Today, I wanted to do an “anti haul”: in a nutshell, I’ll describe all the makeup that I’m not going to buy and explain why. Yes, I agree, it’s a bit provocative to write this kind of post when you have a beauty blog! wink
But first, here’s a brief reminder of what a haul is:
This phenomenon was born on YouTube but it’s now also on blogs by extension. The principle is simple: the blogger/ YouTuber unboxes and comments his/her purchases after a shopping session. This type of content can lead to first impressions or even mini reviews.
Back to our topic of the anti haul, it’s my friend Luanne (from the blog Weesha’s world, if you don’t follow her on Instagram, you’re missing out!) who first told me about this new phenomenon on YouTube. So I started watching some anti haul videos. Specifically the Kimberly Clark videos. The lipsticks anti haul video is one of the funniest I’ve watched in a long time, you definitely need to watch it!!!
It totally inspired me and I thought it would be a great idea for a blog post! : D
Then I started to think about it more seriously, and I realized that in the past, I had some comments asking me my thoughts on very hyped up makeup products and I have sometimes been tempted to buy them just to probably do a bad review.
So, I thought that rather than spend my money on products that I probably won’t love, it would be more useful to explain why I won’t buy some particular makeup products. And with reasons I feel are valid so other than “I don’t like the color” or “I already have this color” because let’s be a little honest here, already having 30 dupes of a product won’t stop me from buying it! wink
And also, this article is about my feelings on certain products and you’re absolutely free to not agree with me about them. I love discussing important topics like makeup wink , so please feel free to give me your thoughts on the topic in the comments! wink
Because sometimes I feel like some makeup products are rather overpriced compared to their real quality / value. And they’re still all over the social media, with everyone raving about them (especially the influencers!) And clearly, after a while it becomes very tempting!
However, after some research, I often notice that the price is totally unjustified and that it will probably not be worth investing in them.
I spoke about it several times already here, I buy nearly all of the products I review here so I clearly don’t feel like spending my money on products on which I have doubts. This, by the way, has a big impact as a blogger on how you select products as opposed to getting them for free and often on top of that, being paid to promote them.
Obviously, this post is quite odd for someone like me because yes, I’m clearly a shopalcoholic. Yes, I buy more makeup products that I could use in my whole life. But occasionally, I decide not to be a sheep and I refuse to buy certain products, even if the whole raves about them and absolutely wants them.
Sometimes a little research on the composition of these products, the way they’re manufactured and also a good understanding of the marketing behind their promotion in the social media can avoid a purchase that you could otherwise regret after.
I’ll try to stick to the facts as much as possible because obviously, there are many products and brands that I don’t want to buy for more subjective reasons (I don’t like the brand image, I don’t want to support the person behind the brand, the prices are too high for me, I hate the colors etc), but I don’t really see the point of writing an anti haul post about those types of products! wink
Before I tell you which makeup products I’m not going to buy, I want first to give you some reasons that can motivate me to not purchase a product:
Stefanie Nicole‘s YouTube videos:
Although I don’t agree with everything she says, I really like Stefanie Nicole’s reviews, which I find very detailed, informative and honest. And in this ocean of product placements along with hidden sponsored content, it’s such a nice change! Also, she’s older than most of the famous YouTube gurus (which is a great thing IMO, I personally find it easier to relate to her) and she doesn’t need beauty brands to live because YouTube is not her day job.
On top of that, I love her way of doing research on the products she reviews. She really investigates things and she doesn’t hesitate to look at the ingredients list to be really sure the product is good and safe to use.
With all that good information in hand (and her very good beauty knowledge as well), she posts highly detailed videos on her channel, with references to the ingredients list, some comparative tables of several brands with details on the quality, the price etc. She’s clearly a more informative YouTuber than a inspirational one and honestly, it’s so refreshing to look at someone who knows what she’s talking about and who isn’t trying to sell me something for once.
So yes, clearly, I watched her videos a lot in order to prepare this anti haul, you’ll see. But I would love to see more detailed and thorough reviews in the beauty world so that we can all become more knowledgeable consumers!
I am certainly a beauty addict but I’m not a sucker anymore who buys any new beauty product appearing everywhere on Instagram (well, at least, I’m getting better)! wink
White label products and private label companies:
I think it’s important to understand what private label & white label companies / products to determine whether a product may be overpriced compared to the quality that you actually get.
A white label product is a product or service produced by company A (the producer) that other companies: B, C, D etc. (the marketers) rebrand to make it appear as if they had made it.
