A few months ago a package arrived for me from my friend Krishna, who runs a big beauty PR company. It contained some Beauty Pie products – all of it looked great to me; a retinol cream, bronzer, fake tanner and lip crayons. Krishna messaged me later. “Did you get the stuff? Do you get the idea.”
Sure, I said, I get the idea.
But I didn’t.
I thought it was a subscription service for make-up. You know those ones where you pay £10 a month and get 5 products a month worth £50. But I don’t want 5 new products a month. I probably don’t even need 5 new products a year.
But that is not what Beauty Pie is – it is something quite, quite different. And quite, quite brilliant.
Okay, stay with me. Imagine a big department store beauty hall, where everything is on sale. Massively discounted. Not just the weird neon stuff, but the whole lot.
A £30 bronzing brick is only £7. A £20 eyeshadow stick is £3. A £100 anti-ageing cream is £11. A delicious £40 candle that makes your home smell like heaven is £12. All premium products, the good stuff.
You want to get it, don’t you? You have your face pressed at the window. You can see it, you can… almost… smell it…
And you absolutely can get it, all of it. There is just the very small catch; a small entrance fee. You’d pay it, wouldn’t you?
Of course, Beauty Pie is a little more complicated than that, but basically that’s the principle.
Okay, but now you’re saying: how do I know it’s a premium product? I have never heard of Beauty Pie. They do not advertise with models and actresses or in magazines. How am I to know that this product is so premium if a famous actress hasn’t told me so?
And that is exactly the point.
The woman behind Beauty Pie, Marcia Gilgore, (Bliss, FitFlop, Soap&Glory), knows this: almost every luxury cosmetic on the market is made in one of a handful of cosmetic labs. And off she goes and buys the same from those labs as all the other big names do.
She knows which lab does the best eyeliner, the best shade stick, the best cleanser, the best retinol. It’s like she went round all the counters at Selfridges and put together for you each brand’s best thing. But instead of doing that, she got it at source. It’s hard to emphasise how identical Beauty Pie is to every premium product you can think of. Naming names is not fair, but that’s what we’re talking about. I. Den. Ti. Kal.
In some areas, Beauty Pie has access to the best new innovations in beauty before other brands do, so they’re not matching big brands like-for-like but leading the way.
Beauty Pie puts these high-end products into simple packaging, skips out retailer markups, celebrity adverts and other middlemen and passes the savings onto the consumer. To make it worth Marcia’s while to do all this work, (because I’m sure she has bills of her own to pay), you pay a membership fee.
The membership fandango can be off-putting but basically each tier of membership allows to you buy a certain number of FULL-PRICE cosmetics per month. The entry-level amount is £5 a month, which lets you spend £50.
So just for example, let’s use their WonderGel Eyeliner and a Precision Eyeliner marker as an example of how the pricing works.
Bought together at full price, those eyeliners take up £33 of your spending allowance but you only actually pay £6.87, plus the £5 sub, which makes £11.87. So you have saved £26.13. And for that you have two absolutely top-tier products, which would normally cost about £18 each.
Anything you haven’t spent, (so the £50 allowance minus the £33 is £17), gets rolled over to the following month. There is a 3-month subscription minimum. You can upgrade your subscription at any time.
You can of course pay the £5 sub, buy nothing until the third month and then get £150-worth of stuff all in one go. I’m not sure what happens to leftover credit once you cancel your sub. I will find out.
The maths of it can seem mind-bending but it does work, you will see massive savings. Most people who have experience of Beauty Pie and are better at maths than me say that the £10 per month membership fee is the one to go for – it works out as best value and means you can focus on the skincare – the retinols and specialist stuff for pigmentation. But it’s your call. And you can upgrade your membership fee whenever you like.
There is more information about membership here.
AND – if you sign up and quote the code ESTHERSENTME (Esther sent me) you will automatically get another £50 (of FULL PRICE) to spend.
Look, I believe in Beauty Pie so much I’ve even done maths and as I’m sure you can imagine I hate maths.
Let’s have a re-cap.
You need Beauty Pie if:
1 You get more excited by value and a killer bargain than by pictures of beautiful, airbrushed actresses
2 You don’t feel defined by the brands you carry in your make up case
3 You feel like you need to “start again” with your make-up but do not want to have to research which are the best products to get from each counter
4 You want the best quality products available but feel a little cynical about elaborate packaging and retail mark-ups
5 It’s heading towards Christmas and you’ve got rather a lot of women to buy gifts for…
MY BEAUTY PIE BEST BITS
1 Eyeliner. You know how fussy I am about eyeliner – this is the best I have tried for a long time. Easy to use, goes on nicely, does not budge.
