So, you know I love beauty subscription boxes. I’ve tried Allure, Sephora Play!, Ipsy (which I had for about a year), and now Boxy Charm which is definitely my favorite so far. When I first heard about Beauty Pie on the Fat Mascara podcast I was very intrigued–this is a subscription service in which you do not receive a curated box, but rather you pay $10 a month for the privilege of purchasing Beauty Pie branded luxury makeup and skincare products that are created in the same factories as, and with similar formulas to, high-end products. The unique thing about this is that the prices are purported to be “at cost” and the actual cost of manufacture of each item is broken down to be transparent. Now I like transparency, and I like luxury beauty products. I was thinking about getting a membership, and doing some research.
People have compared Beauty Pie to the “Costco of Makeup” and in a way that makes sense–you are paying a club price for the opportunity to buy things at discounted prices. I don’t love the Costco comparison though because 1. I like to be fancy and 2. We aren’t talking about the minimal discounts you see at Costco, this is stuff like buying a lipstick valued at $20 for $2. Big difference there.
My questions were:
Are the products really good?
What’s the catch?
We’ll get back to those questions here in a minute. So, I’m thinking about joining, and then what made me go for it was Marcia Kilgore commenting on my Insta.
(For those of you who don’t know, Marcia Kilgore created Beauty Pie, but before that she also created the brands Bliss Spa and Soap & Glory.)
I had posted a photo of me using the Origins Clear Improvements mask (which I initially got in a free deluxe sample from Influenster, but have since purchased a travel size from Origins). And this was the comment:
Then later she sent me a PM asking whether I’d joined yet! OK, yes, this is kind of aggressive marketing, but I ate it up with a spoon. Marcia Kilgore (or whoever’s running her insta, I’m not that naive) acknowledged my existence! LOL. I was already seriously considering it, so I went ahead and joined. What can I say, I’m a fangirl. 😛
Back to Question 2: What’s the catch?
I think there are a few “catches” but for me, none of them was a dealbreaker. The first, and biggest, catch is that you don’t have unlimited purchasing power at those very low prices, you have a $100 per month spending limit, and that is based on the listed RETAIL prices of the products. So you can only buy a few things a month, and sometimes one thing or not even one thing (I really want the moisturizer, and that’s retail $130 so I’d have to use carried-over points from another month). However, you do get $150 allowance the first month, so you can buy a little extra or save those points for another month. For $15/month upgraded membership, you get $150 allowance every month. Your allowance carries over from month to month, so if you can be patient, you can save shipping by only ordering every other month. I’m not very patient though…
The second catch is that of course, their “member” prices don’t take into account shipping or the membership price. Shipping is pretty pricey for those of us used to Prime–my order was $11 to ship. Below, when I share the cost for each product, I’m going to include the membership and shipping costs divided by the number of products I got and add that to each item’s price.
The third catch is that they don’t (and can’t, I understand that business decision) tell you what luxury product each brand is emulating/is similar to. But with a little research you can get pretty good ideas (see below). You also can’t try products or swatch them beforehand which will be an issue for some, but I order online all the time so I don’t really mind. (Fat Activism Rant: I think us fat people are more accustomed to being unable to try things on before purchase, since stylish plus size clothes are not often displayed in stores. Don’t get me started.)
Catch #4: Limited product range and shade range. There are some shades for POC, but actually not a ton of shades, period. Might be an issue for those with darker skin, or olive or yellow undertones. They have added shades even in the 3 weeks since I signed up, and are adding products all the time, so this may change as more products are added.
So, for my first shipment, here’s the scoop: I did some research to see what luxury products the items I ordered might be similar (or even nearly identical) to. For example, I have seen other bloggers say their matte lipstick formula is identical to Charlotte Tillbury. How I did this: I looked for items on Sephora, Ulta, and Beautylish that were at the same price point as the reported retail value of the Beauty Pie item, then compared ingredients. Again, I do not make any claims that these products are identical, I am just comparing similar ingredient lists. In most cases, I have not tried the luxury brand product that I suspect Beauty Pie is modeling the product after. Beauty Pie does not claim to be duping any specific products.