Private label or white label products are also known as “phantom brands”. Private label products are available in a wide range of industries including cosmetics. They are often positioned as lower-cost alternatives to regional, national or international brands, although recently some private label brands have been positioned as “premium” brands to compete with existing “name” brands. (source: Wikipedia)
In the case of cosmetic brands, this is a very common practice, particularly among indie makeup brands in the United States.
Many brands don’t really have the money for their own laboratories to create products, especially at the beginning, and that’s why they use private label companies. As a consumer, it’s pretty hard to know, because brands obviously don’t really communicate on the subject.
At the moment, as I already mentioned in my article about indie makeup, thanks to social media, new indie makeup brands are booming and they use these white label companies to reduce their costs. And if they really want to cut them, these brands use Chinese private label companies. The famous “made in China” which has such bad press and is now often replaced by the less known “made in PRC” (PRC: People’s Republic of China), but exactly the same.
It allows these indie makeup brands to retail cheap products (or to make a good margin if they increase the price even if the production didn’t cost them too much) and to also launch new collections more often, because the production deadlines are faster. And it’s great for a makeup brand to be able to launch products quickly because consumers constantly want new things.
I just want to be clear: it doesn’t mean that it’s exactly the same product which is released from the laboratory with just a different label on it, because the formula can be slightly changed. But very often, the formulas are very similar and you just have to look at the list of ingredients to realize that.
How can I tell if it's a white label makeup product?
It's very simple. Well, only if you have access to the list of ingredients, which sometimes can be a complicated quest!wink
You simply need to copy the ingredients list for the product you have questions about in Google and look at the results you get with it.
If the results you get back are mostly with the name of the product and the brand for which you have done the research, it's quite possible that the formula is exclusive to this brand and that the product is not a white label one.
However, if you get several or even a few different brands for the same ingredients list, it probably means that the product you're looking into comes from a private label company, which works for several other brands.
As I said above, the principle is not illegal and does not bother me more than that. But what I don't like however, it's to realize that there are big price differences between these products when in effect they are very similar products.
It's what happened to the brand Becca a few weeks ago.
They manufactured an eyeshadow palette for a collection in collaboration with the famous YouTuber Jaclyn Hill through a Chinese white label company. Apparently, they manufacture in the USA for the rest of their products. This specific palette retailed at $45, and it contained 5 eyeshadows.
A beauty blogger who bought this palette felt like this Jacklyn Hill eyeshadow palette wasn't the same quality as the other Becca palettes she owned and loved. So she did a little research online just in case. She Googled the list of ingredients of her new palette. And she discovered that several brands of cheap makeup came up with the same ingredients list. Some brands like Costal Scent for example. The average price per Coastal Scents eyeshadow doesn't exceed $2 (you can see their eyeshadow palettes here).
So you can imagine the comfortable margin that Becca would have been making on this palette had it remained on sale. Yes, because after this shocking revelation, the palette has been removed from the shelves. But the image of the brand and the YouTuber associated with them took a big hit!
The video of the disappointed beauty blogger is here if you want to have a look:
Nothing illegal here but personally if I know that a product wasn’t expensive to produce and that the brand uses cheap ingredients in its composition, I want it to be reflected in the price. If you try to sell me a product made in China (with low production costs) with cheap ingredients at the same price as a product manufactured in the US or Europe (with higher production costs) and more “noble” ingredients, I just don’t agree.
And even if the product is not bad per se, at the end, for me, it’s still misleading for us, the consumers. And I don’t care if some famous influencer has been paid to say in his her review of the favorite products of the month that it’s a great. I’m not gonna buy it.
So for this anti haul, here are some examples of makeup products that I am not going to buy and the reasons why I won’t purchase them.
The Kylie Lip Kit:
Hard for me to be objective with this brand ah ah ha! Because clearly the main reason for me not to buy these liquid lipsticks, is that I have no desire to give money to Kylie Jenner. First she’s already very rich and also, I don’t like her very vulgar and fake image. For me, promoting the image of beauty achieved by cosmetic surgery, is just not my thing.
But to go with objective reasons, I refuse to pay for a ColourPop product rebranded with the name of Kylie Jenner. Especially if I have to pay three times its original price.
Indeed, judging by the articles I read on the subject, Miss Jenner’s products would be manufactured in the same laboratories as those which manufacture ColourPop products (or more precisely in the laboratories that belong to the owners of ColourPop, Spatz).
Indeed, the formulas of the two products of the Kylie Lip Kit (a lip liner and a liquid lipstick sold $39) are very close to the Lippie Pencils and Ultra Matte Lip by ColourPop (sold respectively $5 and $6). So basically you have similar products but almost 3 times more expensive because the name Kylie Jenner is on it.
