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I joined Beauty Pie because I'm tired of overpaying for skincare and makeup. For me, skincare and cosmetics fall into one of two categories. They're either affordable and ineffective, or they're ridiculously expensive. Beauty Pie changes up that formula by selling beauty products at cost. That's right. At cost.
There is a tiny catch, though. You have to pay a membership fee to access those ultra-low prices. But I did say tiny and I meant it. Beauty Pie memberships start at $10 a month.
All of that may sound like a pitch written by Beauty Pie folks, but I assure you it's not. Beauty Pie has never approached Budget Fashionista for any kind of endorsement. I pay my monthly fees and buy my own products like any other member.
I've been a Beauty Pie member for six weeks and have placed two orders consisting of seven products total. So far, I'm thrilled with the product quality and pricing. Intrigued? Here's a closer look at how Beauty Pie works.
Wholesale pricing on beauty
Beauty Pie promises wholesale pricing on beauty. That means if an anti-aging serum costs $20 per container to make and sell, you pay $20. Other beauty brands charge you $20 plus a cut for the retailer and the distributor. There's also a chunk of change added to cover TV commercials and endorsements from leading ladies (I'm looking at you Cover Girl). Those things add up pretty fast, which means it's fairly average for cosmetics to carry a price tag that's 300% above its cost. At the extreme end of markups, the retail price might be even higher, up to 10 times the cost. That means you end up paying $60 to $200 for something that costs $20.
Member and typical prices
Beauty Pie provides two prices for every product in its catalog -- the member price and the typical price. The typical price represents what you'd pay at retail for a similar product. The member price is what you pay as a Beauty Pie member.
As an example, Beauty Pie's Superdose C brightening serum has a member price of $13.57 and a typical price of $90. The serum contains 15% vitamin C, plus 1% tranexamic acid and 0.5% ferulic acid. As a point of comparison, SkinCeuticals makes a 15% vitamin C product that also contains 1% vitamin E and 0.5% ferulic acid. It's very highly rated at LovelySkin.com and carries a price tag of $166. There's also a product by Dr. Laura Devgan Scientific Beauty that contains vitamin C, B, and E plus ferulic acid. This one retails for $145.
You can find more affordable serums containing lower amounts of vitamin C and tranexamic acid, such as the INKEY List's hyperpigmentation treatment. These are priced as low as $15, which is still higher than Beauty Pie's more potent formula.
Typical prices and membership limits
According to my very informal research on Beauty Pie's typical prices, they seem to be representative of higher end beauty brands. I encourage you to do your own research also by looking for up products with similar pricing. That way, you can see for yourself how those "typical prices" compare to what else is out there.
Again, as a member, you don't pay the typical prices. You pay the member prices which are about 80% lower. But validating the typical prices Beauty Pie provides helps you quantify what you're saving as a Beauty Pie member.
The typical prices play another role, too. With monthly memberships, Beauty Pie uses the typical prices to set your monthly spending limit. For example, the lowest membership level costs $10 monthly. This is the membership I have, and it allows me to buy up $100 of product monthly, as defined by the typical prices. When I joined, my membership included a bonus spending alotment of $200 in the first month only.
So far, I've had a cumulative spending limit of $300, consisting of $200 in the first month and $100 at the first renewal. I've consumed all of it, but my total spend has been $79.
Since I've used up my limit, I can't buy anything else until my next renewal on the 17th of the month. That is, unless I want to upgrade my membership. The monthly membership options are as follows:
- $20 monthly for $200 spending allotment against typical prices
- $30 monthly for $300 spending allotment against typical prices
If you prefer unbridled spending on the entire Beauty Pie catalog, you can buy an annual membership. That's normally $99, and your spending limit is $1,500 annually. Personally, I like the monthly membership setup with the cap on spending. It keeps me on budget. Based on the difference between member prices and typical prices, the $10 membership holds me to spending about $30 monthly. I figure that's a reasonable limit for all of my skincare and makeup purchases.
Rollovers and Piedays
If you don't spend up to your limit, unused amounts do roll over to the next month. That means you could, with a bit of restraint, save up your spending allotment to buy something pricey in the line-up you really want. An example might be the Super Health Skin Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream, which has a typical price of $100 and a member price of $15.75. At the lowest membership level, this is the only product you could buy in a single month -- even though it only costs about $16 out of your pocket.
Or, you might get lucky with a "Pieday" that allows you to buy the product you're eyeing. On Piedays, you can buy a selected product without using your spending limit. Monthly members get up to six Piedays annually and annual members get up to 12.
Shipping and returns
You do pay shipping on your Beauty Pie orders. On each of my orders so far, shipping has been $8.27 for UPS. The orders are processed and shipped quickly so you should receive them in a few days.
You can cancel an order within 14 days of receipt. According to the current return policy, you are reimbursed for the products and the standard shipping cost. You can also cancel your membership within 14 days for a refund.
My Beauty Pie purchases
As mentioned, I've purchased seven total products as a Beauty Pie member. Here's a quick look at each of them.
- Ultralight Daily SPF30 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen: I paid $14.01. This sunscreen is lightweight and goes on evenly, without a greasy feel. Makeup goes on smoothly over the top.
- Super Retinol Ceramide-Boost Anti-Aging Face Serum: I paid $15.01. This price is on par with what you'd pay for a drugstore serum, but this product is far better than anything I've purchased at the drugstore. I smooth it over my face and then use a jade roller.
- Super Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream: I paid $8.11. I bought this because I have/had a saggy eyelid. It has been effective at strengthening my eyelids. I do have a bit of hyperpigmentation just below an eyebrow and if that's faded at all, it's been subtle.
- Super Healthy Hair Elastic-Repair Treatment: I paid $4.93. I quite like this product. It does seem to make my hair shinier and stronger.
- All-in-Wonder Tinted Illuminating Primer: I paid $7.37. I purchased this to replace a heavier BB cream that covered like a foundation. I've been wearing it on its own without makeup for a natural look. It looks great in natural sunllight.
- Ultra Colour Pro Gel Eyeliner: I paid $3.95. The color is fabulous and it goes on smoothly.
- Qi Energy Breathable Moisture Ginseng Beauty Sleep Mask: I paid $8.97. This was an indulgence, but it moisturizes well. It's a nice weekly treat for my skin.
To learn more about Beauty Pie, start by browsing the product line-up. If you don't see anything interesting, there's no need for further consideration. If you like what you see, check out the membership FAQs to decide if Beauty Pie is right for you. As for me, I'm going to try and fit all of my beauty purchases into $10 monthly membership. Hopefully I don't break and upgrade, but time will tell.