The truth about beauty product prices

Is there really such a big difference in quality or results, between a cleanser that costs £50 and one that costs £15? To some degree the prices are to do with the ingredients; concentrations and their quality. To a another degree, the price is dictated by; expensive packaging - think double-walled jars, bling, heavy containers and cello wrapping - much of which ends up in the bin; smaller manufacturing runs are more expensive; 'luxury' brand positioning which is marketed to appeal to your aspirations and influences the mark up or brand margin. Let's look at an example.  Below you can see the ingredient lists for five market leading Cleansing Balms, along with a Cosmetic Scientists evaluation of some aspects of the ingredients. [caption id="attachment_1260" align="aligncenter" width="575"]Cleansing Balm comparision Cleansing Balm comparision - Click Image To Enlarge[/caption] Which would you chose and what would you base that decision on? Tell us in the comments below please. In my opinion, we need to break away from the mind-set, that paying more = better quality or performance.  Or that more reasonably priced products, do not perform. That is not always the case. and it is proven time and again in all industries including food, cars, cosmetics etc. When I was running a well known brand, we had a body product that sold for £25.  A rival company produced a copy of the product with an almost identical name and packaging and sold it for £6.99. Surprisingly, it did not do very well. They then raised the price to £12.99 and sales increased significantly.  At £6.99, customers did not believe that the quality was good enough but at £12.99 they believed the very same product was quality. This demonstrates how we, living in relative abundance, have been trained to think.  Oh and  by the way, I tried the product to compare and honestly, it did the job! My father used to tell me as a teenager, 'Maleka, remember, it takes a really smart person to pay 50p for something that is worth £1 but any dummy can pay £1 for something that is worth 50p. Make sure you understand the difference between price and value'. He was rather blunt, as Father's tend to be with their wayward daughters who are spending all their earnings in Harvey Nichols! However, in the times we are living, and with the threat of another global recession, this is a good lesson and one our nation is embracing.  Supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl are challenging the 'big four' and cars like Lexus/Toyota are challenging Mercedes and BMW on performance and reliability. MERUMAYA is a challenger brand.  It does not have the fanciest or heaviest packaging but the product itself, rivals anything on the market and truly delivers results.  My job is to inform you of that and then it is your choice to make and I respect that. Note, I am NOT saying that this applies to everything; a zirconia simply is not a diamond and clearly a skincare product that  sells for £100 is not likely to be outshone by one that sells for £3. But I am saying that a skincare product that costs £35, can potentially out-do a product that costs £100.  There are times when our aspirations and desires factor high above value and performance. We need to each pick and chose what is important to us. e.g. I would still like to drive an Aston Martin if I could, but I would not spend massive amounts on things that go down the sink. What do you think? Please give us your thoughts on that in the comments below and please share with us, how influenced you really are by packaging and the perceived brand positioning/quality.  Would you look at brands differently now?


  • Thank you Nadia for your comment and your vote of confidence. I am delighted to hear you use Melting Cleansing Balm. Please help us spread the word! regards Maleka

  • To be honest the ingredients are what influence me the most (along with price) as i have to avoid anything that has mineral oil & shea butter in it. These 2 ingredients play havoc with my skin & i also try to avoid high levels of alcohol in ingredients. Based on this i would choose the Merumaya cleansing balm & also because i have used this product before & couldn’t fault it! I avoid anything with fancy packaging (even if the ingredients are right) as i resent paying over the odds for this!

  • Hello Becky
    thank you for your comments. I really appreciate it. To be honest, the post was not intending to put the beauty market into perspective because I honestly believe there is space for everyone and no-one’s choice of brand is invalid. I was meaning for us to think about how we make our purchasing decisions; price, packaging, positioning, marketing, recommendation etc. and then decide what is right for us. Glad you enjoyed it though and hope to welcome you as a customer one day, if we haven’t already, in which case, Thank you. regards Maleka

  • Great post, really puts the beauty market into perspective. To be honest i don’t buy into the hype anymore of brands and there expensive advertising campaigns. I am much more likely to buy a product when it has been reviewed by the likes of Caroline Hirons or Ruth Crilly.

    I’m currently using an expensive cleanser that came courtesy of a beauty box and it is honestly not much different to a much cheaper one I was using, as long as it cleanses my face efficiently and doesn’t irritate my skin or cause acne, I’m happy :)

  • Thanks for taking the time to comment. M

  • Interesting reading, I know I can be seduced by the nice packaging, beauty blurb and can find it difficult to work out value for money with cleansers etc. Love the info about the different balms, very useful!

    Sheila Reeves
  • Hello Sydney
    thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it and your views. We look forward to welcoming you as a much valued customer to our small British brand. regards Maleka

  • I completely agree with Becky . I was always buying things after seeing reccomandations from beauty editors / expensive advertising but since reading Caroline Hirons I feel I have a more informed view of skincare and its ingredients and better skin rather than a cupboard full of half used not great products .
    For some reason based on that chart the wax content is something I’d consider ( I’d like low ) because I don’t like the thought of wax on my face .
    I am still a sucker for fancy packaging though ( I know I can’t help it ) but I do realise that you are paying for it more often than not . I’ve never seen a bad review of your products so I am going to try once my cleanser runs out and I’m going to try the face mask ( charcoal I think ) as I’ve seen rave reviews .


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