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The great beauty swindle


HIGHS AND LOWS The La Prairie Anti-Ageing booster costs around €270, while the Nivea Cellular Anti-Age Skin Rejuvenation Day Cream costs just €15. Both are made by German cosmetics giant Beiersdorf.
Take a brand new brand view – and save lots of money

Maggie Gibbons

Do you wear a particular make up out of habit? Are you scared of cheaper brands? Well let me take you out of your comfort zone while I tell you about the major players in the beauty industry and who owns what.
You’d be amazed how many different brands are owned by the same companies, producing both expensive and cheap ranges, and prepare to be shocked by finding out your favourite make up brand also produces similar, much cheaper products.
The sad thing is, we’re led to believe that more expensive means better. Not true! They use the same active ingredients in both their high-end and low-end products. There may be scents added to show some difference, otherwise they’re almost identical.
Occasionally, high-end products use more expensive ingredients – but rarely in my opinion. All you need to do is compare the list of ingredients. This may seem like a time-consuming effort, but believe me, it’s well worth it.
Why does this matter? Well, you might well be paying way over the odds for the sake of a name and a bit of fancy packaging. When brands share a parent company, they also share technologies and ingredients. So, just like wine, price is not necessarily an indicator of superior quality.
So, how you shop for pricey moisturisers and serums could actually help with how you navigate the aisles. You may be surprised to find out that your favorite night cream has a first cousin produced by the self same company, and that cousin could well be much more cost effective.
Let’s take a look at who owns what in the beauty industry. By becoming aware of what brands are owned by which of the huge conglomerates, you can compare and contrast the ingredients in each company’s high- and low-end offerings and be sure you are not spending more than you need to. I hope it gives you a bit of food for thought.

L’Oréal own hair, makeup, and skincare brands, including Lancôme, Giorgio Armani, Urban Decay, Maybelline, Vichy and La Roche-Posay, to name just a few. One of my favourite brands, NYX Professional Makeup, is also owned by L’Oreal. This cheaper alternative is one of the top European makeup brands. If you want to sculpt like a star, then the NYX Professional Makeup Highlight and Contour Palette is a great piece of kit for €25. The NYX HD Photogenic Concealer Wand (a steal at just €8) is one of the best concealers around. La Roche Posay is the holy grail of skincare for sensitive skins.

This company has three major brands – Eucerin, La Prairie and Nivea. The iconic brand Nivea is a worldwide favourite and has won numerous industry awards. It’s also wonderfully priced. Eucerin is excellent too. La Prairie is hugely expensive and well out of my price range. Their anti-ageing booster costs around €270. I wont be swapping it for my Nivea Cellular Anti-Age Skin Rejuvenation Day Cream anytime soon, especially when it comes in at around €15. It also increase firmness and improves skin renewal, and contains hyaluronic acid and Magnolia extract. It’s rich texture melts into the skin and is quickly absorbed. Beat that.

American makeup, hair-color and nail-colour purveyor Revlon Inc own Almay and Ultima, while in 2016 bought Elizabeth Arden. Revlon have captured a huge chunk of the hair colour market.

The Clarins portfolio now includes, Clarins, Thierry Mugler and Azzaro. They also have an extensive skincare range for men, as well as a 10 percent share in L’Occitane. I love Clarins primers; there’s one for every skin problem. If you like an eye product, you will love the Clarins Moisturising reviving eye mask, a great little beauty enhancer for eyes showing signs of fatigue and dehydration.

This is another company that provides both high- and low-end cosmetics and skincare. Bare Minerals, Laura Mercier, Nars, and Dolce & Gabbana are just a few of the brands.

A huge number of perfumes come from the Coty stable, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Lopez, Kylie, David Beckham, Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Jill Sander and Chloe. Rimmel is also a Coty brand.

Maggie Gibbons is an Image/Style Consultant based in Louisburgh. She can be contacted at