Burning Beaut.ie Questions: Is Luxury Beauty Worth the Price?

I spend a large part of my time sticking my fingers into and slathering on the contents of pots of expensive moisturiser and serum. I also spend an inordinate amount of time working out how to acquire and pay for designer handbags (OH GOD you should see my new Sonia Rykiel one I finangled via a complicated transaction of swapping birthday vouchers with himself for cash, as he wanted an iPhone and could get it at the voucher location and and and this explanation isn't strictly speaking necessary, is it?)

Of course, this is in between solving Fermat's last theorem, plotting the location of Atlantis, inventing a perpetual motion machine and calibrating my every movement based on PI.

Anyway, the two things - designer bags and posh creams - have a good bit in common, when you think about it: does the price of a Marc Jacobs tote or a pot of Creme de la Mer bear any correlation to the cost of the raw materials? No, of course it doesn't. Never forget, designers and cosmetic formulators are running business, and they definitely don't exist for our pleasure. Rather, they exist to make bleedin' massive profits. That's capitalism, folks.

And there is no one reason why we fall for a posh cream and consider the high price to be justifiable: it's all down to a tangled web of marketing, peer-pressure, the cult of aspiration and product lust. Of course, it can be as simple as the fact that it just works bloody well for your skin, and you're happy to pay the price to keep your complexion on an even keel.


For a feature I wrote for the Evening Herald last month, on the latest astronomically-priced supercreams, I chatted to Colin, a highly-informed cosmetic scientist who happens to run the very readable and knowledgeable Colin's Beauty Pages blog. It's all about aspiration, he says, and if you're buying at the luxe of the market, bang for your buck doesn't really come in to it. “Is a Prada handbag value for money? If you want that kind of lifestyle you have to pay for it. In a sense, you want that lifestyle because it is expensive,” he says.

And you know, he's right.

But what about you? Knowing that there's no chance your €100 pot of cream actually cost that per unit to research, formulate, package, transport, market and sell, do you still consider it worth the spend?  What makes you shell out money for moisturiser, and if you can't bear to bring yourself to do so, what are your reasons for spending less?

Ladies, to the comments.

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