E85: Knowing the difference between big box store products and professional products

Are you constantly bombarded by ads that claim to magically fix every single skin issue? Well, you’re not alone! One of the most popular question we get is “what is the difference between professional products and big brand commercial products?” Well my friends, today we go deep and I give you the “dirt” on how these products are VERY different. It’s not a question of marketing here, it’s a question of science and clinical data on what works. Once you know the difference, you never go back ever again. 


Podcast transcript


skin, product, treatments, moisturizer, ingredients, cheaper, big, quality, buy, esthetician, formulation, regimen, serum, clients, inexpensive, ads, money, home, pharmacy, retinol

Hello everyone. Welcome back to the podcast Emilie here better known as the Meta Fairy and as per usual, the podcast is always brought to you by Meta Esthétique premier Ottawa skincare establishments since 1979, where we guide and educate our clients on how to age gracefully. Now, fun fact, before we get into this, I’m sipping my nice little coffee and I’m looking outside and it’s minus 30.

I actually decided not prep my podcast episodes anymore. Because before I used to record them way in advance and do like batch recording, but I felt like my inspiration was just not there. So now I just kind of speak whatever is on my mind with you know, reasonable  planning, but today, I want to talk about something that I get asked about all the time. We’re going to talk about product formulation and what is the main difference between a professional product and a commercial big store, big pharmacy product?

So a lot of the times when I get a new client and we’ll do we’ll do a dermal imaging session with the Visia will analyze their skin. And we’ll talk about home care because you have to keep in mind that when it comes to changing and transforming your skin, homecare is going to be probably 70% maybe more of how you will transform the skin and what we do in the treatment room. It’s like the extra boost that it’s going to transform the rest of your skin. Some people decide just to do treatments. Some people decide just to do products. But I’ll give you a little analogy so you can kind of understand how products are very important. If you look at someone that goes to the gym, and does a regular workout schedule at the gym, if they go back home and they eat junk food all the time. It’s you know the gym is just going to be like a nice little boost every time they go but they’re not going to see a major skin transformation.

Same thing with homecare especially when we talk about professional home care and again keep in mind you don’t have to have like 15 products at home you can have a very efficient and results oriented routine with only three or four products. So it’s keep keep that in mind. But it’s the same idea when someone will come in for regular treatments, but they use crappy shitty products at home and it’s going to destroy all the improvement that we’ve been doing in the treatment room and don’t get me wrong products will only do so much. Treatments on the other hand, will be like that extra mile that will transform the rest of your skin. So especially when we look into corrective treatments. There’s no product that’s going to shrink your pores, there’s no product that’s going to empty your blackheads, there is no product that’s going to give you a facelift! These are all treatments. These are all things that you have to go see a skincare professional to get done. However, the homecare will keep the results longer and will maintain the result and it will maintain the health of your skin at home. Because the thing is when you do these really nice treatments to your skin if you go back home and you’re using shitty soap on your skin and you know like just basic Cerave moisturizer, which you know, sometimes that’s what you can afford. But again, when it comes to money, you can have really nice professional products that won’t break the bank. Yes, there’ll be a little bit more expensive than the usual stuff you buy at the pharmacy. However you will use much less they will last much longer and they will not irritate and strip your skin.

So it’s important to keep that in mind when you get into professional treatments and things like that. That homecare is a big part of it, even if it’s just a cleanser and a cream. It doesn’t have to be complicated guys. Now, the question in the comments and the things that I see on a day to day is you know what’s the difference with a professional brand that you cannot get in the big box stores that you can only get through a qualified provider.

Between that and a big big product like product line like I don’t know Cerave, La Roche Posey, you know, L’Oreal all that shit in the stores. So these products, there’s three main differences between these products. So first of all quality of ingredients. And I know a lot of people do research on Google and they’re like, it’s all the same thing and it’s like nah buddy, it’s not the same thing. Trust me when I get someone on a regimen even if it’s just one moisturizer in one serum, I can see a huge difference the next month on their skin. A product that you will buy at the pharmacy will not do that.  You will use much more quantity wise because the quality of ingredient is not refined at all. It’s cheaper quality because the way they make their money is on volume sales. So they’re not going to spend and splurge money on top top quality of ingredients that they’re picking to make their formulations because it would cost them way too much. So they want it to cost as little as possible so they can make as much money on the product. They’ll price it cheaper. And then they will sell so much of it because they’re huge brands right? So they focus a lot on volume sales, not on quality. So quality of ingredient is really important.

