My cat Billy, who thinks he is a Beauty Pie, and loves pink tissue paper
Beauty Pie is a subscription-based company that gives access to high-quality product at ‘member prices’. Established by Marcia Kilgore, of Soap & Glory, Bliss and FitFlop fame, Beauty Pie has been hailed as a ‘disrupter’ – a company with the potential to shake up the existing market and spearhead a new way of doing business that can threaten the ‘old guard’.
I signed up for Beauty Pie newsletters fairly early on, and read them with interest – one of the things I like best about Beauty Pie is the quality of copywriting. I took a look around the site from time to time, but only took out a subscription when they introduced skincare alongside make-up.
Fast delivery, stout boxes, beautifully presented contents
Beauty Pie’s USP is the pricing. The lure is that the products are available at ‘factory cost’, but you do need to deploy a calculator to work out the value to YOU of that factory cost, given that it a) costs £10 per month to access the site (and you must sign up for a minimum of three months) and b) the amount of ‘factory cost’ product you can buy is CAPPED. Please feel free to work alongside me with your calculator as I explain my workings in best ‘O’ level Maths paper style …
The Maths on Beauty Pie
Cost of signing up (fully intending to cancel after three months): £30
+ Amount of product available to buy: £100 at REGULAR price value – not ‘factory cost’. Any unused allowance rolls over to the next month.
+ Shipping: Beauty Pie charge a shipping fee on top of each order.
My Strategy: maximise bang for buck by placing initial order when taking out £10 per month subscription. If you don’t do this, how will you know that you like the brand? Allow Shopping Allowance remaining to roll into month two, and make larger (and final) order in Month three, to minimise shipping costs.
Juggling those Regular Value amounts to maximise your shopping allowance is tricky! It is possible to ‘upgrade’ your Shopping Allowance if you have set your heart on something that just won’t financially ‘fit’ in your basket and you don’t mind spending more money, but I had resolved not to do that. So, my first order cost me £24.76 on top of the subscription and Order Two came in at £29.52.
So altogether: my Beauty Pie experience cost:
£30 – Minimum Subscription
£17.67 – Products (first order)
£ 7.09 – Shipping & Handling (first order)
£22.22 – Products (second order)
£ 7.32 – Shipping & Handling (second order)
£84.30 – TOTAL
Averaged out over three months, that’s £28.10 per month. And in terms of Bang for Buck, it’s a LOT of bang. I tried to get a good spread of skincare and make-up for testing purposes, and I’m pleased with the quality of all of it. Since I don’t like to buy online unless I’m re-ordering a product I’m sure of, or have tried in a shop, I think this is very impressive, and Beauty Pie deserve commendation for this.
Beauty Pie Future Lipstick Satin and Beauty Pie Luminous Concealer
Cancellation of my monthly subscription turned out to be easy and fast. I had panicked on realising that I had to contact Beauty Pie in order to end the subscription, rather than just gleefully clicking the Cancel Direct Debit button in my online banking. But commendation to them again for the speed of my response, and the polite way in which they handle your leaving.
So, given that I think it IS good value, and that I have liked all the products I ordered, why did I cancel my subscription?
Beauty Pie market themselves as a site for beauty lovers, and I am one, so you might think it’s perfect for me. But it’s not! I am not a faithful lover: I like to spread my favours around many different brands, and I love an impulse purchase. Most of all though, I love the shops: I’m a retail enthusiast as much as I am a beauty enthusiast. Yes, wholesale cost is shockingly low compared to retail cost. This is why I am a huge fan of sample sales: I simply can’t afford the clothes I like when they’re presented nicely on hangers in shops at full retail price. But I do like that the shops are there.
