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Beauty Pie touts itself as the member's club of the beauty industry and I have actually been subscribed to them in the past, however with an entire skincare line now available from the brand, I decided now was the time to give them another go! There have been quite a few changes to the subscription options and how they work since I last mentioned Beauty Pie on my blog, so I'll go through everything from the top. I'm going to review all of the products I tried and reach a conclusion on whether this service is worth it or not!
- HOW BEAUTY PIE WORKS -The world seems to have been taken over by subscription services; whether it's ASOS Premiere, Netflix or your razor blades. Beauty Pie has taken this concept into the skincare and makeup world. I was actually gifted some products and a 3-month membership when Beauty Pie originally launched around 3 years ago, but I decided to start a subscription and purchase everything myself, with a focus on their skincare products this time round. Whilst the makeup was fine, it just really didn't rock my world and their skincare offering has seriously expanded in the couple of years since I last used Beauty Pie, plus it's had some really great feedback.
Beauty Pie works by offering special prices to its members; you get a 'spending allowance' every month and how much you have to spend is based on the subscription level you choose. If you don't use all of this allowance up; don't worry, it'll just roll over to the next month, so you don't have to buy something every single month. Membership starts from £5 for £50 spending per month, which is the option I went for. The minimum amount of time you can sign up for is 3 months. The spending limit is based on a 'typical price' for the product you're buying, which is the part I find slightly iffy. You can technically buy the products for these higher prices if you aren't a member, though it would make no sense to do so, because even subscribing with the £5 / month membership for the minimum of 3 months would be cheaper and it leaves the option open to buy more products at the lower price if you want to. It does just annoy me a little that the supposed 'usual' prices are so inflated; for example there's a hydrating serum on their website for £7.98 but the 'typical price' is listed at £75. I'm really not sure where that figure was conjured up from, but it's dubious at best - £35-45 seems much more like it, but I guess the cynic in me recognises that their business model dictates it must be prohibitively expensive not to buy the membership and potentially get tied in. It also means you're more likely to max out your spending limit and upgrade to a more expensive membership.
Hopefully that all makes sense - it's a little bit convoluted! Previously there were additional charges at checkout with Beauty Pie but they've changed this so that what's in your cart (+ a reasonable shipping cost) is the final amount you pay. Overall, as a concept, I think you could probably be subscribed to this service for the minimum 3 months and get most of what you need. I guess the idea with their expanding range is that - at some point - this will be your one-stop-shop for all of your beauty needs. I guess I'm just not convinced that's how it would play out for most people.
- THE PRODUCTS -Ok, now we've got the economics out of the way; let's talk about the products! Because this could be the best idea in the world, but if the products aren't good enough; it's just not going to be worth your time or money. I tried to get a good spread of just about every product category on offer, to get a good feel for the brand and the ingredients. There are a number of collections too with ingredients primarily sourced from Switzerland, Italy, France and Japan. Note that although there's a list of stuff on each product page that isn't included in the formula, this doesn't include fragrance, which is something to keep in mind if you're more on the sensitive side. Overall, I really like the simple packaging. Is it the most luxurious thing in the world? No, but it's simple, chic and a lot nicer than other skincare brands around this price-point. They're also cruelty-free, as you'd expect from this sort of new, independent brand.
The first thing we'll talk about is the Jeju Multi-Phase Purifying Cleansing Milk | £9.35 (typical price of £28). This is a sort of light whipped cream cleanser - though it isn't at all rich and has a very lightweight texture (almost like a gel-cream, but not quite). It's formulated with a number of ingredients that weren't familiar to me. The only advertised component I knew about was bamboo extract, which can act as an antioxidant and has soothing properties. When I researched the others a little, I really couldn't find much in the way of research to substantiate the claims Beauty Pie make about them such as anti-aging. However, if these ingredients have antioxidant properties (protecting the skin from environmental damage) and have fatty acids to nourish and replenish the skin, then great. This doesn't particularly bother me given it's a cleanser I'm going to wash off, but it's just worth maintaining a critical mind when reading about 'new, exclusive, amazing' skincare ingredients. All that being said; this is a nice cleanser. Like I said; it's nothing too heavy, it moisturises and softens the skin and it's a pretty generous-sized bottle. You can use this to remove makeup and - whilst my preference is alway more oil-based formulas for ultimate effectiveness - it works well when paired with a damp cloth, even on eye makeup because there's definitely a degree of emulsification. It can also work as a second cleanse, however I tend to use it in the morning, as a refreshing, moisturising step in my routine.
