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Brands Charging Naturals More for the Same Ingredients

Avatar • Mar 11, 2015

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For the last five years or so that I’ve been natural, one of my biggest pet peeves is that my favorite products can’t be found locally. They’re already more expensive than most drugstore products I’ve purchased and then I have to pay shipping on top of that. When you add it all up, it can be a lot; and who has time for all of that? Thank goodness for supply and demand, right?

As the natural/curly hair community grew and demanded products made for our hair, mainstream companies were happy to oblige (and take our money). I saw more and more forum threads pop up about new lines that would be available in stores like Walmart, Target, Walgreens and CVS. I ran to CVS after launch announcements, peered on the shelf and voila! Natural hair products.

But hold on…why is this 8oz conditioner $14 at CVS?

misfits

Before I continue, I want to make it clear that I have no issue paying higher prices for better quality products. But let’s compare two drug/beauty supply store gels ingredients lists (Pricing based on online prices).

31.2 cents per ounce: Purified Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Aloe Vera Gel, Dimethicone Copolyol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Polysorbate-20, Benzopehonoe‑4, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance.

About 67 cents per ounce: Aqua, Glycerin, Carbomer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Linum Usitatissimum Seed Oil, Potassium Sorbate, Polyvinylpyrrolidone, Polysorbate 20, Parfum, EDTA, Magnesium Nitrate, Phenoxyethanol, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Magnesium Chloride, Methylisothiazolinone, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Amyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional

If you look at both product’s ingredients, neither are incredibly stellar. A couple of beneficial ingredients here and there, but mainly consisting of water, glycerin and carbomer. However, the product that’s 67 cents an ounce is marketed towards natural hair, while the other one is just a regular gel. I’ve actually used both of them, and they are very similar. And now for a comparison of two wash out conditioners.

About 26 cents per ounce: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Behentrimonium Chloride, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Brassica Campestris/Aleurites Fordi Oil Copolymer, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Fragrance, Dipropylene Glycol, Potassium Chloride, Lactic Acid, Disodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, PEG 150 Distearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Lauroyl Lysine, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone

About 52 cents per ounce: Water (Aqua), Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter (Shea), Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Glyceryl Stearate, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Isododecane, Panthenol, Polyester-11, Lactic Acid, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin

Again, not bad with the ingredients, but the 52 cents per ounce product is the one marketed specifically towards natural hair. When I started seeing these subtle trends in the store, I wondered what the rationale was. Now, this is just my guess, but to me it seems like companies are looking at the price points of indie, more natural/organic products, then pricing them slightly less than those, but higher than “run of the mill” drugstore products. That way, paired with their overuse of natural hair buzz words, the consumer may perceive they are getting a deal on a good product along with the convenience of picking them up locally.

Don’t end up getting duped at the drugstore by natural hair marketing and pictures of gorgeous afros — check out these drugstore products that work great on natural hair.

For additional information on drugstore or economical products, check out my playlist: “Natural Hair Does Not Mean Expensive!” below:

 

What are your favorite drugstore products? Do you only use products marketed towards natural hair?

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JenniD
JenniD
5 years ago

You also have to factor in theft. Many times prices are high on hair care/ cosmetics because of theft. You’d be amazed at how many people steal this type of stuff on a regular basis. That causes prices to go up on stuff that would normally cost 2–3 dollars less some place else. I say just wait for a sell or shop some place that has better prices. CVS is over priced on most things in my opinion.

CurlyTs
CurlyTs
5 years ago
Reply to  JenniD

I think they’re just exploiting already high price points. If someone pays 9.99 for Shea Moisture at Target, 12.99 isn’t much of a stretch at the drugstore. They’re hoping convenience and product loyalty will make you spend they extra bucks.

Keneesha Hodge
4 years ago
Reply to  CurlyTs

But even for a product like Shea moisture, target has different pricing per area. Downtown Chicago target it starts at 11.99. South side black neighborhood most of the brand is 9.99. That says to me it’s clearly the stores.

zyaran
zyaran
5 years ago
Reply to  CurlyTs

Yeah I went into Walgreens today and saw that Sheamoisture products have now gone up to $10.99 and some for $11.99.

Not surprised
Not surprised
5 years ago

Welp, that’s what happens when everybody does product reviews. Free advertising, company gain!

jbwphoto1
jbwphoto1
5 years ago

Thanks for providing some of the lower costs drugstore brands to try on natural hair.

Anu
Anu
5 years ago

CVS is incredibly expensive generally. I don’t usually shop there unless I have a coupon or they’re having a mega sale.

Tabatha
Tabatha
5 years ago

I did notice that myself, but in my area there are the “Hair product warehouses” and I can get what I need for a good price (I just check the bottle date). I’ve also learned to make my own from watching other naturals make their own, so sometimes it’s cheaper to do that.

Alwina Oyewoleturner
Alwina Oyewoleturner
5 years ago

Thank you for this post. It sucks that we have to pay so much for natural hair products when there are better priced options out there. But I will be honest, I like to purchase products from natural hair brands to support them. As well as use products that have more natural stuff in it, but not necessarily completely all natural. I figure if I don’t eat all natural products or put it on my skin, why stress what goes on my hair that is dead?

sanjidude
sanjidude
4 years ago

I agree that there are many hair products not geared toward natural hair that work just as well for me. I’m not drinking the Kool Aid on this one. Just because there’s an afro on the jar doesn’t make what’s in it is better.

Dottie
Dottie
4 years ago

That’s why I make my own conditioners, moisturizers and use what I have in my cabinets (honey, bananas, apple cider vinegar, flax seed, olive oils, sesame oil, and etc). Don’t like to waste my money.

Kairi
Kairi
5 years ago

I get my stuff at the Dollar Tree

kay
kay
5 years ago

It’s because people are easily misled. You don’t have to buy a product marketed for natural hair. Herbal Essence conditioner works fine for me. A deep conditioner from dollar tree is the best I’ve ever used. All very cheap, but generic and work just fine.

Larry Bragg
Larry Bragg
3 years ago

This is stupid. Some of the cheaper products you’re comparing is not curly Girl approved it loaded with shit. Also, QUALITY. Just because the ingredients are labeled the same, the quality is different. If u thing you’re getting good quality ingredients of 6–12oz of product for $6 you are plain stupid.

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