2 Brush set. You have no idea how grown up I feel finally having a proper brush set. These are such fabulous quality and each one reminds you what to do with it. I am so over applying things with my fingers or using crappy free cotton-bud things that come with eye palettes.
3 Candles. These are 100% just as gorgeous as any other really famous candle brand you can think of. I have the Bitter Orange and Blackcurrant and it is a superb, rich, berry/orange scent.
4 Ultralight Moisturiser with SPF 25. This has extract of liquorice in it, which works to sort of tighten up and generally soothe and sort your face out, as well as having a functioning SPF in it.
5 Lipstick. I am starting to become a lipstick person. I know! I never thought I’d see the day either. Beauty Pie lipsticks are terrific, rich colours, nice and moisturising and if you apply, blot and reapply they last for freaking hours.
This has been a sponsored post in partnership with Beauty Pie
Any questions? Leave a comment or email me – email@example.com
I joined BP for a few months last year before realising that I don’t really spend enough, frequently enough to make it worth it – but am seriously reconsidering now seeing all the gorgeous new things they’ve added. Candles! Brushes! My heart. The things I bought last year are all so good: gorgeous highlighters, a lipstick so useful I used the whole thing (unheard of), fantastic eyeshadow crayons in super-wearable shades. It’s such great stuff.
Sarah I think they are due to add more stuff – I don’t have all the details but I’m pretty sure it will soon be a go-to for pretty much all your essentials xx
Their Super Retinol is LIFE CHANGING! Also Japan Fusion face cleanser, Plantastic Micro Peeling drops. Basically I am looking so much better I now use less makeup – other than eyes obvs.
Hi Esther, once again the timing of your Spike posts are perfect. Are you an algorithm? I’d found my way to Beauty Pie via Instagram, retinol and Hyaluronic Acid and although tempting, seemed too good to be true. Thanks for doing the maths. I’m going to give it a go
Elaine H says
I love Beauty Pie – I have only used their skincare and every single product I have bought has been a winner – I especially love their Japanfusion cleanser and toner, the best I have used. They work a treat on my aging skin.
Unfortunately I can only afford the lowest price subscription a month and it is a long hard wait between products.
Jen Raison says
Another Beauty Pie fan here! As well as seconding the recommendations for the eyeliner and Japan Fusion face cleanser, I’m also a big fan of:
1) Sheer tinted moisturiser – I’m olive skinned and use this on top of my normal moisturiser instead of foundation. Add a drop of the Pro-Glow Superstrobing drops for a gorgeous, bronzey shimmer.
2) Mascara – less than £4? Yes please! I’ve got the Super Fan Wide Eyes which feels like a luxurious version of Max Factor’s old 2000 calorie jobby.
3) Multiglow stick in Santorini – I prefer this to powder bronzers/blushers, which dry me out.
4) Wondercolour Longwear Cream Shadow Stick – in Brazillionaire, a bit sticky for my hooded eyelids but it provides the most sensational, shimmery base for your eyeshadow (I use the Ten Best Smoky which is £8.50). It also lasts all blooming day, which is brilliant.
5) Moisturiser – I’ve tried the Super Healthy Skin ultimate anti-ageing cream. £11.04 and feels as nice as Elemis. A bit light for me, but I emailed them to ask for a recommendation for a slightly richer cream and they’ve suggested I try the Jeju Overnight Moisture, which is under a tenner!
Lots of people are fans of the One Powder Wonder – it was a bit drying on my skin but you can tell it’s a beautiful product. Definitely worth trying for just over a fiver.
Keep up the good work, Beauty Pie!
Emily K says
This post is timely as I am coming to realise I need to take some proper care about my skincare and that at 33, I can’t just wang some Simple cleanser on my face and get away with it anymore. I don’t really know where to start with the retinols and what have you, but having everything all in one place like this is really appealing to me. I am going to have a proper nosy around and think about it, but given I pay £10 a month for spotify which I barely use….it seems like a no brainer!
jade halbert says
Fucking STOP IT Esther!! I’m skint! 🙁
Eeeeek, I wasn’t going to, but then I saw the matte lipsticks and my heart went pitter pat. Will wait until my eBay sales finish tomorrow and sign myself up. Bid, people, bid, Kristy needs more matte lipsticks!
Looks so lovely! Xx
Stooopid question but…. do they remind you when you go into a new month and can buy again?
