Not all anti-aging creams are created equal. But you sure as heck wouldn’t know that from looking at them. That means when you pony up anywhere from $20 to $200, you don't really know what has gone into that jar. You might as well be buying unicorn tears.
Creating a list of every skin cream on the market and why it costs as much as it does is a gargantuan task. To do it comprehensively, we'd have to send undercover agents into every major skin-care brand and infiltrate their laboratories, bank accounts, and archival institutional data. Because no matter what skin cream you buy, you're buying intangibles: Brand equity, marketing dollars, advertising budgets, patents, and licenses are all part of the bottom line for every single personal care product — drugstore or prestige.
But that doesn't mean you have to go into the whole process blind. We think it's important for you to have a general idea of what exactly you are paying for. To do that, we compared a sample of anti-aging night creams from a range of price points and brands — Dr. Brandt, Murad, Olay, Omorovicza, ROC, and Vichy among them.
We compared some the key factors that make those price points vary so much:
· Mass-produced versus hand-bottled
· Plastic jars versus artisanal bottles
· High levels of filler ingredients versus high levels of active ingredients
· Lab-created compounds versus sustainably sourced extracts
All of these things have an impact on how much a product costs — and that's not to mention intellectual property, celeb endorsements, marketing, and a whole host of other price-raising practices. This list is in no way a comparison of which price point is "better." Rather, it's an overview of skin-care price categories and some examples of what makes those products cost what they do. Nor are we making any judgement on the benefits of plant-derived extracts versus petrochemicals. We’re just pointing out that presently, in the global cosmetics economy, it’s more expensive to include the former and exclude the latter.
Alright, let's cut to the chase: What is the real difference between a mega-fancy cream and its drugstore cousin? Check out the infographic below to see the journey your average skin-care cream takes before it gets slapped with a sticker price. Just remember: This infographic is not going to tell you cheap products are just as good, or that expensive ones are worth every penny.