The second thing that’s going to make a huge difference is the delivery of the ingredients so that comes to the formulation of the product. Very different if you have two products that have very similar ingredient list, they will work totally different on the skin. So what I know about the product of the professional products that we carry, and probably a lot of different professional products on the on the market, his that these formulations have been tested on humans like voluntarily obviously, for years before they would put that product out. When you look at a big commercial brand. You know all these brands that just pop up on Instagram all these little marketing things like oh best moisturizer ever and and an ad cheap today today. They have not been tested. No clinical trials. No testing. No, no, no. There’s no work on the formulation of the ingredients. So another analogy that can help you: when you look at the Olympics when they have the the race thing with the stick, the relay race. So figure that every single ingredient is a person that’s running and the goal of the race is to penetrate where they should go within the skin. Okay. And all the little people that are running and giving the stick to the other person is the formulation of the product and the fastest that they go the more efficient the product is going to penetrate within your skin. Just to give you an idea, that’s kind of how formulation works. So you can have the same ingredients. You won’t have the same quality of ingredients but you could have many different products that say oh there’s hyaluronic acid in it. There’s vitamin C there’s retinol, but the in between ingredients that they use to make sure that these ingredients are carried through your skin to the right spot between your skin layers is going to make a huge difference. So formulation is going to be the thing that’s going to make a huge difference.

Now anytime and every time that I transfer someone over to our professional products, and again, whether it’s a more complex regimen or whether it’s a more simple regimen. Oftentimes we’ll start with a simple one and we’ll build it up with time. The next visit that I see them, which would be four to six weeks after their skin is completely changed. There’s less irritation, there’s less flakiness. There’s you know, the skin just looks a lot healthier. And the most popular comments settle here is oh my god I need so little that is a one very, very popular thing that people realize is that when they use quality products the don’t use a lot of it because it’s made you know it’s high quality stuff guys like and you don’t need a lot it will go and do it on your face. You can use a pea size for your serum, a pea size, maybe not even a chickpea size, like a lentil size for your moisturizer, and it’ll stretch your entire face. So I use a little it’s amazing. So the product therefore will last you a lot longer. Another another one that I’ll hear is “oh my god, I love this stuff!” That’s just a fun one. But a lot of people when they come back, they’re like, oh my god, what was I missing? And the third one would be I can already see a difference on my skin. So that’s why I’m not someone who you know I work in the industry so I see a lot of things I believe in science and I believe in facts and I believe in skin.

There’s a lot of marketing online there’s a lot of marketing marketing hearing there that show Ridiculous. Ridiculous they say ridiculous things on the on their ads, and it’s like no, that’s not possible. One common one that I see all the time is like I’ve seen one with I think it was an eye serum or something like that. And you could see the before pictures which was like exaggerated like the skin was like drooping black, you know, super dark. And then you see the after picture and it’s like, oh my god, there’s no wrinkles left and it’s like the person has a 25 year old eye. I’m sorry but no eye cream will do that. Not even surgery will do that. I mean, depending on the type of surgery that you’d get, but it’s just so sad how gullible people can be when they look through these ads because that’s how ads work online. Right? They they look at your search history. They hear you on your phone, you talk about your concerns, and then boom, you see ads about eye products and face treatments and a lot of them it’s a money trap and it’s just a crappy shitty product. They’re just trying to get your money and it’s not going to do anything on your skin.

