Friday, October 20, 2006

The price of vanity

There was a mini catalogue book from US cosmetic firm Benefit being slot into November's copy of CLEO magazine. One look at it, and I am a goner. Not just they have catchy names for their products such as "Some Kind-a gorgeous" , "You're bluffing" and "Touch me then try to leave", the packaging is just simply so retro. Even I don't really wear make-up, the packaging is tempting enough to buy and just add on as a deco to my dressing table, together with my Stila
holiday sets.
The price? Definitely not cheap. A bottle of Non-Fiction foundation is RM125, and a tube of BadGirl mascara costs you RM95. It's about the same price as Stila, and I can foresee competition between these two brands to get the market share of gals who loves fun makeup. Stila is owned by Estee Lauder, and Benefit by LVMH.

Which brings back to the question of vanity. Everyday we are being bombarded by new 'breakthrough' skin products that guarantee to erase fine lines, wipe out pigmentation, and even contouring the face. There are slimming gels, hair removers, laser treatments, botox injections, all for the sake of vanity. Everytime I look through my monthly expenses, there has to be a beauty product purchased, or a facial, or a visit to the hairdresser. Thank goodness I don't indulge in manicure or pedicure.

Then comes the products itself. There are so many products in the market itself ranging from the cheaper brands available in pharmacies, to the insanely expensive creams that women longed to have coz it's so-exclusive-i-need-to-be-in-the-waiting-list to buy it. I like trying out different products from different brands, but now my skin became more sensitive, I have to be more careful. Olay and Neutrogena are definate no-nos coz my skin will break-out. I have been using Thalgo and find it good, although it's expensive, if compared to brands like Himalayan Herbals, or Nivea.

I also love trying products from Korean skincare brands, such as The Face Shop and Skin Food. Nov CLEO mag also advertised that Laneige has landed on our shores in Midvalley. Laneige's spokesperson is Jeon Ji Hyun, of My Sassy Girl fame. Apparently her 'body make-up' commercials in 2005 sent women in droves to purchase Laneige's products just to look like her. Article and ads can be found here.

Thank goodness korean products have been very kind to my skin, and the price is reasonable too. I rather be paying Rm40 on a Korean brand skincare that endorses natural resources, rather than Loreal, who just endorses science - what is science? It's all artificial components. Some may disagree, but this is just my personal preference. Keep note too that the money you pay to buy Loreal products, lots of it goes to pay the many many superstars who endorses the brand. You are contributing to their wealth!



So how much would you pay to be beautiful? Would you pay RM60 for a bottle of O.P.I nail polish just because it's 'high quality' and 'beautiful colours'? Would you pay RM700 for a bottle of La Mer cream? The rich have no qualms about it, after all, the Tai-Tais and Datins need to look beautiful all the time. Me? As long the product works well on me, I wouldn't mind paying the price up to perhaps up to RM200. But that also need to assess do I really need that product or not. And I will defintely not 'invest' in a bottle of La Mer cream coz the price is too absurd!!!

Then what about 'Limited Edition'? I believe it's all a marketing gimmick, but if I really like that colour/scent I would buy it. It would be foolish to buy a cosmetic product that is 'Limited Edition' just for the sake of collecting it. So looking back at those beautiful Benefit packaging, I guess it's gonna be another round of window-shopping, until I finish using my Stila sets first.

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