These days, you can’t buy into anything without pledging to pay a monthly fee: Netflix shows, food parcels, flower arrangements, the list goes on. As a business model, the subscription service is golden; it promises to cut the hassle out of modern lives (because everyone is nothing if not stupendously busy, right?) all the while drip-feeding money out of your account in manageable little increments so that you needn’t realise you’re actually spending far more than you ever would have dreamed on said content/quinoa/chrysanthemums.
Sliding into the subscription formula is Beauty Pie, a make-up and skincare e-tailer founded by Marcia Kilgore, who brought Soap & Glory to your local Boots and Bliss to the spa circuit. To say that she knows a thing or two about the industry is a given, which makes Beauty Pie feel bound for surefire success.
How does it work?
On paying a monthly fee, members get to buy the products at ‘cost price’, aka with none of the extortionate markups that you’ll find at luxury labels. The likes of Caroline Hirons and The Guardian’s Sali Hughes have given the brand their seals of approval, along with countless magazines from Grazia to Marie Claire.
The question, though, is does the ever-popular subscription service have its place within the beauty industry? The Business of Fashion has reported that even Gen Z, the most likely to buy online than any other generation, still prefer to head to stores to purchase their beauty products. As an e-commerce copywriter, even I’ll admit that there’s nothing quite like dipping into a tester pot of moisturiser or swatching lipstick on the back of your hand until it resembles a pink-toned Jackson Pollock.
So, because convincing me to try new products takes little to no effort, I decided to go in for a slice of the pie (sorry). Disclaimer, I have not signed up to Beauty Pie’s £10 per month membership, but rather ordered these items at membership price on a one-off with a handy code.
Ordering was simple enough. Beauty Pie’s website gives a detailed run-down of each product, from its benefits to ingredients and how-to-use information, which all gets a big thumbs up from a customer perspective. To help you on your way, each product has reviews from other members too, so you can see what’s been particular hit and what’s gotten more of a ‘meh’ reception. My haul consisted of the Japanfusion Pure Transforming Cleanser, Super Retinol Ceramide-Boost Anti-Aging Face Serum, Superdose Vitamin C Oxygen Boosting Moisturiser, Plantastic Micropeeling Super Drops, Uber Volume Boost Mascara and Superbrow Fine Precision Pencil. The standout for me would have to be the Plantastic drops, which have definitely smoothed my skin, while the Vitamin C moisturiser and Super Retinol serum have definitely been nice additions to my routine: delivering their promises without causing any redness or irritation.
There’s no denying that I’m happy with my purchases, and have a lot of admiration for a brand that’s trying to quash the absurdities of skincare pricing, but something still has me feeling hesitant about signing up for the actual membership. To make it worth your while, you’re going to have to prepare to switch your entire make-up and skincare routines over to the Beauty Pie offerings, and I’m not sure I’m willing to part with my longtime favourites just yet. Furthermore, I don’t love the idea of chancing it when it comes to beauty products. With everyone’s skin behaving so differently, you can never overestimate the importance of sampling formulations and testing textures before you bite the bullet.
What do you think of beauty on subscription? Could you ever trade the in-store experience for ordering online? Let’s just say, I’ll be keeping my eye on the brand and would never say never.