Question: Are expensive products better than cheap ones?


In my opinion, the answer is both yes and no. To understand why, you have to understand why expensive products are expensive in the first place.

Most of the time, products have a high price tag for the following reasons:

  1. Better and/or prettier packaging
  2. More money spent on marketing and advertising
  3. Lots of money spent on research and development for the product
  4. Use of expensive product ingredients

If the product is expensive for reasons 3 and 4, then yes, it will probably be a worthwhile investment. A lot more goes into making a good skin care product than we are actually aware of. Some of these things include getting the product to be at the proper pH, figuring out the right percentage of an active ingredient, and having good stability of the product as a whole. The cost for making these well-formulated products with cosmetically elegant finishes is partly why some things are so expensive.

Also, sometimes we as consumers don’t realize it, but good ingredients can be rather pricey! Quality ingredients backed by sound research ensure that a product will have a higher chance of success with your skin. This is enough reason for people to be willing to pay more and these are the kind of products that are usually worth their price tag.

On the other hand, buying products simply because they are “brand name” or because they come in nice packaging is big a waste of money. You throw away the packaging and bottle after it’s used up anyway! The value of the actual product matters most, not the appearance of the bottle it comes in or the catchiness of its advertisements.

Many excellent drugstore products are available for a fraction of the price because they skimp on such extravagant packaging and advertising but are still up to par when it comes to the actual product. However, that’s not to say that all drugstore finds are gems. There are both good and bad high end and low end products.

On another note, if you are at the makeup counter and the sales lady is trying to convince you to use the same line of cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen for everything to work at its best, don’t believe her. She’s just trying to get you to buy more products. The truth is, you don’t have to use products from the same company in order to get maximum results. You can mix and match. I mix and match cheaper and more expensive products all the time!

As for what skin care products you should skimp and splurge on, I tend to skimp on on cleansers, pay a little more for moisturizers, and splurge on treatments (only if effective) and sunscreen. Part of the reason why I don’t like to spend a lot of money on cleansers is because it all goes down the drain anyway. You just want to make sure whatever cleanser you buy cleans well and is not overly drying.

Moisturizers can be more expensive because they may be better formulated with nicer finishes. Sunscreens, on the other hand, are quite pricey because a lot of research and development goes into making one that offers adequate SPF/PPD protection but at the same time feels good on your skin. Acne treatments and anti-aging creams can also be quite expensive because active ingredients such as retinol, Q10, collagen, and EGF are all pricey raw materials.

Before you shell out $200 for a new night cream, do some research and try to figure out why the product is so expensive. Is it because it has a new patent-pending ingredient? Is the formulation and finish worth the extra money? Or is it because the bottle it comes in has a 24K gold plated pump?

With all skin care products, expensive or cheap, you have to pick and choose. Following the Four Golden Rules of Beautiful Skin will help make the selection process a whole lot easier.

Last updated: September 23, 2012

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