What is Beauty Pie exactly? It’s a new concept that labels itself as a beauty club where people can buy a membership, which then entitles them to buy cosmetics at factory cost prices. Originally membership started at £10 a month, with a minimum subscription of three months, and a shopping allowance to buy products of up to £100 (product value, not factory cost) a month. However, this seems to have been abandoned and now Beauty Pie has three different annual membership options to choose from:
- £29 a year and you can buy up to £300 worth of products at product value.
- £49 a year and you can buy up to £500 worth of products at product value.
- £59 a year and you can buy up to £500 worth of products at product value, with a beauty kit that includes a kohl eyeliner, volume boost volume, and a future matte lipstick.
You can top up your allowance by £100 for £12.99 per membership. For those who don’t wish to buy a membership, they can purchase at the non-members price instead, however, both members and non-members pay shipping and processing fees (1.8%), which are calculated via a percentage according to how much your order comes to.
In the USA, the monthly membership option still exists at $10 a month (3 month minimum), or a yearly option at $120 (with a free gift) and each new member gets an extra $50 shopping allowance.
Beauty Pie has just launched a skincare range alongside their cosmetics, so here is an easier to read current price list of what the products cost at the factory price, and the non-members price—note shades differ in prices and were correct at the time of writing:
Lipstick Matte………Non-member price@£20…Factory cost@£2.24/£2.30/£2.44
Lipstick Satin………Non-member price@£20…Factory cost@£2.84/£3.11/£3.18
Lipgloss…………….Non-member price@£19…Factory cost@£2.16
Lipliner……………..Non-member price@£15…Factory cost@£1.49/ £1.50/ £1.51/£1.54
Beach Gloss………….Non-member price@£18…Factory cost@£2/£2.02
Lip Set………………….Non-member price@£54…Factory cost@£7.19/£7.24/£7.78
Sculpting Lipstick…..Non-member price@£18…Factory cost@£2.36
Bronzer………………Non-member price@£26…Factory cost@£3
Highlighter……………Non-member price@£30…Factory cost@£5.46
Blusher………………Non-member price@£18…Factory cost@£2.51/£2.52
Liquid luminizer……..Non-member price@£20…Factory cost@£2.70
Radiance powder…….Non-member price@£26…Factory cost@£2.57
Primer…………………Non-member price@£24…Factory cost@£3.11
Blur powder………….Non-member price@£26…Factory cost@£3.73
Everyday foundation…Non-member price@£30…Factory cost@£4.75/£4.76/£4.88/£4.92/£5.04/£5.06
Serum foundation……Non-member price@£32…Factory cost@£4.64/£4.84/
Sheer foundation……..Non-member price@£24…Factory cost@£3.46/£3.47
Concealer…………….Non-member price@£20…Factory cost@£3.43/£3.67
Concealer stick………Non-member price@£18…Factory cost@£3.02/£3.24/£3.25
Concealer (tube)……..Non-member price@£22…Factory cost@£2.68
Translucent powder….Non-member price@£25…Factory cost@£3.65/£3.73
Brushes……………….Non-member price@£80…Factory cost@£16.43
Kohl eyeliner…………Non-member price@£15…Factory cost@£2.04
Mascara………………Non-member price@£20…Factor cost@£1.93/£2.09/£2.16/£2.41
Eyeliner marker…………..Non-member price@£16…Factory cost@£1.50
Eyebrow pencil………….Non-member price@£17…Factory cost@£2.02/£2.06
Eyebrow powder pencil…Non-member price@£17…Factory cost@£1.55
Eyeshadow palette………Non-member price@£35…Factory cost@/£6.77£6.85
Brow powder…………… Non-member price@£16…Factory cost@£1.95/£1.99
Brow mousse…………….Non-member price@£17…Factory cost@£2.87
Eye crayon………………..Non-member price@£16…Factory cost@£1.82
Cleanser………………Non-member price@£25…Factory cost@£4.92
Peel…………………….Non-member price@£50…Factory cost@£6.04
Serum………………….Non-member price@£50…Factory cost@£6.69
Mask…………………..Non-member price@£50…Factory cost@£5.77
Serum…………………Non-member price@£85…Factory cost@£7.71
Cream………………..Non-member price@£100…Factory cost@£10.34
Stem cell serum……Non-member price@£70…Factory cost@£6.84
Eye cream……………Non-member price@£40…Factory cost@£5.22
Night cream…………Non-member price@£70…Factory cost@£7.90
Moisture lotion…….Non-member price@£35….Factory cost@£5.73
*Prices correct at the time of writing.
As you can see the non-member price doesn’t necessarily correlate to the factory price, and bear in mind some items go out of stock. The system does seem a little complicated at first, because if you are choosing shades, the prices may vary, albeit usually by a few pence. I decided to try a few items with a complimentary 24 hour pass to see how easy it was to sign up, to see whether the products lived up to their claims, and also the service.
