‘My monthly favourites this month is mostly high end products.’ ‘It is expensive, but it really works.’ ‘I know that’s a lot for a lipstick, but Tom Ford/Charlotte Tilbury/YSL products are just so worth the money.’ ‘You do get what you pay for when it comes to make up/skin care.’ ‘I know it’s £500, but it will literally make Ryan Gosling turn up at your door and beg you to get off with him.’
Okay, I made the last one up, but all the other sentences are ones I’ve heard not once or twice recently but constantly, every time I watch a Youtube monthly favourites video or read a beauty blog post about ‘Spring Must Haves.’ When I first started blogging, people mostly talked proudly about products you could buy in Boots- Barry M nail polishes and exciting new L’oreal lipstick releases and Maybelline products that were coming over from America. MAC was the height of expense. Nowadays, bloggers namedrop YSL and Chanel and Guerlain (Guerlain! Literally the make up your old French Grandma would’ve worn) and talk about skincare as if a cream can’t actually help you unless it cost £200 and is made from the tears of a dove. And I’m not happy about it.
I suppose it’s natural, because as bloggers and Youtubers become more prominent, more brands have got involved in the game. They send out this stuff, these £45 lipsticks and £120 face serums, and then the bloggers review them, because ‘then you can decide if you want to spend the money on it.’ The trouble is, they nearly always rave about them, and then you’ve got a sixteen year old girl lusting after a £45 lipstick that she can’t possibly afford, or feeling substandard because she can’t own a whole collection of eyeshadow palettes at £60 a pop. And you wouldn’t have worried about ‘deciding to spend the money’ on these things if you hadn’t seen your idol promoting them on Instagram in the first place.
Chanel and YSL and skincare brands like Sunday Riley have always existed, and whilst they were primarily aimed at very rich people with money to burn, they did always appeal to the masses – who would save up to buy one statement lipstick, or a powder compact that would last an entire year. They didn’t own ‘entire collections’ of ‘the new matte lip.’ They didn’t describe a body oil on sale for an eye watering £75 as ‘must have for the summer season.’ They didn’t turn their noses up at perfectly good equivalents for half the price. YSL Touche Eclat was popular because there was no dupe. My mum, who used it religiously for years, now buys the L’oreal equivalent because, as she says as if I’m an idiot, ‘why wouldn’t you?’
Expensive make up and skincare potentially offers the following things:
- Really nice packaging.
- A better colour range/different options/newer styles or formulas that haven’t reached the high street yet.
- A brand name that will make your friends say ‘god, how much did you spend on that eyeshadow?’
But what they don’t always offer is better performance. It’s really hard to believe that, though, when you’re 15 and no matter how much make up you put on, you hate your face, and there’s a beautiful, stick thin, model-esque girl on your Youtube app, telling you that if only you buy a face cream from Space NK for £250, you’ll look like them. It’s a fallacy and I think it’s a dangerous one. I want kids to go to Boots and buy Maybelline matte dream mousse, and I don’t want to be tempted myself into spending £36 on a nail polish – which luckily, my non-blogger friend talked me out of by telling me not to be so fucking ridiculous.
What do you think – are these products worth the hype?