Monday October 15, 2012
Irresistible make-up palettes and packages
By FIONA HO
Some cosmetics come in packaging too attractive to resist, and too pretty to use.
JUAN Shu Hui’s dressing table is a veritable display space for her collection of cosmetics. Not that she uses all that make-up – sunscreen, eyeliner, mascara, concealer and blush are about all she needs. But every week, Juan adds another pretty palette or cute tube to her collection.
For Juan, it’s not so much the make-up that tickles her fancy, but the aesthetics of the packaging and design.
Cosmetic companies are taking their cues from the beautiful women they promise to turn their customers into. Like the beautiful woman who cashes in on her good looks, these companies are paying increasing attention to the appearance of their packaging.
Make-up palettes and packages these days are so attractive and appealing they have a huge fan following.
Juan was starstruck after she bought a limited edition lipstick palette from a prominent cosmetic brand four years ago and has not stopped gawking at pretty cosmetics since.
“The packaging was really attractive and that was what prompted me to start buying more make-up,” gushes the 28-year-old former graphic designer who spends an average of RM1,000 on make-up collectibles every month.
“I usually buy an entire range of make-up products whenever I go shopping,” says the petite Juan.
Her buys are almost a weekly indulgence for her, though she ends up consigning most of the products to her dressing table, simply because they are “too pretty to use”.
“You must think I’m crazy,” she says with a laugh. “I also collect perfume bottles, shoes and bags. Like most girls, I simply love collecting pretty things.”
Even her parents, who had been apprehensive about her spending habits, have grown to accept her hobby.
“I literally have every beauty product you’d need from head to toe,” she adds.
However, just like the drugs in your medicine cabinet, make-up has expiry dates. The average lifespan for foundation is one year, while blush and eyeshadow usually last between one and two years.
But Juan is not too bothered. “I keep them in a box mostly, for display purposes. I’m currently into make-up palettes that have rhinestones and sparkles. I like the bling bling stuff, they’re lovely!” she enthuses.
Lily Ong, vice-president of a finance company in Ipoh, shares Juan’s ardour.
“The packaging matters as much as the products inside,” she says.
The attractive mother-of-two, who authors the popular beauty blog chloeash.com, is discerning in what she chooses to add to her collection. She prefers limited edition pieces, citing exclusivity as the key appeal.
Her interest in make-up started during her first pregnancy in 2008.
“When I was pregnant, having nothing on my face made me feel rather unattractive. My line of work requires me to meet clients so I have to make myself look presentable. That was how it all started.”
Her newfound passion manifested into a blog on May 2011. The name chloeash.com, is derived from her daughters’ names, Chloe and Ashlyn.
“I started writing about make-up as an interest. I began reviewing products and sharing make-up tips so that my girls could read all about it when they grow up.”
Though she is often lavished with free make-up samples today, the Ipoh mum says she still tries to buy make-up whenever she travels as she feels the selection available locally is pretty limited.
Her collection currently occupies two “quite packed” drawers in her bedroom and a pull-out tray at the top of her desk.
“I buy limited edition make-up pieces for keeps. Sometimes, I swatch my palettes for my blog.”
Ong adds that the ratio of products she buys to collect versus the ones that she buys to use is about four to one.
She says friends who have seen her collection typically react with a “Wow!”
“My mum thinks I’m crazy! My husband usually queries, ‘It’s for your blog, right?’ while my daughters will always ask, ‘Wow, mummy, can I play?’”
Ong reckons that collecting make-up items is akin to collecting stamps or coins. “People who don’t know me think that I’m shallow and when they find out what I do for a living, they usually go, “Oh, really?” she says with a laugh.
Angeline Au, general manager of a luxury beauty brand who also collects make-up palettes, says she is drawn to the novelty factor and unique designs of these products, but since then, many other brands have also introduced collectible palettes.
She says her penchant for collecting started when she was studying in the United States. At that time, she collected fresian black and white cows!
Anything and everything with the cow picture charmed her but she left her prized collection behind as she couldn’t bring it back to Malaysia with her.
A far cry from make-up palettes indeed. Au admits she got hooked simply because they were too pretty to be used. She owns only about 20 collectible items. They are mostly eyeshadow palettes intended solely to be keepsakes.
“I had more but they didn’t survive the heat in our country. I’m also not a serious collector so I didn’t bother with proper storage with controlled temperatures. I will usually get a second piece if I really plan on using the product,” she says.
For Au, it is style over substance when it comes to picking items for her collection.
“The colour swatches are not that important to me if I’m going to keep the palette. More important to me, is the idea behind the creation of the palette.
“Most of the pieces collected have a significance to the brand, for example, the Coromandel palette (AW05/06) was a masterpiece as it was inspired by the Chinese coromandel screens Gabrielle Chanel passionately collected and decorated her apartment with.”
Model Yanekki Tan, 30, is more of an “accidental” make-up collector.
Tan, who runs Move Production, says she has a tendency to purchase make-up at duty-free outlets whenever she travels.
“I go to Hong Kong or Taiwan at least two to three times every year and I always buy make-up whenever I am there,” she says. The self-professed “colour fan” says a colourful make-up palette never fails to catch her eye.
“I love vivid shades like purple, pink and green, though I almost never wear them because they don’t really suit my skin tone.
“In fact, my boyfriend always tells me that my eyes look swollen when I wear colours like purple.”
Although she does get stashes of cosmetic products from sponsors, the model says she can hardly help herself when she comes across these pretty-looking products.
“I also have a thing for cute palettes. I know I probably wouldn’t use any of these items that I’ve bought, but I always end up buying them anyway, and they end up in my wardrobe.
Tan’s impulsive buys has led to quite a disastrous ending, though.
“The other night, I found ants all over my beautiful make-up set,” she laments. “I left them in my room for nearly two years and had no idea they’d attract ants!”
Whether you see make-up as a dispensable necessity or display items to be stored safely on a shelf, one thing is for certain – there’ll always be room for more.