The Kylie colors are really nothing special, so I would rather just buy directly from ColourPop…
For a comparison of the two formulas Kylie Lip Kit VS ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip, you can have a look on Stefanie Nicole’s Instagram if you want to see it.
The ingredients list of Kylie Lip Kit is not available on Kylie Jenner Cosmetics site, unfortunately. But as always on the internet, when you search, you’ll find what you’re looking for. wink
Yes, these were all over Instagram and they went out of stock super quickly!
When I saw the first eyeshadow palette, the Holygrail, I thought these were all the colors I ever wanted to have in a palette! Neutral, warm colors, everything I love!
But as I wasn’t familiar with the brand, I didn’t run to their website to buy it immediately. I did some research first. Also, it’s not cheap ($42). Yes, it’s about the same price as an Anastasia Beverly Hills eyeshadow palette and you’ll get more eyeshadows but honestly, the quality of the ABH eyeshadows is well known (I know the brand and I’m a fan) and also, I find the selection of ABH eyeshadow in their palette always well thought through.
So, here, looking closer at the Holygrail palette for example, many colors seem a bit too close in shades to do a lot of different looks with it. Still, it’s difficult to be sure when you haven’t tried it, as you might say (and you would be right wink ).
But what definitely stopped me was when I started to do research on the composition of these eyeshadow palettes. By typing in Google the list of ingredients, I realized that these were probably manufactured in a Chinese white label laboratory (yes they are actually made in China). In Google, I had the name of several brands that pop out, especially Morphe and Makeup Revolution. These brands offer significantly cheaper products (more eyeshadows for a smaller price). So it’s difficult to believe that these Violet Voss eyeshadow palettes are actually worth their $42 price.
I have since read a lot of reviews on these eyeshadow palettes saying that the quality of the eyeshadows were inconsistent. So I definitely decided to pass.
The Gérard Cosmetics lipsticks:
OK I cheated a little on the principle of anti haul because I had already bought 2 Gérard Cosmetics lipsticks. However, because they came out with a full range of other lipsticks (some liquid lipsticks for example) after that, I still feel like including them in this list. wink
Gerard Cosmetics is one of this Insta-brands and I already talked about it here a few months ago. You see them everywhere on social media, many influencers are affiliated with them, some even do collaborations with the brand… In short, their communication strategy is completely based on the power of social media.
And I confess I’m not a fan of this principle. You may know my views on influencers, I think the relationship between them and brands is a set of dangerous liaisons (especially for their subscribers actually wink ). A YouTuber or Instagrammer affiliated with a brand probably won’t say bad things about it since it’s in his/her interest that the brands sells.
Let me explain: when an influencer is affiliated with a brand, it means basically that he or she works for them. He or she is paid every time someone uses a link coming from their post, or if someone uses a coupon code to buy a product. This affiliate code is established by the brand especially for the influencer and they will get money. All of this is usually very transparent, no problem about it but I admit that I still have my doubts about the sincerity of the influencers’ opinions on the brand with which they are affiliated. I guess it depends on the integrity of each of them…
But what really bothers me with Gerard Cosmetics, is the fact that the products are on sale all year round. At first I thought “Oh, it’s so cool, a 40% discount code, it’s great, I’m saving money!” And then, after looking on their Instagram or Facebook page, I realized that the brand really came up with deals like that all the time on all their products!
And it makes me wonder about the choice of their products price. Are Gerard Cosmetics lipsticks worth their original $19? Are promotions and discount codes not just a crude method to push people to purchase, all that encouraged by the influencers that are affiliated with them? The doubt is definitely valid…
And well, it turns out that as I mentioned to you at the beginning of this paragraph, I fell for one of these famous deals last year (before understanding that special deals were not that special with this brand) and I bought two lipsticks from this brand.
My 2 cents: they are nothing unique, the color and pigmentation are both average, same goes for texture and comfort, they are overall very average. And they are certainly not worth more than a good old MAC lipstick(I prefer them 1000 times over the Gérard Cosmetics ones!).
So no, I have no desire to try other products from this brand.
And that’s a wrap for this anti haul! wink
Again, I just want to be very clear on the fact that my goal writing this post wasn’t to bash these brands I never tried (or in the case of Gérard Cosmetics just tried once) but more to share my thoughts with you following different types of research on these products / brands.
And if you have any further information about these brands or if you had the opportunity to try these products, I would be really interested to discuss that matter with you in the comments below! smile
Photo credit: kyliecosmetics.com, shopvioletvoss.com, bonnie-garner.com