Charlotte Tilbury – Flawless Filter Review – and Budget Friendly Dupes.

Recently, I’ve been having an overhaul of my makeup – testing new products which will give my sixty-three-year-old, Botox-free, winter skin a boost.  My wish list has included a product that will give my skin a subtle glow, not strobe or metallic-like.  I was hoping for a light, creamy texture that is easy to apply – something which I can wear either on its own or over my light foundation, improving the general appearance of my midlife skin.

As I was doing my research, there was a product being mentioned by makeup lovers, time and time, again. And, this was the Hollywood Flawless Filter by Charlotte Tilbury.  I am late to the party with CT’s products as I thought this range was mainly for younger people.  How wrong I was. I came to this conclusion wandering around the makeup aisles. A younger crowd was always in attendance at the CT counter, and, it simply put me off.

Searching for a healthy glow? 

After some thought over the £39.00 price tag of the Flawless Filter, I decided to go for it.  Luckily, I had a birthday voucher to spend so I thought I would put it to good use.  There are twelve shades, in total, and I was a little unsure which shade would suit me. Then, on the day of my purchase, it was a few minutes off closing time and there was only one member of staff, in attendance. And, as I didn’t want to trouble her by trying different shades, I opted for the Shade Fair No 2.  I chose this light shade as I am naturally quite pale – and had read that the product was quite sheer. So, I hoped it would sit nicely on my skin, and that I wasn’t making a spendy mistake.  I also purchased the Pillow Talk (Original) lipstick, a few weeks later, which is another hyped product I was curious to try. This neutral tone would contribute towards my more natural makeup look – I’m wearing it in the photographs, below.

Wearing my Hollywood Flawless Filter (again) and Pillow Talk

Since the purchase of the Flawless Filter, a few months ago, I have been using it, frequently – mostly on its own, enjoying the lovely glow.  It makes me feel good, especially when it’s lashing it down with sleet and rain outside. It’s a mood uplifter and I feel it’s improved my sad, winter skin.  I also wear it over a very light foundation.

A Bold Red Lipstick – This one is No 7 Moisture drench Lipstick in the colour Soft Paprika.

CT Flawless Filter adds a lovely subtle healthy glow.  I’ve received a few compliments regarding my skin when wearing it. One person asked if I had been on holiday.  This product is perfect for a “no makeup, makeup” look.  The consistency is indeed light – and I find it easy to apply with my fingers – I’m “old school”.  Because I liked the appearance of this product,

Some of the CT Hollywood Flawless Filter dupes I have been trying

I began to wonder if there were any other similar less expensive dupes out in the marketplace.  Mainly, because I’m not keen on pulling out £39.00, regularly. So, could I find a good replica at a fraction of the price?

Pamela Anderson – caused an online frenzy by going for a makeup-free look.

Before I get into the dupes, I would like to mention that, recently, there has been a lot of “hoo-ha” around Pamela Anderson’s decision to stop wearing makeup – with her going for a much more minimalist look, instead.  Pamela said she was fed up with sitting in the chair for hours, getting her makeup applied, and has found this pared-down look, liberating.  My take on this is to wear what makes you happy, both on your face and body. Self-expression is key and there are no rules.

For a natural look.  Wearing my Elf Halo Glow Liquid Filter (On its own) with Bobbi Brown Lip-Oil-Infused Gloss In Bare#barefaced #nomakeupmakeup

The whole Pamela Anderson makeup thing caught my attention as the “no makeup, makeup” look has always been my favourite go-to. Though, on occasions, I sometimes like wearing a dramatic dark or red lipstick.  My love of strong lip colour comes from the BIBA brand of my youth.  Back then, my favourite signature lipstick colours were dark rust or cherry.

The Biba Makeup Counter, which I visited frequently and Ingrid Boulting the face of Biba.

If you are of a certain age, do you remember the black makeup counters – with all the dramatic mirrored glass and feathers?  I was so impressed with their vibrant bold colours at the time, and, whenever I get a waft of patchouli oil, I’m transported back there.

I didn’t wear foundation until my thirties (Clinique), which was very sheer, and I would apply the bare minimum.  I have kept to this light application throughout the years, especially as the lines began to appear.  Of course, even the best makeup won’t sit well on dry, tired winter skin.  So, it is so important to keep skin moisturised, especially in the colder months. Then, the healthy, juicy skin will shine through.

Here are a few CT Hollywood Flawless Filter dupes I have been trialling over the months and my truthful findings. Some are closer to the “Real McCoy than others. But, they won’t break the bank.

Elf Halo Glow Liquid Filter in eight shades (£14.00) 31.5 ML

When I began my research to find a good quality dupe, Elf Halo Glow was the one mentioned the most, hence, the one to try first.  I hit lucky as it was on offer at Boots for £9.00. And, I noticed the size is slightly bigger than CT. So, I wanted to like this product!

Again, I chose the shade “fair”, which was a similar match to my CT Flawless Filter. Both the bottle and applicator are similar to the CT wand.  I then explored the ingredients looking for similarities. There was a slight difference but mostly they are very alike, such as the ones below.

  • Didecene – which contains skin softening agents.

  • Squalane – skin-smoothing and softening benefits.

  • Glycerin – increases skin hydration, relieves dryness,

  • Hyaluronic Acid – Hydrates skin

  • Finely milled powders – help with open pores for a smoother, soft-focus look.

