Please upgrade your browser for the best Refinery29 experience. Read more.

Saved! Access Favorites in your account profile. Removed from my favorites

Pretty Isn't Everything

  1. Begin
    Opener (1)


    See All Slides
    We've come a long way in recent years in terms of redefining our perception of what is beautiful — except, ironically enough, with beauty products themselves. It seems that old adage of "Don't judge a book by its cover" doesn't really apply to the beauty industry. Granted, you can't compare self-acceptance to skin-cream purchasing habits, but there's no denying that a looks-based mentality still prevails when it comes to what's on the shelves.

    Which is a shame, because we often overlook baller beauty buys when they come in homely packaging. In an informal survey of the R29 office, the overwhelming response to, "Do you buy beauty products based on their packaging?" was, "Hell, yes." As one staffer put it, "I'm a sucker and prefer to look at pretty things. I want my vanity (and, okay, even bathroom cabinet) to look glamorous because it makes me feel like I'm living a more successful, impressive, grown-up existence." Another employee admitted to decanting products into prettier bottles if he thinks they look too tacky to display.

    Suffice it to say, packaging is a major selling point. My argument is, it shouldn't be. Sure, it's nice to have something that you're proud to display or fits your personal aesthetic, but what's the use of it if you can't actually use it because the formula or color isn't right for you? You might as well flush your money down one of those fancy Japanese robot toilets. That's not to say there aren't any products with formulas as fantastic as their packaging, but in general pretty does not equal superior.

    In an effort to help you get over any package prejudice, I've rounded up an exhaustive list of products that are unjustly looked down on because of their cheap, passé, dull, or all-around tacky containers. A quick clarification: I mean no disrespect to the brands or the hardworking people behind them. This is simply one girl's opinion of which products get an unfair bad rap or are overlooked based on outward appearance. Basically, no shade intended.

    Keep clicking to discover the beauty world's ugly ducklings — hopefully, you too will find a few swans hiding in here.

    Begin Slideshow