Vending Machines Open for Beauty

Published in: Makeup, News, Product Reviews

Ghost in the machine

Beauty vending machines are popping up everywhere. Check out this stalker-ish camera pic of the new ProActiv kiosk at my nearby mall:



Shoot, I remember when all you could buy from vending machines were cans of Coke and bags of Corn Nuts.

Remember how a few days ago I bemoaned the loss of the Elizabeth Arden counter at Macy’s? Well, I spoke too soon. Now, even Elizabeth Arden has vending machines:


I can stock up on Ceramide mascara and Eight Hour Cream when I visit the Westfield Shopping Center in San Francisco, hooray. (Side note: Bay Area girls, there are also vending kiosks in Westfield Oakridge Mall in San Jose and Westfield Valley Fair Mall, Santa Clara.)


Could this be the future of the cosmetics counter?

On the one hand I like that I can just walk in, get what I want and then leave without being stopped by a sales associate. Then again, I also really appreciate getting tips and recommendations from real, live, breathing makeup artists. I also like being able to touch and test products in-store, which you can’t do (legally) using these machines.

How do you feel about this trend? Yay or nay?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 31 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Christine says:

    They had an Apple vending machine at Valley Fair, too. It’s the vending machine for the rich..

    BTW, I tried four glossimers today, and I have to tell you, I think Chanel will pass me by.

  2. Glosslizard says:

    I don’t like these as much as being able to test products at a counter, and I usually enjoy schmoozing with the S.A.’s! On the other hand, I prefer vending machines to zero availability! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. ponikuta says:

    it is good for top ups that you know previously the product worked for you but for a first timer to a certain new product how would you be able to know if the stuff works? we can’t all depend on magazine reviews can we? buy and trial method is far too expensive too !!

  4. nilla cookie says:

    Hmm, I’m going to have to nay this one. As much as I hate be harrassed by sales associates a lot of the time, the fun with makeup is that you get to test everything!

    I can barely bring myself to buy drugstore lip gloss because I can’t test it let alone purchase Elizabeth Arden for double or more of the price.

    I hope this isn’t the future of cosmetics, but who can ever tell these days with all the technology we have. Pretty soon we might be able to speak to the kiosks and say, “pink, lip gloss, no shimmer, 35% shine” and it will pop out a customized shade just for you. How crazy would that be?? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Hope you’re having a fabulous Monday!

  5. TUPRNUT says:

    I guess it’s most comparable to online shopping…. and seem to do pretty well – get the products without the hassle. It’s an interesting marketing/business tool (no sales people to pay, no department store lease, etc), but it certainly loses major points on the personal-interaction factor.

    So, what happens when you do not like the product and want to return it? That’s one thing I love about shopping for cosmetics and department stores… you can return it!

    I wouldn’t think this area would get any vending machines like that (I don’t think the market sustain it). So, let me know what you think and see when you’re out and about and come across one of these.

    Very interesting!

  6. Irene says:

    Oh mah gawd!

    That is scary, nada nada nada! I thought you were joking when I saw the pix.. that is seriously so retarded, I’m sorry if I offend anyone but honestly, what kind of marketing strategy is that? They both have reputations of being high-quality and are pretty pricey – why kill their images? Are they trying to say that bottles of lotion will be as convenient and cheap as bottles of coke? How degrading.

    I suppose TUPRNUT is right about it being most similar to online shopping – just that you don’t get scammed. Oh wait, won’t you just hate it when your product gets choked up in the machine which will cause you to kick and bang at it like a crazy lady with your $200 nine west boots? Oh gosh.

  7. Rowena says:

    I think – considering how much make up costs in the UK, I actually want a bit of fussing over me…otherwise I could just get stuff from a counter myself, you know high street brands.

    It would be cool if it were for little samples – like in somewhere like an airport where you need to pick up some bits and pieces.

  8. I agree with you that beauty vending machines are good, but they are depriving us of chances to meet people, to talk to them and be engaged in social interpersonal communications.

    I don’t know sometimes they are really good, when you are lack of time and want to buy something.

    I don’t know machines are getting over human mind and soul.


  9. sandy says:

    i still prefer going to stores and talking to sales associate. but having them in vending machines is quite a good idea. but i just can’t see it having makeup vending machines in sydney australia =(

  10. Hessah says:

    DAMN! I think I might wait for ten years till I can see these in my country.

    I think YAY!!!

