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Are you paying double for the exact same cosmetic

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Eyelashes & Brows
March 9, 2010 Reviewed by Marta 4 Comments
I have been seeing double recently. So have some of our readers – especially the eagle-eyed Kim and Joan. We have been finding products with exactly the same formulas made by completely different companies. Often the only thing that is different is the price and that can be vary by as much as 100% or even 300%. I got the double vision thing only the other day when I started to test the new Nutra-Lift Lash Renue ($49 at the TIA shop) and began to think there was something very familiar about it. Sure enough, it was a nearly identical twin of Cilea ($69.99).

On this occasion, I had luckily picked the least inexpensive version to review. But I haven’t always been so fortunate. I had already reviewed, recommended and stocked in the TIA store two products from Pure Radiance before finding much cheaper doubles out there in cosmetic land. Pure Radiance Revive DNA Rejuvenation costs around $100, whilst its product twin (with the exception of astragalus) is a relative bargain at $63.25 from CSI called Telomere Fine Line Repair Cream. There is a similar story with Pure Radiance Infuse ($45), a hair strengthening product. In this case, the exact formula can be found for less than $20 by Nourish Follicle Stimulator. Obviously, we have removed the Pure Radiance products from the TIA shop.

Double-vision can get to be a permanent affliction in this business. No sooner had we reviewed Wilava’s Vitamin C Serum ($25) than it turned up under the guise of My Beauty Addiction for $12. And a reader put us on to a good value cream by CSS, which we then discovered is nearly identical to Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, which costs $100 more!

So what is going on? Well, out there in cosmetic land there are chemists who toil in laboratories coming up with skincare, haircare and makeup formulas. Then they sell the recipes to companies who private label them (put their own brand names on the bottle). Very rarely is the formula sold exclusively, so it can turn up under multiple brands and different price points. The price depends entirely on what the brands think they are worth or can get away with. There are even companies who manufacture formulas on a relatively large scale and then sell them to small spas and salons all pre-packed with the salon’s logo.

Now that we appreciate how rife this is, we will try to be more vigilant to spot a product twin. There is no sure way of knowing if a formula is original or not until we start seeing double. If anyone spots any more, please let us know. Happily, many of the companies we like have their own in-house formulators, for example Your Best Face, Dermophisiologique and Hydropeptide.
  • December 25, 2014

    by June

    Is there a "twin" for Dr. Al Sears Pure Radiance product called RESTORE? It is $69.95 for one bottle, and $62.96 each for 3 bottles. He calls it "A dermal filler without the injection." His products are so high I cannot afford to buy them. He talks a good talk and his stories about his travels to find exotic ingredients are interesting, however his skin care products are overpriced for the average person.

  • September 30, 2013

    by Cyndi

    Cyndi, please read our article on Skinceuticals and its product twin by CSS

  • September 30, 2013

    by Cyndi Bixler

    Is there an identical twin product for Skinceuticals Skin Firming Cream? I know they are owned by L'Oreal. I thought maybe there would be something under the L'Oreal label with these same ingredients:
    Water, Hordeum Distichon (Barley) Extract, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Extract, Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Ethoxydiglycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ectoin, Cetyl Alcohol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Centella Asiatica Extract, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Extract, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Ammonium, Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Laureth 7, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Triethanolamine, Juniperus Communis Fruit Oil

  • January 21, 2012

    by Jo

    Speaking of identical recipes...when I looked up the Wilava & My Beauty Addiction's Vitamin C Serums, I thought the ingredients seemed very familiar. I've been looking at bulk bases recently and as it turns out, both of these products seem to be using the ready made Vit C serum from Essential Wholesale! So, for an even bigger saving, you can get 16oz of the same serum for a little over $10...

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