For some women, a vital part of their daily routine is choosing and applying lipstick.
Their entire makeup look will be enhanced by choosing the right shade.
With so many different colors and varieties available, however, choosing one isn’t always easy.
It also doesn’t help that lipstick can be quite expensive.
Considering it’s just color on your lips, you may wonder what it is about lipstick that makes it so expensive.
Why Is Lipstick So Expensive? (10 Reasons)
The average cost of lipstick is between $4 and $7.
However, certain high-end brands can charge as much as $60 for a tube of lipstick.
Certain ingredients, enhanced features, and packaging all contribute to the expensive price tag.
Let’s look at these reasons in more detail.
One reason lipstick is expensive is that it sometimes contains honey.
You’ll sometimes find that lipstick tubes that contain honey tend to be more expensive than those that don’t have honey.
That’s because honey is an expensive ingredient.
For one, it’s an animal product.
Bees produce honey in their hives.
The problem with bees is that they’re dying off.
Besides spelling disaster for the environment, it also means there’s less honey to be had in the world.
Honey is also a product with a lot of demand in different industries.
It’s popular in both the food industry and the cosmetic industry.
In the food industry, there’s no shortage of dishes and desserts that use honey.
It’s a sweet substance that has some healthy qualities to it as well.
In the cosmetic world, honey is a popular ingredient because it’s seen as natural or organic.
It’s preferred over other harsh chemicals.
Since there’s a lot of demand for an ingredient that doesn’t have a lot of supply, it means the price to source it is quite expensive.
Since cosmetic companies have to pay a lot of money to get the honey, they offset the cost by charging their customers higher prices.
2. Mango Butter
Mango butter is another expensive ingredient that can make lipstick expensive.
Mangoes are a unique type of fruit in that they’re very difficult to grow.
They also sell at auctions rather than in other more common ways of selling fruit.
That’s because getting a perfect mango is very rare.
For example, a perfect mango will sell for around $2,000 while an average mango will sell for $50.
Mangoes require a very specific climate to grow.
To get a perfect fruit, the farmer also needs a good amount of experience.
This makes the production of mangoes more expensive since it has more costs associated with it.
For example, farmers need to ensure their groves are safe from predators and parasites.
Animals might try to get into their groves and eat the fruit before they can harvest it all.
Parasites might infect the trees and completely ruin the mangoes.
There’s also always the risk of disease that might get introduced by an insect or even on the wind from a nearby farm.
Because there are a lot of risks involved, farmers do what they can to lower those risks by protecting their groves.
When cosmetic companies buy mangos from farmers, they sometimes have to buy them at expensive prices.
High-end cosmetic companies may even only purchase the very best mangoes to get the best results out of them.
They then turn those mangoes into mango butter.
That’s what they end up using in their lipsticks.
Mango butter may provide a more flavorful experience for the user.
It also smells great.
Since mangoes are a fruit, it’s also seen as a healthier choice over chemicals.
All these factors make mango butter more expensive as well as the lipstick that contains it.
3. Aloe Extract
Some lipstick brands also use aloe extract in their lipstick tubes.
Aloe extract can provide plenty of benefits.
Aloe is mostly known for its ability to reduce the damage done by UV radiation.
It helps soothe sunburns and irritation.
Because of its soothing properties, many cosmetic companies have started using it.
For lipstick, aloe extract makes wearing it a bit more comfortable.
Like other natural ingredients, it’s seen as something healthier to put on your body.
Since the lipstick has direct contact with your lips, many users would likely prefer something safe on their lips rather than harsh dyes or chemicals.
Aloe vera has several elements within it that are quite healthy.
It has Vitamins A, C, E, and B12.
Vitamins C and E are especially important since they’re antioxidants.
Antioxidants are responsible for helping reduce the chances of developing cancer.
It also has minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
Because it’s such a healthy plant, there’s a lot of demand for aloe vera in different products.
The cosmetics industry uses aloe vera and aloe extracts a lot.
Because there’s such high demand for it, there’s competition between the brands for who can get the best qualities.
High-end brands usually end up having the most money to spend on the best aloe extracts.
However, because they’re spending a lot of money on it, they’re going to charge higher prices for their products to make that money back.
4. Natural Ingredients Versus Synthetic Ingredients
One of the major differences you’ll notice between expensive lipstick and cheap lipstick is its ingredients.
Cheap lipstick tends to have a lot more synthetic ingredients than natural or organic ingredients.
Expensive lipstick tends to have more natural or organic ingredients than synthetic ingredients.
That’s because synthetic ingredients are cheaper to make.
Synthetic ingredients are cheaper because manufacturers can make large volumes of them at one time.
They’re also able to do it all in-house or partner with a specific manufacturer that produces the ingredient that they need.
Since they’re able to make large amounts of it at a time, it helps them cut down costs.
That then allows them to sell at cheaper prices.
Expensive lipstick, on the other hand, tends to contain more natural or organic ingredients.
These are more expensive because it usually means they have to get those ingredients from farmers or ranchers.
Fruit, for example, is more expensive since it requires a lot of labor to produce.
Farmers have to grow the fruit, keep it safe, and ensure that it grows well.
Then they need to harvest it and ship it to the cosmetic company.
Each step adds costs to it.
The farmer thus has to sell the fruit at a higher rate than if the cosmetic company had just made its own synthetic version of it.
However, there’s a customer base that prefers natural and organic ingredients over synthetic ingredients.
They want to ensure that the makeup they’re putting on their bodies is safe.
