The comparisons come down to the old cliché, "you get what you pay for." This is generally true in life and especially when it comes to pricing beauty products. I'm sure you all have heard me say there are two kinds of products: Products that change your skin and products that maintain the skin.  I wanted to share a better idea of why professional and OTC products are different in price and effectiveness. The prices of products are largely determined by three things: the amount of marketing, the quality and percentage of ingredients, and the presence or absence of professional recommendations.

The Cost of a Product: We can turn on the television or open a magazine without viewing expensive and elaborate advertisements of beauty care products, many with their own famous spokesperson.  These products are with few exceptions, over the counter (OTC) products. They are sold at drug stores, discount stores, department stores grocery stores, through multilevel sales and on the Internet. All are sold without recommendations form trained skin care professionals. Many of these lines spend millions of dollars a year in all forms of promotion to convince the public to purchase their products. OTC companies also spend a great deal of money on the packaging of their higher priced products, to visually confirm the worth of the products and the claims in their ads to potential clients.  Take note, I would like to Point out the costs of promotion for professional products dwarfs in comparison to OTC products. Why?  Because, professional products put their money into where it will most benefit the customer, in quality, results producing ingredients, and in training professionals like me to recommend the correct products to my clients. Promotion is not a major expense for professional products company. As you all know I don't push my products onto my clients, but I try to explain the old cliché. 

The truth about OTC effectiveness?

How is it that these OTC have high percentage of quality, results producing ingredients, but be sold at a low price in stores? It can't. If the price is low then the quality and percentage of ingredients must also be low in order for the company to make a profit.  If promotional costs are high, the cost of making the products needs to be even lower. Ouch! You're probably thinking what about Department store products they are expensive, so they must be better right?  Wrong. The difference here is the fancy bottles and heavy promotions in magazines, TV, or the positioning in the department stores costs quite a lot. So similar to the drug store products there really isn't much difference in the effectiveness of what is in the bottle. Compared with a professional product and the professional product will always be the best choice.

You have to ask yourself does a trained sales clerk have the knowledge of what is in the products they sell. Most likely not, they are trained is sales strategies and focus on the features and benefits. A trained professional esthetician can direct you to a product that produces real results for your skin care concerns and issues. Thus, giving you a product that is actually going to do what is says it's going to do.

As consumers become savvier with all the information at their finger tips, they can gather information about ingredients that can make a difference in your skin. Ingredients such as AHA or BHA can have a profound effect on the skin, however once a client learns of the great benefits of these ingredients it isn't enough to just go out and find any bottle that claims to have AHA/BHA ingredients. Once you find these product ingredients at the OTC stores and for much less, you think why should I buy the more expensive professional product when "look these OTC have these ingredients, and they are less expensive, ah ha!  I have found a great deal!" Not quite, there are other factors in these ingredients that make them effective. Just because it claims to have a certain ingredient in it does not guarantee it will work like it's supposed to. Not all products are created equal. Buyer beware, this is where the marketing is done well to entice you to purchasing that product. In order for certain products to be effective with powerful ingredients there is a certain level and cost associated with that. If OTC were to use the correct amount of ingredient to be effective it would price their products out of reach for their OTC customer.

The reality is there are thousands of OTC products that are less expensive and have good ingredients but are less effective in giving you results. Professional products are designed to and often tested clinically to prove their effectiveness. Professional products have higher quality ingredients and will continue to improve your skin over time. It all comes back to "You get what you pay for."