Thursday, January 21, 2010

Helpful Gadget or Gimmick?

Yes! I admit it! I not only watch but also make my own makeup and fashion videos on YouTube. I am a member of this exclusive sorority of a few million people who like to watch videos where other people talk about their favorite products and current trends that they are really excited about and other such silly hobbies that do nothing to really make the world a better place. Now, we all know that many of the most popular gurus are contacted by companies on a regular basis and given free products to try if they will just talk about those products in a video and maybe show how they might use them if they were to use the product regularly. It is no secret that these companies know they can get free publicity that will reach millions just by sending out a few products for free and then using those products as a tax write-off later on. Even before the gurus were all made aware there there are such things as FTC restrictions that have always been in place since the dawn of time practically and has only recently changed the wording to specifically include bloggers and vloggers in order to keep up with the ever changing times, it was always obvious who was receiving products for free and which products they were. When you suddenly see the same product being reviewed over and over by different people all in similar ways it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know what is happening. Recently these gurus have jumped on what I like to refer to as a gimmick trend. The gimmicks I am referring to are products that have been around forever but now all of a sudden must be applied in some way that requires batteries or a certain special applicator that can only be found with this specific product. The first example I can mention is the recent trend of mascaras that now must be applied with an applicator that vibrates. My response to this particular trend? 1. Have mascara companies run out of ways to actually make the mascara itself a better product? 2. Have we become so lazy in our daily routines that we suddenly have only enough energy to lift the wand up to our lashes but now no longer can be bothered with actually moving the wand around to get the mascara transferred to the lashes? 3. Are the mascara companies just trying to figure out a way to charge upwards of $25 or more for a product that has been overpriced for the last 15 years anyway? I'm having a hard time believing that a vibrating mascara wand does anything more for my lashes than my own skill and expertise, or that a tiny button cell battery warrants an extra $10 $15 or $20 markup for the exact same product we have always been using.
The next example I have is of a product recently launched by Lancome Paris called the Oscillation Powerfoundation. It is a mineral powder that now must be applied with what appears to be a sponge or felt type applicator that vibrates. The claim is that the vibrations break down the powder to make coverage and blendability easier. My personal translation of that statement? We are going to save money by not milling the powder as finely as we should and then we are going to charge you $48 to buy the product which we could sell for a few dollars and still make a huge profit because we have added a small battery to the packaging. I'm not sold on the idea because if you ask me I will tell you that a great product would never need anything additional to make it work correctly.
The latest addition to the gadget family is a foundation marketed by L'Oreal called True Match Roller that is applied with a roller type applicator that mimics a roller used to apply paint to walls. My initial thoughts on this product? There is no way this roller will get into the nooks and crannies of the face in a way that won't need to be further blended with your finger and a sponge or brush eventually anyway. While I can say that I have seen this product priced less than $13 which isn't completely hateful in the world of foundations, I can't help but think that if they had just left the roller applicator out or just put a typical sponge applicator with it the price might be slashed in half.
I have to be honest. I haven't tried these products to say one way or the other how they actually work for me mostly because I don't feel makeup is something that we should spend outrageous amounts of money on because we are all beautiful with or without it. I also feel that a great product is NOT one that costs lots of money but is exactly the opposite. A great product is one that does exactly what it is supposed to do very well at an extremely affordable price without any additional steps or gimmicks necessary. My days are complicated enough. My daily routine and my superficial hobby doesn't need to be complicated. What do you think? Helpful gadget or gimmick?

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