Chatter: On Discounted New Releases

This post started with a question from a friend: If (prestige) palettes go on sale soon after they are released, are they worth the starting price?

Not shopping for certain things – say, palettes – enables you to save money (not looking/not tempted/not spending). It also, however, means you miss peculiarities in the market.

Several brands released palettes in the last handful of months only to have them rapidly marked down. Not marked down now that the holidays are behind us, though – before Christmas!

Basically – if we’re seeing 30%+ off discounted new releases within three months of release, why should anyone buy at launch? Why not wait?

Personally, I see the issue being twofold:

  • Most of these palettes were the part of the holiday collections for the lines in question. Previously, I said I was opting out of limited edition/holiday palettes. I still feel that way and do not see it changing for the forseeable future.
  • The target market for products like these are primarily (not exclusively) younger, trend-centric women. They don’t occasionally jump on the hype train, they have a Metro Card. It doesn’t matter to them that the product is good, just that it is relevant in-the-moment or that it happens to be their preferred influencer’s flavor of the day.

The Bottom Line

I don’t presume to tell anyone how to spend their money, but if you watch the beauty market for even just a couple years you can identify this pattern.

The Haul-idays / No Buy / State of Things

No Buy

Haul

Since the sale I bought C Firma during, I allowed myself to spend a little more on beauty-related products during the holidays.

In addition to the MiroPure Straightening brush, I bought:

  • Another hair tool to try. There’s no universe in which I would have dropped money (>$125!) on a Beachwaver but I got the InstaWave for $25.
  • A few more Gelaze colors to play with. I hadn’t purchased any gel polish in nearly a year!
  • Some extra Clarisonic brush heads. There was a Cyber Monday sale – got two Radiance heads for $24. Not as excellent as my usual purchase of 4 for $64 (4 pack for $81 + 20% off).
  • A new (to me, not new release) Real Techniques brush. I didn’t really have anything to use on my whole, finished face to blend any edges that I missed, and for $4 on sale I figured it was fair.

Holiday Stuff

In all, I found myself yet again underwhelmed by the holiday offerings put out by most brands. It does look like Fenty Beauty rose to the occasion (still haven’t tried anything from Fenty, though), but everything else fell flat to me. Even Urban Decay who, in spite of my occasional criticism, I generally enjoy, swung and missed (me).

The only thing I found myself tempted by were the new Heavy Metal glitter liner shades – but given that I have few opportunities to even wear the one I own (Midnight Cowboy), I refrained from adding more to my collection. Glitter eyeliner, after all, is not appropriate for work.

State of Things

Now for some general, “state of things,” updates on things I’ve talked about but not super-recently.

No Buy

Read moreThe Haul-idays / No Buy / State of Things

Bi-Weekly WTF :: Vol 1 – Asbestos in Makeup from Claire’s (& Justice!)

Asbestos in Makeup from Claire's

Ah, Claire’s. Purveyors of the overpriced cute du jour, loved by many 90s (and today’s, I suppose) girls. Probably loathed by parents who thought their pricing was insane. I got my ears pierced at Claire’s (I don’t recommend this, more on why at another time) around my fifth birthday, and most of my earrings for just over a decade after came from them. As a kid, I was a fan as were many of my friends and peers growing up.

Quality

No one who has purchased Claire’s wares will hold any illusions that they sell quality product. It isn’t meant to be quality; it is meant to be cute and satisfy the fleeting whims of children. We obviously aren’t buying Tarte products. Hell, we aren’t even buying NYX – but for the prices Claire’s wants, you might as well go buy NYX and get safer (and higher quality) product.

So while we can’t expect Claire’s to carry high quality, durable products, we ought to be able to expect safe ones – especially since their entire target demographic is children. Evidently, however, we can’t.

Recall due to Asbestos in Makeup from Claire’s

Read moreBi-Weekly WTF :: Vol 1 – Asbestos in Makeup from Claire’s (& Justice!)

Clever Ways to Use Your FSA Funds

Use your FSA funds for sunscreen & these other items before year end!
photo from http://www.oralabs.com/blog/wear-sunscreen/

For those of you with HSA or FSA funds, December 31 marks the, “use it or lose it,” deadline. If you don’t need an eye exam or new glasses, what do you spend those funds on?

DID YOU KNOW…

…that HSA and FSA dollars can, in most cases, be spent on sunscreen?

You’ll want to verify with your plan provider, of course, but yes – this is a viable option. If you have an FSA card, you can order FSA-eligible items directly with it; Walgreens has a whole section of their site dedicated to FSA-eligible items; otherwise you will have to check for your reimbursement process.

What better way to stock up on sunscreen for 2016? Most varieties are covered – sprays, traditional lotions, sticks, what-have-you. You may not be able to convince them to cover Coola or Supergoop (but I don’t know for sure that you can’t, either), but still. Stock up for 2018!

Other FSA Funds Neat-to-Knows

Read moreClever Ways to Use Your FSA Funds

Beauty Skeptic Amazon Storefront

This year, I didn’t bother writing any holiday gift guides. Between my real-life workload and something telling me, “There are enough out there this year,” I opted out.

In a related vein, though, I created an Amazon Storefront that features my favorite beauty products. We’re talking hair tools, skincare, makeup – the whole nine yards. Putting it together was a bit of a wake-up-call; it had me going, “Whoa, I use a lot of stuff.” In the end, I felt way more high maintenance than I was prepared to admit.

Beauty Skeptic Amazon Storefront

 

The above screenshot is just a small snippet of what I have up there. Items on that page are things that I use routinely – maybe not every day, but definitely often. It’s like the ultimate, comprehensive Beauty Skeptic Starter Pack.

Notes & Tips:

  • Everything in my Amazon storefront results in a small affiliate commission. I don’t link to things there that I don’t use and recommend. If you aren’t comfortable with that, you’re welcome to purchase items you’re interested in elsewhere. :)
  • Shop smart. Although Amazon frequently has the lowest price on certain things, they aren’t always the lowest.
    • Know your pricing!
      • I can often get micellar water and mascara cheaper at Target when they’re on sale + Cartwheel + manufacturer coupons.
        • But sometimes, Amazon has a sale + coupons, too!
      • OPI is frequently a better deal at Ulta (frequent BOGO 50% off) or Sally Beauty (occasional B2G1).
      • Bed Head is priced best from Costco, etc.
    • Also, Amazon pricing fluctuates a lot. I use the Keepa browser plugin for Chrome to guide my purchase timing to get better deals.
    • At the end of the day, price may not be the biggest motivator for you. I strongly believe there is a value to convenience and simplicity; for example, at this time of year I order more things from Amazon even if they cost a little more stores at Christmastime are crazy.
  • Prime is worth it!

Why the Amazon Storefront and affiliate links?

Although Beauty Skeptic is not my full-time, full-tilt job, there are operating costs. There’s fees for web hosting, domain registration, security – not to mention site design, branding, etc. Although there are products I would definitely buy and try no matter what, some of my purchases are influenced by thoughts along the lines of, “My readers has expressed interest in this,” or, “I think my readers would be interested in this.”

Purchases made via affiliate links offset those administrative costs and enable me to purchase and review products you’ve told me you want to know about or I think you’d be interested in. Basically, that small income enables me to continue consistently creating content. All earnings from affiliate programs like Amazon’s go right back into the blog.

The Bottom Line

My hope is that the Amazon Storefront offers you convenience. If not, disregard it and go about your day!

I’m taking Monday off to enjoy the holiday with my family. If you observe and celebrate, I hope you have a peaceful, joyful Christmas. If you don’t, I still hope you have a peaceful, joyful December 25. ;)