Sometimes I feel like a bit of a magpie, swooning over anything shiny that lands on my desk and features a teeny tiny brush to apply it with. I think I must have been a fairy in a former life, because anything small or mini instantly grabs my attention. Although for the purpose of this site I cut through the golden exterior and focus on the product that’s held within, but I do often find myself justifying ‘ok’ products or ‘alright’ formulations with the fact that the pot their packaged in is oh-so-pretty. When I’m perusing the beauty department of Selfridges I’m also easily distracted by a limited edition design, expertly crafted pack or something that’s just cute as a button. Having just placed a perfume on my dresser because of it’s retro bottle rather than the fact I liked the scent (it smells like my Nan, but it’ll look fabulous next to my restored vintage mirror!) it made me wonder: how much does pretty packaging influence our purchasing decisions?
Last night I had a major makeup clear out. As you can imagine, it’s pretty easy for me to become absolutely overloaded with eyeshadow palettes and lipglosses, so if I don’t stay on top of the situation it very quickly gets out of hand. Having shoved a load of non-everyday stuff into a drawer and forgotten all about it, I was left with a tonne of stuff that really wasn’t safe to be used (most products should be thrown away after 6-12mths!) but looked oh-so-lovely. From Disney compacts, to beautifully impractical Benefit eye-brow palettes and endless Nars soft-touch shadow duos, it really got me thinking about the value of the item inside versus the value of the pack it’s held in.
I have a huge repertoire of products I rely on because they’re truly effective – be it at hydrating my skin, minimising eye bags, covering imperfections or enabling me to perfect winged liner. I also have a portfolio of products that have stayed within the collection for pretty much the packaging alone, being barely touched for fear of damaging something almost perfect. From twice used Chanel bronzers, to limited edition eyeshadow palettes and lipsticks with divine cases that wouldn’t look out of place in a museum, there’s something to be said for making a purchase and letting all sense be pushed to one side. Essentially we buy products to enhance our natural beauty and perfect those imperfect areas, so the focus should always be on what’s inside rather than how nice it looks on a shelf. However, brands like Jo Malone, Diptique and Chanel depend upon that moment of luxury their products provide – whether or not the stuff inside could be bought for a fraction of the cost if it just had a basic pack that didn’t cost twice as much as the ingredients.
There’s definitely something to be said for taking a luxury lipstick out of your bag and feeling like a million quid, or pouring a £60.00 bath oil into a steaming tub and knowing it was worth every penny for a moment of relaxation. In the same way we adorn ourselves with the latest must-have accessory or designer bag, or buy the latest model of iPhone even though our old one was perfectly functional, something in a beautifully designed pack provides a moment to enjoy and treat yourself. I do love brands that place the focus on developing a product that has the highest quality ingredients, buying the most basic of packs to keep their costs down – MeruMaya are a great example of a brand that wants all their customers to get the very best in skincare without having to spend a small fortune. However, there’s definitely a place for intricately designed eyeshadow pans or lipsticks in the shape of a cat (hello Paul & Joe!) otherwise they wouldn’t be so widely sought after and hold a firm place on our beauty shelves.
Essentially, I think it’s perfectly fine to indulge and purchase a product just because it’s got a pretty pack – as long as you know that’s why you’re buying it. In my opinion beauty sits within two firm areas: products you buy because they work and products you buy because they make you feel good. If one product crosses both those boundaries? Well then you’ve found the holy grail and you should never let it go…
How much does a pretty pack influence your purchasing decisions?
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