Are beauty products too big?

There are products, like eyeshadow, that even though they’ll take awhile to finish in the most common size (0.05 oz.), I don’t know if they would be that practical if they were smaller as they might break more easily or simply be so small in physical size as to make it hard to use. For other things, like highlighters, blushes, and bronzers, I think that they are often far larger than they need to be (from both a functional and usable perspective).

— Christine


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Ameerah Avatar

I wish there were options for the size of the product. I have never hit pan on any eyeshadow, blush or highlighter, contour powders or even lipsticks. The only items I tend to use up entirely are primers, foundations and eye liners.
I would love to be able to order the exact same items in smaller sizes and maybe pay a lesser price too.

Heather Avatar

I don’t think I’ll hit pan on any of my highlighters or blushes before they go hardpan. I’d be okay with less product.

On the other hand, I think that even if they reduced quantity they ought to still be in the same size pans, for ease of use–some of the sample sizes of bronzers or highlighters are a usable quantity, but unusable size!

Joni Avatar

I’m with you on the eyeshadow sizes, and with almost anything else, I completely agree– unless it’s HG or a really good LE, I have so much stuff (compulsive buyer! ah!) that it takes me forever to finish even favorite items! I am ALL for a bit less product…. assuming it comes at a lower price point, of course! (and same quality, that shouldn’t need said!)

Nancy T Avatar

Sometimes, yes they are. I would say that any eyeshadow that is beyond standard size and that is not intended for professional makeup artists is a bit ridiculous. This would also apply to products with a reduced shelf life. A lipstick, for instance, need not be any bigger than say .10-.12, unless one were to wear the same exact tube of lipstick daily! Also, when it comes to HE mascara, I prefer minis for exactly that reason. I know I won’t get to use it all up before spoilage or it potentially getting contaminated.

Rosey Morearty Avatar

It really bugs me when products are really large and really expensive. I’d much rather pay less for less product. I am verrry unlikely to finish an entire, gigantic pan of highlighter, for example. Large face powder, lip balm, etc makes more sense.

Shawna Avatar

I think most high-end lipstick bullets are too big, especially for those of us who like to try different colours. I’d rather pay $10 for 0.05 oz minis than $30 for a 0.15 oz full-sized lipstick. At the drugstore though, I’m fine with the size of the tubes because that allows me to experiment with colours and mix them together.

I also wish more products were refillable, like the Hourglass lipsticks or many eyeshadow palettes, that way companies can sell smaller product without creating more waste.

Sk Avatar

I feel, in most cases, yes, they are too big. A lot of times when I see price breakdowns, I think about how I’d prefer paying less for less product because most likely I would never use up most of my products. And my collection isn’t even huge. For example I only own 3 highlighters and 1 cheek palette but all of them have huge pan sizes and there is no way I will finish them all.

Alicia Avatar

I think the standard .05 eyeshadow is the perfect size for singles you use regularly. When it comes to eyeshadow sizes in palettes, it’s hard to say. On one hand, I appreciate when you can get a good value on full-size eyeshadows in a palette (I am still struggling to resist the UD Urban Spectrum palette for $29 with all those full-sized shadows!). Then again, most palettes include at least a few colors I rarely use, if ever, so having a full size of those shades seems a bit wasteful…in that sense, I like the smaller shadows in palettes (priced accordingly, of course) when they shades are available for purchase as singles, because it gives you a chance to test out several shades, then purchase the full size if you fall in love with it. So I guess it depends on the palette, and how frequently I would use a shade (this happens often with color palettes, like the Urban Spectrum mentioned above…there are about 5 shades of green and blue that I don’t commonly wear, and don’t really flatter my eye color well, so I really don’t think I need them in full size, which keeps me from purchasing the palette). Hopefully that makes sense!

I agree with Christine – I think highlighters tend to be rather large, considering how little is used per application. That’s one reason I feel hesitant about purchasing more highlighters, when honestly, I’m not sure I’ll ever make it through the ones in my Becca Champagne Pop highlighter and blush palette. I don’t even think they are full size, but they are pretty large. If I were to purchase a single, I’d rather have one for half the size, and half the price.

