I Don’t Care What They Do; I Want These Beauty Products Because They’re So Damn Pretty

I know the value of a product should be based on how it works, but I’m a sucker for packaging.
Publish date:
February 28, 2013
fragrances, lip balms, packaging, soaps, sets, GROWTH, Hand in Hand, Joya Ames, Orla Kiely, Skin & Bones

I admit, I haven’t tried any of the products I’m going to talk about in this article. I’ve only seen them--some only in pictures--and that’s been enough to make me crave them like Cathy craved chocolate. AACK!--amirite?

I love design almost as much as I love skincare and beauty; after all, design is a form of beauty. There have been times when I’ve been really impressed with the color of a lipstick or the results of a serum, but because the packaging was meh, I just couldn’t get excited about it. It’s like making out with someone who's doing everything technically right, but you’re just not attracted to him.

The products below could be really good at what they claim to do, and I’d love to find out; but the main reason I want them is so I can display them somewhere in my apartment and get a content feeling when I look at them, like a vase or souvenir or some other tchotchke that exists solely to sit on a flat surface and be seen.

One of the first bags I ever splurged on as an “adult” was an Orla Kiely bag, and more than a decade later, I’m still drawn to her could-be-from-1971 patterns. I probably would’ve bought her affordable line of geranium toiletries by now--especially this adorable set--but up until a minute ago, I thought Ms. Kiely was playing favorites and selling them only in the UK. But a random little site called feelunique.com has saved the day!

Color makes me happy, but I love the simple sexiness of Skin & Bones Luxurious Salve’s black and white packaging. Plus, the brand name is in a font so ornate you almost can’t read it, so you know this is some fancy shizz.

You know those folks who are in love with inanimate objects? Well, I’ve always had a kind of crush on bar soap; I love its solidity. Wrap it in something beautiful, like Hand in Hand Sustainable Suds has, and I may just buy it dinner. Even if you never actually undress… er… unwrap the soap, you can be sure someone else will; with each bar bought, one is donated to someone in an area where people are dying from hygiene-related illnesses.

GROWN has put just as much thought into their packaging as they have their organic formulas. Their bottles replicate an 1890s design, but they’ve managed to update them with nontoxic, recyclable, locally made plastic that’s tinted amber to protect the products from UV damage. Can I have everything from this line, please? Kthanxbai.

There are only 15 of these $500 works of art, so it doesn’t matter how Joya Ames Soeurs Solid Perfume smells because, I think it’s safe to say, you and I are never going to get the opportunity to get a whiff. Whatever--it’s beautiful. Gold-plated porcelain slip-casting, brass lid, and a visibly perceptible aura of sybaritism. Want.

Have you ever bought a beauty product based purely on the power of good design?