The Real Cost of Natural and Organic Skincare (And How You Can Afford It)
It’s unfortunate, but true… natural products with high percentages of the really good ingredients seem to cost a fortune. Why is that? Are we being penalised for wanting to be clean and green?
The cost of our products, and natural skincare in general, is something we are regularly questioned about at Vanessa Megan, so we want to explain in detail why our products are priced the way they are and help you understand how you, too, can afford to go natural without breaking the bank.
Spoiler alert if you don’t want to read every word on this page: it all comes down to the cost of the individual components that make up a skincare product. In the most simple terms possible, a product needs an emollient (something to make it soft and absorbable), a preservative (something to keep it from spoiling on your shelf) and active ingredients (the stuff that makes it DO something for your skin).
Feel like a little read? Let’s looks at these components individually.
PROBLEM 1 : FIND AN EMOLLIENTSupermarket skincare is likely to be inexpensive and largely composed of filler ingredients that are cheap and at best, useless to your skin and at worst, potentially harmful. One of the most common examples is Mineral Oil (which may be listed under any number of names: Paraffin, Paraffin Wax, Microcrystalline Wax, Cera Microcrystalline, Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Unspecified Waxes, Mineral Spirits or Petroleum).
Mineral Oil is a derivative of petroleum, a by-product that is highly refined to decontaminate it and make it cosmetic grade. It is touted as being a ‘non-sensitising, moisturising and protective,’ when in reality it sits on top of the skin creating a barrier much like cling wrap – holding in sweat and keeping out everything else (including sunlight – some studies suggest that it can inhibit the production of Vitamin D). Mineral Oil doesn’t provide any actual moisture to the skin, but rather traps whatever is already there. This means it can contribute to blocked and clogged pores.
There are dozens of natural alternatives that work much better as emollients and fillers in skin moisturisers including Shea Butter, Olive, Jojoba, Coconut, Rosehip and Grapeseed oils, all of which provide dozens of actual benefits, including skin nurturing essential fatty acids, firming properties and free radical fighting antioxidants. Plus, none of them are a by-product of non-renewable resource gasoline.
So you can understand why we don’t use mineral oil - but why do so many other companies continue to use it?
It’s simple. Price. Mineral oil is half the price of the its nearest natural competitor, and this affects the price point of a product immensely.
Below is a list of general pricing for cosmetic grade oils. As you can see, the least expensive alternative, Grapeseed Oil, is still twice the cost of mineral oil!
- Mineral Oil - $10/L
- Grapeseed Oil - $20/L
- Coconut Oil – $22/L
- Shea Butter - $24/L
- Olive Oil - $30/L
- Jojoba Oil – $77/L
- Rosehip Oil - $143/L
PROBLEM 2 : FIND A PRESERVATIVEAnother significant factor in the price of a skincare product is the preservative system. Preservatives may be used in cosmetics to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mould, thereby extending the shelf life of the product.
The most common preservatives are formaldehydes and a variety of parabens, both of which have been linked to health concerns such as cancer and endocrine disruption.
Once again, it usually comes down to price. Below are the costs of a few synthetic preservatives followed by the high-quality natural preservative system we use in our products:
- Methyl paraben sodium (a very common preservative in skincare) ~$1/kg
- Phenoxyethanol (a common preservative in skincare) - $1.70/kg
- Isopropylparaben - $2/kg
- Triclosan (a common preservative in shampoos) - $15/kg
- Leucidal (our natural preservative system combining radish root ferment (aka Leuconostoc) and Elderberry (aka Sambucus Nigra)) - $375/kg
PROBLEM 3 : ALL THE OTHER STUFF
A skincare product isn’t just an emollient and a preservative, though. You need lots of other good stuff to get real results. We infuse our formulations with pure organic essential oils, naturally derived extracts and high-quality active ingredients, all of which can cost up to hundreds of times the price of their synthetic or less clean alternatives.
Instead of using pure essential oils, many brands will use “Fragrant Oils,” which are synthetic copies of pure essential oils from nature and can contain many toxins. Below are a few of our commonly used pure essential oils compared to the cost of their “fragrant oil” counterparts. All prices are per 100ml:
- Essential Oil: $303 - $759
- Fragrance Oil: $22-29
- Essential Oil: $50 - $121
- Fragrance Oil: $27
- Essential Oil: $445
- Fragrance Oil: $24
- Essential Oil: $330 - $1793
- Fragrance Oil: $27.5
- Ylang Ylang
- Essential Oil: $36
- Fragrance Oil: $22
- Essential Oil: $42
- Fragrance Oil: $22
It follows that when all the individual components are sourced at a higher quality and price, the final product will also cost more. This is a simple fact when talking about truly clean formulations. And while we know that you value your skin and your health and would love to choose organic at all times, we also understand that a lush, organic skincare cabinet filled with 100% natural products is a privilege that not everyone can afford.
So how do I afford natural and organic skincare if I am on a strict budget?
Our mission is truly to get natural skincare into every home and onto every body, so we have worked hard to create a range that is inclusive, effective and available to everyone if they know what to look for.
A minimalist approach is completely fine for those on a budget and you can pare down your skin care routine to something financially viable and still achieve amazing natural results.
Total Minimalist – The Holy Trinity Daily Maintenance Routine
This is our super simple, 3 product, 2 step system designed for all skin types and concerns.
PRICE : $159 for 3-month supply
This works out to less than $2 a day, for both your morning and evening skincare routine. The especially great thing about the Holy Trinity is that it strengthens your skin with lasting results, meaning the health of your skin does not become reliant on the products; rather, your skin continues improving as long as you use it.
Simplicity – The Holy Trinity + 1 targeted treatment to suit your skin
PRICE : variable
An example: The Holy Trinity (three-month supply $159) + Prebiotic and C Skin Polishing Exfoliator (used 2-3 times a week will last approximately six months $64.95). This works out to just over $2 a day.
While the Prebiotic + C is our first recommendation as a product to add to the Holy Trinity, other targeted treatment add-ons could include our Super C + Bearberry Illuminating Face Serum, Collagen Boosting Gel Hyaluronic Acid Serum, or our Pineapple Enzyme + HA Brightening Eyelift Serum. It just depends on what you want to target in your skin.
The truth is that if you prioritise quality over quantity, you don’t need 15 steps to your skincare routine. Put whatever resources you have towards a few really great products and the results can be just as impressive, if not more, than juggling multiple products every single day. Plus, it’s much easier on your purse.
If you are still wondering what system is best for your skin and your budget, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via our skincare advisor (available during business hours via live chat on our website) or by sending us an email at email@example.com.
Your skin is safe in our hands, and so is your wallet.