This Is Why Makeup Is Making You Broke

What are we actually paying for, anyway?

Have you ever asked yourself, why is makeup so expensive anyway?

If you think about it, a tube of lipstick is just made of wax, oils, and pigments and sometimes, ~*special*~ plant extract that reportedly gives puckers some sort of magic. So why does it cost so much money?

Quartz reports that the ingredients of cosmetics usually only make up 15% of what we pay for. The remaining 85% is dedicated to paying for “marketing, packaging, and brand prestige.”

That explains why a tube of lipstick from popular high-end makeup brands costs way too much that what we’re willing to spend on a color that we can easily buy from the drug store. Randy Schueller, a cosmetic chemist, also explained to Quartz that “price does not really correlate to quality when it comes to cosmetic products.”

The report also states that makeup prices can vary because of factors like the ingredients used and the process by which they were manufactured. Schueller cites powdered makeup like eyeshadows and blush as an example, saying that low-end brands tend to use hammer mills to process the products that can leave big clumps. High-end brands, on the other hand, usually opt for jet mills that create very fine and smooth finishes. Another factor that affects the price point is where the products are sold, like drugstores or fancy department stores.

The catch: We can’t simply know if we’re actually getting what we’re paying for by just swatching cosmetics on the back of our hands, scoring free samples, or reading the ingredients list on each tube and bottle. So are we doomed to spend a lot of money on makeup forever?

Our tip is simple: go for quality instead of brand names. Sometimes, there are low-end products that can work just as effectively as or even better than expensive cosmetics. But there are also other high-end cult favorites that are worth the extra thousands. Choose wisely! And more importantly, choose within your means.

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