Something you hear over and over again in beauty reviews are comments on packaging – it’s often the first thing brought up by a reviewer. A lipstick bullet can be described as heavy, luxurious, or cheap and flimsy. That popular palette may be criticised for being too thick, or the material lacking durability.
And this is not so strange – many of us are visual creatures, after all. Myself included – I love packaging design so much I spend hours scrolling through pinterest to find cute designs. I’m definitely the sort of person to judge a book by the cover. Furthermore, with the sheer volume of product being pumped out by hundreds of brands, packaging and branding is one crucial way of setting yourself apart against a jungle of similar – or even identical – products.
I’m one of those people who, even though I know I can probably get a dupe for the fraction of the price, choose to buy that luxuriously-packaged product. There’s only so many ways to formulate a lipstick, but a tube of NARS Audacious just makes me happier than Maybelline or L’Oreal. I’m more than willing to pay extra for the bells and whistles. (And the magnetic closure that snaps shut in the most satisfying way. Ooh La La.)
And let’s be real: most of the industry is ‘bells and whistles’. Cosmetics are notoriously cheap to manufacture – just look at how many beauty startups crop up in a year – so much of the price tag does indeed represent packaging and branding. But knowing this, I’m really not bothered. I just love pretty things and will always choose them.
Sure, I will roll my eyes at an underwhelming product that doesn’t live up to the expectations set by its glamorous container, but I’ll gladly spend that extra cash on something that does work, but also looks beautiful in my hand or on my vanity. I like being able to pull something beautiful out of my bag to touch up in public!
Recently, I was in London with Tamara and we stopped by the KIKO store in Covent Garden. It was packed with people which felt a little stressful, but nonetheless I combed through the displays and found the cutest darn blush packaging I’ve seen. It’s big, chunky, and looks like chocolate. How cute is that? How me! I bought one of course. Luckily, KIKO makes good quality products so I knew it would be a nice blush, but their packaging is usually pretty boring. The cutesy design surprised me! (I thought Too Faced would have made me tired of chocolate bar designs but apparently not.)
And honestly, I may not have bought it at all if it had come in a boring plastic case. It could have been the best product in the world but if it didn’t look nice, I probably wouldn’t have taken notice of it. What does that say about me? That I’m shallow, maybe. But I also think there should be a healthy balance between surface and substance. Design is all about making an impression, and I don’t think that’s as shallow as you might expect.
What do you think?