How Much Does Pretty Packaging Influence Our Purchasing Decisions?

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?




  1. Lynn Hathaway
    February 8, 2015 / 11:04 am

    I love reading your posts.. When I was younger, I must admit, I was drawn to products that were in pretty packaging but now I'm older and hopefully wiser, I go for products that work for me and do what they say on the tube or tin. it is nice though sometimes to splash out on the odd product that looks good on the bathroom shelf or dressing table though x

  2. emily rose perrin
    February 8, 2015 / 11:48 am

    I love a good packaging, but I do think that I'll look in to things and even if they aren't so pretty but they do the job I want, then I normally pick what I'd like :)xxx

  3. Jess
    February 9, 2015 / 1:56 am

    Most of the time, the packaging is the first basis of my purchasing a certain product. But now, I have learned my lesson…I got to read the contents of it first or simply reading reviews about it.

  4. Kiss & Make-up
    February 9, 2015 / 9:10 am

    I won't lie, there's nothing better than having a product that comes in a supercute packaging. But packaging is never what persuades me to buy a product. The quality of the product comes first.

  5. Elena Doinoff
    February 9, 2015 / 10:48 am

    I think we've all been guilty of the pleasure of indulging in something simply because of its packaging. I try to stay away from this marketing trick but it's basically the hardest to resist afetr you've come to realise that fake promises don't work 😀

  6. Kylie Jenkins
    February 10, 2015 / 2:59 pm

    I'm completely guilty of purchasing products based on how they look and probably should have been a make up magpie. But I do agree sometimes the pretty packaging does mask a sub-standard product within.

  7. Fran Mcmonagle
    February 11, 2015 / 7:56 pm

    Not just this, I admit I'm guilty of spending too much on brands and designers when I know the quality of other products are equal for less of a price tag!♥ Fran – xx

  8. sabrina.jaine
    February 11, 2015 / 8:03 pm

    I love things that look good but I try not to let myself get too carried away with pretty packaging, ultimately it's the quality of the product that counts! x

  9. Fii Cridland
    February 12, 2015 / 8:18 pm

    I'm instantly drawn to cute packaging and anything that is cased in a pastel shade gets mentally wishlisted… though that tends to be where it stays, now. I've never been exactly terrible about packaging over product, but I I definitely think that a lot of our opinions are formed based on how pretty/cute/exquisite things look. You could have the best eyeshadows on the planet, but if they were in clear plastic casing, I probably wouldn't buy them. little miss fii || Fii x

  10. Amy Forsythe
    February 12, 2015 / 11:31 pm

    It's funny; before I started reading blogs and watching youtube I wasn't interested at all in packaging, at least not consciously! But now I find myself commenting on it all the time! So I think bloggers have a lot to answer for!Fortunately a lot of pretty packaging seems to be aimed at people who like really girly things: bows and flowers and polka dots… and that's not me, so I end up avoiding them. x

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