Bon Bon Avatar

Becca highlighters in poured pans are much smaller, creamy but still the same price. I bought one for the room I had in my makeup bag and fell in love.

Faw Avatar

tbh I’m afraid to answer this. I don’t want to give cosmetics companies the idea that they can make products smaller and charge the same amount. D:

Though I do wish companies offered trial/travel sizes for products more often.

Mariella Avatar

I wouldn’t mind the shadows in the Chanel quads being larger but I find the MUFE single shadows and others of that size to be way too big. I’d much prefer them to be the size of the “normal” MAC shadows (or those in some of the MUFE premade palettes like the Nudes You Need palette). I can understand that for makeup artists, those larger pans are more economical but for us mere mortals, the chances of ever finishing them is pretty small. Same goes for the Sephora single shadows and the MAC Pro Longwear and original Extra Dimension shadows, to name a few. I’d prefer smaller and a corresponding smaller price tag.

Astrild Avatar

For beauty junkies, yes, they’re too big. With a moderate to large collection, it’s nearly imposible to finish most of the products. But for the average consumer, they’re not too big. It can last several months of daily use. Most of the people don’t buy makeup frequently so it seems to be a fairly good amount of product.

kjh Avatar

There are such persons? No, seriously, you are right. Most people I know stick to purchase/repurchase of the same colors/same brands, if they do makeup at all. I’d be bored to tears. Yay for the peacocks of this world!

Erica Avatar

Sometimes yes. Bronzers especially. You simply or at least I don’t use enough to justify the size. That is why I like buying travel size for a lot of things. I test a product and not be committed to the full size. I bought Benefit Hoola bronzer that way!

Julia Avatar

Rarely, in my opinion… although highlighters are kind of the exception. I do think that cheek products need to be big enough for the appropriate face brush, but it’s a product that is generally used so sparingly that a full, single pan will likely never be finished. It’s always sort of boggled my mind that BECCA’s highlighters are so much larger than their blushes! Why??

Another recent “huge” product is the Kevyn Aucoin Neo-pans, but I have to be honest – even though the amount of product is staggering, I think it’s sort of necessary to make the ombre effect functional. Otherwise you could never get the colors on your brush individually.

Lea Avatar

I’m with you; I don’t find the sizes problematic overall. I think the ABH quads are unecessary (for me) and the six pans even more so. I’d much rather buy those as single pan. Other than that, I’ve finished enough shadows, bronzers and lipsticks to know whether something is going to be a worthwhile buy or not.

Marie-Estelle Avatar

Packaging wise, often yes. I love efficient packaging for products I like to have a variety of – such as eyeshadow-. Viseart palettes are the best I found so far. I tidy them up in the first drawer of my small Alex unit at my vanity – labeled -. Perfect to access.

As for the quantity of product I think that there is often too much to use up in a compact. Especially blushes… I have yet to hit pan on a blush. I promised myself not to buy any new until I do! Lol. Of course anyone not having commitment issue would not be bothered.

Zuzana Avatar

Yes, totally big, mainly eyeshadows, blushes, bronzers, highlighters. I have never finished any make up produkt except for foundation and corrector.

Linda Avatar

Shadows make sense in the sizes presented. But soooooo many other things would be much more appealing if a smaller size.

I was checking out the Laura Mercier Candleglow powder. Very nice product. I probably would enjoy it. I opened the compact and said, nyet. In multiple lifetimes I’d never get through that giant thing. If it was in a larger “sample” size (like my LM highlighter, which is perfect), I would have grabbed it.

I won’t hit pan in my two TF blushes for years to come. I’ll be long sick of them by that point is my guess.

Even if it’s a higher per unit price point, I would rather spend less out-of-pocket and get less for a number of products.