My first order included 5 products. The membership costs $10/month and shipping was $11 so I divided that and will add $4.20 to the cost of each item and list the “member price” in parentheses. Hee hee hee… $4.20.
I placed my order on June 2 and received it on June 19. So, within their promised 10-14 business days. Can’t complain there, even though I love my fast Prime shipping. The products are shipped from Europe, so it does take a while.
So, Question 2, are the products any good?
First off, the packaging. The box was super cute, black and lined with pink Beauty Pie tissue paper, with the products wrapped up in black tissue paper. I love the boxes of the products because they are glossy black on the outside, but lined with baby pink! I love that combination. The outer packaging looks elegant, and I would be happy to gift products with this packaging.
As far as the product packaging, it is lightweight, rather than being weighted like many luxury brands, but it does feel a little weighty and not “cheap”. For example, if I compare it with e.l.f. products, an inexpensive drugstore brand that has simple black packaging, the Beauty Pie stuff feels more substantial and high-end. The black plastic is glossy, and every compact product has a mirror, including the concealer (love that touch!).
The products I ordered first month are as follows, including the price breakdown and products I found with similar ingredients to each.
Everyday Good Skin Foundation in 100 Ivory $9.61 ($5.41 member price + membership & shipping)
Ingredients similar to: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation $64.00
My thoughts: Prior to this, the only foundation that I owned that I would repurchase is Estee Lauder Double Wear. It lasts and is more oil- and sweat-proof than anything I have tried, but there are still issues. It’s very matte, can look a little heavy, and when it doeswear off (like on my nose or forehead) it gets a little patchy and isn’t easy to blend in. So the ELDW is what I am most accustomed to using in a liquid foundation, and has what I am looking for in general (full coverage, long wear). I was pretty excited to try the Beauty Pie Everyday Good Skin foundation because I have heard very good things about the GA LSF, the ingredients are very similar, and I’d heard rumblings that the Beauty Pie product was the same. I knew this would not be as long-wearing or matte as my ELDW but I’ve been wanting to branch out and as part of my Beauty Pie membership, I might as well try it. To the right is a look I did with everything I ordered except the lip liner.
The foundation comes in a heavy, frosted glass bottle with a pump, which I appreciate. As far as the formula, I like it. It gives a very natural and satin finish, is buildable but looks good in the areas that are applied more sheer. It covers my redness, which is the most important part of foundation for me. It does not last like ELDW but I did not expect it to; on the oiliest areas of my t-zone it wears smoothly. It does fade and I get shiny but it doesn’t get patchy like other full-coverage foundations and I can kind of blend it back in to look good. However, the shade just isn’t right for me and I am pretty sure that there isn’t another Beauty Pie shade that matches me closer. It oxidized a little on me and at the neck line I could tell it was a little too orange/pink. I will still use the bottle I have because honestly, I don’t think anyone else but me would notice the mismatch as glaringly as I do, but I will probably not repurchase this until the shades are expanded more. While in this photo it looks like my chest and shoulders are more pink, IRL I do have a neutral-yellow undertone with a lot of redness in my face, and very fair. Estee Lauder 1N1 (fairest neutral) works OK on me but isn’t perfect, I would love for Beauty Pie to intro a shade like NARS Siberia (very fair with yellow undertone) which would match me perfectly but I’ve never tried because I know that Sheer Glow formula won’t work for me.
One Powder Wonder $8.21 ($4.01 +)
Ingredients similar to: NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Powder $37.00
Wayne Goss raved about Beauty Pie on his channel and I believe he said that this was nearly identical to the NARS product.
