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Why is Lancome more expensive than l’oreal?

Shelley Ann Asks…If L’Oreal ownes Lancome, why the heck is the price difference SO high? I recently received a foundation sample from Lancome and absolutely loved it. I went to the Lancome counter at Macys. . . the 0.85 oz full size product was $35.00. Yikes! The sales gal told me in France L’Oreal was at the department stores behind the counters and Lancome products were sold at France’s Walmarts, Target’s, and Walgreen stores. So what is up with this?

The Right Brain responds:

We can think of at least four different reasons why two different brands by the same company would be priced differently.

Reason 1: Higher quality = more expensive

In some cases there really is a difference in quality between brands that just justifies a different price.F or example, the Alberto Culver company used to make both VO5 shampoo and Tresemme shampoo. Tresemme shampoo was more expensive because it used richer surfactants and it more contained conditioning agents. The difference in performance justified a price difference.

On the other hand, we also know for a fact that large companies share formulations across different brands. In that case there may be low and high cost products using the exact same formula. When that happens the difference is based on pure marketing because the parent company wants one of the brands to be more prestige. The marketing position may vary across different regions like your example of L’Oreal being sold at Walmart in France. (By the way is it just me or is the idea of Walmart in France really funny? Also we’re pretty sure that if there was a Target store in France it would be pronounced “Tar-zhay.”

Anyway, the only way to tell for sure if the same formula is used across different products is to compare the ingredient list side-by-side. If you have any specific products you’re interested in we would glad to review them for you, just leave a note in the comment section.

Reason 2: More fashionable color choices = more expensive

Even though the basic chemistry may be the same, companies do charge more for brands with more fashionable colors. (At least in the case of color cosmetics.) For example we’ve heard that the color choices between L’Oreal and Lancome are different and that may be driving the difference in price.

Reason 3: More elaborate packaging = more expensive

A large part of the expense of any cosmetic product is the package. So, if Lancome uses more colors of ink, more expensive dispensing mechanisms, or even higher-priced design elements (like metallic accents) that could drive its price higher than the comparable L’Oreal product.

Reason 4: More marketing = more expensive

Of course it could be all these things combined with marketing that accounts for price differences between the ads. More advertising, promotions, celebrity spokespersons all add into the selling price a brand.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

What’s in the formula is only one small factor in determining the selling prices of a beauty product. The magical manipulations of marketers has a much greater effect.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • laura spodek August 21, 2014, 2:15 pm

    What is the difference between Lancôme Renergie lift multi action and Loreal Regenerist multi action

    • Randy Schueller August 21, 2014, 4:00 pm

      Hey Laura. I found the ingredients for the Lancome product but I’m not sure which L’Oreal product you’re talking about. If you can send me a link to the ingredients, I’ll compare them for you.

  • Swapna November 13, 2014, 9:35 am

    Is Lancôme dual finish make up powder better than Loreal’s infallible?

    • Randy Schueller November 13, 2014, 10:54 am

      If you can post the ingredients for each product I’ll take a look at them.

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