The items I chose were:
- The Unbeatable Concealer Light 200 @£20.00/ factory cost £3.67
- Moonlighting Balm Radiance Powder in Celestial @£26.00/ factory cost £2.57
- One Powder Wonder @£26.00/factory cost £3.73
- Incrediblur™ Instant Retouching Foundation in Light (Beige) 300 @£24.00/factory cost £3.46
The total cost broken down is:
- Products £13.43
- Shipping £6.48
- Processing charge £0.36
- Total of £20.27
This is versus the non-member price would have been £96 plus the same shipping and processing fees. That works out to be about £5 per item including postage, but are the products really worth that price? I use premium brands and have worked with them (Shiseido, Guerlain, YSL, and NARS), so I have high expectations, and am also a trained makeup artist. I will look at the claims made, and decide whether the suggested price is reasonable, and what I would realistically compare it to. One thing that does put me off is the long and descriptive names of the products—they aren’t necessary, and what can be called advertising bluffs, as in they are marketing tools that hype up the products, or do they really perform that well?
The Unbeatable Concealer Light 200 @£20.00/ factory price £3.67
Claims: Super-elastic, lightening, brightening, breathable, with colour coverage that flatters, creamy glide-on feel.
Calling a product unbeatable is giving it a high standard to live up to, however, either I had one from a bad batch or I was expecting too much. The coverage is light to medium, and certainly not full coverage; the texture is dry and not creamy, and after a few hours looked cakey and had faded. I only had a couple of small blemishes to cover up, but it barely did that and was disappointing. I expected it to be similar to MAC, Shiseido, Benefit, and NARS concealers, which are in the same price bracket, but it sadly wasn’t. The coverage was similar to a Rimmel Hide the Blemish stick, which is light, with slightly uneven coverage.
Verdict: Personally, I would not pay £20 for this concealer (I have paid more for others), and would say it was worth more around the £6 price bracket.
Moonlighting Balm Radiance Powder Celestial @£26.00/ factory price £2.57
Claims: Light diffusing, with instant all over soft radiance, with skin plumping effect…gives an instant soft-focus airbrushed -and simultaneously moonlit- finish.
The long name really isn’t necessary, and there are three shades to choose from, but the effect is so subtle and light you can’t really tell its on once you have applied it. The finish is soft and it gives a slight shimmer to the face, but isn’t a highlighter as I expected so you can use this is an all over face powder without looking glittery. As for a skin plumping effect, I don’t think any powder can do that, and this didn’t plump up my skin.
Verdict: I liked this product, but would not pay £26 for it, but perhaps £15. It’s a mid-range product rather than premium one, and is fine for casual use
One Powder Wonder @£26.00/factory price £3.73
Claims: Gives a naked finish, flaw blurring, smooth and luminous, pretty-much invisible, translucent, shine-evening, radiance boosting and instantly blends makeup, disguises fine lines, hides large pores, protects against dehydration, boosts luminosity and, being ultra fine, never ever cakes (no matter how many times you apply it). Sets makeup in place, mattifies with a radiant finish, and has a lightweight texture.
There are an awful lot of claims here, but are they all real? Yes to some; the powder is translucent, and leaves a matte finish and is ultra-fine. However, powders cannot protect you from dehydration, only water can! It does leave a naked finish, so much so when you apply it, you’re not sure whether you have applied enough. Any radiance boosting was minimal, and it doesn’t cake as it’s so fine. Sadly, it doesn’t really hide large pores because it’s translucent, and I don’t have many lines, but found the powder highlighted them instead which was disappointing. The trick is in the application and to find a good brush to use as it is so fine, the danger is trying to use more powder than necessary.
Verdict: A fine milled translucent setting powder that is pleasant to use, but doesn’t live up to all its claims. It does make the skin feel soft, and leaves a smooth finish and is comparable to other products in the same price range.
Incrediblur™ Instant Retouching Foundation Light (Beige) 300 @£24.00/factory cost £3.46
Claims: Blurring. Weightless. Sheer Cover. Has high-tech spherical pigments that instantly cover uneven skin tone, minimize the appearance of pores and fine lines, photo ready finish, light coverage, instant plumping effect.
As this was a new foundation with no reviews, all I had to go on was the description on the website. Now, foundation is one of the hardest items to buy, not only to get the correct shade, but also the right coverage and buying from a swatch doesn’t work. This foundation is so light, it’s like water with no consistency, and one assumes it would give the same sort of coverage as a tinted moisturizer, but it doesn’t. It tried this twice; once with a primer and then without. I used my fingertips to blend it, and then a foundation brush (using a sponge would just absorb all the product). The result was the same—a streaky finish with barely any coverage. To top it all it also went a little orange (I tried Light 300 beige). In addition I suffered a slight reaction to the product as it left my skin in small raised lumps, and made it flaky and itchy. Again, there was no plumping effect, it didn’t minimize any fine lines or pores, and didn’t leave an even finish. The end result was a flat, streaky finish that looked dull.