Rachel Avatar

I agree with everything you said. I also wish foundations came in half ounce sizes instead of a full ounce. I don’t think I’ve ever used one up before it went bad, because I only wear foundation like once a week.

Debbie Avatar

I often find that blush, powder and mascara are too big. I have Nars blush that seems to have particle babies every night. I just can’t use it up. Powder as well. And since it is recommended that mascara be tossed after 3 to 6 months there is no need for it to be so big.
I have started buying travel sizes for some products just so that I can use them up within a reasonable period of time.

Ziwei Avatar

Highlighters for sure. A lot of products have way too intense of a highlight that I just have to use a really light hand. I don’t think I’ll ever get to finish a highlighter in my life.
Some drugstore bronzers and blushes are way to big imo. For example, the Milani blush (with the rose shape) is like half an ounce. I can’t imagine using it up at all. Some nyx bronzers are half an ounce as well.

janine Avatar

Maybe but some blushes I have say a brighter orange I rarely use and it lasts forever. I wish mascara lasted longer and I bought my first Mac Palette Chinese NY love all the colors and I felt totally cheated it’s so small. More of a sampler. Total ripoff.

Jessica Avatar

I think it depends on the product. While I have finished lipsticks, blushes, and eyeshadows it takes time. I also have to remember that many makeup consumers are not like me and don’t have enough lipsticks to wear a different one each day of the month.

AB Avatar

I agree on all counts. It’s happened rarely, but it’s happened that I’ve skipped a product because it’s too large to be practical for me. Lately I’ve decided this with MUFE eyeshadow singles, due to size and also challenges finding a number of shades in-store for swatching.

Laurie Avatar

I have an eye cream that, when I just replaced it, had suddenly grown by at least 100%. It used to fit so nicely in a specific slot in my bathroom. Now, it does not. I think they did it so they could add a teeny, tiny little spoon, which I admit is nice for keeping the product uncontaminated, but in no way did they need to more than double the size of the jar. I’m kind of a minimalist when it comes to cosmetics and skincare and would prefer a more Ikea-like; save the artwork and fancy stuff for something I don’t store in a drawer or cabinet. I would prefer a more IKEA-like approach.

Tracey E. Avatar

I used Aveda eyeshadows almost exclusively when I first started wearing makeup. With their smaller pans and magnetic compacts, I found myself exploring a broader range of shades and hitting pan more often than I do now with other brands. So yes, most color complexion products are sold in sizes too large to use completely. That said, I’ve made a good dent in products like CT’s cream shadows and eyeshadow compacts, and have hit pan on pressed and finishing powder compacts from CT and Bobbi Brown. I prefer the smaller TF lipsticks.

I don’t think I will ever finish the blush, bronzers and highlighters I have in my collection.

MacKenzie G. Avatar

Definitely! I think “regular”-sized eyeshadow pans (MAC, MUG, ABH, ColourPop) are fine, they’re small enough without compromising functionality. However, most blush/highlight/bronzer pans are WAYYY too big, I won’t use up all the cheek products I have in several lifetimes, let alone before they go bad. The only highlight I’ve hit pan on so far is ColourPop Lunch Money, and even then it’s taken 10 months and only a little bit of the pan is visible. That’s why I prefer the more deluxe/travel sizes of things. I have a bunch of Tarte blushes/ABH contour powders/Too Faced bronzers that are far smaller than average and I use those products more than any others because they’re less intimidating. Another product that’s way too big is mascara, I can’t use up a full tube in 6 months, no way. I’d for sure be willing to spend less and get less product per item, in fact I’d prefer it.

Talya Avatar

I think sometimes they are! For example, the Jeffree Star Skin Frosts — I appreciate the concept of there being more product than pretty much any other similar item on the market; that said, I think they’re just too big to be practical. I’ll certainly never hit pan on mine (too many other highlighters I love, but even if I used it every day it would take aaaages to finish) and I feel like the huge size just serves to increase the price. I do love my Lavender Snow, but I’d be much more willing to buy his other Skin Frosts if they came in another, smaller size.

