How Beauty Pie Works, My Top Product Tips & If It’s Worth Becoming A Member
It’s been almost four years since Beauty Pie launched into the UK. I remember sitting down to thoroughly put the range through its paces, prepared to present the pros and cons like nobody had seemed to do before me; the reception up to that point had been overwhelmingly positive, even though the concept was complex and some of the initial products weren’t necessarily up to much. The promises were large, the comparisons with premium favourites hyped and the ‘savings’ were quite possibly inflated to make the benefits appear more irresistible – but that didn’t mean Beauty Pie weren’t onto something.
Their main point of difference was that they’ve ‘cut out the middle man’ and minimised packaging expense, creating high quality cosmetics at prices that the high street simply couldn’t compete with; Beauty Pie wanted to make beauty more accessible, turning the traditional models on their head while building a legion of loyal fans who were happy to pay their monthly membership. It sounded good in theory, but back in 2016 I had more than a few reservations. (You can read my full feature here.) The monthly fee really put me off, especially as the cosmetics weren’t really rocking my world; I just couldn’t see why anyone would want to potentially spend their entire monthly beauty budget in one place, without really having the opportunity to ‘try before you buy’.
Four years later, you could say it’s a bit of a different story.
WHY IS BEAUTY PIE DIFFERENT?
By ‘cutting out the middle man’ Beauty Pie can bring products to the consumer without expensive packaging, marketing and retailer costs that often bump prices up to premium levels. Most cosmetic formulations aren’t owned by the brand themselves, but are in fact ‘white labelled’ (a generic product bought and placed in different packaging) or licensed to brands for a set period of time (i.e. a new mascara formula may be a L’Oreal exclusive for 12 months before other brands can market it as their own.)
Beauty Pie claim their products are around 75% cheaper than their counterparts, which is to say they’re using the same baseline formulations and products as other brands – but without all the added costs. When it was first launched they published the full ingredients list of each product, and with a quick Google it was super simple to find out what it was the same as. (Back in the day brands like Charlotte Tilbury, Bobbi Brown, Dior and Soap & Glory were ‘imitated’.) However, they’ve since removed this so you have to kind of guess what it may be a replica of – or just be prepared for it to be a Beauty Pie original.
Buying into Beauty Pie technically means you can benefit from premium product formulations at incredibly affordable prices. But there’s a catch… To access these you have to be a Beauty Pie member, and therefore add the cost of your membership on top of the products you choose to buy.
HOW DOES BEAUTY PIE WORK?
Basically an online club for beauty enthusiasts, you have to sign up to become a Beauty Pie member before you can buy any products. Your membership dictates how much you can buy monthly, starting at £5.00 for a £50.00 limit and rising to £50.00 for a £500.00 limit; there’s a super flexible plan and you’re able to upgrade / downgrade as and when you need to, ensuring your membership level reflects your usage.
The products are listed as having two types of price: the ‘typical’ price and the ‘members’ price, which are essentially the price you’d find on the high street for a comparable product and the price you pay as a Beauty Pie member. My issue initially is that these ‘typical prices’ are in some cases inexplicably high, with no real justification, so you have to shop with blind faith that they’re going to be any good.
What is quite confusing is that your spending limit is calculated using the ‘typical’ price and not the ‘members’ price – something that I didn’t realise initially, and so became increasingly frustrated that it wouldn’t allow me to add anything more to my basket. Considering a lot of skincare products have a ‘typical’ price way over £50.00, it’s a bit pointless starting at the £5.00 a month level if you want to test a few things out and get a feel for the brand.
The bonus is if you don’t use up your limit, it rolls over to the next month; so if you forget to make an order, don’t fancy anything that month or just don’t have the budget to do so, you can collate your allowance and blow it all when your circumstances change.
IS THERE A BEST BEAUTY PIE MEMBERSHIP LEVEL TO TRY?
I’m currently on a £10.00 a month membership level and it’s allowed me to try roughly five different products a month, giving me a real taster for the brand. I haven’t felt like there’s a product I can’t try because I didn’t have the allowance, whereas with the £5.00 membership I was really limiting my choice. It’s a good starting point, and will give you the opportunity to up or downgrade if you feel the need later on.
WHAT PRODUCTS DO BEAUTY PIE OFFER?
When they first launched into the UK it was purely a makeup brand, but over the last four years they’ve expanded into skin, hair, fragrance and accessories – so you can pretty much get everything you could possibly want in one place.
It was the makeup that left me a little nonplussed initially (specifically the eyeshadow and powder-based products,) but the few new additions I’ve tried have been surprisingly good. The skincare is where the hype is at though, with practically every beauty editor and blogger falling over themselves to recommend a gem they’ve found from Beauty Pie. Hair is the newest category, with some real winners and losers, plus their perfume and candles seem to sell like hot cakes.
