Industry insiders just confirmed all makeup is basically the same
The 50 different beauty brands in your cosmetic bag might be fun, but they’re not exactly necessary.
It’s a requirement in the United States that cosmetic products have their ingredients listed on their labels. But while seeing lists of cosmetic ingredients can be useful for consumers to determine whether they are allergic to or sensitive to beauty products, ingredient lists are also helpful for cosmetic chemists who want to duplicate competitive products.
“It’s not necessarily a secret, but when I’ve developed products for different companies over the years — whether it’s makeup or skincare — we’ve used benchmarks of other competitors,” Ron Robinson, cosmetic chemist and founder of BeautyStat, tells Refinery 29. “We’re looking at those products and we’re basically trying to duplicate their texture or we’re looking at the ingredients they used — and that’s very common.”
Chemists also copy one another in regards to shades of makeup: “You’ll see a lot of similarities in terms of textures and shades of beauty products on the market and that’s very much intentional,” says Robinson.
Why is that intentional? Well, ‘copycat cosmetics’ are competing against the ‘big brands’ everyday.
Side by side, liquid eyeliners look identical on the shelves at your go-to beauty retailers. And while there’s no way to distinguish the liner tips from one another, the price tag makes a big fat difference.
We tested out two types of gel liner: Tom Ford’s Eye Defining Liquid Liner Pen ($56.00) and Jesse’s Girl Liquid Eyeliner ($6.99). Our verdict: the cheaper liner is easier to apply and lasts much longer.
How is this even possible? “For makeup, in terms of shade, everyone’s copying everyone else. We may tweak them a little bit, but essentially, they’re more or less the same,” explains Robinson.
You might think you own 5 face cleansers for 5 different reasons, but in reality, they could all be filled with exactly the same ingredients. There might even be a cheaper product on the market that works just as well.
In regards to higher end products, if they’re sold at Sephora, you can find the ingredient lists on the beauty retailer’s website. In regards to standard store-brand products, Drugstore.com offers ingredient lists along with detailed product reviews.
Do your research, ladies! Save your skin and your wallet.