Experts Break Down Difference Between Expensive And Inexpensive Moisturizers

When buying bath and beauty products, we often assume that more expensive products are also more effective. In order to decide whether that two ounce jar of La Mer’s Creme de la Mer is worth the $325 price tag, or if the 16 ounce jar of CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, which retails at $16.99, is equally effective, we turn to the experts.

Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Craig Kraffert told HuffPost, that high-priced creams may use innovative ingredients to develop their products, or the packaging may be more expensive, therefore the list price will be higher. Ingredients like niacinamide, sulfate, ceramides and hyaluronic acid can also increase the cost of a product.

Yet according to Perry Romanowski, a cosmetic chemist and the founder of The Beauty Brains blog, all creams, regardless of price, use the same ingredients  – moisturizers, humectants and emollients. A common humectant is hyaluronic acid, which according to Rachel Nazarian, of Schweiger Dermatology in New York City, shouldn’t make a product more expensive.

“Hyaluronic acid is hyaluronic acid,” she said. “A brand like Neutrogena will make a phenomenal one that, to me, is just as good as these fancy ones that you’ll pay $100, $200 for. If you look at La Mer with their kelp and their ingredients from the sea, they use a lot of that proprietary stuff. I don’t think the science necessarily backs that more than anything else that you can get at the drugstore.”

Oftentimes, products are costlier as a result of their marketing campaigns. Luxury beauty and skin care brands are promoting a lifestyle as well as their products, Nazarian said. In a study done Sweden, women were asked to use three creams: a luxury cream in its original packaging, a luxury cream in neutral packaging, and an inexpensive cream in luxury packaging. The women tended to prefer the cream in the luxury packaging.

“Product cost has little to do with the effectiveness of the product,” Romanowski said. “This is really just a marketing game in my opinion. But the thing is, it works. There are consumers who want to buy expensive products.”

Another consideration is that luxury and inexpensive brands are often marketed by the same company. L’Oreal manufactures both Skinceuticals and CeraVe and since formulas are often shared, both expensive and inexpensive may have similar formulas.

“There is no direct relationship between how much something costs and how good it is for you,” said Nazarian, who recommends asking a dermatologist for their opinion if you have any doubts about a product. Though she adds that if spending more makes you feel better and you can afford it, don’t deprive yourself.

RELATED: Kiehl's Revamps Its Cult-Favorite Moisturizer By Removing This Harmful Ingredient

Among the quality drugstore moisturizers recommended by experts, you will find: Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer, Neutrogena Hydro Boost Moisturizing Gel, Avène Hydrance Optimale Hydrating Cream, La Roche-Posay Toleriane Moisturizer, Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer, Cetaphil Oil Control Moisturizer and Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream.

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