Verdict: Regardless of my reaction to the product, the coverage was poor, in fact it was so bad I had to use my normal powder foundation to try and even it out. The product is also very watery which makes it difficult to apply. There was also a strong chemical smell to the foundation, which wasn’t pleasant. This is probably best suited to those who rarely wear makeup, and don’t want or need coverage, which nullifies the actual premise of using a foundation.
Superglazy Lipgloss in Ring In The Nude @£19/factory cost £2.16
Claims: Lustrous shine, cushion effect finish, creamy no-sticky texture, ultra glossy luminous finish.
Lipglosses are usually safe products to buy because you buy for the shade more than anything. The first time I applied this was over a lip pencil to give my lips a little sheen and the results were awful. The texture is thick, but is also heavily scented I think vanilla, which can be off putting if you don’t like vanilla (I don’t!) and made my lips looked caked. I tried it again on bare lips and the coverage was much smoother. The applicator is shaped which can make application around the edges easier, but this isn’t a versatile lipgloss. It is sticky, and you can’t apply it over lip pencil, lipstick, or powdered lips without it looking caked.
Verdict: I am disappointed in this product as I like to use lipgloss over lipstick or a lip crayon for variety. You can only use this alone as it is too thick, and the scent is a little too strong for my liking. I wouldn’t pay £19 for this, and I would say it’s more mid-range and is comparable to lipglosses in the £8 range.
Superbrow Precison Pencil In Hot Coffee @£17/factory cost £2.06
Claims: Shades and fills, easily mimics brow hairs, micro precise.
The shade is true to color and the pencil is an automatic one (twist up) so is much easier to use. The tip has a slight slant which makes applying the pencil simple, but it is in the skill of using small and precise strokes that results in a good eyebrow shape.
Verdict: The pencil is good, and does what is says except I don’t think it can live up to the claim of mimicking brow hairs, well not mine at least. I would pay about £15 for this product, and it is comparable to premium brands.
I have tried to be as fair as possible in reviewing the products, and as they claim to be comparable to high end and premium brands I have used that bar in my reviews. Therefore, I have compared them to Chanel, NARS, and Guerlain, which are products I have used. I do use budget and mid-priced ranges such as Maybelline, and GOSH, and have taken their quality and prices into consideration in my reviews.
It was clear that the monthly membership was restrictive, complicated, and confusing for most people, and the new annual memberships allow people to buy all they want in one go, with the option of upgrading. Since the addition of the skincare range, the previous monthly limit didn’t suffice, and consumers in general don’t want to be restricted when they wish to buy a range of items. I know from my beauty counter days there were customers that wanted to buy the whole range in one go, and if they couldn’t they would go elsewhere.
As a new company there are fewer reviews available and that makes people apprehensive about buying, not only for the shades, but the quality of the products. People don’t need to be reminded of how much they are saving, because the perceived non-member price is what Beauty Pie have decided upon. Out of all the products, I liked the radiance powder and eyebrow pencil that were comparable to premium brands. However, the concealer, lipgloss and foundation were at best the same quality of a budget or mid-range brand.
On a personal level I found the exaggerated and overhyped claims in the names of the products to be slightly misleading, and while I can look past that, there are some that will read it and believe it. To me the proof is in the actual use. I’ve had the products for a couple of months and they are not the products I automatically reach for in my makeup drawer, and that to me is a symbol of whether a product is good.
I would like to try the skincare, but am not prepared to pay £29 in order to buy the range, and that would only allow me to buy about five items as your allowance is the product value, and not factory cost. It’s hard to figure out the pricing as the handling charge and shipping is calculated at a percentage, therefore, you can only see the final price once you have added everything to your cart. I feel it makes ordering less enjoyable and is time consuming. The transparency price is to show you the breakdown of costs, and is interesting, especially as different shades vary in price even though they are the same product.
So is it cheaper and worthwhile? It depends on what you order, because the quality of the products is varied and they do not accept returns unless the items are damaged or sent in error. It can be a bit of a gamble to buy products that you haven’t sampled before, and I personally think many of the items are over priced (not factory price). In addition the site can be fiddly to use, as there is a lot of scrolling and going back and forth on pages to complete your order. The shipping and handling fees will usually be at least $10 or £6, so bear that in mind when you order, and that it is based on your order value as a percentage of the cost.
If you do decide to buy from Beauty Pie, I would calculate first what you wish to buy, and then buy in one go to pay a single handling and shipping fee, and then look at the total cost to see whether you could get comparable products cheaper. In the above example a lipgloss would cost nearly £8 plus a minimum membership cost of £29, and the cost without would be around £25. How much are you really saving for a product that in my opinion was more comparable to a £10 lipgloss?
Currently Beauty Pie memberships are available in the UK, and the USA , and you can join here. There are also gift membership options available; 3 months @£30, 6 months @£60 (plus a free gift), and a yearly membership @£120 (plus a free gift). Each month there is a £100 allowance, whereby any unused allowance is rolled over into the next month.