Category Archives: Product Wisdom

Free mascara? No thank you, Marc Jacobs…

Something rather unusual and seemingly extravagant was attached to my March 2018 issue of Vogue – a free sample of Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara

The full-size mascara retails for $26 and what they attached – using an elaborate plastic shell contraption – was what product junkies everywhere know as the “deluxe sample.” I’m, like, “wow, that’s fancy!” And I’m also, like, “wow, that’s wasteful!” Because I’m a tree hugger from Vermont and excess packaging for the sake of marketing hurts my cold little heart.

I couldn’t get an up-to-date or reliable number for American Vogue’s current print circulation, but let’s assume, for sanity, that they only sent these tricked out issues to a certain target demographic. Or maybe they didn’t. But let me pull a number out of my … say, 100,000.

If we’re to believe (and We don’t) that the full size retail product is worth $26, then one might assume that the sample would retail for half that. In fact, I don’t even have to assume, because they sell a “travel” sample for $14 on the MJ website.  Because who wants to lug around that big ol’ full size version?

So, 100,000 x $14 = $1.4 million dollars – just for the product, not for the fancy injection-molded mascara holster or the additional postage. One might ask, “how can poor Marc Jacobs make a profit?!?” One might answer, “because the product/sample costs him …uh…pennies.”

I’m not at the moral of the story yet … of course, I had to sample the product. It was not brilliant.  It did not “deliver” my “most epic lashes yet.”  In fact, by the end of the day, what had previously been on my lashes was on my cheeks. My good old, tried and true Cover Girl LashBlast Fusion Mascara ($7) would have never pulled a stunt like that.

The moral of the story: Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara, which the designer says was inspired by the “first beauty memory of his mother carefully shaving fibers from a velvet ribbon to create her own couture faux lashes”…. is not worth $26. Less hope, more wisdom.