What Happened to Prescriptives? Here’s My Thoughts

21 09 2009

By Megan

Prescriptives is being jettisoned from the Estee Lauder family.

It seems many are lamenting the loss of their favorite foundation; however, I am not one bit surprised at this outcome. In fact, I think those of us who spent time behind a counter saw it coming years ago Prescriptives has been languishing in marketing limbo for years. 

The problem with Prescriptives was never the product. In fact, Prescriptives had some of the most innovative products on the market. Custom made foundation, the Magic Line, and many of their fragrances were before their time. Their foundations were incredible and rivaled luxury lines in texture and staying power. The Virtual Matte foundation dries to an incredible powdery glow that fights oilies all day long. 

So how did a line that had so many great products go so incredibly bad? Sure, we can’t avoid the economy factor. I mean, the halcyon days of the Sex and the City spending are over.  People who make $25,000 a year are not buying designer shoes, handbags, and cosmetics like the world is ending.  However, a lot of the blame lies in the hands of the company. 

The line failed to define itself; it can’t get any simpler than that. The lines that are surviving manage to create iconic imagery that makes the product immediately identifiable and evocative of its marketing direction. Clinique is branded from top to bottom. Everything from its advertising to the carpet in the cosmetics bay has Clinique’s marketing message in mind.  Prescriptives, in my opinion just failed to let the market know what it is and why we want it. 

Prescriptives could’ve been the custom-color company. Prescriptives could’ve been the go-to company for women of color. Prescriptives could’ve been the chic silver compact for the girls “in the know.” Unfortunately, Prescriptives floundered without a direction.

The line was too expensive for the Clinique crowd. The line’s color coding was too confusing for the Lauder and Lancôme demographic and it just didn’t have the hipster cache of MAC and the boutique lines. Perhaps if Prescriptives just sold foundation and didn’t try to go mass market it would’ve survived. 

We here at Painted Ladies are a little stilted. I mean, how many of us outside the beauty blogging and message board world know that Fyrinnae eyeshadow exists? All of us here have favorites that are obscure, so we had the luxury of seeing Prescriptives as just another option. Unfortunately, we aren’t enough to keep a great company afloat.

 Post Note: Also, the name of the company when written over and over is mind-blowingly hard to type correctly.

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7 responses

25 09 2011
oceansnsunsets

I am sad about Prescriptives, I was shocked to see it gone. One of my favorite perfumes was Calyx. I have to admit though, I never shopped it much, and took it for granted it would always be there.

23 07 2012
MissingRx

I miss their iridescent eye shadows! Green and purple in one, pink and gold, orange and pink… sigh

21 11 2013
Yvonne

For Oceansnsunsets: Calyx is now available at the Clinique counter !
Lakeside Lexi

30 11 2013
Lita

I’ve never used any foundation like Virtual Skin before – and I’ve tried dozens over the years! When you first put it on it didn’t look very impressive, but by the time you finished applying the rest of your make up it looked like a better version of your own skin from 10 years ago. I am over 60 and people would give my face a long look and then move a step closer and examine my skin, then tell me how beautiful my complexion was.

13 12 2013
Bubble

They are now back! http://www.prescriptives.com/

27 02 2014
ice dancer

The line that never did promotions of anything to further their identity. Once in awhile, in the 1980’s the Perscriptives’ Counter at Macy’s Herld Square had a small lipstick giveaway here and there. But it had nothing to do with anything. I loved their custom made powders, but they were very costly. They reminded me of my mom’s custom made Charles of the Ritz’s powders.

21 02 2016
Jennifer

I bought some of their makeup brushes after reading a makeup book that mentioned them..and said investing in a good makeup brush set along with taking good care of them should last a long time. I still have them after 13 years and they still work just as good as the day I bought them! I wish I had bought the extras I didn’t know I would need at that time.

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