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Is more expensive eye shadow really different?

Mamasim asks…Can the processes (methods) as opposed to ingredients, of producing a beauty product be different enough to justify the price differences in the same product type? A makeup artist I like commented in a tutorial that the reason she liked Dior eyeshadows is they have a wonderful texture. She said that when she asked a cosmetic chemist why they said it was because during its production the product was held at the ‘fat combining’ stage for slightly longer than is the norm… (???) I’m interested in knowing if high end companies use more involved methods and this is a reason why their products can be more expensive?

The Beauty Brains respond:

The only unusual “fat combining” process that I’m aware of is the way Perry eats a hamburger and french fries. He eats ALL the fries first THEN he eats the burger.  Isn’t it normal to intersperse bites of the burger with the fries so you can enjoy the flavor of both?  I mean you wouldn’t eat your entire bag of potato chips and THEN eat your ham sandwich, would you? Sheesh! But I digress…

Processing can impact product cost

While we stress the importance of looking at ingredients to understand the quality of a product, there are situations where the ingredients don’t tell the full story. Sometimes HOW the ingredients are put together can be tremendously important to the quality of the finished product. You don’t see this in simple mixtures, like shampoos, but you do see it on more complex products like pressed powders. Case in point: a recent article in Cosmetics & Toiletries revealed that the quality of a powder cosmetic products depends in part on how the powders are pulverized.

The powders used in cosmetics can form agglomerates, or clumps. These clumps prevent the powder from having a smooth application. To avoid these clumps powders are processed to break them into tiny particles. This is commonly done using a piece of equipment called a “Hammer Mill” which basically slams metal hammers against the powder’s surface to break the pieces apart. Most manufacturers used to this type of equipment.

However a more advanced process, known as “Jet Milling,” can break the particles into even smaller sizes and make them more spherical.

Not surprisingly Jet Mills cost more, and not as readily available, as Hammer Mills. That means if a company wants to make a higher quality powder they either have to invest in more expensive equipment or they have to use a contract manufacturer which owns this specialized grinder. In either case the use of jet milling to create a softer feeling product results in an increased price. Therefore it’s unlikely you’ll see this used in bargain products.

So the answer is yes, process can impact cost.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Christina June 5, 2014, 9:13 am

    Amazing post! I feel like processes are the unsung hero of creating amazing products.

  • Eileen June 5, 2014, 10:38 am

    Here! Here! I’ve long maintained that how a product is processed and packaged is of importance in determining its overall quality, effectiveness, and, yes, price. Although I am a strong advocate of reading ingredient labels–especially when it comes to skincare products–that does not tell the whole story (Sorry, Paula B.). The amount of each ingredient, how it has been individually processed and handled, and then how it is combined with all the other ingredients is of tremendous importance in determining the final outcome.

    Many women are on the look out for cheaper versions of fashionable products (we all like to save money where we can), but are the so-called dupes the same? Nah, which is why women who venture into the realm of better, more expensive cosmetics seldom, if ever, go back to the cheaper drugstore brands once they’ve discovered the difference in overall quality. The color of the so-called cheaper dupe might be close, but the texture, finish, longevity, evenness, and blendability can be markedly different. Enough to justify a steep price hike? Well, that’s something each woman will decide for herself. There are legions of women who say yes as well as those who say no way.

    Thanks for giving such a simple and straight-forward example–the one about powder mills; not fries and burgers! LOL

    • Michelle Reece June 5, 2014, 9:02 pm

      The price = quality notion when it comes to makeup is even trickier when some companies prefer to earn profits by volume rather than increasing the price. Also, there’s a bias for more expensive products anyway.

      I wish beauty bloggers would blind themselves when reviewing makeup, but it’s understandable that they don’t because it’s a bit difficult to. 😛

  • Thenationalskincentre June 6, 2014, 11:14 am

    As per Dr.Navin Taneja-cosmetologist, south ex, H-30, New Delhi-India, Woman should use Branded companies mackup items becasue cheap cosmetic items harmful for skin and this type items harm of skin internally according to http://www.thenationalskincentre advise to all men and woman choose cosmetic better quality products, otherwise many years can take for recover the skin so, i will advise personally please use only good companies cosmetics