Here's Why Your Expensive Makeup Is So Expensive

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
As our lovely commenters like to remind us, makeup is not cheap. It's something we're all acutely aware of — and lament — yet we fall victim to velvety lipsticks, shimmery eyeshadows, and curl-boosting mascaras, and fork over the cash time and time again.

According to Quartz
, by one estimate, a woman in the U.S. will spend about $15,000 on makeup during her lifetime. An even more surprising fact: Only 15% of that money (which could be a pretty great start to saving for a down payment on a house, just saying) goes toward the ingredients. So where is the rest of the money going? Marketing, packaging, and brand prestige.

"Price does not really correlate to quality when it comes to cosmetic products," cosmetic chemist Randy Schueller told Quartz. You're mostly paying for having the name on your vanity, the ads, and the prettiness of the product and its packaging. Where you buy your makeup also plays into the cost. In more prestigious stores, you're paying "for the display areas and the people who are helping to sell the product, whereas in a mass environment it can be sealed up behind a package and sit on a shelf," Karen Grant, the global beauty industry analyst at research firm NPD, told Quartz. High-end shops also incorporate mini luxuries like makeup testers and flexible return policies — perks they factor into the overall price tags.

Though drugstore products can be just as good as their luxury counterparts — and these facts make that even more apparent — consumers are still buying into prestige, and at increasing rates. According to Euromonitor, cited by Quartz, last year alone global cosmetics brands raked in $56.9 billion, and even though the prices of ingredients are not on the rise, the industry is projected to make even more money next year — because more people are buying expensive products. Sigh.

So shop wisely, makeup buffs, and keep this in mind next time you're looking to throw $40 at a lipstick.
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