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Barely distinguishable from another favourite of mine at nine times the price...

When I first heard about Beauty Pie, I momentarily dismissed it as yet another beauty box company, with sexier branding. Pleasingly, it’s nothing of the sort

Sali Hughes BEAUTY PIE Review

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Subscription services, whereby beauty lovers pay £10-£20 a month for a box of full- or trial-size products – ostensibly bespoke but apparently random in selection – have become a huge success in recent years. I understand the appeal of receiving regular beauty parcels, and have tried to get onboard, but giving up control over what I buy just isn’t my bag; I’d far sooner spend the tenner on one lovely thing I genuinely want.

So when I first heard about Beauty Pie, I momentarily dismissed it as yet another beauty box company, with sexier branding and the backing of beauty royalty (Marcia Kilgore, founder of Bliss Spa and FitFlop).

Well, it’s pleasingly nothing of the sort. Beauty Pie is a beauty buyers’ club. Subs are a tenner a month and in return members can buy luxury makeup at factory prices, thanks to bulk ordering capabilities and, crucially, Beauty Pie’s policy of stripping back packaging to generic, lightweight plastic and dispensing with middlemen retailers.

Each product comes with a full and sobering breakdown of where your money’s going, too. For example, the price of a (very nice) £20 lipstick plummets to £2.24: £1.61 on product and packaging, 8p on safety and testing, 17p on warehousing, plus VAT. Post is extra, but even combined with membership fees, the overall cost is low.

I tried seven products in all and was broadly impressed. As well as the great lipsticks (matte or satin), there’s Liquid Luminizer (£2.71), which mixes very well with foundation or moisturiser to add glow. The Superbrow Precision Pencil (£2.06) is another winner, and "barely distinguishable from another favourite of mine at nine times the price".

My only gripe, but not a dealbreaker, was smell. Beauty Pie prides itself on being fragrance (and cruelty) free, yet its products, at least to my nose, seem either saturated with the stuff (the lipgloss has that childish, sticky-toffee smell of many cheaper glosses) or in desperate need of some (the foundation smells of turps). Beauty Pie will also have to move sharpish to roll out its skincare, haircare and beauty tools, because members are likely to fill their boots, quickly exhaust the limited selection, and then get bored. But I have the feeling Kilgore has meticulously thought through this potentially revolutionary venture, including its launch this month, where a £1.47 Lip Liner is about as extravagant as one can manage.

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Words: Sali Hughes for The Guardian

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