November 17, 2015

What If A Makeup Brand Had Ugly Packaging? Would You Still Buy or Use It?

December 2015

What if a makeup brand had truly ugly packaging? Would you still buy it or use it?

I’m an avid reader. I read anything so long as it has words on it. But funny as a book worm I often find that book covers really sell a book to me. If the cover is kinda in-descriptive or even boring or maybe even just has the title on the jacket but no pictures, chances are I might just overlook it.



I just think that packaging in general sells a product. DVDs, clothes, books, if it comes in bright, fancy packaging chances are you’re going to want it because it visually speaks to you on some level. It’s just that inner magpie in all of us that loves the shiny, glittery newness of a product or item.

Sadly, ugly packaging isn’t exactly going to make you want to buy something particularly makeup. Makeup is in the business of being beautiful. They want to present to you a product that is not only outstanding formulated but they also want you to buy into it because it looks and appears beautiful. But as we ALL know, beautiful packaging does not always translate into great formulas. Could be a great formula with crummy packaging or great packaging with a crummy formula!

So what if a makeup brand had ugly packaging? Would you still use it? Buy it? Try it? Or would you snub it and just write it off as something you wouldn’t be willing to try.

I can think of many, many brands who have pretty boring packaging or even ugly packaging but I still use their products because they actually have formulas worth overlooking the packaging.

Bobbi Brown and MAC come to mind first here. They aren’t ugly, they are boring, it’ just that they are pretty basic. It’s very simple, black, understated packaging that has a professional look and feel. There’s no cuteness or fanfare or frills here. Just industry packaging!

Now if you want ugly I’d say Milani has the award there. Milani’s packaging is very cheap looking and for many years I never even bothered trying their stuff because it was such an eye sore I felt for sure the formula would be just as bad. Boy was I wrong. They really should re-think their packaging. Something simple would be fine but ditch the cheesy gold compacts!

So what about you?

Have you even passed over a brand because it was rather boring or ugly to look at?

Or are you more of a rebel? Will you try anything even if it isn’t incredibly pretty to look at?

Do share!

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Phoenixx

    Boring yes. Ugly? . . . .probably not. Maybe if the product was mindblowingly awesome I’d use it; but depending on how much I disliked the package, I could see myself putting into a plain jar/bottle whatever.

  • Sarah

    If I’ve heard good things about the formula I will buy it no matter what the packaging looks like. That being said, I find Physicians Formula packaging to be pretty ugly/bulky. Some of their stuff looks like Polly Pocket!

    • Mags

      Agreed. I tend to wait on someone else’s thoughts before I purchase and I have purchased both MAC and MUG powder pans. I’m also a huge fan of MUFE and am looking into Inglot. To be honest, I’m more inclined to trust no-frills packaging–it seems more professional to me, like I’m looking at professional/stage/serious makeup BC the company wants me to zero in on the meat of the product. No B.S.

      I’m wary of done-up packaging; seems like a way to manipulate magpies and sheeple. I can think of more than once where I swatched a designer brand palette and just had to roll my eyes—like why did they’d even go through the trouble to encase such shoddy product. There are some exceptions like Guerlain but on the whole as long as the packaging is effective then it shouldn’t matter.

  • AnniLau

    I don’t care if it’s plain, but ugly packaging would probably make me at least hesitate. Oh, and there have been a couple of palettes recently with heart-shaped pans and that just makes me roll my eyes. I like cute things, but I am not 13 and those pans are just a bridge too far.

  • Eb

    I’m definitely in agreement about Bobbi Brown’s packaging. It’s just so blah. There was a really popular highlighter that I wanted to get, the one with the two B’s on the front. But, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it because of the packaging. I know that Bobbi Brown makes beautiful makeup. I just wish the presentation matched the quality of the product .

    • Isabella Muse

      bobbi’s very industry! MAC and BB are sister brands and I always feel like they have almost identical packaging sometimes just differently shaped! I’ve gotten passed the basic black of Bobbi’s stuff but yeah, I kinda wish she did something a little more with it!

  • dia

    I rather like Bobbi Brown’s minimalist black packaging. I find it sleek and clean. I don’t much care for Rimmel’s lightweight plastic pans with clear covers. It just looks cheap to me. And Physicians Formula packaging is just ugly with its little bow ties and hearts.

  • Gloria (DivaShop)

    If the product is awesome, I will buy/use it no matter what the packaging looks like. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Codename Duchess

    I honestly do not care about attractive packaging. I can’t remember the last product I’ve bought just because it was pretty. I’m fairly particular about what I want in terms of color, and am willing to look anywhere to find something I like, even among ugly packaging.

    The only time packaging influences my purchasing is when the packaging has flaws that hurt a product’s usability or is otherwise fragile/ insecure. Lipsticks with caps that are prone to popping off in my purse (I’m looking at you Kat Von D studded lipsticks!) are a particular pet peeve of mine.

  • Violet

    Simple packaging invokes a more professional for me while the cute stuff is a gimmick to get you to pay more. I do know people that buy things cause they are cute but can I buy it in a plain case for 5$ less please?

    When i think of MAC and MUFE I think: sleek, compact, easy to clean!
    Those Marie Antoinette inspired products are cute upon purchase but idk about packing, stacking and cleaning them.

