The same products, big price difference

Expensive products are sometimes better in quality, but very often you are paying purely for the beautiful presentation, an exclusive marketing campaign and a feeling of luxury. As with clothing, bags and sunglasses, cosmetics is also an experience. Yet, ultimately you want value for money when buying something because of what it promises. So: can it also be cheaper?

The same formulas

It is no secret that large cosmetics companies own more than one brand on the market. So, for example, the luxury ranges of Kiehl’s, Lancome, Yves Saint Laurent or Biotherm, come from the same address as the more affordable brands Garnier and Maybelline, specifically from L’Oreal. The same applies to Unilever or Proctor & Gamble. These big boys usually share their technology and formulas with the brands that they own. The creation of a formula costs not only a lot of money, but also a ridiculous amount of time.

A new product takes at least 2 years to develop and often after a year you have to go back to the beginning again because ‘your special composition’ doesn’t turn out to be as stable. It is therefore very handy to have a ready- made and tested formula sitting on the shelf whereby all you need to do is add a couple of new desirables such as fragrances.

So it may be the case that the sister of your favourite exclusive cosmetic product is standing two shelves away and for a quarter of the price. Therefore, if you always use an expensive product, have a look to see which family it is from and go in search of any related products. If you have found one, then check the first five ingredients on the packaging of both brands. Are they the same? Then the chances are that you are in possession of almost identical formulas for your face or hair. To help you get started I have found a couple! I’ll be interested to see what you can find…


More expensive alternative Cheaper alternative
Lancôme Effacernes Waterproof
Long-Lasting Undereye Concealer
L’Oréal Paris True Match Touche
Magique Concealer
Lancôme Hydra Zen Masque Vichy Quenching Mineral Mask
Yves Saint Laurent Forever Youth
Liberator Serum
Vichy Liftactiv Supreme Serum

Kind regards,


Research Physician Cosmetic Dermatology

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