  11. Karen says:

    Aww, no love for the Glossimers Christine? You can send them all to Makeup and Beauty Blog. I’ll give them a home. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. Karen says:

    True, true, Glosslizard. I like making friends with MA’s too, because they give me the skinny on new stuff coming in and on occasion hook a girl up!

    Maybe someday they’ll have a Chanel vending machine for us. In that dream, though, stuff like lipglosses and quads would be like 75 cents, LOLOL.

  13. Karen says:

    You’re preaching to the choir, Ponikuta. I like having the option to return stuff, for sho’.

    And I was thinking the other day, what if you buy stuff from one of these machines and you take it home to find out that the formula that you love has changed> Or what if you get a bad tube of something like concealer and you want to exchange it? (This has happened to me before). It’s very handy in some ways but not all.

  14. Karen says:

    Hey Nilla,

    I want a machine that will give me the perfect foundation! “Hi, um, I’d like something that’s buildable, not to pink or yellow, doesn’t break me out, and isn’t too expensive. Thank you.”

    How rad would that be!

  15. Karen says:

    Hi Tuprnut,

    I dunno what happens when you want to return something. I suppose it’s like buying from a food vending machine – you buy it and there’s no turning back. I am running out of Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream so I plan on giving the kiosk in SF a personal visit soon, so we shall see.

  16. Karen says:

    Ha! Irene, I’ve kicked a vending machine or two in my day. I haven’t kicked one full of beauty products though (yet).

    I suppose if you buy the same product online over and over again it’s handy, because you save on shipping.

  17. Karen says:

    I hear that, Rowena! I need some fussing too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    And with stuff like new skin products, I *always* have a ton of questions (what’s the active ingredient, when to use it, what should not mix it with). I need a real live person, yo!

  18. Karen says:

    Hi Sandy,

    Hellloooo, Sydney! (I’ve never been to your neck of the woods!)

    Even though you guys may not get the machines for a while, at least ya have some cool brands that are hard to get a hold of here in the US. They’ve discontinued Becca in Sephora stores (boo!) and it’s very hard to find stuff like Model Co.

  19. Karen says:


    Hey, you gotta let me know then when you finally see them ๐Ÿ™‚ and then send me a picture. I can put up different beauty vending machine pics from all around the world, LOL.

    have a good week!

  20. Grayburn says:

    I wish we have this in Europe. This would be such convenience at local supermarkets when I can’t be bothered to take a tram to the centre.

    Great post!

  21. Janet says:

    OMG, I both love and hate this! If the machines are available 24 hours that could be sooo convenient, but if I need to play around with colors, uh, not so good.

  22. Mrs. Lynne says:

    Wow, are you serious? I guess it’s convenient if you already know what you need. But if you need help, like I ALWAYS do, then I’ll still need a counter, haha. Now if they can put that right next to a Coke machine, a DipNDots machine, and a massage chair, I will definitely forego the counter.

  23. Karen says:

    They Grayburn,

    I hear that. At least it would save some time! ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy holidays!

  24. Karen says:

    I hear ya Janet. I like to test stuff at the counters, too.

  25. Karen says:

    LOL, Mrs. Lynne! I hear that! I loves me some DipNDots…

  26. chloe says:

    these machines seem impersonal and impratical. In snack machines, I have often put money in and my prodct has gotten stuck. What happens if I don’t get my lipstick because it gets stuck in the machine… I’d go nuts! Seriously though not being able to try the products for me takes away the point of shopping for higher end cosmetics.

  27. Delphine says:

    these machines are a nightmare! I want to talk to the sales people, get advice, feel the product, etc…

  28. Karen says:

    Hi Chloe,

    Yeah, I hear ya. If I’m gonna spend the $$$ for shadows and whatnot I wanna get some personal attention and some tips, too!

    If my lipstick got stuck you better believe I’d beat the crap out of the machine to get it!

  29. Karen says:

    True, true, Delphine. I guess it’s best for stuff that you’ve already tried and know you like. But for new products it’s not the most ideal situation.

  30. Jessica says:

    I absolutely love this concept! I enjoy picking out colors and advice on products with CERTAIN REPS, on the other hand, there are certain reps I would like to avoid. I am obviously there to purchase some items, please stop selling me the extra crap I do not need nor want. Thank you, and keep the change ‘ya filthy animal… I am outta here with my new blush and gloss in 53 seconds flat.

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