The next product I'll cover off is the Japanfusion Hydra Prep Lotion | £7.07 (typical price of £25). This is a Japanese-inspired product that's somewhere between a toner and an essence (though doesn't contain the fermented ingredients to classify it as the latter). In terms of ingredients; this contains both parfum (an unspecified cocktail of fragrance that isn't broken down for you) and citrus peel extract, so if you avoid fragrance in skincare or have remotely sensitive skin; this isn't for you. In terms of good stuff; this is formulated with squalane, castor oil and polysaccharides. Squalane is a softening emollient that replenishes the skin with fatty acids, castor oil will work in a similar way and polysaccharides are vitamins with antioxidant properties that can draw moisture into the skin. I like this as a more hydrating milky toner to use after cleansing - it does the job of softening and moisturising my skin. Whilst it's nothing revolutionary; it works well for me and I'll use it up. It's just a shame about some of the more potentially problematic ingredients in the mix.
For exfoliation, I decided to try the Dr Glycolic Multi-Acid (6.5%) Micropeeling Pads (30) | £8.33 (typical price of £25). These pads are soaked in 5% glycolic acid, niacinamide and polysaccharides. Glycolic acid is an amazing chemical exfoliant that will soften and smooth the skin by loosening up dead cells so they can simply be wiped away, leaving you with a clearer complexion and even reducing the appearance of scarring. They also contain niacinamide, which is an ingredient I love! It works to repair the skin's barrier and can even reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines. I'm not too fond of the inclusion of orange and lemon extracts in there, as they can be sensitising, however they're pretty low on the ingredient list and I'm not personally experiencing any irritation using these pads. They also have parfum in them, as mentioned above, which could be extra-problematic for those with sensitivity, because exfoliating compromises the skin barrier. On the positive side; these pads aren't formulated with loads of harsh preservatives like some products using pre-soaked pads of wipes. I did find that using these pads every other day in the morning helped my skin look bright and clear, which is effectively what I want from this sort of product. I didn't experience dryness or irritation either, though do note my skin is very used to acids at this point, so I'd recommend starting with a lower concentration if you're a first-timer. These aren't my absolute favourites but they do the job.
One of my standouts had to be the Uber Youth Super Eye Energy Peptide-Infusion Cream | £7.31 (typical price of £65). I was a little confused by the ingredient list because it's billed as 'fragrance-free' but contains orange and tangerine essential oils... I'm not sure if they mean 'no added fragrance' or 'no artificial fragrance' but that seemed off to me. Peptides are a bit of a hot topic in the skincare realm; some think they're all hype and over-priced, others swear by them. There's not a ton of research that they encourage collagen production or have anti-aging properties, which are usually the claims made, however I personally find they give me that 'healthy skin' look. This contains plant-derived peptides, which I couldn't find a lot of information on, but I feel that if an eye cream is doing what I want then I'm not going to agonise too much over this point. It's formulated with shea butter and glycerin to moisturise the skin and pull in water. I really like the texture of this product; slap-bang between a cream and a gel. It absorbs easily without leaving an excess or any grease under my eyes but still gives amazing moisture in this area. My concealer applies really nicely when I use this cream and I'd absolutely pick it up again.
Another highlight was the Triple Hyaluronic Acid & Peptide Serum | £12.85 (typical price of £60). The peptides used in this serum are trademarked; this means that information out there is essentially going to be studies done by the owner of the formula, so do need to be taken with a pinch of salt. This contains three forms of hyaluronic acid, which I think is to be expected because different molecule sizes ensure this ingredient can penetrate into different layers of the skin and draw in water. I am a bit dubious that it's worth £60, though - as mentioned, proven or not, peptides are expensive - however hyaluronic acid often isn't and even the Ordinary's £5.90 version contains three forms and Niod's contains 15 for £38. This is a pretty generous-sized bottle though, coming in at 50ml instead of the usual 30ml for a serum. It also contains polysaccharides, as discussed earlier, and ceramides, which help strengthen the skin's barrier. In terms of potentially problematic ingredients; again, fragrance could be an issue for some, given this is formulated with sweet almond oil. It has such a lovely texture; melting into the skin with no stickiness or tackiness, plumping and hydrating my skin. It absorbs so nicely and gives me all of those amazing hyaluronic acid benefits I'm looking for. I often find that cheaper hyaluronic acid serums can be a bit filmy and unpleasant to apply, however this one isn't at all, so in that sense you are definitely getting a more luxe formula.
As a moisturiser, I decided to try what looked like a solid basic; the Super Healthy Skin Daily Moisture Lotion | £6.34 (typical price of £35). The ingredient that's front and centre of the marketing for this product is pentavin, another trademarked formulation that the brand claims provides deep hydration, along with peptides. The base of the product is shea butter, a basic but excellent plant lipid moisturiser full of antioxidants. It's simple but it works! I can't see much in the ingredient list that would cause many people issues. It's softening, smoothing and moisturising without feeling overly rich or heavy on my skin. It absorbs without the grease and definitely leaves things looking 'super healthy'. I like this moisturiser a lot!
