Mary C says…I wanted to ask this question mainly because I noticed the packaging is different and I am also aware that Europe has stricter policies in regards to cosmetics than the US. For example, does L’Oreal use different ingredients for their US version of their shampoo vs their European version of the same shampoo? I apologize if this does not make any sense, I can explain better if needed. Some of my favorite YouTube beauty gurus use drugstore products but from European drugstores like Tesco and I was curious if there was a difference in their quality in comparison to their US versions. Especially since I live in the US and only have access to Target and Walgreen’s
The Beauty Brains respond:
Yes, Mary, EU and US products can contain different ingredients. There are essentially three reasons why this might be the case:
Certain ingredients are not allowed in EU vs US. This is especially true in the case of over the counter drug like sunscreens, acne and dandruff products.
2. Consumer perception
Consumers in one county may hate animal ingredients, for example, so they are omitted even though there is nothing technically or legally wrong with them.
3. Supply issues
Certain ingredients may be more expensive or harder to get in one region versus another. For example, a company I worked for used one version of Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate in the US and a different version in the EU because it was difficult to buy the exact same version in both countries.
Do different ingredients mean the product will perform differently?
Sometimes ingredient substitutions will affect the quality of the product other times it makes no difference what so ever. For example, if the difference is a drug active I’d expect it to be different. But if the substitution is a low level of a plant protein for an animal protein you probably won’t be able to tell the difference. Another example: we used to make a conditioner in the US that used cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol. When we sold that same product in the UK we made it with cetearyl alcohol which looks different on the ingredient list but in reality it’s just a blend of the same two ingredients we used in the US.
The Beauty Brains bottom line
To determine if ingredient substitutions affect product quality, you have to look at each product on a case by case basis. If you have specific L’Oreal shampoos you’d like us to look at, leave a comment with links to the US and EU versions and we’ll dissect the differences for you.
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