Topshop's New Makeup Collection

“The makeup is simply an extension of the personality and colors, clothing, makeup all express something.” -Gene Simmons

Just like the chameleon changes colors, so can we girls with the help of a little cosmetics. By day we can be au natural and exude the girl next-door girl look, but by night we can paint on the black eyeliner and become a total vamp. All it takes are the right tools.

But what are the right tools?

It’s crazy just how many eyeliners you can choose from nowadays in the form of liquid or pencil! Most of the time it comes down to price and quality, however, if you are brand conscious then it really comes down to the label doesn’t it?

Do you want to express your inner wild child and choose form Kat Von Dee’s cosmetic line? Or are you more of a classic, upscale person and want to show this by buying from Yves Saint Laurent? Maybe you don’t care too much about high-end designer labels (because you think they’re too snobby) and want something simple and reliable like Maybelline because that’s what your mom has always worn.

Decisions. Decisions. It’s definitely not easy choosing which brand to buy from.

Ultimately, however, you know Maybelline’s eyeliner will work just as well as one from Dior. Yet, every year people will pay ridiculously high prices to just have a compact powder with the name of their favorite designer label. This is the power of brands and their brand personalities. They will, just like perfumes, package their products to embody their brand personality.

For this post I’ll be investigating and analyzing different types of makeup package designs (much like my previous post on perfumes) and sort them by price and where they can be found.


Makeup Package Design: An Analysis

Makeup Available Primarily Through Catalog/Online

Makeup sold chiefly via catalog or online lies somewhere in between those found in drugstores or department stores. It’s difficult to really categorize them so I’ll just show you guys and gals examples:

[Everyday Minerals]

Everyday Minerals is an Austin-based cosmetic company who approach a very organic and

Everyday Minerals Lip Balm in High Tea Traders

environmentally-friendly lifestyle with their products.

Packaging: Their packaging has changed dramatically over the years. However, today I think their own brand personality is really showing through. Check out the picture to the right – the design of it is very bohemian, natural, clean and playful. I think this brings out its inner Austin hipster. The actual packaging of the products is rather simple – I understand they can’t get too crazy since they strive to remain affordable and organic. Actually all of their products are organic, vegan and cruelty-free – that’s their key selling point.

Crochet Round Denim Bag with Full-Size Blush Trio from Everday Minerals

Pricing: $4-$30.

Found in:

Brand personality: Someone who follows an organic lifestyle, is educated, cares for the environment and animals and is a believer of natural beauty.


E.L.F. Gift Set from the Studio Line

It’s true E.L.F. can be found in drugstores as well, however, they only provide a limited range of what this brand has to offer.

Packaging: Online you can find three different types of E.L.F. themes: the normal E.L.F. product line, a studio line and a mineral line. Each one differs in its approach to talk the consumer. The first line (starts at $1) is the most affordable one E.L.F. has – but the quality of it is very subpar. The second, the studio line (starts at $3), is the second most affordable and their products are designed in black and look professional – and quality is much higher. Finally, the mineral line (starts at $4-$6) is the most expensive and appears to be organic yet professional  looking – quality of the packaging is just as good as the studio line if not better. There’s nothing really special about each packaging – however, it’s worth to note that some of their packaging imitate designer ones (that’ll be discussed later).

Pricing: $1-$20.

Found in:

Brand personality: Hard to say since there are three personalities to choose from.


Drugstore Makeup

At your typical local Target, H-E-B, CVS or Wal-mart you will most likely find these brands: L’Oreal, Maybelline, Revlon, Cover Girl, Sonia Kashuk, E.L.F. and Pixi. The price rage for these products are usually within the $1-$25 range.

Naturally, to keep these cosmetics reasonably affordable, the package design isn’t too creative or luxe as ones you would find in department stores. That means, yes, some products such as the E.L.F. brand won’t be made from the same material as the Makeup Forever brand. So expect a tradeoff in the quality of the package design for the price (well, most of the time). But does that mean the product itself is poorer in quality? Not necessarily, that depends on your own personal preference and how your skin reacts to the makeup itself. Don’t confuse price for quality.

Typical Drugstore Makeup Aisle

Now, most drugstore makeup package designs are eerily similar. Wal-Mart actually did a recent study where they find out most women were not overwhelmed by the cosmetics aisle- in fact they were very bored (George, 2010). This isn’t surprising information, anyone of us who have shopped at a place like Wal-Mart knows going through the cosmetics aisle is almost like shopping for eggs or orange juice. There’s just not enough brand differentiation, not enough innovation. In fact the survey also specified that women wanted more “visual excitement and variety”.



Maybelline Products

Packaging: Most of their products are packaged in cardboard and plastic – like most drugstore makeup. Not much brand personality shown here actually. However, that is not really Maybelline’s selling point. The company is more about making their products afforable – so I think their message of affordability and reliance is coming out pretty clearly.


