Are you a supermarket snob?

  • Post a comment

As much as I hate to admit it, before I started out as a beauty editor I was a brand snob – of the biggest kind. I was a closed-minded cosmetic buyer that wouldn’t even dream of purchasing shampoo from the supermarket, let alone skin care.

And I don’t even know why. I guess I believed that because the brands sold in supermarkets were at a lower price point, they were of an inferior quality (none of my assumptions were based on actual research of course). So I’d sworn my allegiance to the likes of Clinique, Lauder, Lancôme, MAC and Laura Mercier – all fabulous brands with products well deserving of their accolades.

But then I started working as a beauty ed and discovered that not only do the beauty products in supermarkets go through years and years (I’m talking decades sometimes!) of research and development before they hit the shelves, but a lot of these ‘cheap’ brands actually own, manufacture and/or distribute the more prestige beauty brands!

For example, supermarket staple, NIVEA, and ultra-luxe skin care company, La Prairie, both fall under the parent company, Beiersdorf.

Likewise, L’Oreal – which owns affordable favourites L’Oreal Paris, Garnier, and Maybelline – also has a luxury division, which includes Lancôme, Biotherm, YSL, Giorgio Armani, Kerastase, and Redken (just to name a few!).

So really, it’s not surprising that the technology and research that goes into the formulations of the prestige products, often filters through to those that we find on our supermarket shelves – and vice versa.

So if you can’t afford top-of-the-line luxury beauty buys, don’t despair – you’re not doing your skin and hair any disservices by visiting your local supermarket aisle!



Are you a beauty brand snob? What are your favourite supermarket beauty buys?


Member Comments (88)

Posted by: katshepsutt (Australia)

No way! If I was, then I would have missed out on some of the best products I currently have on my shelf - St. Ives scrubs, Neutrogena eye makeup remover (the best!), Olay Regenerist night cream, Biore toner, Palmolive body wash...too many to mention here, lol. My only problem is that my local supermarkets don't always stock the full range of some brands, so I'm forced to purchase them elsewhere. But I buy luxe products as well - I'm interested in what works for me, not where it comes from...

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 5:41am)

Posted by: Michelle Sweetheart (United States)

I am not a brand snob. However, I do love packaging. When the product looks elegant, it just makes me more intrigued by it. Higher end brands tend to do the frilly packaging. I swear that drugstore products use inferior packaging sometimes. Quite often I have to toss a gloss because it leaks or a compact hinge breaks and it always seems to be the pharmacy brand.
I am so glad that you mentioned the fact that there are parent and sister companies out there selling similar products. I always hear "oh, that brand copied or stole that product", when really it was sold to that company to sell. You don't see that company complaining for a reason, they are in business together. If you can find something that is cheaper and does the same thing, why pay more if you don't have to.

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 7:09am)

Posted by: Gofton (Member since 2007, Australia)

No way am I a supermarket snob - as mentioned - Garnier, Maybelline, Garnier, Pantene, Nivea even Covergirl, Palmers - what ever is out and about I will try and most often it is the less expensive ranges that do the best job and I believe if the product has taken so many years to hit the market, it is very worth it and does what it is set out to do. It does make me feel good to know that companies not only create a top-of-the-line brand but create similar products in their more affordable ranges - thinking of absolutely everyone - very intelligent indeed!

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 7:22am)

Posted by: ModernSnowWhite (Australia)

No i'm not a beauty brand snob :) I'm a uni student so i can't really afford high end allll the time lol. But i do try to stick to the most simple skin care for my skin, and have found basic cleansers and moisturisers work best for me. Brands like simple and dove are AMAZING and have really turned my skin around. I love maybelline mascaras, they are the best! Plus maybelline lipglosses, concealers, foundations..... I have used high end estee lauder mascara, but to be honest, its just the same quality as maybelline mascaras pretty much. I do love estee lauuder eyeshadows the most though.... But some things high end I will buy from time to time. The rest of everything comes from priceline, supermarket, kmart, target or big W. Sometimes terry white chemists as well.

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 7:52am)

Posted by: Meedee (Australia)

Ive always shopped at the supermarkets for a bulk of my makeup simply because thats what my financial situation demanded.
I used to be very lucky as my Mum worked in a pharmacy and she would give me all the products that were given to her by the sales reps so I was lucky enough to get some lovely lipsticks and eye shadows.
Ive never tried Clinique, Lauder, Lancôme, MAC and Laura Mercier. To name only a few as those are the brands mentioned in the article. The list of brands i have never tried is a very long list.
I think Olay products have been my most expensive but i buy them on sale at the supermarket.

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 8:04am)

Posted by: Jenniqua (Australia)

I am definately not a brand snob, especially since being a part of BH. I have even specifically bought the Derma brand of serum under your recommendation, though I havent used it yet, I will definately be reviewing it when I do.

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 8:47am)

Posted by: PrettyPrincess (Member since 2008, Australia)

one of the things I find with supermarket brands is that often the percentage of actives is lower.

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 10:10am)

Posted by: Elunia (Australia)

I am in no way a supermarket brand snob, as a matter of fact I love them so much because they do all that I need (except for foundation colour) and they are really affordable.

I have not tried many of the expensive brands mainly because I don't have the heart to part with my hard earned cash on stuff that I can get for less but is still excellent quality

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 10:14am)

Posted by: Nda (Australia)

Not a supermarket brand snob at all! I've been shampoo like Pantene and skincare like Olay from there for years and years. I think being a poor student, I haven't had the funds to even consider some of the more expensive brands so I've been forced to buy supermarket products most of the time. No complaints here!