Hampshire Mummy says
Hi Esther…I know you are a good egg and I’m a long standing fan way back to Recipe Rifle days, but I’m not sure about sponsored posts. I certainly don’t think you would talk about products that were not half decent, but they leave me cold. Its not just you….from any of the “influencers”. Back in the early days of Instagram and You Tube it was amazing, completely brilliant in fact, to get reviews from “normal” people. Refreshing after the long dark days of magazines pushing products. I’m not sure how content producers can monetise what they do, and they should definitely be rewarded, and I’m sure the press junkets and boxes of goodies are fun, but this seems 180 degrees away from what made this so great in the first place. Perhaps, along the same lines as the radical concept of Beauty Pie, you could be at the vanguard of subscription only internet content. For great writing and completely honest reviews. I would subscribe….but Im not known for my cost control ! X
I tell you what, I will add up what I make in a typical year from sponsored work then ask for a show of hands of who would subscribe to my blog for a fee that would add to an equivalent amount. If the subscription amount matches the sponsored posts, then I’ll do it. But I bet you it won’t.
In the meantime I guess all I have to say is that I’ve always been really honest and transparent about sponsored work; I’ve always had the feeling that most readers of The Spike don’t especially mind, know they can skip over sponsored content if they want to. I’ve also always got the impression that most readers would rather put up with sponsored content than have to pay to subscribe. But I will ask, maybe I am wrong.
Hello Hampshire Mum,
People should be paid for their work, particularly women (who so often are not). It always improves my morning when there’s a post on the Spike and I want Esther to be remunerated for that. It’s important for her self respect, apart from anything else.
I am therefore delighted that Esther is making money from this blog (although I would also be willing to subscribe, the sponsored pieces strike me as a very good alternative). Esther does a fabulous job of making it abundently clear when something is being paid for and also making sure it is v. readable even though it’s an advert.
I will never buy any fancy make up but I nonetheless enjoyed this piece!
Oh gods I wrote a really long thoughtful post about all this, about women and women’s work, and integrity; it was supportive, yet nuanced, and I accidentally deleted it whilst firing up Alvin and the Chipmunks for my sick daughter so you’ll all have to just imagine it. But – I thought in fact you did ask us when you started doing the affiliate stuff and we all said “of course, get paid, now get back to telling us what to wear”? And what Elena said xx
Exactly I agree with this. Surely transparency is the key and we are intelligent enough to not buy/sign up to something if we don’t want to (unless drunk internet shopping but thats a whole other issue). Loving the word nuanced going to use that one today – made me laugh X
You say it sister! Amen.*
*this is my second religious sounding comment today. It’s just that I like the language…
Sold! This sounds like a brilliant way to buy high end products, which I usually shy away from because £££. Thanks to your code Esther I’ve been able to order the anti ageing basics set which looks fantastic. Will report back.
krishna montgomery says
I am famous! So pleased you are loving Beauty Pie. Wait until you see what is launching mid November…… xxx Krish
KRISHNA! This is a major honour xxxx
Chris Peterson says
Dear Esther, Your code ESTHERSENTME works in the US! Thank you!
Chris this is great news!
This is great, I would never have bothered to do the maths, and have ignored the whole shebang around it. If you are lucky and can afford £5-£10 a month – don’t think I need to point out it’s a sandwich and a coffee in most places and/or the tube/transport costs to get to the shops – and basically never have go physically shopping for skincare/make up/candle again, it is a complete win for me. I’m a fairly eclectic and irregular user of skincare and make up anyway apart from my beloved olay regenerist SPF 30 so I’m sure it will work well for me. If I’ve completely misunderstood the sums, and people are rolling their eyes, then never mind, I’ll find out. So thank you Esther!
Oh yeah opps re previous post – apart from the member prices! I’m very good at ignoring/discounting information that i don’t want to see or doesn’t add to my argument. But still – super cheap so very happy. Maybe don’t post the previous comment or this one as I look like bit of an idiot!
Thanks for this. I’ve subscribed and a few products are on their way. I’ve been thanking of it for a while so this post is very timely. I don’t mind a sponsored post, by the way, you are always very clear about them. I wouldn’t buy anything if it wasn’t for some review or another. I would rather know you are being paid than read something and it’s not clear.
I am tempted but how do you manage shade matching and choosing colour for lips and eyes?
Jayne they offer a shade matching service for foundation, I will look into this more. But no I wouldn’t buy coloured cosmetics sight unseen (having said that I have occasionally bought colours in department stores and got them home and they’ve been horribly wrong) but that is also another thing for me to ask them about. But in fact the value in Beauty Pie is probably not the coloured cosmetics but the technical skincare anyway. Eyeliner is easy – just gt the black or brown! xx
Thank you! I’m definitely in and looking to try retinols and whatever else might help hold up my face….