    For powder products some cases (i’m looking at you VICE line) are hell. They mostly offer 0 protection since it’s a rigid plastic and tend to be bulky AF! Since my Vice 3 more than half broke during delivery i am not gonna risk taking anywhere with it. On the other hand my plain cardboard packed ammo box and black palette are a staple in my luggage for years.

  • Victoria A.

    Packaging is a pretty big deal to me. I find NYX products pretty solid for the most part but their packaging is SO cheap-looking.

    I’ve noticed that some people see makeup as a “status item”, and they get the willies about cutesy packaging, like Too Faced’s, for example, because “I’m not 13, I don’t want my makeup to look like it!” Like they’re going to die of embarrassment if someone sees them with a heart-shaped compact. Uhhh…nobody sees my makeup collection except me, they only see what actually gets put on my face. I don’t pull lipstick out of my purse during the day and apply it in front of people, I do it at my desk in a little mirror. And personally I like colorful, whimsical packaging. I like the Chocolate Bar palettes, I love Anna Sui and Jill Stuart’s packaging (even if the latter is rather out of my price range). My wardrobe is already primarily basic black and minimalist; I don’t need my makeup collection to look the same way.

    My other caveat is NO CARDBOARD PALETTES. I can’t stand them. They always get water-stained and end up looking like garbage. I won’t buy Naked 1 until they rerelease it in a metal or plastic case like the others.

    • Tanya

      I agree with you! I love cutesy makeup that isn’t too cheap looking. I want my makeup to be fun and inspiring to use. When I buy decent stuff but in plain packaging, It just doesn’t make me feel motivated to use it as much.

  • miranda grosvenor

    Remember that HIDEOUS packaging Almay had a few years ago with the big letter A on it? Lawdy miss clawdy that shiz was ugly. It’s a little better now but I still can’t erase the memory of that hot mess.

    I think people are either one side or the other regarding whimsical packaging. I personally detest the Disney and hello kitty stuff, the punny Benefit and The Balm names….and the thing is I felt the same way when I was younger. Makeup was a sign of being grown up, so the more classic and simple the packaging the better.

  • Anni

    Pretty packaging had spurred impulses beauty purchases for me, but ugly packaging had never deterred me buying a good quality product.

    I know what you mean about book purchases as i am not much of a reader myself yet i always browse the book section to check out the book covers.

    • Isabella Muse

      haha I’m glad I’m not alone. I always look for pretty book jackets ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Lorrie

    I’m the opposite of cutesy packaging. I’m in my late forties and don’t want to pull things out of my purse that looks like I borrowed it from my teenage daughter, which I don’t even have! I kind of have a pet peeve of women my age wearing Victoria Secret PINK on their butt, too!

    • Michelle Flamingo

      I am in the same boat as you agewise, and I agree with your thoughts! I don’t think people really see what I pull out of my handbag most times, but on the rare occasion they do, I’d rather not be embarrassed. For example, the eyeshadow palette put out by some brand with all the naked guys on it (the eyeshadow covers their private parts) is a HUGE turn off for me. I find that TOTALLY inappropriate and I would NEVER buy it.

      I am on my way to being an image consultant, and I have to be my own brand. People say they like my mix of elegance (primary image they have of me) and fun. For example, I get lots of compliments on a sweater I wear with small pink flamingos on it. ๐Ÿ˜€ In the end, what other people think is not what matters. What matters is what I think….and I prefer elegance, beauty and sophistication, although certainly I love to have fun and am not afraid to make myself and others smile with whimsical things on occasion.

  • Rachel R.

    If I love a product, ugly packaging will not keep me from using it, especially not at home. I prefer pretty or whimsical packaging, but that’s not a must. As far as other people go, I don’t give a hoot if someone thinks my makeup’s packaging is ugly or stupid or whatever. I don’t care what their makeup’s packaging looks like, either. I’ve got much bigger concerns in my life.

  • Zovesta

    LOL! In my opinion, Milani has some of the /prettiest/ packaging – if they ditched the “cheesy gold”, I’d be heartbroken! Gold packaging is a guaranteed buy from me.
    Honestly, very few companies really make packaging that I like. Calvin Klein, Bobbi Brown, MAC, Smashbox, Stila, Covergirl, Maybelline, L’Oreal, Urban Decay, Shiseido, IT Cosmetics… all look pretty dang ugly to me. theBalm, Besame, Milani, and Too Faced have it right, and they’re about it. I like retro, fancy, old-school vanity type of stuff, with a dash of cute, and very few companies seem to try to sell that sort of look!
    So aye. Great packaging will sell a product for me, but ugly packaging? Used to it. I buy it anyway. =/

    • Isabella Muse

      I’m not a fan ๐Ÿ™‚ But I’m glad you like it Zovesta! I like the makeup that’s for sure ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Michelle Flamingo

    I own 10 Milani products that I can think of, and I like the packaging on every single one!!

  • Iris

    I admit the appearance of a cosmetic item influences if I want to use it. If the item didn’t look as pretty, I’d have to look up reviews to see how it performed before purchasing.

  • E

    Yes, packaging matters big time to me. If the quality of the product isn’t exceptional, which you’ll rarely find nowadays, then I am not going to purchase it if I am just not drawn to it. It’s strange, but I am such a perfectionist and I like for my makeup collection to look beautiful, uniform, and cohesive. If I find something that’s ugly or just looks out of place from my collection, I will either immediately lose interest in it or have the urge to just depot it so I can put it in something nicer. ):