Financially speaking, makeup can be a burden. One item might not break the bank, but the combined cost of everything you might find in a woman’s makeup bag—foundation, blush, mascara, eye liner, eye shadow, and so on—quickly adds up. By one estimate, a woman in the US will spend an average of $15,000 on makeup in her lifetime.
The kicker is, the ingredients in these products often account for no more than 15% of the cost, according to Randy Schueller, a cosmetic chemist who has been in the beauty business for more than 30 years and is co-founder of The Beauty Brains, a website devoted to debunking cosmetic myths through science.
从事美妆领域30多年的化妆品专家、同时也是The Beauty Brains网站的联合创始人兰迪 ·舒尔勒说：让人糟心的是，化妆品里原料只占不到售价的15％。The Beauty Brains网站致力于通过科学的方式揭露化妆品的秘密。
Mainly what people are paying for is marketing, packaging, and brand prestige. That’s why lipstick, for example, which is mostly wax, oil, and pigments, routinely costs more than $20 a tube at a department store makeup counter.
Where the makeup is sold matters, too. It’s a form of marketing in itself, which is evident when you consider the difference between upscale brands carried at retailers such as Sephora and Ulta and mass-market brands sold at drugstores.
Quality in the cosmetics business can vary greatly, depending on the ingredients used and the way the makeup is manufactured. Schueller offers the example of powdered cosmetics, such as pressed eye shadow and blush. The cheaper manufacturing method uses a hammer mill, which breaks the makeup into small particles but can leave clumps. Another method uses a jet mill, which Schueller says breaks the makeup into finer particles, creating a smoother, more even finish.
What should a consumer do? Know what you’re looking for. But don’t assume that more expensive means better. More than anything else, what the price of makeup simply reflects is the price that you’re willing to pay for it.