Beauty Pie makeup from my second order
The psychology of buying is a strange thing. If we bought lipstick using only the parts of our brain that deal with economic decisions we might have more money, but we’d also be over-ruling those parts of the brain that get great pleasure from buying from trusted brands, or new brands that we’d like to encourage. I like nothing more than idling at a beauty counter scribbling colours on my hands, or rubbing skincare into my arms and sniffing at products like an over-enthusiastic bloodhound. In short, when buying beauty, I want my Hunter-Gatherer synapses fully engaged.
The Beauty Pie concept is absolutely ideal for those who would never describe themselves as beauty junkies, but do like to use make-up and skincare products. I know a lot of people who want to look and feel good, but find the whole business of traipsing round the shops in search of product far too much fuss. These people would be brilliantly well served by this site. New make-up products are introduced regularly enough to keep your interest alive, and the skincare offer is wide enough to cover most people’s beauty needs.
I would advise parents of teenagers getting into make-up and skincare to consider this as a worthwhile investment that could actually a) save a bit of money on the family budget and b) prevent your vulnerable young people forking out money for alluringly garish or hardcore products of lesser quality, and thus messing up their skin.
Beauty Pie packaging
What I Thought About What I Bought
Here’s my initial order: I loved every single thing in this box. That Super Pore-Detox Black Clay Mask sucks out all the rubbish lurking below the skin’s surface without being so harsh in action that it feels damaging to the skin. The Fruitizyme Five Minute Facial smells good and feels better; nice to use on days when you feel you need a little help, but don’t want to do anything complicated. The Super Luminous Concealer is fantastic; love the sponge tip, and super-impressed (given it’s an online buy) that the colour turned out so well for me. The Futurelipstick in Satin finish is so very ‘me’ that I bought another in my second order – extremely light on the lips, strong colour and a satisfying snap on the cap.
The second order is here. I love buying highlighters; but am not so keen on using them. They are a bit of a fuss, thus making less time available for reading or eating crisps. But this Multiglow Strobing Stick is super-fast and easy to use, and subtle enough for my taste. The Smudgy Eye Colour Crayon is marvellously handy, creating very pretty eyelids in moments, and I’ve used it enough to now be slightly worried about how I will sharpen it, given that it is triangular. (Don’t write in: I am aware that more hygienic people than me might sharpen their pencils after every use, but I can’t be arsed). The Jeju Daily Antioxidant Superinfusion is a serum that smells good, absorbs well, and is blessed with a good name. Given that I am far too lazy to use powder eyeshadow, it was silly of me to buy the Ten Best Jewel Eyeshadow Shades palette, but I like gazing at it. I’ve only used the bright, light blue shade so far: it goes on strong but blends down nicely. Nothing at all wrong with the Fantasticolour Sculpting Lipstick except that I love a big, fat sensuous bullet, so I’ll be passing this one on to any interested friend.
Beauty Pie packaging
Beauty Pie packaging is very simple. All make-up casing is lightweight, but with good, tight snaps when you close. As for the skincare … I think that they must have worked extremely hard to achieve the seven points of difference required to get away with such a strong reference to the skincare line of a particularly high-powered company. I get very annoyed with the ‘dupe’ concept, as I believe it punishes innovation and is morally akin to copying other people’s homework – but I actually love this packaging. When the brand it brings to mind is such a whopper, it feels more like a very cheeky tribute. And, just to be clear, Beauty Pie aren’t saying these are dupe products and they might well consider me crazy to see any resemblance in the packaging to any other brand at all …
Take a look around Beauty Pie and see what you think and do take the time to read the FAQs. As I write, the FAQ page seems to suggest that additional subscription options (cheaper, one off payment options) might be on the way but that isn’t yet visible (to me) in the main site … If I’m correct in the conclusion that I am leaping towards, then I would almost certainly sign up to a more limited deal. It would be a brilliant way to satisfy curiosity, treat myself from time to time, and buy really lovely things for friends and family (making me appear the thoughtful, generous kind of person I really am not). And of course, I’ll still have money to spend on other brands. I have my fingers crossed, because that’s the kind of market disruption I like.