes [manufacturers] will produce the same product and put it in two different packages and sell it for two different prices,” says Pryde. “As a consumer, I thought that was really crazy. That meant when I was buying the higher-end brand, I was really just paying for the fancy label.”
That on-the-job education got her wheels turning and last fall, Pryde and her co-founder Carolyn Kochard, launched Brandefy, a beauty app that lets users compare brands to determine if the more expensive version is really worth it.
The app allows users to search their favorite brands (including makeup, skin care, hair care, bath and body, and oral care) and find reviews by “beauty gurus” that have road tested both the high-end brand and the “dupe.” In addition, each product on the site—more than 1,900 and growing—has been reviewed for its ingredient panel, which can be a cumbersome task for a general consumer, says Pryde.
“We take the ingredient panels and compare them for you, so that you don’t have to,” says Pryde of the Richmond-based company. “I’ve literally watched women spend 10 minutes trying to read through an ingredient panel and it just takes too long.”
With 50,000-plus users and counting, including a number of trusted beauty gurus who confidently review products, the app is a resource for both bargain-hunters and those who want to talk makeup with fellow beauty junkies. You can purchase products directly from the app. Don’t see your brand? Users can also request a review of their favorite products.
This summer, the app is readying a 3.0 relaunch with additional consumer engagement features that will allow users to share information, dig deeper into ingredients and learn about the best beauty dupes.
“The way I’ve heard Brandefy described [by our users] is, ‘It’s like a big sister who knows what you should spend more on and what you should get a deal on,” says Pryde. “A lot of people have said, ‘I’m never spending $30 on mascara again. There is literally no point. There are so many good dupes.’”
Warmer weather is a great time to swap out your makeup for lighter, sweat-proof products. Below, Meg Pryde, co-founder of Brandefy, shares some of the best dupes found on the beauty app.