I was curious about Beauty Pie even before it’s launch, just when it was a mumbling that was stuttering across the beauty community. When it launched I couldn’t help but feel a bit discluded as the prices put me off, but after recently getting a day pass to try the service thanks to filling out an email survey, it meant I bit the bullet and tried the service.
For those who haven’t heard about Beauty Pie yet, this is a service which allows you to buy high end makeup at the factory cost. They minimise on fancy packaging and boxing to keep costs as low as possible, so those products that rival the likes of Chanel, Lancome and Charlotte Tilbury, that have foundations in their £30 mark – is generally available for under a fiver – on the website they list what their ‘RRP’ should be – the price you’d pay for a similar high-end product in the likes of Selfridges, Debenhams or Harvey Nic’s. The concept comes from Soap and Glory founder Marcia Kilgore who wanted to bring Luxury beauty to a more affordable level. And I know what you’re thinking – where’s the catch, and sadly there is one (at least for me).
On top of the cost of the product you pay £10 per month for the privilege to shop with them, with that you’re tied in for a minimum of three months (after that you can cancel any time), now that wouldn’t be too bad for me, if I could try a big selection of products in the first month, then order a much bigger selection of product of the ones I love over month two and three. But you’re capped at a £100 per month of the ‘RRP’ full price – so you’re really able to buy between 4/5 products each month – maybe 6 at an absolute push if you wanted to stock up on a selection of the cheapest products – but unless you wanted a whole selection of brow pencils, stocking up at things at the lowest price-point would be difficult as there isn’t many. If you wanted to buy the brush kit (no brushes are sold separately to get that “one” blending brush you’re always going to need – so straight away that’s £80 of credit gone in one month).
I had planned to try this at some point, probably towards the mid-end of the year once the service had chance to grow it’s collection more and have more of a choice of things to try. Since it’s launch at the beginning of the year there seems to have been couple of new introductions a month, but I think over the course of three months I would probably have felt like I was picking things for the sake of picking things, and a much wider selection of products would be more enticing for me to actually choose from, but three months worth at the moment? Might have been a stretch.
I think once you have a feel for the brand, the buying process may become a lot less of that gambley feeling – but I do feel like I couldn’t only keep myself stocked up on one brand forever. You cannot go into a store and feel the texture, pigmentation or colour of something and get a feel for the brand in general – you’re literally taking a gamble on around £30 a month (once you’ve added everything together) that you’ll like what you get. With most high end purchases – until I really, really know the brand well – I’ll tend to have seen the products in store before I actually make an order online. I know I wasn’t the only one who thought when the initial mumblings happened that you would also be able to buy other brands from Beauty Pie, and they were almost more of a middleman service to buy from other brands a bit cheaper – and some people who signed up felt mislead once they’d realised that wasn’t the case.
I’m not sure once you’ve subscribed for the initial three months if you can hop on and off the subscription as you please, or if each time you reset yourself to three months -if so that’s quite a turn off for me. On top of the subscription fee, there is other charges which also feel quite hidden from the process, you have to pay payment processing fees separately (part and parcel of running a business IMO as someone who builds ecommerce websites for a living) and whilst it’s something that’s usually hidden built in cost of the product or delivery makes you feel quite bitter seeing that listed a as charge at the end. The shipping is also quite expensive in my opinion, I’ve heard from other people that the Standard shipping can feel quite slow to be dispatched so I upgraded from Standard to next working day (Ordered Friday, should have arrived Monday) Standard shipping was around £6 – with the next day it was £9.50 – way too high for makeup, add to that the delivery company didn’t listen to my instructions on where to leave it and it was taken to a collection point 7 miles away from home, the opposite direction from where I work – so whilst I should have received it on the Monday after I’d ordered on Friday, I picked it up the following Saturday – 8 days after my initial order. Beauty Pie’s answer to the expensive shipping is to let your credits build up over a few months and do bigger blow out orders to save on Shipping, but for me personally I would be subscribing to this as a monthly treat like a beauty box and I think that would take that feeling away from me, also if you really need to stock up on your new fave foundation – with this approach you’re unable to, and you have to pay more out at a time.
With the free day pass I could pick a limit of £100 of full price products, I asked Lora for some advice as to what she liked and was worth trying as she’s been trying it out for the past few months. Here’s what I picked.
Pro-Glow Highlighter in Cosmic Shine – Factory Cost £5.46 – Full Price Cost £30.00
The highlighters came highly recommended from Lora, I picked Cosmic shine which was the most intense looking from the bunch. The swirled style of this really reminds me of the Laura Gellar Gelato Highlighters, which I’ve wanted for ages but they always seem to be out of stock. I thought this would be really nice for honeymoon with it’s peachy tone which will look gorgeous on tanned skin.
Incrediblur Instant Retouching Foundation in 400 Buff – Factory Cost £3.46 – Full Price Cost £24.00
Lora recommended the foundations also and I decided to try out their newest one, mainly again with honeymoon in mind thanks to the non-bulky tube packaging, although I have probably picked a shade a bit too light to last me the duration, however it’s also a little too dark for me now – so it will probably be a good one to cover the middle week.
Radical Lash Super Volumizing Mascara in Pitch Black – Factory Cost £1.99 – Full Price Cost £20.00
I’ve really depleated my mascara collection over the past few months and I thought I’d replenish my stock with a new one. After seeing the wand on this is huge, the only thing I can think of size wise that compares is the Benefit Big Fatty Mascara – which I haven’t had in years, this is also a new release and I couldn’t find any reviews so I’ll keep you posted shortly.
Future Lipstick Matte in Heartthrob Pink – Factory Cost £2.24 – Full Price Cost £20.00
These didn’t come recommended from Lora, in fact the opposite – but for that reason they had me intrigued. Rumour has it if you compare the ingredients from this product with Charlotte Tilbury the list is very similar, now I’ve just had my makeup trial and the lipstick was incredibly long wearing for me so it’ll be interesting to see whether this is drastically less so. Of course I picked a rose pink, mainly for comparison against Secret Salma as the colours looked the most similar. As I’m writing this up I have half my lips with one, and half with the other to test how they last, so I’ll be getting back to you on that.
First Impressions based on packaging, I think the quality of the packaging is quite mixed. I think it’s possible to do low cost packaging without looking boring and I would class this packaging as boring for the most part. I think there’s a way to do low cost packaging without it being boring, the likes of the highstreet brands such as Rimmel demonstrate that. The packaging also feels a little bit plasticy and borderline flimsy, I think there is something to said about the high end experience of buying makeup that is tied into the feeling of the packaging. This alters my feelings towards being able to class this as a high end makeup down to the quality of the packaging, however right or wrong that is.
I’ll be doing reviews of these as and when I’ve started using them, or do a roundup once I have full opinions, we’ll see how quickly I start using everything! Currently the service is available in just the UK and USA, with worldwide expansion plans.
Have you tried Beauty Pie?