I ordered a lipstick…shade may be too dark but thinking I can put gloss on top. And I emailed about foundation colour matching, and they said if you email customer services with a current product they will recommend a shade. I couldn’t wait for that so also got the tinted moisturiser in medium….I mean everyone suits medium right?……………
Esther can I just say I have also enjoyed reading your stuff since RR and I don’t mind sponsored stuff at all. In fact, am so pleased to see what you’re doing with the website and the affiliate stuff etc. You should be able to earn from what you do. It’s excellent. I have bought so much stuff I never would have heard of based on your recommendations so it seems only fair you get a slice.
Sold! The spending limit on the full price point is a bit confusing . They could do with a nice infographic for that . Also I wonder if they will have enough choice long term. I’m still going to do it though. Also for the record I would happily pay for the Spike. Also happy with occasional (curated) sponsored content x
Love this post. Big fan of the pie it is great and less confusing than the huge beauty halls in department stores. I respect your sponsored posts as you seem to only review worthwhile products so thank you.
Esther, your blog has had a very positive effect on my life. I am not someone who usually looks to others for advice but thanks to you I have found fab clothing companies I would never have heard of and found new looks at a time when my confidence was rock bottom. Also you are so funny and inspiring, I get a little leap of joyousness when I see you’ve posted a new IG story/ blog post. Please keep doing the sponsored stuff if it works for you. I would subscribe because of reasons above but think free content will reach more people which has got to be good for everyone. Please keep being you.
Oh Louise you are a sweetie
If anyone’s wavering, today there’s £50 extra spending allowance on new memberships PLUS you can still use Esther’s code! So if you get the £5 membership that means £150 spending allowance. I’ve just ordered a tonne of stuff.
And I second Louise’s comment: Esther, your recommendations have helped me so much! I really struggled to know what the hell to wear (at work and not) since having my daughter, and I have you to thank for getting me back in the game. You’re also a hoot. I completely agree that you should be paid for doing what you do.
I LOVE this!! I’ve just maxed out the maximum spending allowance of £200 as am in such dire need of new makeup, and can’t be arsed to go shopping, those make up ladies are the kiss of death to browsing, like over made up halloween ghouls. I am more than happy with sponsored posts btw, you should absolutely be paid for your industry knowledge and experience, saves me doing any research. Unless you start recommending, I dunno, Barry M (isn’t the WORST brand name for makeup!) where upon I may lose faith, but for now will follow any suggestions slavishly. Thank you!!
why why why do those women wear so much make up. it’s such an awful turn off. so glad you had fun with it!!! it really is the best best stuff, you will not be disappointed xxx
The girls in MAC are fabulous. Don’t let their make up put you off. I think its quite theatrical. As someone who is not generally confident and out there, I never have a problem with make up counters. I just don’t feel intimidated at all, and just cos they wear tons, it doesn’t mean they are going to give you the same look. The girl in our local boots who works for Clarins, has the most caked on make up ever, but she’s really nice and friendly and helpful. Guess she just likes looking that way.
Anyway my beauty pie stuff came yesterday and I really like it all, so thanks for the post. Looking forward to spending next months budget already.
Petra I really admire a good solid rebuff. Thank you.
Lesley Somerville says
Agree with all that’s been said re sponsored posts and transparency, which is the main thing. And trust – I do trust you not to endorse something you don’t like yourself. You’re too smart to fall down that hole. I’m going to look at Beauty Pie. I do feel a bit sad for the likes of Boots who employ people to give advice and stuff. I hope there is room in the market for both, given that we are generally spending more on skincare and makeup.
Sons Over the Yardarm says
Done! I was pondering it already, then noticed something that looks suspiciously like the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick I love but which I could live without stumping up £30 for. Plus between work and kids, I do not have time to go to actual SHOPS to fanny about looking at make up. Now I can sit on the sofa necking gin and opening boxes of pretty things. Hurrah!
Sophie Bird says
I have been a member since March 2017. Some of their products are excellent . The eyeshadow sticks are Laura Mercier quality. I also love the Japanfusion range, particularly the cleanser. The retinol range, luxe lipsticks, tinted moisturiser, SPF and eyeshadow brushes are very good. I’d avoid the neutral eye palette and taupe eyeshadow pencil. They both ended up in the bin. Also some products can be too perfumed.