Sticker Shock: Price Gouging in the Skin Care Industry

Thursday, December 15, 2011

You know I can be a bit outspoken when it comes to people being ripped off.  I've talked quite a bit over the years about overpriced products--or simply ridiculous product claims.



I am not even sure as I type this right now whether I will be disclosing the name of the companies I'm speaking of...I don't want to be a Scrooge, so perhaps I won't.

As you know, I am sent several products weekly from different companies for the purpose of possibly reviewing or giving away items. When I am sent products, I try to always give a fair and thorough review of the items in a respectful way.

Last week, I received a facial moisturizer from a company I have reviewed products for in the past--a pleasant enough company to deal with with some nice products that they sell.  This new cream sells for a whopping $74.99 per 2 ounce jar.  Now, if this were enriched with top shelf, potent ingredients I might understand this price.  I am not saying that $74.99 would still be a justifiable price, but I would understand that the company is trying to create an image of being higher end with potent ingredients.

No, this is a cream with the following ingredients:

Aloe barbadensis (Organic Aloe Vera) Juice, Persea americana (Avocado) Oil, Aspalathus lineans (Organic Rooibos Tea) Tincture, Simmondsia chinensis (Organic Jojoba) Oil, Emulsifying Wax, Organic Palm Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Palm Stearic Acid, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C Ester), dl-Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Xanthan Gum (Polysaccharide Gum), Retinol Palmitate (Vitamin A), Salix nigra (Black Willow Bark) Extract, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Oleoresin, Azadirachta indica (Neem) Oil


With the exception of the palm oil and palm stearic acid, the ingredients are just lovely.  Are they expensive to formulate products with?  Not particularly. I think what caught by eye the most were the Rooibos Tea and Willowbark in this.  These are standard in most organic bases company can purchase from Essential Wholesale.


Indeed, this identical product is sold in the bulk section at Essential Wholesale and called the Vitamin Rich Creme. The cost?  $20.90 for a 16 ounce bottle or $71.70 for a half gallon. For less than the cost of the 2 ounce jar from the company I am talking about, you can get a HALF GALLON JUG.


This is not isolated.  This happens all the time. 


Another company sent me three products two weeks ago. They are all in 1.7 ounce bottles with decent ingredients (along with more harmful ones, too) and the prices of the creams: $84, $94, and $101. Ingredients-wise, these products contain nothing more special or effective than most $20 products.


Here are the ingredients, for example, in the $101 cream:


Water (Aqua), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Stearic Acid, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Bis (Tripeptide-1) Copper Acetate, Arabidopsis Thaliana Extract, Ceramide NP, Ceramlde NS, Ceramide EOS, Ceramide EOP, Ceramide AP, Caprooyl Phytosphingosine, Caprooyl Sphingosine, Dimethicone, Polysorbate 80, Lecithin, Beeswax, Ceteareth-25, Glycerin, Behenic Acid, Cholesterol, Sorbitan Stearate, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Chloride, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Chloride, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol

A random skin care website I found via Google is selling their "Anti Wrinkle Cream" for $75 for a 1.7 ounce jar as well.  The ingredients:

Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Juice, Rosa damascena (Rose) Distillate, Persea americana (Avocado) Oil, Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Emulsifying Wax NF, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Elaesis sp. (Organic Palm) Oil, Palm Stearic Acid, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Phenoxyethanol, Retinol Palmitate (Vitamin A), Rosa mosqueta (Rosehip) Oil,  Allantoin (Comfrey), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C Ester), d-Calcium Pantothenate (Pro-Vitamin B5), Xanthan Gum (Polysaccharide Gum), Daucus carota (Carrot Seed) Oil, Mannan, Triticum vulgare (Wheat Germ) Oil, Salix nigra (Organic Black Willow Bark) Extract, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Oleoresin, Azadirachta indica (Neem), Tetrasodium EDTA, Citric Acid

This is the same exact product as Essential Wholesale's Antioxidant Creme.  You can buy a 16 ounce bottle for $17.30 or a half gallon for $59.  Again, this skin care website is selling a 1.7 ounce pot for $75.

Be an informed consumer. Be aware that the typical mark up of beauty products is around 50%. That is just the norm. Some of what I am finding online, though, is a mark up of well over 1000%. That's quite a profit!


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