As such, companies that sell natural or organic lipstick can get away with putting higher price tags on them.
They know that the customer base is there and willing to pay for it.
Besides having more expensive production costs, natural ingredients spoil sooner than synthetic ingredients.
Synthetic ingredients can last for months, if not years, before going bad.
Natural and organic ingredients have a shorter shelf life.
That means cosmetic companies aren’t able to buy in as much bulk as they might like.
That also impacts their production costs which, in turn, affects their selling price.
5. Plumping Abilities
Another reason lipstick is expensive is that it contains ingredients that help plump up your lips.
For some lipstick users, having a well-crafted or designed painted lip isn’t enough.
While the color may look great, it doesn’t do anything to give their lips a bit more of a wow factor.
Lipstick companies started producing more expensive tubes of lipstick which solved that problem.
They’re lipsticks that can plump your lips.
They do this by having some sort of ingredient that gives a mild irritation to your lips.
One popular ingredient is capsaicin.
It’s found in certain foods like hot peppers.
Other manufacturers might use ginger.
Whatever the ingredient is, it’s effective enough to create a mild irritation in your lips but not strong enough to harm you.
A lot of cosmetic companies will test the lipstick to ensure it doesn’t cause some sort of harmful reaction.
That usually means they end up putting more cost into their products to ensure they’re perfect.
High-end lipstick tubes have better plumping capabilities than cheaper brands.
Cheap brands may not even provide plumping at all.
Lipstick that has plumping capabilities is more expensive because it contains more ingredients.
It’s also a bit costlier to make.
Finally, it provides a service that standard or cheap lipstick doesn’t provide.
If you want that kind of service, then you’re going to need to pay extra for it.
Some lipstick companies are also more expensive because they produce tubes of long-lasting lipstick.
A frequent problem that some users of lipstick face is that their lipstick doesn’t last through the whole day.
They have to keep reapplying throughout the day.
This isn’t the most convenient way to wear makeup.
It can eat up precious minutes that you could spend doing something else.
To solve that problem, high-end lipstick companies started producing tubes of lipstick that last longer.
The color stays as bold as when you first applied it.
More importantly, it doesn’t wipe off when you drink water or eat food.
This allows you to enjoy your lipstick throughout the day without having to worry if it’s smeared anywhere or if the color has faded.
Instead, you’re able to focus on your task at hand.
The problem with long-lasting lipstick is that it usually costs a bit more to make.
Companies have to use ingredients that are able to last longer.
That usually means that they need to buy high-quality versions of those ingredients.
It might also mean that they need to use other ingredients that are better at preserving color and shape.
Finally, it also means that users are going to be using their lipstick a lot less.
When they don’t have to reapply their lipstick as often, they’re not using it as much.
As a result, they don’t have to buy another tube any time soon.
To make up for the lack of repeat purchases, the company has to sell its lipstick at higher prices from the start.
One factor that makes lipstick expensive that few people consider is its packaging.
High-end lipstick companies put a lot of effort and cost into their packaging.
When shopping for expensive lipstick, you’ll often find that it comes in a beautiful box.
Even the tube itself might have a beautiful design to it.
Part of the reason cosmetic companies put a lot of effort into their packaging is that they know that many people buy with their eyes first.
If the package is attractive, they’re more likely to buy the product inside the package.
Some cosmetic companies will go all-out with their packaging.
They might hire a famous designer just to design the box.
Others might use expensive materials like leather or velvet to create the packaging.
Whatever they decide, the packaging alone can add a lot of cost to producing lipstick.
To make up for that cost, they sell it at high prices.
Some cosmetic companies don’t just sell you lipstick.
If you buy a particularly expensive tube of lipstick, then you might also get complimentary gifts inside the package.
Certain types of tea bags, creams, small towels, and other gifts might be something that you find in your package.
The companies that provide gifts with their lipstick are attempting to make buying their products more of an experience than a simple transaction.
They’re leaning into the luxury side of it all.
Because those additional gifts cost them money, they add it to the overall price of the lipstick.
Another reason lipstick is sometimes expensive is it provides moisturizing effects.
Some tubes of lipstick offer additional benefits besides just coloring your lips.
One of those benefits is that it can keep your lips moist.
A problem some users face when wearing lipstick is that the ingredients dry out their lips.
They may be uncomfortable with wetting their lips directly because they don’t want the lipstick to wash off.
That’s why high-end cosmetic companies make a lipstick that also hydrates your lips.
It keeps them from cracking.
However, to get that sort of benefit, the company usually has to spend more to get ingredients that provide that benefit.
Since it costs them more to do so, they charge a higher price for the lipstick.
It’s just one more benefit of their particular brand of lipstick that you can’t get anywhere else.
10. Brand Name
A final factor that makes lipstick expensive is its brand name.
There’s no question that, in the world of cosmetics, the name on the bottle matters.
Some brands have a reputation for providing cheap lipstick and other types of makeup.
Other brands have a reputation for providing high-quality lipstick and incredible results.
Those brands tend to have expensive prices.
Big-name brands like Dior, Sephora, Tom Ford, and Givenchy tend to have expensive prices on their tubes of lipstick.
That’s because they’ve spent time building a reputation for producing high-quality products.
People who buy their products know that, in most cases, they’re going to walk away with an incredible product.
That sort of security is something they charge extra for.
The brand name adds value to the product as well as pennies to the price tag, sometimes a whole lot of them.
Lipstick can be a fun part of your daily makeup routine that adds a final touch to your look.
However, for the reasons above, buying lipstick can sometimes be quite expensive.