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How to Smartly Navigate Holiday Beauty Releases

How to Smartly Navigate Holiday Beauty Releases

Sephora floods with holiday gift releases around October, which is honestly a little rude. No one realistically considers gift shopping this early in the year. If you’re even slightly interested in the makeup scene, this time of year brings in more than just general interest from new releases; it seems like the best time to save money on products you’ve been eyeing all year through bundles and other techniques the brands have. But after being a veteran to the holiday season makeup hauls, I’m here to give you some insight so you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did, or even worse, buy a present that sucks for someone else.

Ignore Theoretical Retail Value

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Beauty brands love to do this evil thing to its consumers where they put a “originally sells for” or “has a value of” price under the holiday selling price. Who doesn’t love to maximize gift value without inflating the price tag? Well, this is an evil scam we all need to learn to ignore. It’s common knowledge that a single Anastasia Beverly Hills shadow or an Hourglass highlighter has an individual price tag of about $10-20 per pop. But everyone also knows that it is so much more economical to buy palettes. This is sort of the same knowledge that applies to holiday set pricing; the brands inflate pricing value to make it seem like you’re saving more money. This year’s “new” holiday release from Tarte, Pineapple of My Eye Collector Set (retailing for $59 this year) is a perfect example of the holiday scam season. Containing about the same shadow amount as a regular palette, a blush/bronzer quad, and some miscellaneous eye and lip products, this set looks like a great deal. When looking deeper into it, the miscellaneous products are easily redeemable as free samples on the Tarte website with each purchase, and the palette only costs around $9-10 more than regular palettes. So basically, you’re paying a little more than usual for a blush/shadow duo palette… which really isn’t that original or groundbreaking.

Beware of Product Quality

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I love myself a Marc Jacobs shadow, so obviously seeing a massive Marc Jacobs holiday palette made me shake last year. I bought it, for a pretty hefty price too, and then found myself more than disappointed. In hindsight, I’m not very surprised. The skyrocketing demand for makeup in the holiday season coupled with the effects on mass producing theme-less products is bound to create some deterioration in product value and quality. But for Marc Jacobs, I expected better. The only impressive part of this holiday palette was its packaging, deviating from the regular sleek, black packaging classic to the brand. What disappointed me the most was the patchiness and lack of pigment in the palette. The quality fell so starkly compared to the regular releases from the brand. I’ve heard similar horror stories from brands like Too Faced, so if you see a product in the holiday season that seems too good to be true, you’re probably right.

New Isn’t Really “New”

Here’s my biggest issue with holiday releases: the products aren’t really new. Either the products in the holiday packages are just smaller sizes of currently existing products that are slightly smaller or bigger than the travel-sizes or they are just repackaged releases of the previous year’s holiday bundle. I think it deceives newer customers into thinking they’re getting a great deal when they’re not. A lot of times, the smaller products are bundled with other products that end up overpricing the holiday collection for little value. It ruins the point and originality of holiday releases that are supposed to make them special.

Maybe with this information, people will just opt to doing what I’ve done in the past. Instead of getting special people non-special gifts with incoherent price tags, I normally pick out something a little higher on the price point, but a product that is loved by everyone, something that really works, or something that I think will match the personality of the gift receiver. Let’s stop picking easy, generalizable gifts… it’s only begging for the inevitable relegation to re-gifting.

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