Are Digital Beauty Events Worth Your Time?

Are digital beauty events worth your time?

Photo by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash

The Lowdown on Digital Beauty Events

I don’t know if I’m just late to the party or just now noticing that my inbox has been flooded with invites to digital beauty events.

All digital beauty events have the same goal – to expand their customer base and drive sales. The question is, are they actually worth your time? Will you be influenced to purchase products?

Sephora is just one of many brands right now trying to market their monthly digital beauty events via email and its website. They promise its customers they will get to “enjoy best-in-class tutorials, brand giveaways, beauty samples, and a special gift from Sephora.”

I like the idea of learning something new from the comfort of my home. I signed up for these beauty events with the hope that I would take away some helpful makeup or skincare tips and discover a new product or brand.

Over the last six weeks, I attended three makeup and skincare events hosted by different minimalist beauty brands and I’m going to share my real, honest thoughts on each one. Spoiler alert: most of them left much to be desired.

Are digital beauty events worth your time?

Photo by Diana Rusevaon Unsplash

Event #1: New Spring Collection Reveal with Rare Beauty

The first event I registered for through Sephora featured Selena Gomez’s makeup line, Rare Beauty. I signed up for this one immediately because I absolutely love this brand. I figured if they were teasing free beauty samples and a complimentary gift then that’s enough incentive for me to join.

Unfortunately, I ended up being almost 30 minutes late to the event! Whoops. I was still able to join the event halfway through, as the Rare Beauty team was demo-ing the new Stay Vulnerable collection. I guess I didn’t miss much. There was a chat box filled with questions from attendees, which was heavily moderated by Sephora employees.

The event hosts kept reminding attendees that they must stay for the duration of the event in order to receive a potential gift bag of samples and to be entered to win the spring collection PR box. To me, those reminders made it seem like people were dropping.

Towards the end of the call, the team shared a 2-3 minute video message from Selena Gomez (because let’s be real, I think all the attendees were secretly hoping Selena would make a surprise appearance). It was pretty generic and not very memorable. Although, I do really love this green velvet couch you can see in the background of her house.

The free gift was only applicable to the first 200 attendees that completed the event survey and unfortunately, I didn’t make the cut. Oh well, duly noted for next time.

Grade: D

I feel like Sephora and Rare Beauty really missed the mark on this event. I know Selena Gomez is a celeb and all but if she had participated in the event (not in a pre-recorded message), they probably would have sold her products like hot cakes. I did end up purchasing products from her spring collection; however, I was strongly influenced by other YouTube videos and bloggers, not by this event.

Event #2: Discover the New NudeFix Cream Concealer with Co-founder Taylor Frankel

This was the second beauty event I signed up for through Sephora. Nudestix is all about minimalist, simple, fast and effortless beauty products that will enhance your natural look.

I’ve always been curious about Nudestix products, but the price point for some of their products have always held me back from purchasing. Last year I purchased a set of cream eyshadow sticks (review here) but it was cheaper in price point.

The brand’s lead makeup artist, Jasmine Merinsky, joined Nudestix co-founder Taylor Frankel as they did a demo of the new concealer and put together entire makeup looks from start to finish. The first 10 minutes certainly looked forced as Taylor seemed to be reading from a script when it came to the description of the concealer. I mean, I’m not sure I would’ve remember all the ingredients in it by heart either.

What I did like about this event was that you had two women with two different skin tones each doing a full face of makeup based on their personal preferences. Taylor was representing the woman who is always on the go (in a COVID world, I’m not entirely sure how realistic that is but I get her point). Being the lead makeup artist, Jasmine talked about how she likes to take her time doing makeup, adding her makeup artistry tips along the way.

This time, I was able to qualify for the free samples and I won the brand giveaway, which is this 6-piece set! And no, it wasn’t because I’m a blogger. I’m registered for Sephora events through my personal email. The downside is I have to wait 4-6 weeks to receive it.

Grade: B+

I was worried it would be the same template as the Rare Beauty event but it was much more engaging. It’s nice to see an actual brand founder stand behind her products, spend time with their brand advocates and potential customers, and show excitement. I’ll definitely consider purchasing some Nudestix products during the next Sephora sale.

Event #3: Building a Nighttime Routine with Follain Founder Tara Foley

This digital beauty event was different compared to the other ones I attended. I received an invitation because I’m subscribed to Follain emails. Unlike the Sephora events, this one charged a $20 fee, which includes a bag of samples with your purchase.

Seven skincare samples were shipped to me well in advance of the class, all of which would be used during the event. One of my samples had leaked so it was a bit messy when it arrived at my house. The bag was a mixture of samples from the Follain namesake skincare brand (a cleanser, an eye cream, a detox mask, a firming serum, cleanser, etc.) and there were three deluxe samples from clean skincare brands, Pai and Ursa Major. I was a little disappointed by the Follain samples – they were teeny tiny and only sufficient enough for one use.

Follain’s Founder, Tara Foley, conducted the Zoom session and she was by far heads and tails more engaging than the speakers from both of the Sephora events. She comes across as really friendly, like you’re chatting with you best girl friend. Nothing about this event seemed scripted to me.

I also liked that I was able to see other participants on video; it was a very diverse group of women of all ages. There were approximately 55 or so attendees (compared to the Sephora events, which were at least 200 but I couldn’t see anyone, other than the speakers).

Tara kicked off the event by proposing a virtual toast, introducing us all to the brand and sharing what inspired her to launch Follain. She then walked us through a complete nighttime routine using the samples, providing plenty of application tips and answering questions in the chat as they came in. It was a highly engaged group of individuals—lots of Q&A.

Tara really owned the entire experience and wasn’t so focused on the sale itself. She had her team to assist with that! At the end of the event, they offered a special discount code for attendees to take $20 off a purchase of at least $100. I wouldn’t consider this to be the most enticing deal but at least they offered something.

Grade: A-

Out of the three virtual beauty events I attended, this one kept me the most engaged and was perhaps the only event truly worth my time. I came away with some helpful skincare tips, tried some new products and it left me interested in learning more about clean beauty. I’m going to take some time to continue using what I have left of the samples before I decide if I want to purchase.

Final thoughts: Overall, I think digital beauty events can be worth your time but only if you know you’ll bear hearing from an influential speaker (ideally, the founder/creator/owner). Yes, freebies are fun but not if I have to wait 4-6 weeks to receive. Oh, and a discount to shop after is appreciated.

You can sign up for various beauty events hosted through Sephora here. If you’re interested in attending a Follain digital beauty event, I recommend signing up for their newsletter.