When is a dupe really a dupe? Mac Strobe Cream v The Botanics Radiance Balm

DSC_5262For the past few months, it seems that every single blogger, including myself, has been all about the Boots Botanics Radiance balm. For weeks and weeks the Radiance balm was out of stock in Boots across the country, as makeup addicts rushed to buy it to achieve radiant looking skin. The reason for this? Well Boots Botanics Radiance balm is said to be a dupe for the makeup artists favourite Mac strobe cream and who doesn’t love a dupe.

Yet here is the thing, Just how alike are Strobe cream and the Boots Radiance balm? Is the €7.99 product from Boots as good as the Mac classic for €33.50? And when is a dupe really a dupe?

It seems that the word dupe is bandied about quite a bit. Every single day I see people claim that one less expensive product is a fantastic duplicate for a much more popular high end product. Bloggers are rushing to get the next Facebook like, Twitter retweet and increase their Instagram following with their latest “dupe” discovery.Yet here is the thing. A dupe is only a dupe if it performs the exact same way as the more expensive product. The fact that the colour is the same, or it kinda looks similar in the packaging does not make it a dupe. Unless a product performs the exact same way, then it is not a dupe. Personally I have come across very few products that are genuine dupes for their higher end alternatives.

DSC_5279Which brings me back to Mac Strobe Cream and the Boots Botanics Radiance balm. Is the Radiance Balm a legit dupe, or does it kinda just do a similer job to Strobe but just not as well? For the past few weeks, I have put both products to test underneath a range of different foundations and have come up with some interesting findings.

DSC_5286Both products are applied to your skin after you moisturise and before you put on your foundation. They promise to give your skin a glow underneath your foundation , and bring a little bit more life and radiance to your skin. While they both do exactly what they say on the tin, it is Mac’s Strobe cream that completes this job with a little bit more finesse.

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 19.05.59The first difference between the two is in the texture. I find that the Botanics radiance balm feels a little more greasy on the skin, whereas Strobe cream is much more creamy. Don’t get me wrong, the Radiance balm does not apply greasily to the skin, but on application there is a little bit more of a greasy feel. You can feel the luxury when applying Strobe Cream compared to the Radiance balm.

Secondly Strobe cream soaks into your skin a lot quicker than the Radiance Balm. I find that you have to wait a minute or so to let the Radiance balm soak in, whereas with Strobe cream you’re ready to apply your foundation almost immediately.

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 19.06.59Finally, Strobe Cream gives a little bit more of a glow straight away with one layer. Whereas you would need to apply two layers of the Radiance Balm to achieve the same glow as Strobe cream.

Yet here is the thing. Once they are both on the skin, the final result is the exact same thing!! They both give a beautiful glow to your skin, banish the dull look, and give you an over all more radiant appearance, but in my opinion, Mac strobe Cream does it that little bit better.

While I love the Boot Botanics Radiance balm, and really hail it as a work horse of a product, I personally prefer Mac Strobe cream. Not only because it gives a more intense glow, but also how it applies to the skin, the feel on application and the fact you can achieve your desired glow quicker than the radiance balm. This isn’t a real deal breaker, and I would happily use the Radiance balm, but for me Mac just has the edge.

So is the Boots Botanics Balm really a dupe for Mac Strobe cream? Once on the skin there really is no denying that the Radiance Balm works just as hard as Mac Strobe cream. It is just personal preference on application as to which one is better.


  1. leanne@blatherandbeauty.ie says

    I love both of these equally! I tend to buy the travel size strobe cream for €10 and lasts me ages. I lean towards using the Boots one during the week and strobe at weekends, but definitely it’s hard to pick a favourite.

  2. Mary says

    Thanks for doing a proper “dupe” review. It’s a bugbear of mine when reading blogs that eg product X is a dupe for product Y because they both have black packaging. It’s incredibly lazy and annoying.
    Really enjoy your blog and quality reviews! Thanks and keep it up!

  3. Lisa says

    Great to read a real dupe review. I personally don’t care about the packaging but want a dupe to work the same way as the high end product, otherwise it’s just a waste of money and it all adds up in the end. Can you tell us what other genuine dupes you’ve found?

  4. says

    Great review! i’m so behind, i only heard about the radiance balm about a week ago! I’ve been wondering how it compares as strobe cream is one of my favourite products 🙂 x

  5. says

    I love your honest thoughts on Dupes! I really like the Boots Botanics Radiance Balm. I love the way it can make my skin a bit more alive when my skin looks dull or tired. I don’t use these types of products often enough to consider trying out MAC Strobe Cream. For my needs the Radiance Balm does the trick sufficiently.

  6. Jacinta says

    I invested in Mac Strobe & am so disappointed as find it doesn’t make any difference whatsoever to my look. I wear it after moisturising & under my foundation. I bought the big tube, total waste of money as no difference whatsoever.

  7. Eilís says

    What I don’t like about the Boot Botanic Radiance balm is that when you peel off the label at the back it states; “This product contains AHA that may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Use a sunscreen and limit sun exposure during use of this product and for a week after use of the product has stopped”. I feel that should be clearly stated on the bottle.

  8. Anna says

    I use a seventeen liquid highlighter (can’t remember the exact name) but it can be used under foundation, mixed in with it or just as highlight over foundation. It’s literally amazing it gives your skin such a natural dewy glow I seriously recommend it and it’s so cheap! I’ve never used Mac strobe cream so I’m not sure if it’s a dupe or not but I’ve heard some people say it is 🙂


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