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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.

{ 14 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.

  • Dawn DeAngelis December 20, 2014, 11:50 am

    Does Loreal hava a product that preforms the same as Lancome’s artliner?

  • Mya January 1, 2015, 1:13 am

    I love Lancome products. I have tried them all. I have used Loreal also. Loreal is much heavier and does not last as long.

  • B Fulford January 29, 2015, 9:00 am

    does L’Oreal make a serum comparable to Lancome

  • Toula Colovos February 18, 2015, 1:58 pm

    I have been buying Renergie by Lancome for more than twenty years and paying about 104,00 dollars per jar of 2.5 oz.
    I do not know if it is a matter of genes or the brand but the results are excellent.However, since I am aware of L’Oreal and Lancome being the same company I wonder if I should move to L’Oreal Renergie, if they are the same.

    I do hope youcan answer me as soon as possible because Lancome has a special here in California till the 23rd of February

    Thank you

    T. Colovos

    • Randy Schueller February 18, 2015, 4:02 pm

      Try a bottle of the L’Oreal product and see if you like it! You could save some money. You could even do a half face test where you try each product on your face at the same time so you can compare them better.

  • Dolly March 20, 2015, 9:20 pm

    I use Lancôme lift makeup. The shade is (lifting Clair). There are these numbers on the bottom of the bottle…..30c. and 18j201. My question is what shade would that be in Loreal?

    • Randy Schueller March 21, 2015, 7:23 am

      Hi Dolly. I’m not familiar enough with their product lines to know if there’s an exact match but maybe one of our readers will be able to help you out. Good luck!

  • LenaC April 9, 2015, 8:25 am

    Speaking from France and hailing from North America, what the sales girl said to the person who submitted this question is just silly. The positioning of Lancome vs. L’Oreal here is exactly the same as in the US/Canada. Lancome is clearly marketed as more high-end, and I have yet to see it at any “Target equivalents”, etc.

  • alisha July 12, 2015, 7:37 pm

    It has absolutely nothing to do with packaging and all that other nonsense. There is a definite reason why Lancome is triple the price as drugstore brands and also has nothing to do with formulation but with the purity of ingredients. Like buying an avacodo from walmart vs publix…its about quality if ingredients not formulaton

    • Randy Schueller July 13, 2015, 8:12 am

      Hi Alisha. I’m sorry but if you believe that packaging and “all that other nonsense” like marketing has nothing to do with the price of cosmetic product then you’re sadly misinformed about the beauty industry.

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