The Pixi Makeup Line


Packaging: Check out the picture to the left of this paragraph, it’s a look into how the Pixi makeup is set up and does a great job of standing out. Sure the color may not be everyone’s cup of tea – but you have to admit it’s hard not to miss this section. The bright lime green packaging is unique and reminiscent of nature. Also, none of their makeup is packaged in plastic and hung on racks. In that sense, it seems Pixi cares more about its products and doesn’t look as “cheap” (for lack of better words).

Bottom Line: Makeup found in drugstores will have lower quality in their packaging – sometimes both in design and material.


Department Store Makeup

Department store makeup sells the more high-end brand-oriented cosmetics. This is where brand differentiation is highly seen. These companies have the money to spend on unique packaging in order to make their brand personality come full circle. Now this is where it gets fun.

Think, for a moment, of the brands you see in Sephora or Dilliards. They are designer brands. Expensive designer brands that personalities. Here are a few of them: MAC, Stila, Estee Lauder, Urban Decay, Smashbox, Tarte, MakeupForever, Bobbi Brown and Nars. They are usually priced anywhere from $10-$60 for single items.



Packaging: The package design of Stila is supposed to be ec0-friendly and fashion-forward; it’s also supposed to draw the attention of “educated, youthful-spirited” young women (George, 2011). In fact if you check on the back of a box from Stila you’ll find that the material used to make the package your makeup resides in was recycled. Stila incorporates a lot of seasonal makeup package designs for its products – such as the themes “Pretty in Paris” and “Trendsetting in Tokyo”. Cute, huh? Another nifty feature about Stila that I like is that the package itself talks. Yes, talks in that sense that it gives the buyer tips on how to use their product (i.e. how to create a smokey eye look). Another thing Stila did on its package design was the incorporation of “The Stila Girl” – someone who doesn’t look like a model but someone who is an everyday girl, someone who could be your friend (George, 2011). Pricing: $10-$40. Found in: Sephora & online professional makeup dealers. Brand Personality: If Stila was a real person she would stylish, educated, youthful-spirited who is also environment conscious.


[Too Faced]

Packaging: The packaging of this brand seems to me as cute, girly, elegant and stylish with a bit of

Too Faced Palette in Natural

a vintage flair. The brand claims to “combine the beauty of Hollywood past with the modernism of what women want today” (Sephora). This is shown through its package design of its products, most of them have a sort of vintage theme (i.e. eyeshadow palettes) or modern, girly look (i.e.  mascara wands and foundation). For the eyeshadow palettes, Too Faced gives us onlookers a taste of what the our eyes could look like with their product by showing us a picture on the front. A pretty smart move. However, what’s not so smart is that in order to look at the actual palettes you have to open the packaging box – which you can’t do until you buy. On the up side, I’m very fond of the use of their sliding hidden compartment for eyeshadow brush.  Pricing: $18-$50. Found in: Sephora. Brand personality: If Too Faced was a real person she would be sophisticated, stylish, soft and feminine.


[Kat Von D]

Kat Von D Eyeshadow Palette

Packaging: The packaging of Kat Von D’s makeup is reminiscent of the lady  herself. Someone who is distinctively edgy, believes in self-expression, stylish, colorful and loves tattoos. Notice on every single one of her products the idea of tattoo ink is incorporated (look at the picture on the left). You have to admit, tattoos are what Kat Von D is known for so this isn’t a surprise just good marketing. I’ve also noticed the actual design of the packaging isn’t too special – there’s just a lot of use of black, white and tattoo designs. Pricing: $16-$60. Found in: Sephora only. Brand personality: Well, Kat Von D is already a real person. She is tattoo artist, reality TV star, edgy and likes to mix old Hollywood glamour with a rock-n-roll vibe (Sephora).


Comparing: A vs. B

I mentioned earlier that E.L.F. had some similar packaging designs to some designer ones. One that

Comparing: Nars version is on the left, E.L.F. on the right.

really stands and people have noticed is E.L.F.’s “Counturing Blush and Bronzing Powder” and Nars’ “Orgasm” Palette. Take a look at the picture to the right. They really look one and the same don’t they? But it’s debatable if they work the same. That aside, the mirrors are being covered because the tell-tale difference (other than the brand name) is the structure of the glass mirror – E.L.F. has a nifty clear opening where one can see the actual colors of the brand. Most people like this addition. Also, the E.L.F. is a bit bigger than the Nars product.

You can also check out this video link where a girl is comparing each product if you want more indepth information.

I think E.L.F. knew what is was doing when it made its product packaging so similar to Nars. It made people question – should I really splurge for the Nars product when I can save money buying the E.L.F. one? Plus, it’ll also put in their minds that since they saved money they can afford to buy something else from else (they were gonna spend $25 anyway, right?).

Naturally, E.L.F. is not the only one to follow this line of thinkging. Revlon’s Colorstay Foundation packaging is also eerily similar to MakeupForever’s Foundation in HD. Check them out. I’m calling it a day folks.




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