Though Costco tends to be a destination for 30-packs of toilet paper, the beauty department at the members-only warehouse shop has become increasingly alluring. Under the company's Beauty's Most Wanted program, launched in May, some of the most prestigious names in the industry -- legendary hair stylist Orlando Pita, celebrity makeup artist Pati Dubroff and "green" manicurist to the stars Jenna Hipp -- have quietly launched beauty collections.
"I think of these products as a doctor's visit in a box," says Wu. "Cost does not equal efficacy when it comes to skincare. There are wonderful products at all price points. Fewer than 10% of women go to a dermatologist or other skincare professional ... so this is a way that I can reach a large number of women where they already shop."
Wu developed her products to target the most common skin issues of female patients. By dissolving oil and removing dead skin, her exfoliator combats dull skin and large pores; her serum treats skin discoloration from sun exposure and acne scars.
Costco's other prestige lines are also expanding this fall. Orlando Pita's Revive Instant Boost Dry Shampoo ($17.99 for set of two) also was to launch Sept. 15 and the Argan Restoring Hair Mask ($29.50) is to arrive on Oct. 15. Pati Dubroff Beauty added Graphic Line waterproof eyeliners ($17.99 for set of four) in Sept. 15 and plans to roll out a 12-shadow Spotlight Palette ($21.99) on Nov. 1 and an ultimate Star Palettes case with four removable makeup compacts ($29.99) for the holidays.
"As a professional, I have tested thousands upon thousands of makeup items over the past years," says Dubroff. "I know what works. I know what I turn to, day in and day out, for my clients and myself. I have been given the opportunity with Costco to create well-edited collections that are like a 'wardrobe.' All for a cost that is still lower than what a single piece would cost with a luxury brand."
Costco stores in Torrance and Tustin are the first to debut Beauty's Most Wanted Studios -- shop-in-shops with educated staff on hand to answer questions and mirrored "play stations" that invite product testing. Initially intended as pop-up shops when they were created in July, the studios have become so popular that now there is no end in sight.