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 10:20am)

Posted by: Evanescencessy (Australia)

When I was in my teens, I was happy to use supermarket brands for my skincare and makeup, but I have moved on to higher-end brands (particularly for skincare) now that I am working full time and have a good income. I still prefer my good old Vaseline body lotion as it’s the best moisteriser I have used and is super cheap and affordable, ideal for the whole family. I still purchase lipsticks and glosses from more affordable brands such as Revlon, Maybelline. I’ve also always used supermarket brand shampoos/conditioners and hair care products so I can’t say that I’m a supermarket snob completely.

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 10:23am)

Posted by: Princess Fiona1 (Member since 2007, Australia)

I use so many products purchased in the supermarket/priceline, including body lotions, shower gels, deodorants, hairsprays etc, and skincare such as eye makeup removers etc - but on other things, including particularly skincare and foundation, I do splurge a brands such as Clinique and Estee Lauder. But then I try to stock up duty free when I go on my annual trip overseas - or I purchase many of them via the internet from overseas, as they are so much cheaper...and then, in many cases a Clinique foundation is no more expensive, than one from Revlon/Loreal purchased in Priceline.
I certainly wouldnt call myself a supermarket or brand snop - it is more about finding products that work for you, and make sure that you 'shop' smart!

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 10:39am)

Posted by: Jhyt0914 (Australia)

once upon a time I was such a snob :P I had to go to myers and DJ to get my shiseido range and only those. As for my hairs I used to Redken only. Then I got poor, so I had to lolok for alternatives in supermarket. I couldn't believer how much money I could have save. The products are just as good, nivea, garnier, original, biore ..etc. Not only save my face but also save my pocket :)

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 11:56am)

Posted by: weekend (Australia)

I haven't bought any prestige brands lately--I love my supermarket brands too much!

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 12:00pm)

Posted by: jatz (Member since 2008, Australia)

Never ever been a supermarket brand snob. The only time I got to use Clinique was when my mum used it and she would give me those little sample products she got every couple of months. I did love the clinque products but financially they were out of my league. I used to be just dream of using Estee Lauder also. Years ago, there wasn't much to choose from in Coles but now, they are over abundant with products that I use. Nivea, Dove, Olay, Maybelline, Covergirl. It's very hard to actually walk past that aisle with not looking at what they have. Sometimes they may not stock an item in the brand, so then I have to head to Target or Priceline.

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 12:33pm)

Posted by: SMP-kitten (Member since 2008, Australia)

At one time I would've loved to have been a beauty brand snob, but then I couldn't afford it - which led to reliance on supermarket brands. I still envy those who can afford to buy luxury brands, but if I could I would only get a few key pieces - I just cant justify overspending on beauty products anymore!!

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 12:42pm)

Posted by: softness (Member since 2007, Australia)

I'm not a supermarket snob - afterall I do love my Banana Boat sunscreen!

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 1:15pm)

Posted by: RetroD11 (Australia)

Sometimes, I am. Sometimes I am not. It just depends whether I've had good or bad experience with a supermarket brand. I generally go for good higher end brands if I can. If not, I either settle for a supermarket/pharmacy substitute or I just don't buy it at all.

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 1:26pm)

Posted by: cat lover (Australia)

I'm a firm believer that most brands, no matter what the price point, have their good and not-so-good products. In saying that I'm yet to find a high end moisturiser that compares with my beloved Nivea Creme!!

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 1:36pm)

Posted by: beautybabe(: (Australia)

I buy most of my products from the supermarkets! A lot of my favourite brands are there. Such as Nivea, St Ives, Clearasil, Garnier and Biore; just to name a few. I am definitely not a super brand snob. :)

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 1:45pm)

Posted by: A Lil Kuki (Australia)

I don't think I am ... I base nearly ALL of my beauty must haves on having tried and tested them myself ... or reviews from friends family ... and now HERE on BH! And the most fun comes from finding the PERFECT product at the CHEAPEST price! lol. So supermarkets are definitely somewhere I would shop if it had what I wanted!

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 1:59pm)

Posted by: lilpreeny (Australia)

I love supermarket brands! Some are fantastic. I do like higher up brands but I'm on a budget and supermarket does the trick :)

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 2:15pm)

Posted by: Rei_ (Australia)

Nop. There have been plenty of times where a supermarket brand has out performed a higher end one =]

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 2:58pm)

Posted by: dolly wink (Member since 2008, Australia)

I'm sort of a brand snob but I'd say I'm a packaging snob more than anything haha.

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 4:37pm)

Posted by: Ms Jelena (Australia)

Nope! I buy both high end and supermarket brands and I'm not ashamed to admit this :D

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 4:37pm)

Posted by: Maogirl (Australia)

Hi Deb, thanks for the article, i am happy you write about this. The advertisemens and snobism mislead so many people! There are some bad products both in the supermarket and in the more expensive brand stocks, but there are awsome products as well! Like i love Neutrogena Extra Gentle cleanser, and it is around 13 dollars instead of e.g. the also awesome Clinique Liquid facial soap extra mild, which is about 3 times more money. Of course it is everone's business where to spend their money but noone should feel ashamed because they buy skincare and hairproducts or make-up from the supermarket!

Posted on: January 11, 2012 (Jan 11, 2012 5:08pm)

Comment on this article

You need to log in or become a member to post a comment.