This is Why Your Makeup is so Expensive


It’s probably not the first time you’ve asked yourself this question.

If you are a big fan of the big cosmetic brands, unzip your makeup kit and examine more closely how vast your makeup collection is. Can you estimate how much money you’ve spent in total for all those lipsticks, mascaras, eyeliners, balms, concealers, foundations and what not?

How much are People Spending on Makeup?

After making an inventory of your makeup kit, how much do you think is it worth? If it isn’t a lot, well, good for you. But, if you find top brands in your bag, chances are, you’ve spent on a fortune.

Many women (okay, some men too) are spending their hard earned money on cosmetics, apparently. That is according to trusted cosmetic research organization, NPD Group. According to a study NPD completed early in 2015, the so-called prestige line of cosmetics — which includes the global and expensive brands like L’Oreal, Clinique, Revlon and NARS — increased their dollar sales by up to 3 per cent compared to the industry’s registered sales in 2013. The prestige cosmetic industry, according to the same report, made US$11.2 billion in 2014 alone and, based on the growth mark, is not expected to slow down anytime soon.

The overall growth in global sales in the prestige cosmetics line is attributed mostly to the skyrocketing sales in lipsticks. Probably the most affordable makeup from top of the line, expensive makeup brands is lipstick, sold at about US$20 per tube, often made available in quantities that will have ran out within only a month or two of everyday use.

How do Makeup Companies make Cosmetics?


The ingredients can be composed simply of three widely available ingredients: wax, oil and pigment (for color). Makeup companies may have varying ways of manufacturing cosmetics products but, there is not much difference with how cosmetics are processed. You can bet that the bigger brands have invested on more sophisticated, more advanced machines to process their products. On the other hand, more affordable makeup may be prepared using crude machines or even with bare hands. In fact, hand manufactured cosmetics have also rapidly gained worldwide popularity and demand and, more recently, have been commanding high prices too owing to its novelty.

In general, the ingredients and the processing of the most affordable makeup and those from the most expensive makeup brands are not the primary reasons why a more expensive brand can command US$20 per tube of lipstick while the more affordable brand can offer it at just US$2 per container or, even less.

The actual cost of raw materials for manufacturing cosmetics are probably only well within 15 to 20 per cent of the product price. So, why are branded cosmetics products so expensive after all? Quite simply, because the makeup companies behind these line of cosmetics are banking on branding — they focus on creating an artificial need for their products. In connection to that, they also invest on extensive marketing.

Therefore, every time you buy an expensive makeup, you are not only paying for the product but also for the prestige and the glamour attached to it. In practical terms, you are paying for all the art directors, the makeup artists, the models, the fashion shows, the marketing collaterals, the billboards, the publications and the other media and channels used by expensive makeup companies to create an image for the cosmetics that you are using.

These are the very same reasons why manufacturers of affordable makeup can keep their prices cheap. What these makeup companies offer customers like yourself are pretty much straightforward. You want a lipstick to liven up your lip color, they sell you the pigment. You want to rid your face of shine and oil, they sell you powder. You want to enhance your brows, they sell you pencil so that you can draw a line to frame your face. These, quite frankly, would have been the same primary results you look for whenever you reach for the more expensive makeup alternatives, isn’t that right?

Affordable vs. Expensive Makeup: Is there any Difference?

Expensive Cosmetics

Quite frankly though, whether or not makeup is expensive or affordable, the results are the same. What should matter more is whether or not your makeup can perfect your imperfections, and not have irritations to it at the same time.

What works for one person does not necessarily mean it will work wonders for another, even if the product came from the most expensive makeup brands. Logically speaking then, even the most affordable makeup available in drug stores can work wonders on one’s looks if the formulation (and the color) matches the user perfectly.

Now, safety is yet another area of concern that could possibly pose potential health issues. For which, more expensive brands are banking on research and development even making it the central theme of their global marketing strategies. Still, erring to the side of safety doesn’t have to equate to shelling out more money. Whether you’re using cheap or costly makeup, make it a point to check the label and do some research on what your makeup is made of.


Makeup is an identity. There is no one formulation that suits everyone. That said, you need to find what’s right for your skin, your style, your personality. Own the makeup but, never let it own you.


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