Glenda Avatar

I wish all beauty products, especially the higher end lines, I wish they all had travel sizes, or deluxe sized samples for purchase. You can’t get through a blush, as an example, if you have more than a couple let alone like to experiment with different colors and brands.
The eye shadow palettes are pretty much the same thing. On the other hand, if you can show some restraint and not buy everything that tempts you… you can make progress in getting through your existing products.
So yeah, you don’t ever get your $$ worth simply because you can’t finish them. I’d love travel or deluxe size products for purchase!
Cosmetic companies: Are you listening?

GK Avatar

I agree. I prefer smaller sizes on most products, even though they usually are more expensive than bigger size. I think it stays fresher & takes up less space.

Daniela Avatar

Highlighters in my opinion are too big. It makes no sense too me, we use so little of it and I feel like I’ll never hit pan since I’ve been expanding my collection ):
Mascaras as well since we’re supposed to throw them away after 3-5 months of use I don’t think I’ve ever completely finished one.
I wanna say blushes and bronzers but some brushes are huge but then they could make the pans wider and less deep, I don’t know if it would work.

Flaky Avatar

I agree with you on the blushes & highlighters, Christine. I consider my becca highlighters to be a “lifetime supply”. Back in the day, blush formulas contained so little color payoff, you needed to reapply. And I did use up & repurchase my blush. Now, most companies offer so much more pigment, I’m not reapplying or using very much in the first place so the same size pan is lasting for a really long time. In most cases, a delux sample size is plenty for me. As long as the packaging is big enough to get a brush in, I’d be fine with half-dollar size pans for these two types of products.

The other thing that seems too big is cream shadows. I’m on the verge of actually using one up for the first time in my life. But typically, they dry out faster than I can use & im sure I am throwing away more than half the product.

Miska Avatar

Well maybe it’s just me but, for some of the high prices we pay…things could be a little bigger! Not to get on a rant but sometimes the costs are just ridiculous. And cosmetics aren’t even regulated, correct? At least I believe this to be true in the US. Anyways, I agree with many other posters about too much product to get through before spoilage. It would be nice if companies put out smaller sized products for smaller prices. I do love my regular sized lipsticks though. There is something so luxurious about applying lipstick straight from the tube. I personally have a lot of guilt putting down my hard earned cash on an item that I know will expire way before I use it all up. The Temptalia site has certainly helped me to save some money.

Claudia Avatar

This is true definitely for highlighters (I actually hit pan on a couple of eyeshadows). I have used a lot the Becca champagne pop and still like new. I use almost daily the Laura Mercier Matter Radiance and not even a dent on it. And it is not even the full size!! It is the little size that was included in one of those Sephora favorites.

judy h. Avatar

I definitely think makeup products are too big. I can’t use them up fast enough before I’m tired of them of they have past a point where they no longer perform as they once did. Especially with creme blushes and eye shadows; they become rather chalky or dry. With the high price of makeup, I feel so wasteful when I have to get rid of something before it’s empty. If makeup manufacturers would make products in smaller sizes and adjust the price accordingly, I think their profit would still be the same.
Whenever possible, if a product is available in a “travel size”, I ALWAYS purchase it. If I decide to try a new fragrance, no matter how much I love it, I buy the travel size if there is one. I’ve had the experience before when I have loved a fragrance for 2 weeks to a month and then suddenly I can’t stand it any longer.

StillSheryl Avatar

For me, mascaras for sure. If i follow the 3 month rule, I can’t justify spending $30 for a tube that I can’t finish in that time. And I use it every day!! Another product is perfume. I love it, but I’m too fickle and have too many!! I’m happy that so many companies are making rollerballs! Wished more would follow suit.

Genevieve Avatar

It really depends upon the product. As you say Christine, eye shadows can’t realistically get any smaller, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to fit your brush(es) into the pan or they could break.
And I agree with you too about blushes, highlighters and bronzers being too large – especially those recent Kevin Aucoin ones.
Mini mascaras are great because you actually use them up before their use by date.
I also like mini skincare sizes – it enables you to check out the product without committing to the full size version.