WHICH ARE THE BEST BEAUTY PIE PRODUCTS TO TRY?
Over the last three months I’ve been putting a good proportion of products to the test, based on recommendations and personal interest. I’ve tried to get a good overview of each of the main categories, but purposefully avoided a lot of the makeup as I’d experienced it before and hadn’t heard great things from friends who’d given it a go too. There are some winners, some losers and some ‘it was only ok’ products, but this is what I’ve thought of everything I’ve tried to date…
Fruitizyme Five Minute Facial (£10.12)
An absolute hero of mine, this contains a potent mix of Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid and Pomegranate Enzymes alongside gentle Quartz and Bamboo scrub grains to slough away dead and dull skin cells from the surface in only a few minutes; it also includes anti-free-radical stem cells from Raspberries, helping to keep the skin protected and healthy looking. It’s the perfect combination of liquid and manual exfoliation, leaving my skin feeling much smoother, softer and clearer after every use. I’ve tried quite a few similar products over the years and this is really comparable to face masks three times it’s price, so it’s definitely a great place to start.
Plantastic Micropeeling Super Drops (£9.28)
A great go-to if you want your complexion to just be a little clearer, smoother, more radiant or uniform, this contains a great mix of gentle acids to help exfoliate the skin: Salicylic Acid works alongside Banana, Caja and Mango in a super lightweight and non-greasy formula I love. It also features a ‘purifying antimicrobial biosurfactant’ to help keep skin clear and healthy, making this a pretty great product for anyone with problematic skin to try. Because it’s super light it’s great for layering under moisturisers and SPF, making it a daily go-to.
Qi Energy Breathable Moisture Ginseng Beauty Sleep Mask (£8.76)
Anything that promises to revitalise my complexion as I sleep has my attention, so I was keen to try this overnight treatment as soon as I spotted it. With Ginseng Root for energy, Vita-Gly-Ginger to detox, Sodium Hyaluronate and Wild Pansy for hydration, Squalane for skin barrier support and a ‘flower growth factor’ to reboot your skin, this claims to leave skin feeling its most hydrated and healthy. It’s a smooth and rich texture, but not too heavy and definitely not greasy; my skin definitely laps it up as a hydration boost, but I can’t say I really notice any improvement in texture or appearance the next day. A good all-rounder and a fab night cream to use as a base for mixing in more potent oils and serums, but not a gamechanger.
FeatherLight UVA/UVB SPF 50 Sunscreen + Primer (£10.10)
SPF has long been part of my daily regime, no compromises, so I’m always on the hunt for new lightweight textures that are easy to layer over skincare and under makeup. This is a pretty good option. Containing a ‘light-absorbing DNA shield’, Chromophores to help fight inflammation, Vitis Vita Grape Extract for skin detoxification and rehydration, plus Tomato Stem Cell Extract and Peptides to reduce ‘skin stress’ this is jam packed with goodness. It’s very lightweight, doesn’t have any white telltale residue when applied, isn’t sticky or gloopy and works well in my routine; it actually reminds me of a Murad one I’ve been using for years, but at a fraction of the price this is definitely a better every day option.
Japanfusion Pure Transforming Cleanser (£6.71)
This balm-to-milk cleanser is really quite a joy, helping to lift away dirt and grime without stripping the skin. Non-foaming and enriched with beneficial Vitamin C, it leaves my skin feeling pretty soft and nourished after I’ve given it a good massage. Although they claim this removes all traces of makeup, for me it’s more of a second cleanse product that helps provide a deep but unobtrusive clean; a great find, especially at the price point.
Super Retinol Anti-Ageing Hand Treatment (£7.84)
I’m a bit obsessed with Retinol and I have hand creams lingering in every nook of my house, so this was the perfect combo to try – especially as your hands are often the one thing we forget shows the signs of ageing. Although the texture is quite generic and a little runny, it is a pleasant hand cream to pop on before bed alongside the rest of my nighttime skincare.
Dr Glycolic Soft Feet 7-Day Peel Socks (£3.97)
I mean, you can’t really go wrong with these. Pretty much all exfoliating socks are made equal, so it just depends if you want a fancy name or you’re happy to pay a third of the price for a Beauty Pie version. After a week my feet were left soft, smooth and free from dry bits – which is all you can ask for really.
Awesome Bronze Shea Butter Body Tint (£7.22)
This was my biggest disappointment to date; I expected it to be a more affordable version of the Vita Liberata Body Blur (which I love) but it really really wasn’t. The formula is quite sticky, hard to apply and quite streaky – plus it’s not really that tinted. My legs didn’t really look any different and it took about a third of the bottle to cover both my lower limbs, so even for seven quid you’re really not getting much benefit. A hard miss.