I also wanted to pick up a sunscreen so went for the Super Healthy Skin Ultralight UVA/UVB SPF25 | £7.68 (typical price of £35). This is a chemical sunscreen and seems high-quality to me, as it really does melt into the skin without leaving the dreaded white cast or feeling thick or suffocating my pores. It has an almost water-light texture that is virtually traceless on my skin and doesn't pill up when I apply my makeup. These are obviously pros of this type of formula, though do note that some prefer to exclusively use mineral sunscreen (which essentially reflects and blocks harmful rays as opposed to absorbing them) due to irritation from components in chemical sunscreen and the potential environmental impact on coral reefs (which, to their credit; Beauty Pie note on their site and recommend removing this product with a cotton wool pad to avoid the chemicals being released into the water system). My only slight negative for this product is that it's only SPF25, which is fine for an everyday product here in the UK (particularly at this time of year!) however during the summer or when I'm on holiday, I do prefer an SPF50.
One of the products I was most intrigued to try was the Super Retinol Ceramide-Boost Anti-Aging Face Serum | £8.80 (typical price of £80). Retinol is one of the few products I think you do kind of get what you pay for with, so I was intrigued to see if this would live up to my high-end favourites. Retinol is famously expensive but it's one of the few proven anti-aging ingredients we have at our disposal. It can reduce fine lines, smooth out texture and even help with acne scarring (though note: you can't use this if you're on accutane). This is also formulated with some other skin-loving ingredients we've already discussed; hyaluronic acid and ceramides. As well as lactic acid, a gentle, dry and mature skin friendly form of acid exfoliation that won't sap the skin of moisture. I really like the moisturising texture of this serum and I find the ingredient list pretty unproblematic. I use this before my night cream in the evening, just because that's where I incorporate retinol products into my routine. Some people find they experience dryness and peeling when they first use retinol but I've used used it before and find this formula gentle but effective. I like that it contains other hydrating and moisturising ingredients to counteract the side-effects of the retinol and this serum definitely smooths my skin so it looks healthier and more vibrant. It gets the thumbs up from me!
The best thing I tried from Beauty Pie has to be their Superactive Capsules Essential Ceramides + | £7.55 (typical price of £50). These capsules are essentially super-concentrated doses of serum; this is a little heavier so I tend to use it in the evening. But I absolutely love this formula! It comes out like a sort of gel and I use them before my night cream, oil or overnight mask. Not only do these capsules contain ceramides (as discussed; they're often called the 'building blocks' of our skin, protecting and strengthening its barrier), but other fatty acids to nourish the skin. I absolutely love how moisturising this formula is, leaving my skin soft, silky and dewy. By morning my skin is plump and healthy-looking, which is exactly what I need in our current cold weather. My only negative is that there's parfum in here, which is totally unnecessary in my personal opinion. However, if you can deal with that, these capsules really are fantastic and I will absolutely pick them up again.
Finally, let's talk about the QI Energy Breathable Moisture Ginseng Beauty Sleep Mask | £7.24 (typical price of £45). Ginseng is a nice, moisturising antioxidant, this mask also contains hyaluronic and squalane, which we talked about earlier. It also contains growth factor, which is another ingredient that tends to get people talking in the skincare world! They're supposed to encourage cell turnover and collagen production and have been hailed as a skin miracle, but there's a bit of a debate on whether they work. Essentially; they may do these things but claims that they're the next skincare miracle might be a little exaggerated, because we just haven't proven that at this stage. That being said, there's plenty else to love about this overnight mask; it's softening, plumping and nourishing. At the same time it isn't too rich or heavy and doesn't clog my pores or break me out. It actually provides the perfect level of hydration for my combination / dehydrated skin! Though, again, we could do without the added fragrance.
- IS IT WORTH IT? -Overall, I'm really happy with the products I picked up from Beauty Pie. I really can't fault the quality of the textures and formulations. Whilst I'll probably end my subscription for now, I'm absolutely open to re-starting it in the future when there are even more new products to try. My only negative is that the line isn't great for those of you reading with issues around sensitivity and fragrance in skincare; it's just not necessary and I really hope they cut it from their formulas in future! I will absolutely be using these products up and I didn't really find a dud in the range, plus there are a few I'll repurchase. Overall the products are solid for the price and these are all the products I bought during my 3-month £5 membership period, so I've only actually paid £15 in total to access these prices, which really doesn't seem like much in the grand scheme of things.
Have you tried Beauty Pie? If so, what are your favourite products and did you think it was worth the subscription? If not - would you try this service?