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A cosmetics club is any organization that promotes itself in connection with the purchase, sale or discussion of beauty products. Many cosmetics clubs operate as an inexpensive way for consumers, primarily women, to sample a wide variety of products for less than face value. Some clubs operate on a buy-in model; participants pay a flat fee for basic membership, then receive different products at weekly, monthly or quarterly intervals, usually through the mail. Many makeup wholesalers operate stores as clubs in which members can shop for a select range of products directly from the source. Depending on the context, a club also can be any informal gathering of friends that is committed to trying out different beauty supplies or comparing notes on them.
The most common use of the term “cosmetics club” is to describe a membership organization centered on the regular — often monthly — sales of different makeup and beauty products. This sort of club is often called a “cosmetics of the month” club in reference to the frequency of shipments. People will often sign up for these sorts of opportunities as a means of trying different types of cosmetics or might sign up a friend as a unique gift.
Most of the time, monthly cosmetics club participants are required to purchase whatever comes in each shipment, but the prices usually are deeply discounted from those charged in retail shops. Some clubs also operate on a pay-upfront policy, with mystery shipments coming each month after a flat fee has been paid. At sign-up, participants usually are able to note their preferences for certain types of products — nail enamels or lotions, for instance — and can provide the basics of their coloring, skin tone and general style. Clubs exist for designer cosmetics as well as cheap cosmetics, although most are not limited by brand.
A cosmetics club might also be a shopping club or a centralized warehouse for beauty supplies. Members in these types of clubs often gain access to beauty products wholesale before they are released to the market, and members usually pay less than sticker price. There usually is a fee for this privilege, but not always. Some clubs incentivize membership by promising loyalty rewards or discounts for multiple purchases. There are always many places for people to purchase cosmetics, and clubs such as these are a good way to help concentrate consumers' attention.
People who have a shared interest in beauty products, makeup application techniques and cosmetics tips often form informal clubs, usually among friends, as a place to share skills and tricks. These clubs usually are informal and might meet in a coffee shop or a member's living room. Members swap products, help each other learn about applying cosmetics and might even make beauty supplies themselves. Things such as basic lotions, spa salts and perfumes usually are easy to create at home. People who enjoy these projects often form a cosmetics club to share their interests and expand their social circles.
I remember seeing the ads for the cosmetic clubs all the time in magazines when I was a kid, and I always wanted to try one. I ended up joining a record club.
It always looked like such fun to have new makeup to try every month, and I really would have liked to be a member. Of course, it's difficult to make that pitch when you're ten and you don't have a job to support the makeup habit. I have a job now, and I still have to ration my makeup buying very carefully, lest I go overboard with it.