From influencer collaborations, co-branded partnerships, to seasonal collections, consumers are constantly bombarded with a slew of limited-edition releases. We’ve reached a saturation point where we are being flooded with limited-edition beauty releases. Are limited edition releases a scam?
In today’s post, we’ll be exploring why brands release so many limited edition products. What are the effects of so many rapid-fire releases? What are my favorite and least favorite limited edition beauty buys? Please keep reading to find out.
What are Limited Edition Products?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the term Limited Edition refers to:
an issue of something collectible (such as books, prints, or medals) that is advertised to be limited to a relatively small number of copies
In the beauty and fashion community, limited-edition releases are often hyped releases that are done in collaboration with influencers, celebrities, and other brands. Limited edition deals include licensing deals with iconic movie and t.v. franchises, as well as seasonal or themed releases.
Why Do Brands Release Limited Edition Beauty Products?
Limited edition beauty products sell themselves due to the scarcity that surrounds the release, as well as the cyclical buying habits that it influences.
- Influencers and media always hype up limited edition collaborations. For example, limited edition releases done in collaboration with large partners such as Disney or influencers with a loyal fanbase are sure to receive major coverage from prominent voices in the beauty space.
- Beauty collaborations encourage constant consumerism because of the fear of FOMO. More specifically, consumers are prompted to act fast to buy limited edition releases before they sell out.
- Limited Edition beauty releases allow brands to test a new formulas, lines, or concepts. There is less risk involved of new products failing if they are designed to only exist for a short period of time.
- Also, consumers keep buying them! Limited Edition beauty products will keep coming out as long as consumers keep buying them.
Are Limited Edition Beauty Releases a Scam? Let’s Dive into the Unhealthy Side Effects
The constant churning out of limited-edition beauty releases contributes to negative and potentially toxic mindsets, as well as horrible spending habits.
- Brands keep releasing nearly identical products in different packaging. In fact, come brands literally rerelease the same products with different names or packaging.
- Limited Edition beauty releases encourage excessive impulse spending. These products rely on scarcity messaging to build hype.
- Brands may use false scarcity tactics to convince a consumer they *need* to buy their newest release. For example, a brand will claim that a product is ”sold out” but then release more stock a few days or a few weeks later. This is impossible.
- Limited Edition beauty products are often re-released a few months later. Also, they are made permanent in some cases.
- A greater level of wastefulness is generated from limited edition releases. For example, influencers and consumers are quick to snap up and talk about limited edition products. However, these products are typically the first to be decluttered when its time to pair down makeup collections. Often times, influencers use the excuse that they can no longer feature these discontinued products in videos. Moreover, if products cannot be used in videos or posts, then they won’t be used at all.
- Finally, limited edition beauty releases can harm a brand’s reputation. First, consumers will become upset if they constantly have bad experiences trying to purchase a limited edition releases. Second, when collections don’t sell well, the over stock ends up at discount r off-price chains. Once a brand is regularly found at off price retailers, their image is permanently reduced.
Top 3 Favorite Limited Edition Beauty Products
I love a lot of the Limited Edition beauty products that I own. Also, I don’t feel guilty talking about them on my blog. Therefore, I narrowed down my list of top three limited edition favorites to the below.
1 | Anastasia Beverly Hills – Master Palette by Mario
Is anyone surprised by this? Not only is the Master Palette by Mario my all-time favorite palette from Anastasia Beverly Hills, but this grungy neutral palette is one of my most beloved eyeshadow palettes.
I’m bitter that this isn’t permanent in the Anastasia Beverly Hills line up. Also, I nearly missed out on this bad boy. Thankfully, Macy’s beauty department came through for me. Check out my Pan That Palette challenge for more on this palette. See how I ranked my Anastasia Beverly Hills Palette collection.
2 | Melt Cosmetics – Gemini Palette
I originally missed out on the much-hyped and ever-elusive Gemini Palette. In fact, I was so upset to miss out on this palette that I attempted to dupe the Gemini Palette with some grungy indie eyeshadow singles.
That being said, I still purchased the Gemini Palette the day that Melt Cosmetics started selling at Sephora. This is a prime example of a limited edition beauty release that was later made permanent.
3 | MAC x Disney’s Aladdin Collection
The MAC x Disney Aladdin collection is arguably the most divisive limited edition favorite on this list. Ultimately, this collection was not groundbreaking. However, it was quite beautiful in terms of packaging and color story. In fact, the intricate Aladdin-inspired packaging makes my heart swoon.
The above being said, this collection wasn’t the best representation of Aladdin. Moreover, it was troublesome that much of the line did not work for medium-to-deep skin tones given that Aladdin is an Arabian-inspired film. Read my full review of the MAC x Disney’s Aladdin Collection here.
3 Limited Edition Releases I Regret Purchasing
Unfortunately, not every limited edition release is a win. Some collections are bound to be duds. The below limited edition releases are products that I wish I hadn’t purchased.
1 | ColourPop x Disney Villains Collection
Honestly, I feel heartbroken that the ColourPop x Disney Villains Collection is included in this roundup. First, let me articulate that the quality of the eyeshadow palette and Super Shock Highlighters were wonderful. However, the lip glosses and Jelly Much Shadows left much to be desired. Not only were those products barely tied to the theme, but they were poor quality.
Ultimately, the packaging is what prompted me to purchase this collection. However, the packaging was not enough to make me feel satisfied with my purchase. I rarely reached for the items in this line. Also, by now, I’ve decluttered or tossed most of what I purchased. Read my review of the ColourPop x Disney Villains Collection here.
2 | Kat Von D – Serpentina Eyeshadow Palette
The Kat Von D Serpentina Eyeshadow Palette was a blip in the beauty scene. More specifically, this palette got little hype or love compared to the other limited edition releases on this list. Simply put, this palette was not cohesive. Also, the colors muddied together on the eyes. Therefore, I decluttered Serpentina shortly after purchasing it.
3 | Too Faced – Peanut Butter and Jelly Eyeshadow Palette
I vividly remember staying up all night to order the Peanut Butter and Jelly Palette from Too Faced Website. I anxiously sat at my kitchen table, refreshing the website on the night this was released. To my delight, I successfully got my hands on this petite palette.
To this day, this release remains one of the cutest little palettes. However, the color story inside didn’t inspire me. Therefore, I ended up decluttering this palette.
So, are Limited Edition Releases a Scam?
Although I feel overrun by Limited Edition releases, most of us (myself included) will continue to buy limited-edition releases. Ultimately, limited edition releases are typically successful if they do a good job in embodying the collaborator with whom the brand is partnering. If the brand is successful, consumers will want to show their support.
However, it is important to exercise judgement when determining what we purchase. Limited edition releases should be more than just a collector’s piece. In other words, makeup is not designed just to sit on a shelf for display. Instead, makeup releases, limited edition or not, should be actively used by the beauty lover who purchased them. Why hold on to products that will expire?
So do I think limited edition beauty releases are a scam? Honestly, sometimes they are a scam. However, it is up to us to determine when brands are behaving dishonestly. If we exercise our critical thinking skills, we won’t fall into the same traps.
Ultimately, I wish that more brands moved towards collections with limited edition packaging. This type of limited edition release will tempt die-hard brand fans to purchase immediately. Meanwhile, consumers on the fence will have more time to decide if they want to purchase new releases.
What are your thoughts on Limited Edition releases? Are you overwhelmed are there any that you’re looking forward to? Please let me know in the comments below.1