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Why You Shouldn’t Buy Makeup Based On Its Packaging

Cosmetic and beauty products have always been packaged beautifully. From vintage and antique compacts to unique perfume bottles designed for display, the containers our cosmetics come in are often as gorgeous, if not more so, than the product within. But unless you’re an art collector, those pretty packages shouldn’t be your reason for purchasing makeup or skincare formulations. 

Beautiful packaging is designed to lure you into making a purchase. However, alluring on the outside doesn’t necessarily mean the product you’re getting is what’s best for you. Your beauty products are a purchase that should be made based on function over form. Here are a few things to know about beauty product packaging so you can avoid buying something pretty but pointless.

Packaging Plays On Your Sensibility

You’re smart. So marketing specialists work hard to outsmart you. Beautiful, unique and on-brand packaging will help them sell a product to you. The problem is, when they’re marketing fancy packaging, they’re not really informing you about their product.

Packaging is a primary incentive in a consumer’s decision to consider a product, walk past it on the shelf or put it in their virtual cart. A product’s package is an immediate form of communication, straight from the product’s company to you. One study, published in the Journal of Business Strategies, claims that packaging “could be treated as one of the most important factors influencing a consumer’s purchase decision.” The study found that an appealing color was the most important aspect of a package in influencing a consumer, followed by a picture or image.

Packaging Sells Lifestyle

Often times, packaging is more about conveying a feeling or an image than the attributes of the product. In the wine industry, for instance, a bottle’s label can mean more than the wine inside. Research presented in a study from Revenue Management suggests that the quality of a wine’s packaging might be more important to a consumer than the quality of the wine or its price. That desirable packaging, the study says, is linked to consumer lifestyle. Be alert to the possibility that a manufacturer could use your style preferences to encourage you to purchase an unsuitable product.

Expensive Doesn’t Equal Effective

Often times, the cost of beautiful packaging is plain to see. E.L.F. Cosmetics Pressed Mineral Bronzer, in a plain, plastic, unadorned package will run you about $5.00 and has consistently positive online reviews. Dior Diorskin Nude Air Tan Powder Bronzer isn’t only a mouthful to say; it’s a sight to behold. A dazzling, high-shine metal compact with the classic Christian Dior quilted pattern holds a beautifully embossed bronzing powder. Is the product inside better? Maybe, but its improvement can only be marginal. How good can bronzer be? What you’re paying for when you pick up a $56.00 Dior bronzer is the name and the packaging. Consider your motives when spending your resources.

It’s What’s Inside That Counts

When it comes to your beauty, skincare and cosmetic products, don’t be a slave to packaging. In fact, in a lot of instances, the product inside a $10 plastic foundation bottle you find at the drugstore is the same or closely similar to the foundation housed in an expensive frosted glass bottle. 

Many drugstore brands are owned by more upscale makeup brands. The L’Oreal umbrella houses high-end brands like Lancome, Giorgio Armani, Urban Decay and Yves Saint Laurent, among others. The products, despite their different price points, are developed in the same lab by the same scientists for the same purposes. Often you’ll notice product innovation in department store brands, like the Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain, that trickles down into drugstores, as it did in the form of L’Oreal Colour Riche Extraordinaire Lip Color.

When you’re choosing what products to spend your money on, consider the end result and not the packaging luring you to purchase in the moment. A $6 lipstick may look just as chic as a $30 lipstick, regardless of the tube it comes in. Embrace your style, savvy and wit as indicators of your character and don’t seek affirmation from the bottles and brands on your bathroom shelf. That said, a splurge on a product you love can be worth it. Find that balance between treating yourself to a splash of luxury but rooting yourself in sensibility. They both look good on you. 

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