Anyone Who Wears Makeup Should Read This
Beauty Pie, a new cosmetics “club” started by Marcia Kilgore, the amazingly-prolific, 48-year-old founder of Bliss Spas, FitFlops, and Soap & Glory, may forever change the way smart women shop for their beauty products.
The Beauty Pie concept: You sign up for a membership that costs $10/month (the minimum membership is three months, the maximum is twelve), then akin to, say Costco or Sam’s Club, you gain access to an array of discounted cosmetic products.
What sets Beauty Pie membership apart from other club concepts, however, is how deep a discount you enjoy. Kilgore, whose goal is to make high-end cosmetics affordable to all women, is selling Beauty Pie products at factory cost. That means a lipstick that would run you around $25 at a department store or Sephora, will cost you just $2.39; or a $44 foundation is yours for $5.16.
To keep factory costs low, Kilgore has also done away with superfluous packaging and uses recyclable material and plant-based inks whenever possible. I can tell you, after having tried several products (more on them, below), these items are high-quality, and the packaging is simple-chic. You’ll not feel you’re compromising in any way.
So, I know you’re thinking: What’s the catch? While there are no deal breakers, in my opinion, there are a few reasonable restrictions. The first: You’re limited to spending $100 per month (to be clear, that’s $100 in retail cost, so, as a member, that translates to around $12/month, which garners you between two and five products). And if you don’t spend your monthly allowance? You don’t lose it, thank goodness. It just rolls over to the next month.
The second thing worth noting is that you do have to pay for shipping—and the packages travel from the U.K., where Beauty Pie (and Kilgore) is based. But shipping is only about $10-12 per package, and my boxes have arrived in fewer than four days, despite a 10-to-14-day estimate.
So, once you add up the factory cost, the membership and the shipping costs, how much are you really saving? Well, let’s do the math: For my first month of membership, I ordered the Quantum Bronzer ($3.21), the Smart Powder Blush in Daydreamer ($2.68), the Fanastikhol Smudgy Eye Colour Crayon in Taupey ($1.95) and the Superbrow 3 in 1 Powder Pencil in Blonde Girl ($1.98) for a total of $9.82. The shipping plus processing fee was $11.97, and, if I factor in my $10 monthly membership fee, I arrive at a total of $31.79. By comparison, if I’d bought the same four products at a department store, the total would have been $99. Now, I was an English (not a math) major but that looks like about a 60% savings to me.
None of the above matters, however, if the products aren’t great. And the good news is that they are. Great, that is. I’ve tried hundreds of products in my decades as an editor, and the Beauty Pie items I’ve experimented with so far are exceptionally easy to wear and are available in colors and formulas that are natural, forgiving and perfect for everyday. I think it’s also worth noting that founder Marcia Kilgore is one of us, and thus I believe gets what a grownup woman wants when it comes to makeup—and, when I was shopping on beautypie.com I noted that many of the reviews have been written by women 40+, suggesting that others also find Beauty Pie products especially suited to aging skin.
Here, my thoughts on the products I’ve tried so far.
Quantum Bronzer This pressed-compact bronzer has a gold, shimmery top layer that disappears with a single swipe of your brush. That’s a good thing, as shimmery disco dust does fine lines no favors. Underneath that disco gold, however, is a flattering, nudey-bronze, matte powder that I think will look gorgeous on almost anyone with a fair to medium complexion, though it's probably too light for darker skin. The Beauty Pie lineup appears to multiply by the week, so I suspect a deeper bronzer is likely in the works.
Smart Powder Blush in Daydreamer I normally prefer cream over powder blush. But this formula got very good reviews from several 40+ reviewers, so I thought I’d try it. I selected Daydreamer because it was a blend of pink and peach, like a softer version of NARS best-selling Orgasm Cheekcolor. I’m pleased. It is a silky powder, it looks creamy on the skin, and it lasts. The shade is subtle—again good for fair to medium tones.
Fanastikhol Smudgy Eye Colour Crayon in Taupey This may be my favorite product from the Beauty Pie line so far. I’ve worn a range of brown eyeliners for years, but this understated taupe is one of the best shades I’ve ever tried for light eyes. The hue is akin to dark blonde so doesn’t scream “color” on your eyelid, yet defines quite well. It’s my new everyday eyeliner.
Superbrow 3 in 1 Powder Pencil in Blonde Girl This product is like a brow pencil mated with brow powder. The pencil tip makes application easy, but the finish is quite a bit softer and subtler than you get when you use a traditional hard tip. If you have a tendency to overdraw your brows (like, they look fine at home but then you get to work and Groucho Marx is staring back at you in the bathroom mirror), you might give this product a go. It's nearly impossible to overuse.
Uber Volume Boost Mascara I received this mascara as a gift when I activated my membership, and I love the brush. It lays down a generous amount of black color without leaving your lashes looking clumpy. It also stays put; I wore it to a hot yoga class this weekend and it didn’t smudge a bit.
On my wish list for next month? The Oil-Free Micro-Mineral Foundation (which looks a lot like this best-seller), FutureLipstick Satin in A Little Pinky, and Beach Gloss in Naked Peach. I also hear that a Beauty Pie skincare line is in the works—and should hit the site by summer.