I have been in cosmetic manufacturing for 23 years and no matter what you’ve been told this is what I know to be FACT!
When the same product from the same brand shows up in different types of retailers (professional, supermarket or pharmacy) it is more than likely it’s the EXACT SAME product! Major manufacturers usually manufacture within the same continent, so if we look at the Australasia region as an example, even though a product might have packaging intended for Asia it’s run on the line right before or after the Australian packaging. In very rare cases there can be products that are slightly different formulas to suit different markets but for major manufacturers this isn’t cost effective, so they usually don’t do it. The same formula can go into numerous different outer packaging.
So, why are manufacturers claiming they haven’t sold professional products to supermarket/pharmacy? Because maybe they haven’t, it’s possible it’s come from a large client they did sell to at some point and once it’s sold they have NO CONTROL over where it ends up. The laws in Australia cover the BUYER so once the goods are paid for it’s theirs to do with as they like. Keep in mind major companies have 1 goal – PROFIT so they’re going to make decisions based on money every.single.time. It can also be old packaging they’re trying to clear or discontinued lines they just can’t sell so mass market (supermarket/pharmacy) is the place to do that.
Counterfeit products are very REAL, particularly for the well-known brands so you do need to be vigilant no matter where you buy them from! Do not rely on the re-seller to know that it’s counterfeit. Even though regulations in Australia require certain procedures be followed in terms of packaging and ingredients it is very rarely enforced. I also heard a rumour that it’s not possible for counterfeit products to be sold in Australia as imports are checked by customs – I’m busting that myth right here, right now! Customers (Border Force) don’t manually inspect every single import, it’s only around 10% that get visually checked and out of that 10% you would need an amazing knowledge of the product to identify counterfeit cosmetics. Border Force do an amazing job but they have so many things to look for that good counterfeits can easily enter the country. Companies can request Border Force investigate future shipments of their brand if they believe counterfeit products have entered the market but this will only solve future imports.
Cheaper products from the same brand can in fact be the exact same formula, however it’s not common. Usually cheaper ingredients will be used in order to sell at a cheaper price and still make the same margins. I often see the same brand selling the exact same formula as two different products! YES you read that right! Why would they bother? Because it makes money! If you don’t buy one you’ll probably buy the other. More common is selling of an extremely similar formula as 2 different products, 1 or two ingredient changes that most likely don’t affect the overall result and voila you have a whole new product!
This is how big businesses operate and one more reason to support, small, local brands!
Have a question about this blog content? Feel free to get in touch, I’m here to help.