Best of: Beauty Pie
After an absolute stealth campaign of Instagram advertising, I finally succumbed to the siren call of Beauty Pie back in June.
Beauty Pie is a subscription service where you pay a monthly fee to have access to cut price, own-brand luxury products. These products are made in the same factories as your branded favourites, with the same high tech formulations. Savings are made by putting products in cheaper packaging, keeping everything online, and of course subsidies from subscription fees. How much you pay per month determines how much you are allowed to buy, and each purchase is taken out of your ‘allowance’. The bugger is that this is calculated with their ‘typical price’ (i.e. what luxe brands would charge) not their ‘member price’ (what they actually charge). This means that unless you go for a higher subscription, you can only buy a handful of things a month. Bit confusing, but once you get it, you’re away.
Since I am not famous and have put absolutely no legwork into my own Instagram account, I have to buy all my instagrammy things (hello dodgy midi skirts) with my own sodding money (boo!). It has therefore taken me a couple of months to buy and try enough products to form an opinion.
I went for a £10 subscription, buying me £100 worth of allowance, and used a voucher code I found on google to get an extra £50 allowance. If you wanted to do me a favour, you could type ‘Claire Rigby’ at the ‘been referred by a friend?’ link at the checkout, which gets you your first month free and gets me and extra bit of allowance. (DISCLAIMER: I am NOT being paid to write this, nor am I in cahoots with Beauty Pie in ANY way. I am just a regular schmuck with a debit card, with which I paid for everything below myself)
Here's wot I bort
TP= Typical price MP= Member’s Price (i.e. what you pay after signing up)
Brazilian Lime, Fig & Tea Eau de Parfum TP £125 MP £16.67
OK, so I got excited and spunked my nearly all of my first allowance on this, which would apparently retail at £125. I mean, that’s a big boy Le Labo/Frederic Malle price isn’t it? My expectations were high. The bottle is very understated and chic (as is all the packaging actually) with a satisfying magnetic cap. The smell is lovely, I won’t elaborate because describing perfume is as excruciating as describing sex acts, but I will say it smells expensive. It’s complex, summery and very wearable. It doesn’t last very well, which would hack me off if I’d spent £125, but at £16 I’m happy.
Jeju Daily Rehydration Mist TP £30 MP £9.56
I chose this because it was ‘new in’ and it used up my allowance very neatly. It’s a perfectly pleasant face spray that I use as an extra bougie step before my hyaluronic acid serum. I’m not sure it does anything really, but it smells nice and will come into it’s own if the weather EVER warms up. I intend to keep it in the fridge, but I doubt I will.
Super Translucent Loose Setting Powder TP £26 MP £7.28
One of my favourite buys has been this loose powder in ‘banana’. I’m pinky undertoned pale Caucasian (surprise!) and it matches well, but the colour is sheer and forgiving. The packaging however is GENIUS: it has a little sieve that is naturally stopped by an indent in the lid when it’s closed – meaning no powder all over the place if it rolls around in a makeup bag. The little sieve thing loads up a big powder brush efficiently, and the powder sets my makeup well.
Japanfusion Pure Transforming Cleanser TP £25 MP £5.74
Beauty Pie deliberately steer away from the idea that they do ‘dupes’ – in fact I think if people mention other products in reviews on the site they get taken down. Who can blame them, I’m sure it’s all quite terrifyingly litigious. I don’t have to worry though, so I’m going to tell you that this is very similar in look, consistency and performance to the Lixirskin electrogel cleanser – in fact I prefer it. Really pleasant texture, sort of a gel that emulsifies into a milkier liquid as you rub in with wet hands. Would buy again, but will probably try the Plantastic balm cleanser before I do.
Futurelipstick – Matte in ‘Power up Pink’ TP £20 MP £4.06
I went for the matte Futurelipstick in ‘Power up Pink’, a cheerful deep pink. At four quid this is a proper bargain. I find pinks with purpley undertones give me distractingly yellow teeth – this is a really nice vibrant pink with a warm undertone. I am so pleased to have a pink lip without the Fagin teeth. Anyway, I’m going to hazard a guess that this is a Charlotte Tilbury knock off: they smell and feel exactly the same on my lips.
Plantastic Micropeeling Superdrops TP £50 MP £7.62
I have now BANNED cotton pads for everything except removing nail varnish, so I was on the lookout for a chemical exfoliator I could apply like a serum rather than a watery toner a la Pixi Glow Tonic. This is a mix of salicylic acid and ‘fruit acids’. It smells nice, and comes in a HUGE bottle. Too early to really give a verdict on this one, but I really like it so far, and the reviews on the site are positively frothy mouthed with praise.
The Unbeatable Concealer TP £20 MP £6.11
This feels allot to me like benefit’s boi-ing concealer, to which I was DEVOTED for a number of years. It’s very light though, even for ghostly old me, so do lean towards the darker shade if you are hesitating. Excellent coverage, but a bit drying – worked very well over my Trish McEvoy Eye Lift correcting primer thing (thank you Liberty calendar, how thy fruit has lasted).
Sunshiney Day Deluxe Eyeshadow Palette (TP £35, MP £11.03)
I’d sort of dismissed eyeshadow palettes as I’m not really one to spend ages following YouTube tutorials trying to achieve those amazing, work-of-art drag eyes. I very much want to just wang it on, so I like a creamy eyeshadow – maybe some kohl if my husband is buying me dinner. Plus, with palettes, there’s usually one colour I really like that I use up, then the whole thing is left to gather dust somewhere. So look: time will tell as to whether this gets much use BUT the colours are all wearable and flattering, and I really like that there is a bigger square of highlighter and contour colour (a flat, matte brown). It’s summery and youthful and I’ll be bringing it on holiday with me next week to use in lieu of kohl (should my husband buy me dinner).
On the whole I’ve really enjoyed the Beauty Pie thing. The products are all good, the prices are very appealing, and everything is as beautiful and luxe as promised when it arrives. The criticism I have is that I feel quite conscious that it is manipulating me into spending more and more - It is a business after all, but their methods are a bit insidious. The ‘typical price’ thing psychologically makes you feel like you are getting a bargain, but there’s nothing to stop them inflating this slightly (in fact I reckon they probably do, as it nudges you towards a more expensive subscription). The other frustration is that hero products often sell out, pressuring you into buying when they are in stock – once again potentially making you up your sub as a basic allowance quickly runs out. It is in the same psycho-marketing league as Ebay, which makes you spend more because ‘bidding’ turns things into a competition you want to WIN and we are all basically petty. Anyway, I don’t begrudge them trying to make money, I just think it’s good to remind yourself that they are not you best pal trying to sell you cut price Diptyque before you spunk £50 on the Godzilla membership. I’m not put off shopping there one bit though, and I’m looking forward to my next millennial pink parcel full of pie goodies very much.