Friday, March 31, 2017

What I'm Not Buying: Ofra x Nikkietutorials

Instagram brand Ofra Cosmetics has teamed up with YouTube personality Nikkietutorials for an incredibly expensive collaboration of three liquid lipsticks and a highlighter.

And I won't be buying.

I've mentioned before that I am really not a fan of collaborations. And that is because usually what happens is that either the price is crazy high or the quality of the product is pretty bad, or a combination of both. The reason for this is that both parties need to be paid. So, unless the brand wants to take a slight hit for the added exposure of working with someone (and very rarely do brands decide to do this), the price has to go up or the products need to be cheaper to make while selling for the same price.

As a disclaimer, I have never tried Ofra Cosmetics. And I have never heard of them outside the YT world. The first time I heard of them is when they collaborated with KathleenLights on a liquid lipstick, and then I only heard about them through the avalanche of people wanting to get something Kathleen recommended.

Here's my thing: I don't like or trust brands like this that only exist because they have paid some person on YT to shill their products. I think it wholly compromises the integrity of what the YouTube platform was once supposed to be. I don't know how in the hell regular consumers are expected to trust most people on YT when the entire platform has become more of a home shopping network than women shooting the shit and talking about makeup.

If the only reason I am going to learn about your brand is because you paid KathleenLights or Jaclyn Hill or Nikkietutorials to talk about you, then I am sure as hell not going to buy anything from you. End of story. This is my personal preference.

I have recently delved into the world of indie makeup (specifically eyeshadows), and I have not heard one of these "major" YT personalities talk about the brands I have purchased from. I have tried Morphe, Colourpop, Violet Voss, BH Cosmetics, etc. and the shadows from Fyrinnae blow all those out of the water. They are even better that a lot of shadows I've tried from Makeup Geek. And yet, none of these "influencers" talk about Fyrinnae. And they are supposed to be makeup enthusiasts who have made a career out of trying makeup products and "informing" people of great new products.

Thing is, I didn't just recently learn about Fyrinnae or other indie brands. Not by a long shot. I have been aware of the indie community for years. But I never dipped my toes in because 1.) I didn't think I would like loose shadows. 2.) (And this is embarrassing to admit) I wasn't hearing about them all the time the way I was hearing about MAC and Urban Decay and Too Faced, and so I figured they weren't very good. But now I see some of my indie shadows as the best in my collection, and I feel they are the best kept secret in this community.

And the reason they are a "secret" is because the brands haven't been paying people gobs of money to shill their products. Many of the brands are a one-person shop, and turnaround time can be a couple weeks or more because of that. But when I see these people on YT claim that Morphe makes the greatest shadows of all time and that if you can't work with them, you're bad at makeup (looking at you, MannyMUA), I have to call major, major bullshit.

And so because of that, I just have zero interest in a brand like Orfa that seems to be riding the coattails of these people on YT.

Let's talk about this collection of products.

You've got three liquid lipsticks and a highlighter from a small, internet brand. Since this is all packaged together and you cannot buy these products separately, that usually means the products are discounted in some way. Personally, I think this collection of items should cost $35 at the most. I think that's a fair price, leaning on the generous side. 

You wanna know something hilarious? This collection has a (fake) retail price of $79!!!

Can we all take a moment and pick our jaws off the ground or massage our cheeks from laughing too hard? When I first heard that price, I laughed so hard and actually said, "You have to be f***ing kidding me." And I instantly felt bad for all the young people out there who were going to spend this money (or their parents' money) on this ridiculous overpriced stuff. 

I said it had a "fake" retail value of $79 and that's because, "conveniently," Nikkie has an affiliate coupon code! Yay! No one expected that at all! And not only that, the coupon code is for 30% off, bringing the price down to $55.30. 

Now, I probably don't need to tell you this, but this entire scheme is complete bullshit. If you have ever worked retail or know someone who owns a business, you know that most sales are utter crap. Retailers mark up the original cost of the item to whatever the sale price is. So, if something is typically $20 and they are running a 20% off sale, they will mark up the original cost of the item to $24 so that when you apply the discount, it comes to $20, which was the original price. People are much more likely to buy something if it is on sale, which is why this is something many retailers do. 

The cost of this collaboration was never supposed to be $79. And, as I said, Nikkie "conveniently" has an affiliate coupon code. So, people think that they are getting this huge discount, but they're not. It is setup that way so that Nikkie can get profits off of the people who use her code. Even still, $55 for this is, in my opinion, a ripoff. I think all this stuff is overpriced considering prices of midrange brands sold at Sephora. 

As I mentioned, you cannot buy any of these items individually, and, inevitably, there is at least one product in this bundle that will not work for most people who buy it. This is just not a value whatsoever. 

To give this collaboration some credit, I do think that effort was made to include as many skin tones as possible. Even if something is not done perfectly, and even if this effort means that all the products cannot physically work for everyone, I am happy to see that an effort was made to be inclusive. 

With that said, I can say that, personally, I would get use—maybe—out of the lightest lipstick shade. And I don't even like liquid lipstick, so that's a stretch. 

I wouldn't use the highlighter. I've mentioned before that a highlighter is a highlighter and I already have plenty. Added to that, I don't think the three colors swirled together would look good on my skin and I would not use at least one if not two of the individual colors as highlighter at all. I also would not use these colors as eyeshadow since I already have a metric ton of eyeshadow that I love. Why would I try hard to make a highlighter "work" as eyeshadow when I already have eyeshadow? I wouldn't. 

The bright pink lipstick would not flatter me, and I highly doubt it would be a color that most people would enjoy or would have purchased on their own. I also wouldn't use the metallic brown shade. I think it's a cool shade and am glad she thought to include a shade like that, but I personally would not wear it much if ever. 

So, this was an incredibly easy pass for me. It was so easy that it kind of slipped my mind to write a post on it. But I really wanted to talk about how products are marketed and how shady this kind of behavior can be. Especially in a platform like YouTube, which can be incredibly manipulative. When you are watching QVC, you know you are watching an advertisement. When a commercial comes on, you know exactly what it is. But when you have subscribed to a person on a platform like YouTube to learn how to apply makeup and to learn what people enjoy, you don't immediately think that you are watching an advertisement. Many people on YT are very deceptive about disclosing if they are being paid to talk about a product. And that is because they DON'T want people to know they are watching an advertisement. They want people to think they are watching a friend who is honest. And that is grotesque to me. 

This collaboration reminds me of everything I dislike about the beauty community and specifically the YT community. And I won't be buying. 


  1. Hey so, Ofra cosmetics actually makes a really a really good liquid lipstick formula. Its creamy and comfortable and lasts a really long time. Their metalic formula isn't my personal favourite just because it transfers more than I prefer but its very comfortable to wear. They retail at $20 each which is pretty standard. I've not tried their highlighters or other products, and probably won't because I don't really care about highlighter. This is over priced for sure, but I do think the quality would be there. Personally i think the colors are awful though, just gross. All of them. Some products are definitely shilled without worth (morphe I mean you) but this one is actually not terrible.

  2. So over collabs. I don't follow influencers so they're pretty easy for me to resist, but it's sad that a lot of their audience are young teens and a lot of them are so expensive, it feels like they're exploiting the most impressionable (to me anyway)

    I'm not sure where some of these brands like Ofra and Violet Voss get off on charging the amount they do, especially when they can't be swatched first or returned easily. Not to mention that no serious make up artists have ever heard of or use these brands.

    Of course there are some gorgeous indie brands, but I only have time for the ones who don't shill shill shill

  3. Fast forward one year and it's being sold on Nordstrom Rack for $19.99.
    Insane doesn't begin to describe it.