Updated: Feb 27
I am probably not alone in my search for the perfect face cream. I want it to be effective and reasonably priced. I want to see results every time I look in the mirror and be pleased with what I see. But it is not easy to find the perfect product. There are thousands of options on the market, from cheap to ridiculously expensive. And it is hard to tell whether a costly cream is worth the money.
Many factors contribute to the price of a product, starting with initial sourcing through a marketing campaign. Each step adds a little bit more to the cost of an item. But the price does not necessarily reflect how effective a product is; it merely shows that a brand spent more money along the way.
The formula of a product does affect its price. Some brands prefer to go the shortcut route and source a basic formula from a third-party. The non-exclusive third-party seller offers its consumer-ready product to skincare brands. A brand that buys the product, re-packages, and sells it under its name. This practice is called "white labeling."
Some benefits come with the "white labeling" approach. A skincare brand saves money on research, development, and production. That, in turn, means that a consumer saves money and gets a relatively good product.
""Formulation can be a huge determining factor," says Ko. First of all, he explains, it's more expensive for a brand to develop an exclusive, proprietary formula in-house than it is to use a generic, ready-made formula from a third-party manufacturer (this process is called "white labeling" and its commonplace within the beauty industry)."" WELL + GOOD, When you buy a super-expensive beauty product, this is what you are paying for by Erin Magner.
Some brands decide to go a longer route investing time and money in a new formula. A brand would partner with a lab to develop its unique product with a secret sauce. Sourcing, research, testing, and production mean that the final product will be costlier than its generic counterpart.
The concentration of active ingredients affects the price of a final product. The high-end creams often have more good components and in higher concentrations. The best ingredients are hyaluronic acid, ceramides, retinol, niacinamide, and glycerin.
A fresh cup of coffee is a good example. Strong fresh coffee is rich in flavor and taste and highly aromatic. Dilute that fresh coffee with ice or water, and you get a less tasty drink. Caffeine and smell are still present and noticeable, but the effects are not the same. Its diluted version cannot replace the energy and satisfaction you get from a strong cup of coffee.
Sustainability and Responsibility
Additional factors that contribute to a product's price do not depend on a formula or star ingredients. Sustainable brands that care about responsible sourcing, environment, factory conditions, and workers' wages face higher expenses. These expenses are included in the price of a final product.
Compare a generic face cream jar with an air-tight pump. Which is more expensive to source and package?
A brand that decides to use unique packaging like air-tight pumps or encapsulation will be spending more money, causing a product to cost more.
And of course, there is a "small" matter of marketing (which is big nowadays). Brands that are buying advertisements, working with social media influencers, hiring models, and staging photoshoots need to recoup their expenses. The more elaborate and exciting the marketing campaign is, the higher a product's price tag.
The critical issue to consider and remember is that the beauty industry is not FDA regulated. No one tests lotions, creams, or serums to check whether they are as effective as they claim to be.
A brand can claim that a newly discovered ingredient performs miracles for your skin, but the truth could be that the new ingredient only slightly improves the existing formula.
"The cosmetic space isn't regulated by the FDA, which means that no one is really checking to ensure that all those fancy ingredients and advanced formulas in a luxury skincare product are really doing the most for your skin." WELL + GOOD, When you buy a super-expensive beauty product, this is what you are paying for by Erin Magner.
Is The More Expensive Product Better?
The price as a single data point should not drive your purchasing decision. Instead, focus on what matters to you. If you have a limited budget, then select a well-respected product. But do some research: read reviews, check out active ingredients, scan personal blogs and magazine articles. Having more information will allow you to find the best product for your money.
How To Find What Is Right For You
It Is Never Too Late To Explore
Consider exploring new brands and purchase their sample editions. The skincare industry does not stand still. Ingredients that were rare and expensive ten years ago now are most likely a commonplace practice. So if you have been using the same product for a long time, do some exploring.
Also, think about your age. Products vary in their potency and ability to deliver noticeable results. When you are in your early twenties or thirties, a skincare product does not have to perform miracles. But in the forties, fifties, and so on, you want to use products that have higher concentrations of the right ingredients.
Find Magical Self-Care Moments
Another critical question to consider: will you use the product? Whether you are going for a high-end or generic cream, you will need to use it daily. If you do not like your new friend for some reason, you will not be using it. Then the money you spent was a total waste.
If buying a more expensive skincare product will encourage you to use it, then that is the path forward. High-end products tend to have a luxurious feel and delectable smell. They might transform your morning and evening routines, creating a unique space in your life for self-care moments.
Finding the perfect face cream is a tough job. It could take years but do no give up. The cosmetics industry is continuously developing, experimenting, and pushing improved and enhanced products to market.