Monday, May 16, 2011

Question: Why do we like these products?

I'm still not feeling all that well - I'm getting really tired of this stomach bug as this has to be the 10th time I've had this since March - so I thought I'd post a question and let you be the blog writers for today. 

Why do you like the products you like?

Think about it before answering! If we took away the company name, the product name, the fragrance, the labelling, and so on, and gave you a generic bottle with the "lotion" or "facial cleanser" on it, would you still love it? If it were to be called a lotion, cream, body butter, body souffle, hydrating lotion, moisturizing cream, and so on, would it change your perception of it? If I gave you the product unlabelled and told you it was an equivalent brand from a grocery store, would you like it as much as a product I told you was from Lush or Dermalogica or another one of those fancy companies?

Shakespeare said, "that which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet", but when it comes to products, I'd have to disagree. (Just who do I think I am, eh? Disagreeing with the Bard?)

I keep thinking back to the marsh cudweed/helichyrsum debate from April 5th (wow, have we been duplicating products that long?)...I think this is when I really started thinking about the nature of marketing and the ingredients we choose. (But that's a really long train of thought and should be left for another day when I don't feel like I'm going to fall face down into the laptop!)

So there's the question. Why do you like the products you like? What do you really like about them? What do you like about the skin feel or the texture of the product? And it is okay to really like the packaging, labelling, name, and so on (that's one of the fun bits about making our own - designing labels, coming up with names, making up fragrance blends, etc.)


Jackie said...

I wholesale to high end spas and retail stores. Most times it's not what's in the bottle, but appearance, does it fit into their 'look'? Parabens would probably be the exception. They want clean lines and sophistication. For example I can't give away liquid soap, even though the product is crystal clear, smells good, has an appealing ingredients label and does a good job, but call it 'hand and body wash' and I can't make enough of the stuff! I would summarize that the average consumer is quite willing to go along with what retailers believe they should want. But maybe someone in the know is looking beyond the front label?????

EsseBee said...

For me, the feel is everything. I did a blind moisturiser test for an Australian consumer magazine called "Choice" many years ago, and the one I preferred was silky smooth, not too oily, but still made my skin feel good. Now that I've started experimenting with my own lotions and potions, I'm trying to find one that matches the feel of that one many years ago.

Madeaj said...

I have sensitive skin and I appear to be allergic to a lot of things. So scent is very important. Even expensive scents can swell my eyes and clog my nose. Skin feel is also important. I've tested a lot of expensive products. A few I'd go back to if I had the money, some Lancome products I tried years ago. They probably don't make the ones I'm talking about. But I've also found a couple 99 cent tubes of hand lotion that provide as good a skin feel as the same size 6 dollar ones, better even because of the cost. :-)

The main thing I like about learning to formulate my own products is learning about the ingredients and what they bring to the product. That has enabled me to really understand which store-bought products are worth the cost. I have avoided some very popular expensive brands because I could tell that a lower cost version had the same ingredients and skin feel.

Thanks Susan and I really hope you feel better. Try some warm ginger tea with a little lemon. That should help settle your stomach a bit.

melian1 said...

at one time (long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away) i thought that price and label meant it was a better product than the store brand or cheaper version. then i began noticing that the cheaper or store brand wasn't necessarily a bad thing and a brand name wasn't always the best.

so i started looking for what made my skin feel good, what stayed on, what had a lovely texture, and did the job.

these days, i don't even notice the packaging or brand, i grab it and my eyes head straight to the ingredients list like an owl on a mouse! lol

Lise M Andersen said...

I use only my own products. I have the ultimate luxury of developing every product to my own specific requirements. This is one of the reasons I cannot imagine going back to any commercial product. And, yeah, packaging is important. I even go to the trouble of doing the fancy labeling - even if it's just for me. I deserve it! :)
Get better quickly Susan. We like hearing that you are feeling at the top of your game!

mamafrog said...

I, too, am allergic to many things in our food and products, something which is getting worse as I age. When I find a product that has ingredients I know about or can easily find out about, I become very loyal to that item. I'm trying to learn more about either duplicating the things I like to keep out the harmful parts in something or because I prefer the way something smells in a product. It gets really tiresome to use something and have it break me out or smell good in the bottle and awful on my skin. Worse yet is to find something I like and the company decides to "improve" it.

Tara said...

Even though I make all of my own products and often times some for my friends and family, I can sometimes be drawn into a shop that sells cosmetics with fancy packaging and intoxicating smells. I always look immediately at the ingredients list, at which I am usually disappointed to find mediocre ingredients. My husband will ask why would I buy that when I make my own. Sometimes I just need a new product to aspire to.

My husband gave a gift bag of some of my creations to a client of his. She really loved it and asked if I could please sell her some to sell in her facility, in which she was aiming for an upscale appeal. So I made her products with cute, professional labels. I asked for her feedback, and she replied that she preferred the plain black & white labels from the original products that were given to her because they set themselves apart as things that were genuinely handmade! Go figure!

Anonymous said...

Lise M. said exactly what I would have. Hope you're feeling better, Susan..

Mychelle said...

I'm weird, but I have always bought products based on the ingredients. In 1998 I bought Paula Begoun's book and got very interested in what I was putting on my body (and how much I paid for it). I found it fascinating how similar most products are, what is in them, and the different feel products with similar ingredients could create. That led to me formulating my own products. It has been an addiction for 13 years now, and my products have gotten 1000 times better since finding your blog!

My wake-up call as to why people purchase products came when shopping with a friend - she twisted the caps off the shampoo bottles and smelled it until she found one she liked. That's how she chose a shampoo! I was shocked. And my mother will call me from a store asking about product, and she is always ready to fall for the latest trend and spend a fortune. "It says vitamins and alpha hydroxy" - where are they on the ingredient list? Is the ph of the product listed? Does it come in a jar? "It says miracle wrinkle-reducer and I will be an infant again by morning." You mean it's water, glycerin, and oil? I wish people would take the time to learn about what ingredients they are paying for, and what makes a quality product. Spend money on product, but spend it wisely and take control of your brain away from the cosmetics companies!

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'm one of those people that doesn't care what the bottle looks like or who makes it, I only care how it works. But I do know a lot of people are very swayed by the label/look of the container.