Brenda Avatar

I agree with so many of you. When it comes to blush, highlighter and bronzer the pans are way too big. I picked up IT Cosmetics CC Ombré Bronzer and good god it would take 3 lifetimes to use it. I adore the deluxe/travel size products and grab them when I can.

Cheryl Avatar

I have hit pan on eyeshadows because I wear them daily, I like the normal size for that. Don’t wear highlighters or bronzes so don’t know about those. I always finish my mascara since I wear it daily too so I’m happy with that size.

Natalia Avatar

Well, some are some are not, from my experience. The eyeliner pencils, eyebrow pencils and stuff like YSL Touche Eclat concealer are definitely not. They are small IMHO. I go through my eye and brow pencils easily enough (not that much lately, cause I got myself two Fluidlines).

Eyeshadows the size of a regular MAC eyeshadow are just right. So are pressed powders.

HOWEVER! Blushes and highlighters… How much do you honestly need of those on your face? Point in case my beloved Warm Soul blush. I had about a year when I used it almost exclusively every day! That only got rid of the dome.. I would much prefer it the size of the Chanel blush, but a bit cheaper. Highlighters are even more notorious there. Full size Mary-Lou?? I mean if I use it on my collar bones, shoulders, etc. everyday I might use it up in a couple of years or more. But only on my face?

I think there is another angle to look at this problem, that many pointed out. IF you only have one blush and one highlighter and stick to it. Yeah, sounds good if…. you don’t go to makeup stores for a couple of years after you bought those 🙂 I mean, the companies release so many products, many of them are truly innovative, beautiful new colors and textures, how do you expect to not get bored with this blush you have, even if it is Dior, TF? My point is, it would still be much nicer if a product could be replaced faster to keep up with the trends, etc. while knowing that the previous one, for which you paid hefty price, did not go to waste and/or lasted enough to not get bored with it.

Katie Avatar

I think it depends on the consumer. Some people love to get a lot of product so they feel like they’re getting their money’s worth, while other people are more about dabbling into different products and could never use up a huge product. I was the former when I was in college but now that I am more of a dabbler, I realize I will never use up most of what I own. I have the products for variety, and use few of the same products every single day (typically only eyeliner, mascara, and concealer get used up). Especially lip products, I could have a mini version of all my lip color collection and still never use them all up!

Silvia Avatar

I most likely will finish a foundation and sunblock than any of the rest of makeup I have since I love to hoard (experiment I should say) with different things and colors all the time. I don’t mind the current size of items even drugstores are becoming so expensive nowadays. Much rather have a decent sized product than those cutesy ones so small you touch the other colors trying to trach an specific one, that I don’t like much. On highliters i think their printing look lovely on the big round sizes, the more to adore. Unless traveling I’m not complaining. Even when traveling I prefer regular size to be able to use the brush faster on the go and I would just carry less perhaps a multi functioning product.

Terry Avatar

In general yes. I think products should be sized for how much you use like larger for foundations setting powders and smaller for highlights and blush eye shadows like Mac or mg size are ok because any smaller it would be difficult to reach with a brush I wish products would be made in 2 sizes so we can purchase based on what we use like I just lurched a hourglass small size in a color I like but don’t use daily

Emilie Avatar

Very hard to say as a makeup junkie! If I had one or two palettes, one highlighter, a couple blushes, one contour powder, etc. for daily use, I’m sure I’d end up hitting pan on them and having to replace them. Because I do different looks and use different stuff every day, I actually hit pan very rarely. I feel like if I was a ‘regular’ makeup user I’d always want the most product for my money, since eventually I may have to replace it. I understand the size of most products for that reason (but if something is crazy expensive, I won’t use the “Oh, but you get so much product!” excuse with myself because it’s kind of irrelevant in my case– I’d never finish it).

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