Why Is Makeup So Expensive?
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Financially speaking, makeup can be a burden. One item might not break the bank, but the combined cost of everything you might find in a woman’s makeup bag—foundation, blush, mascara, eye liner, eye shadow, and so on—quickly adds up. By one estimate, a woman in the US will spend an average of $15,000 on makeup in her lifetime.
Schueller says that, because ingredients are such a small share of the cost, “price does not really correlate to quality when it comes to cosmetic products.”In fact, packaging has become such a focus in the industry that there are actually awards given out for it. (Marc Jacobs’ makeup line won one recently). Where the makeup is sold matters, too. It’s a form of marketing in itself, which is evident when you consider the difference between upscale brands carried at retailers such as Sephora and Ulta and mass-market brands sold at drugstores.
Karen Grant, the global beauty industry analyst at research firm NPD, says they’re two different models, and consumers pay for that difference. At higher-end stores, you “pay for the display areas and the people who are helping to sell the product, whereas in a mass environment it can be sealed up behind a package and sit on a shelf,” she says. High-end shops also often make tester items available, and may accept returns even on used items. It simply costs a retailer more to be profitable in that environment, and those costs are factored into the price tags on the product.