I’m going to start a new series of sorts – it won’t be every Tuesday but there are some beauty related topics that I think would be interesting as a more conversational post, rather than have me yammer on. 😛
Today I’d like to discuss the controversial topic of returning makeup / beauty products.
I personally see 3 primary reasons why someone would return a beauty product (that they’ve purchased themselves – not received as gifts, that’s another post! And I’m talking about returning stuff for money back, not just exchanging because it’s the wrong colour):
1) Product did not work as claimed
2) Product allergy
3) Buyer’s remorse
I view #1 as the fault of the product: it claimed to perform a certain way (smooth, brighten, mattify, hydrate, conceal, etc, etc.) but it did not deliver. This could be somewhat subjective, of course. My expectation of how a product is suppose to, say, brighten my skin, may not be what you expect. I may be very satisfied and feel that the product delivered on its promise whereas you’re unhappy and return the product. Marketing claims are usually more art than science when it comes to beauty products – I mean, who is holding companies accountable for “50x more volume” or “96% of users saw less fine lines”? Let the wallet speak, I say. 😉
Reason #2, in my opinion, is really no one’s fault – sometimes my face will just freak out even after I’ve reviewed the ingredient list thoroughly. There are products that are so full of irritants (like essential oils), I really shouldn’t be able to tolerate them, but my skin is fine. And it’s not possible to predict exactly how my skin will react until I actually use the products. However, now most brands and counters offer samples to try out products first, I find myself less likely to need to return products due to allergic reactions.
Now, the last reason, and what I’d most like to chat about: people who return products “just because”. Maybe shopping is a pastime for them or they get a thrill from buying things. Then they get their purchases home and immediately regret buying them. Or maybe they were subjected to an intense sales pitch and succumbed to the pressure and bought the product just to be nice – hoping to return it later at another store location. I say to these people: think about what you’re filling your life with when buying stuff, and also, grow a spine! I’m certainly not immune to either of these habits – I shop out of boredom, stress, happiness, guilt… then I regret buying some of the items. But, I don’t return things because of my own decisions – I just don’t feel right doing that! This isn’t a holier than thou type of statement, but I feel guilty and possibly ashamed if I have to return things not due to any fault of the products’ performance, but because I had no impulse control. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve returned makeup – mostly because I had a reaction to the products. Oh wait, I did once return an unopened MAC eye shadow because when I got it home, I realized I already owned it (Shale was the shade 😳 #hoarderproblems)
I know a woman who returns nearly everything she buys – clothes, shoes, makeup, jewellery. I asked her once (non-judgmentally) what her return rate is – she estimated probably about 90% of what she buys she returns. She is what I’d call a serial returner. And I suspect she has a shopping problem because she shops (and returns) at least once a week. She’s quite well-off too. Recently she purchased a bunch of stuff at Sephora, went home and tried them all and returned everything except for an eye shadow. She sees nothing wrong with this practice. She says she has a friend who’s worse than her – this friend would go to Holt Renfrew and buy super high-end stuff like Chantecaille and La Mer and use them for a bit and then returns them. She says her friend’s account is now flagged and they don’t allow her to refund anymore, just exchanges (I still see potential to abuse this system – revolving exchanges).
Conversely, my coworker bought a foundation last week and when she got it home, did not like the colour match (even though the MUA did test it on her face at the store). I told her to go return it, or exchange it for another shade. She was absolutely shocked at my suggestion, “You can’t return used makeup!” I assured her that you can. My other coworkers then chimed in, “Really? You can return makeup even after you’ve used it?!!” They didn’t believe me! 😮
And I fully appreciate that in some countries, returning beauty products is not an option. And I understand the reasons for it – it’s costly and wasteful. I think the ability to return products so easily in North America makes customers lazy and thoughtless. Think about it, if you’re not able to return a makeup item, it would put the onus on the consumers to do a LOT of research and think through their purchases beforehand. But it also puts the responsibility back on companies to make darn well sure that the products they’re putting out on the market are as claimed – if a customer had a bad experience with your product and could not return it, they’re less likely to buy from your brand again.
What are your thoughts on returning makeup / beauty products? Do you return things on a regular basis or rarely? What are your reasons for returning things usually? What was the last beauty item you returned?