Super Healthy Hair Smooth Booster (£6.82)
My hair can be so problematic so my expectations from styling products are pretty darn high; I need them to smooth and tame my coarse, flyaway but thin and wavy locks into something that resembles a movie star, so it’s no surprise I’m often left disappointed. Upon using this for the first time I definitely used too much, resulting in a somewhat crispy ‘do that wasn’t at all smooth and shiny. However, since then I’ve perfected how to get the most from the transparent liquid and it’s become a product I reach for every time I’m blowdrying – a little amount helps to tame hair and smooth the frizz away, even if the result isn’t super smooth. Although I probably wouldn’t repurchase, it’s not a bad little find.
Super Healthy Hair Coconut Water Heat Shield Styler (£7.84)
Coconut has to be one of my favourite ever scents, so anything with a sprinkling of the tropical stuff is something I’m willing to try. This hair-strengthening protein spray helps protect fine, weak or damaged hair from heat using ‘elasticity Peptides’, while coconut water helps to offer a hit of hydration. The spray is a very fine and manageable mist with just a hint of coconut fragrance, leaving my hair feeling less parched after use; it’s always hard to know if heat shield sprays are really doing anything, but this is a pleasant addition to my regime that doesn’t cost the earth.
Superbrow Colour Pomade (£4.79)
The Anastasia Beverly Hills brow pomade is one of my all time heroes, so I was hoping this would be a more affordable alternative – and it is, to a certain degree. Creamier and slightly lighter in texture, this delivers a decent amount of pigment and allows me the precision to create a statement brow, but it is tricky to build up a strong colour if you’re working with patches like I am. It’s not quite as good as my fave, but it’s a pretty good alternative if you’re looking.
Superbrow Fine Precision Pencil (£4.30)
This is possibly one of my fave Beauty Pie finds, especially for the price, and it’s one that’s practically worth keeping a subscription going for alone. As someone with super patchy brows that need filling in on the daily, I have a plethora of pencils and creams in my collection – but most are scratchy, fade quickly or aren’t that pigmented to start with. This absolutely stands up against the best I’ve ever tried, providing a creamy and workable crayon that’s easy to create the illusion individual hairs; it lasts all day and doesn’t budge even when I touch my brows, leaving me with a colour result that’s as powerful or as natural as I want it. Love.
Shine Up Lip Colour Balm Stick (£4.00)
Another gem of a find, this is pretty creamy and deposits a lovely slick of comfortable colour on the lips that’s easy to top-up on the go. Although I’d like it to be creamier and offer more of the balm texture I expected, it’s a great alternative to some of the premium brand sticks that charge four times the price. My personal fave is the coral, but I may just go back and get this in more shades.
I mean, you can’t really go wrong. A blatant copy of the best selling Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick, this is pigmented and reflective without being super sparkly or shiny. Great for a quick flush of radiance, especially thanks to the complementary colours and finely milled powder formula.
IS BEAUTY PIE WORTH IT?
Despite my initial reservations, I think I’ve actually enjoyed the element of discovery and the expectation that accompanies the pink boxes arriving at my door. It reminds me of placing an Avon order and not worrying too much about whether the products were amazing or not, partially because they were cheap and partially because the fun was in the unwrapping of your goodies; and that’s exactly what Beauty Pie is – only for a more beauty savvy and modern consumer.
There are some real skincare gems to be found, but most of the products are just good for their price (and not necessarily the ‘typical’ price either.) Once you have a rummage around you’ll discover some great staples, some more affordable alternatives to your faves and some finds you won’t be able to put down; but you’ll also find some real duds you’ll never want to set eyes on again.
I’m still dubious about their super inflated comparative prices too, and have almost come to completely ignore them; for me, that’s not the benefit of Beauty Pie or why I’ll probably continue to shop with them. They’re just there as a reminder that even the brands claiming to shelve the marketing BS still over-egg what you’re getting in every way they can.
But yeah, I think Beauty Pie is worth trying out – at least in the short term, even as a little pick-me-up or indulgence when you need it most. It’s not as groundbreaking or wonderful as they make out, but they’ve certainly captured the attention of beauty consumers like no other brand for a long time.
WILL I BE KEEPING UP MY BEAUTY PIE SUBSCRIPTION?
I mean, I certainly don’t need any more beauty products, but I’m going to keep up my membership rolling along for another few months at least – downgrading to the £5.00 package and letting my allowance accrue until there are some new things to try. They do seem to add and remove products frequently, and a lot of things are constantly out of stock, so there’s nearly always something I want to add to my basket… And I guess that’s what they’re counting on.
I’ve found some real heroes that I’ll continue to stock up on (namely the brow pencil and some of the skincare treats) and I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on new product launches in the coming months, but I won’t be swapping out everything for Beauty Pie any time soon.
Have you tried Beauty Pie? Do you have any favourite products you think I should try?
AD: features affiliate links, but all products and membership bought by myself.