This comes in a glossy black compact with mirror; no added space for puff or sponge (which I actually appreciate, I think separate compartments with sponges or puffs are kind of obnoxious). The powder is VERY densely packed, so as to be pretty hard; very little comes off on the brush when you swirl. This is good for two reasons: I know it will last a long time, and you don’t get too much on your brush to overpowder yourself. This is a slightly glowy finish powder, once you’ve swirled the brush a few times in the product you can see the slight shimmer on the surface (pretty!). This does not feel as “silky” as the elf loose powder I have been using, it feels a little dryer on my face, but I think that the e.l.f. powder has quite a bit of sillicone slip.
This leaves a nearly undetectable finish, doesn’t get cakey or powdery, and does give a bit of a glow. I like it very much, and will repurchase.
The Unbeatable Concealer $8.04 ($3.84 +)
Ingredients similar to: Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage $35.00
I wasn’t able to find a high-end single-pan concealer comparing to Beauty Pie’s but the ingredients in this Laura Mercier duo are nearly identical.
I love this concealer so far! I do still love the Tarte Shape Tape for covering redness on my cheeks but it is too drying and papery looking under my eyes. This one is a creamier formula, and a little goes a long way. It comes in a little glossy black compact with a little mirror. Totally full coverage, very pigmented. I have used it two days so far and I think I need to let it warm up on my fingertips a little more before applying to get a really smooth finish. The fair shade looks fine on my skin. I will repurchase this.
Superglazy Lip Gloss in Super Hotty (hot pink) $6.50 ($2.30 +)
Ingredients similar to: Charlotte Tillbury Lip Lustre $22.00
This comes in a clear tube with a glossy black cap, very simple, looks classy. I LOVE THIS STUFF. First off, it smells like cake. The smell does not linger though if that is something that would bother you. I thought it would be a more traditional gloss (sheer) but this gives full opaque color and the hot-pink shade is gorgeous. It is a little sticky, because any totally non-sticky gloss just slips right off your lips, but it’s not so sticky that your lips stick together if you press them. It is comfortable to wear, and quite long-wearing for a gloss. Will absolutely purchase more shades of this.
Moisture-Lock Wondergel Lip Liner in Racy (true red) $5.77 ($1.57 +)
Ingredients similar to: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil $20.00
To the left is a look I did with the Wondergel lip liner and Besame lipstick in Red Velvet. This is in a black pencil, and it is sharpened, not retractable. It’s really pretty great. It goes on SO smoothly and beautifully, does not drag at all like many lip liners. However most lip liners that are this smooth tend to smudge, but when I swatched this on my hand and let it set for a few seconds, it does not smudge without a serious effort. I really hope they introduce a clear shade to this line because clear lipliner is my ride-or-die. Excellent product, will repurchase.
Total cost of my Beauty Pie order, including membership and shipping: $38.73
Total cost of comparable products: $168.00
Next products I want to try:
I do want to try the Super Pore-Detox Black Clay Mask (Member Price $6.16) that Marcia Kilgore personally recommended on my Insta, because…
The ingredients are nearly identical to my beloved (but very expensive, so I don’t buy full sizes) Glamglow Supermud, and you get more than twice as much product as Glamglow’s $69 size.
I also want the Pro Basics Makeup Brush Kit (member price $16.59). I really only have budget or drugstore brushes and I’d like to try something nicer. It’s harder to compare brushes without seeing/handling them, and there aren’t ingredients, but the shapes/handle design of the brushes are really similar to this Marc Jacobs brush set ($250).
So far, I really like Beauty Pie, and I will definitely continue my subscription for at least a while. One thing I’ve been thinking about is that the shopping allowance each month can really help me manage my impulse buying. If I plan to only buy products from Beauty Pie, I’ll spend about $30-$40 a month for really great products, but I can’t go nuts on the spending. At this point in my makeup collection, all I really “need” is refills of daily-use products, and I can get all those from Beauty Pie–except foundation so please give me a very fair neutral-yellow shade, thank you!
***Disclosure:*** I purchased my Beauty Pie membership and products with my own money, and received no free product, financial compensation or promotion from this blog post from any entity. There are two referral links included, Boxy Charm and Influenster.