Why Are Some Skincare Products So Expensive?

Ever wonder how a $350 skin cream differs from the drugstore’s $7.99 offering? Why the drastic difference in price? Is it possible to develop a truly effective skincare routine using less expensive products? There are great and terrible products at every price point: the product’s formulation, not its marketing budget, is what really matters. Some tips to ensure you are getting the most bang for your skincare budget:

Examine the ingredient list and ingredient concentrations. Make sure that the ingredients that inspired you to purchase the product are listed towards the beginning of the ingredient list. Ideally, the product’s packaging will list a percentage of any key ingredients, like retinol or vitamin C.

Beware the high end products trap. With some products, you may be paying a premium for a brand’s glitzy reputation. To find out if a pricey product is worth it, do a little digging: check out the ingredient list and seek out customer reviews. Beauty bloggers can also be a great source of reviews. Though they are usually gifted products, many bloggers do provide fairly objective product reviews.

Do clinical studies and testing matter? You can certainly look for clinical testing and studies that demonstrate a product’s efficacy, but do know that smaller brands may not have the capital required to pay for these tests. Additionally, the fact that skincare companies are paying for their own testing might raise questions about the tests’ results. Something else to keep in mind about testing: the FDA does not regulate skin care and cosmetics as rigorously as, say, prescription medications, so cosmetic products do not have to prove their effectiveness in order to receive approval.

You may be paying for advertising and packaging. Skincare companies spend a lot on packaging and advertising, which is then reflected in product price. A new trend in skincare: companies, like Glossier and Aura Skin, that don’t shell out for advertising and instead target consumers directly via social media channels, or Amazon.


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