As with CT, this product has a spongey wand applicator which makes it easier to apply.  I found it slightly thicker in texture, so I needed less. Then, it appeared to be lightweight following the application.  Again, I applied a small amount with my fingers, patting as I was going.  My skin is quite dry, so I applied a moisturiser a few minutes, before.  I found the product to be hydrating on my skin, not cakey, which has been mentioned regarding this product. Maybe, it helped that I moisturised, first.

Rating 4/5

The Collection, Gorgeous Glow Filter Finish is £7.99 (30ML) (4 x shades available)

Again, everything about the appearance of this product is similar to CT, from the look of the product to the applicator. This time, I purchased a slightly darker shade in fair medium, hoping it would tint my skin a little, as well as give me a glow. There are only four shades available so choose, carefully.  Again, it has similar skin-benefitting ingredients to CT.  I found this product had a thicker consistency but easily absorbed into my skin.  Over the past months, I have worn this product either with or without my foundation and I am very impressed. You only need a little, due to the thickness of the product. Otherwise, it may appear, cakey.  For longevity, I have worn this for over six hours, on occasion, and it still had the subtle glow. What’s not to love for the price? So, I will be purchasing it again.

Rating 4/5

IT Cosmetics Your Skin Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50 32ml- 12 Shades

As we are talking about all things, “glow”, I thought I would finish with this product from IT, which is one of my favourites.  I have been using it for several years.  This has a little more coverage than the Elf and Collection products, hence only a little is needed – though, it is sheer enough to see the skin peeping through. It isn’t drying at all and has that all-important SPF 50 – what’s not to love?  I always have this in my makeup drawer and is a must if you are after that “no-makeup makeup” look.

Rating 5/5


I’m not pretending to be a makeup expert. But what I am bringing to you is years of experience wearing makeup and now what works for me in my midlife years. I read reviews before purchasing most things, and this is especially so with makeup, as it will avoid costly mistakes. I understand that reviews may differ according to age, skin type and other reasons. But, reviews can give me a barometer of how good the product is, overall. So, will I continue paying nearly £40.00 for CT or continue using the dupes? For the moment, I will be repurchasing the dupes. Mainly, because I am wearing them, frequently, for a daily, subtle glow – mostly, on their own. I’d also like to mention my favourite light foundation that I have been using for the last five years. It’s the costly Chanel Revitalising Foundation, which I don’t wear all the time. And, so far, it’s justified the £48.00 price tag because there’s still quite an amount remaining in the bottle. Finding a dupe for this will be my next project. There must be a cheaper version – we shall see!!

The answer is to give a most definite “yes” to the dupes, it would be silly not to. If I was being pedantic, there may be slight differences in the texture of the product, and the amount of glow. A few reviewers said the Elf version is a little metallic-looking compared to CT. But, I haven’t found that to be the case. I assessed them both, one day, by putting CT on the right side of my face and the Elf version on the other. And, I couldn’t see any difference. If you do try these, you only need a little bit of product – less is more as the case may be for a subtle glow. Enjoy, if you decide to give any of the products I have mentioned a try!

Thank you for reading my post which is not sponsored. All products are my own.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click through to the products, there is no cost to you. If you purchase anything, the small commission I receive will contribute to the running of my blog.

I hope this post has given you a few makeup ideas – I will be back shortly.  If you have any comments or questions, please let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Take care

Alison xx




  1. Celine Coop

    Great read Alison! I must try CT again and I’m a huge fan of IT Cosmetics – lovely on the skin. Estée Lauder double wear is another good one. Celine x

    • Thank you for popping by Celine. I love IT cosmetics. I used to wear Estee Lauders double wear foundation many moons ago, it’s a lovely, quality foundation. xx

  2. I don’t wear foundation at all. I probably should but find I can get away with a good moisturizer followed by a mineral spf then setting powder. I add color with bronzer and blush. But, I think moisturizing is definitely the best thing we can do for our skin (other than spf). Thanks for the reviews!

    • So right! Moisturising is key to healthy glowy skin. I like the sound of your routine – a lovely natural look is what I’m after. In the warmer months I love a high SPF with a slight tint, little bit of lip gloss and I’m ready to go.xx

  3. /

    I don’t wear foundation because I don’t like the feel on my skin. But it’s good to test several different ones of you do.

    • I only use a tiny amount of foundation these days, much preferring a dab of the products mentioned as they give a healthy glowy look, thank you for your comment.xx

  4. /

    I don’t think I’ve tried this CT product, I went through a spell of utter dedication to the brand. I’ve just sent for a similar glow giver with light coverage from Lisa Eldridge. I find I don’t get enough coverage usually, but my skin is a bit better lately thanks to a new regime with AHA’s, retinol and so on. Thanks for sharing at xx

    • I am fairly new to anything glow related – very impressed with the CT product and dupes,it’s certainly improved the look of my skin.x

  5. I haven’t tried a product like this but should look into it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and possible, less expensive options! Greatly appreciated!

    • The dupes are a great way to see if you like the glow in a less expensive way I find. x

  6. I’ve heard so much about CT products and have only ever had a lippy from them. It’s lovely I might add so will take a look at their other products xx Jacqui x

  7. You always look so good and your skin is radiant! Loved this post- and I’m going to give those 3 dupes a try- starting with IT. I hope they have it here in Canada! Hae a great rest of the week:)

    • Thank you Lucy. IT makeup is my favourite, gives a natural glow, hope you like it.xx

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