Back in my day (when dinosaurs roamed the Earth), if a drugstore mascara cost more than $4, it raised eyebrows. Now, $10 seems to be the norm. Even figuring in inflation, that is a pretty steep price increase. What is going on? **
We can make the assumption that a chunk of money is going into research and development. While the ingredients are questionable, there is always something new and shiny being released. What about the other $9.99?
$$$ MARKETING $$$
The Rise of the Celebrity Spokesmodel
Remember about 15 years or so ago when companies actually used models to sell products and magazines? Those days are long gone. Now, everyone has a celebrity endorsement; an actress or singer attached to certain lines within their brand. Check out Revlon's Spokemodel List. Depending on the popularity of a celebrity, no doubt their contract would run into the millions of dollars. Add a couple more bucks to your tube of mascara.
One Mascara to Rule Them All
Companies are constantly being gobbled up by larger corporations. One corporation may own multiple cosmetic lines, high and low-end. They need to protect their high-end properties. As an example, L'Oreal owns L'Oreal, Maybelline and Shu Uemura. Maybelline Lipstick: $8, L'Oreal Lipstick: $10, Shu lipstick: $26. Your cheapest brand will drag you down. You can't have the same company making $26 lipstick also making $4 lipstick.
What is a cosmetics company that is not conglomerate-owned and does not use celebrity spokemodels? You get Milani. Surprisingly higher-end quality products for less than what we normally consider to be the bargain brands (Cover Girl and Maybelline). Lipstick $5. I bought many of their products back in my Paraben days and can personally speak to the quality. Milani is in line with what a drugstore cosmetics product should cost, but even their products are creeping up to keep up with the Joneses.
What are your thoughts? Why do you think drugstore makeup is quickly closing the gap with the high-end brands?
** Although I mention several different brands in this post, do not take it as an endorsement of any of them. Each line has one or two paraben-free acceptable products., but still very lacking overall.