Last week I went on a shameful late night bender. Not the sort that involves copious amounts of wine, laughter, and friends, but the type of bender skincare and beauty disciples know too well and it involves a keyboard. Over the years, I’ve cut down on impulsive digital purchases, especially when it involves skincare products. Perhaps it’s because my two pals retinol and sunscreen work so well, or maybe it’s the fact I’m jaded towards most marketing, but it’s rare that I make hasty and expensive skincare orders. As I placed the last of three products in the virtual cart, I knew I was making a monetary mistake. Yet despite the feeling of unease, I continued to check out. A microscopic part of my brain momentarily escaped the confines of logic as it sprinted full force, bursting past the realm of consequences, and the rest of me followed suit.
The next morning while sipping coffee and catching up on digital tabloids, I knew I’d made a horrible mistake, but couldn’t exactly remember what I did that was so wrong. Then an ad appeared for an expensive face cream and the mistake came tumbling back. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it was a weird heavy feeling all for three products I hoped would add some sort of luster to my face. As I thought about canceling the order, an email zipped past stating my late night online shopping blunder had shipped. Two things bothered me about this purchase: First is the money spent. I don’t shun expensive skincare purchases, but it’s not a monthly habit and when I do, they are well thought out and researched. As much as I adore cleansing balms, I’ve never handed over $100.00 for one. (It’s disgustingly glutenous to see this typed on screen.) I spent money with abandon and without acknowledging my budget and that’s not on par with my spending habits. The second point is that there was nothing thoughtful about this purchase. It was a triple digit purchase that already felt flat with low expectations. Sometimes impulse purchases feel right as if they were meant to be, but this didn’t. Like most online shoppers, I love receiving packages; however this time I wasn’t even looking forward to delivery. This was a first.
Thoughtful purchases. It sounds like a loaded marketing term, right? The sort that propels your eyes roll to the back of your brain. But it’s a term we use here at Beauty Flurry because it succinctly gets the point across. Before making most purchases, especially if they are expensive, our editors take a while to think about it; bookmarking, researching, reading reviews, etc. However, this night, out the window flew my mantra of thoughtful purchasing. I can’t blame marketing or influencers. Marketing hardly ever plays into what I buy. I don’t care how many influencers peddle the same serum on Instagram – no amount of millennial pink or acacia bowls convinces me I need a product. At the core of my expensive late-nigh skincare spree was the fact, I thought I needed the products or that they are perhaps better than what’s in my current arsenal. There are much less spendy products available. Being knee-deep in skincare products for years, I know this and yet it didn’t hold me back hitting from hitting ‘checkout’ and typing my credit card info. (The psychology of high-end purchases is fascinating on its own, but that’s for another article.) There is a serum I’ve been eyeing for over a year now. It’s saved as a favorite on the skincare site and every now and then I go back to read the ingredients and search for updated reviews. I know if I’d purchased said serum, I wouldn’t have felt so dejected. I wouldn’t be able to track that package fast enough. Here’s the truth: It would have been a thoughtful, well planned purchase. It would be a transaction made when I knew I could afford to treat myself and it felt special because I’d researched the product for months on end. It’s a knotted, nearly gut wrenching experience buying something that’s not within your monthly budget. That’s why certain salespeople get such a bad rap- they try to twist your arm for the sake of a purchase. But no one was standing over my laptop twisting my arm or fast talking me into a pricey face cream. It was all my own doing.
Delivery Dread and Bad Packaging
When the dreaded three products arrived, my frustration further skyrocket to another level. The moisturizer was from a brand I’d used before and aside from the price increase sticker shock, I was almost fine with it. The cleansing balm really threw me for a tricky roller coaster loop. The box in which it was ensconced appeared large and luxurious. But upon opening, the jar of cleansing balm was much smaller than anticipated; nearly minuscule. Hours later, I was slightly soothed by the fact that although small in density of product, it was the only cleansing balm I’ve tried that didn’t take a lot for it to be effective. Meaning, this cleanser will last longer than other balms. After using it every evening for a week, I’m loathe to admit I like it. In fact, I like it a lot and will probably write a review. Had I purchased only this item, the transaction wouldn’t have felt so excessive. Saving the biggest mistake until last: a $30.00 lip balm. I expected a concoction that easily sank into my lips leaving no traces of a dry winter. What I received was a less than stellar thin mixture that merely left a light glistening slick across the lips without doing what lip balm should do: MOISTURIZE. The company should change the label and market it as a lip gloss. My best friend cherry Chapstick beats it by miles. I know others have been in my shoes when it comes to shopping mistakes. But I felt like a complete dolt (actually a huge a-hole) tossing away $30.00 for a lip balm that doesn’t even do its job. Also, with the pervasive popularity of high-end skincare online, I greatly appreciate sites that take time to wrap products and even include a handwritten note. My order was randomly thrown in a box. I expect that from other sites, but not online destinations catering to expensive purchases.
I’m easing into my evening beauty ritual as I write this piece; face is freshly washed and various skincare products are scattered around my laptop. I should be reaching for the new moisturizer from the ‘dreaded three’ package. I like it for many reasons and the brand graces many coveted bathroom #shelfies. It’s a solid moisturizer with many benefits. Instead, I’m applying a hydrating balm found deep within the skincare reviews on Amazon. It’s difficult to dip out of the container and apply, yet it smells heavenly, and I always notice its benefits the next morning. Oh, and it’s only $12.00. (I did purchase the smallest size to see if it agreed with my skin, but even the larger ‘normal’ size is debit card friendly.) The skincare spree last week was the opposite of a thoughtful purchase. I know over time the million dollar cleansing balm and extremely pricey moisturizer will turn from mistake purchases to firm favorites, but the purchase itself was not well thought. At best, I should have purchased one product at a time as my skincare budget allowed. They also weren’t MUST-HAVE items I truly wanted like the over-the-top face oil I’ve coveted for a while and cannot wait to get my hands on-when budget allows.
It’s been years since I’ve made an expensive skincare order that was this careless and ill planned. I don’t have an endless bank account and I normally follow a strict path when purchasing high-end products. I see them as a special treat to myself and cherry pick a few throughout the year after thorough research. And normally I do a decent job of not throwing money towards thoughtless purchases. However, shopping mistakes and overspending happen. Suffice to say it’s happened to most of us; including the next day of deep regret. My hope is that you don’t make the mistake of simply purchasing on a whim and overspending complete with the feelings panic and indignation. Never feel as if you *must* purchase a skincare or beauty product right away. Of course, this is the opposite of what most brands and marketing want you to feel, but don’t fall for it. Consider thoughtful spending and mull a product it over for a while. It’s what we stand by at Beauty Flurry, and you’d think I’d stand by that. But then again, those pesky mistakes we all make.
There is a time and a place for all types of skincare purchases and hopefully you think them through better than I did last week.