That’s another thing that I hear all the time from clients. It’s if someone can’t afford to have a proper regimen, you know is it bad for them to keep doing the pharmacy stuff? And I’m like, well, listen, it’s not necessarily that it’s bad. It’s just I want you to keep your expectations realistic. When coming here Yes, I can give you a nice looking skin but as soon as you go home and you use those cheaper, inexpensive products, do not expect miracles on changing your skin. Because every time I will see you, your skin is gonna be the same in my eyes, my your skin is gonna be the same because I can see I’ve been trained to see and notice and now I’ve done you know 1000s of facial treatments. I can see when someone when someone uses my products and my professional lines, I see a difference in their skin and their skin isn’t maintained and their skin is way healthier every time they come in, versus someone that just comes in for treatments. And it’s okay like it’s not bad or anything. It’s just you just have to be straight and say well you know, if you want to keep using your pharmacy cheaper, inexpensive products, that’s fine. But just keep in mind that I can’t transform your skin the way that I would like to if you’re going to keep that route and sometimes that’s all the client wants. They just want to come in to relax and to have their self care moment and then they go back and they use you know, whatever they can afford and that’s fine. It’s just expectations and goals that we’re trying to do together are going to be way different than someone that’s going to do corrective treatment, someone that’s going to come in every month someone that’s going to do you know everything to keep their skin transformed. and healthy. So it’s not a good or a bad answer is just well just keep in mind, it’s just different. You know, you’re not going to get a huge transformation if you just keep using what you’re using. So we believe in science, we believe in the skin how the skin works, marketing has nothing to do with all of that. It’s really you have to be logical on what a product can do. The product will assess the basic needs of the skin will keep it hydrated will protect the skin will exfoliate the skin but no product will give you a facelift let’s be real. And again, you’ve heard me say this many times. But consistency is what is going to change your skin. If you buy a new skincare regimen with your esthetician stick to it. It takes about three months for the skin to be really really changed. Although you know I can see it right away after four weeks when something changes in the skin when they use our products especially. But you get you need to give yourself time and don’t jump ship Don’t be Don’t get impatient, you know, stick to it and trust me it’ll be the best investment ever that you will do.

I just thought of this but another comment that I’ve heard from clients is because they use so little of the product because they don’t need as much as something that’s inexpensive.

Their jar, their creams are going to last way longer. So they’re like okay, yeah, maybe I’m spending a little bit more on the spot, but it’s lasting me like three times longer than the other stuff. So let’s say they paid 50 bucks for the cheaper pharmacy product and they finish it in a month. Well they’re gonna have to buy three jars of this product to carry them through to three months whereas something that they buy at our place. Minimum a moisturizer will last you three to four to maybe five months. So maybe the moisturizer is going to cost them $150-175 But it will last them for 3, 4 months, maybe even five so sometimes you have to look at it that way. It’s like okay, maybe I’m spending more on the spot. But the cheaper one, you’ll have to buy more to balance out the quantity. So really, you’re spending more money with the cheaper one, right? So sometimes it’s just reversing the whole thing and just thinking about it in a bigger, you know, prospective. The quality one that you’re buying is actually more reasonable in terms of length of time that it will last you than the other one. So that’s something that I heard many, many times from clients.

Let’s take a serum as an example. When you look at a serum that that type of product will be 70 to 100 times more concentrated than a face moisturizer. It’s oftentimes something that’s more liquid. So it’s going to be the first thing you’re going to put on your skin because you want it to penetrate. You want this product to penetrate first because it will go the deepest. Now if you look at a big brand product, such as a serum, a lot of the times the active ingredients are surrounded with a lot of water and alcohol. So there’s a lot of waste in the ingredients that they put in because they want to fill up their bottles, right so they’re going to use inexpensive, low quality, cheaper buffer ingredients in there in order to fill up their bottle so it’s not concentrated at all. And most of the time, they won’t do much on the skin. If not they will not do much or they will irritate your skin because it’s just not the right product for you. The number of times that I’ve seen clients bring their regimen to me and they use you know, retinol, vitamin C, AHAs, BHAs, like they just use so much because they’re bombarded with the idea that Retinol is the best ingredient vitamin C you should use everyday and yes some of that is true, but you have to keep in mind that our skin types are all different. And if someone has rosacea and is super sensitive, they can’t use retinol most of the time they can’t they have to use other ingredients to make sure that their skin is radiant and beautiful. But skin type is huge. That is a major other difference when you go and buy a regimen versus going to Sephora versus going to someplace like ours that we are a trained quality. We’re trained as estheticians to tell you what your skin needs. When you go to big stores. They’re not estheticians most of the time and they’re just they’re there to fill up a sales quota. Okay, so that’s just how it is. So again, inexpensive, big brand products will have a lot of buffer ingredients, a lot of low quality not concentrated things in their formulation. So that’s why a lot of the times it just sits at the top of your skin doesn’t penetrate at all. So that’s the major difference between that’s another major difference between a quality product versus a cheap, big store product.

And I’m just gonna slip this in towards the end of the podcast. But wouldn’t you rather encourage a small business in your community with their very nice quality ingredients product that will change your skin instead of going to Sephora? Like really? I mean today, especially today, we are surrounded with Amazon. We’re surrounded with these big, big corporations that are eating away the small businesses and by the way, there’s no economy of there’s no small businesses, okay? So if you have 200, 300, $400 to splurge on yourself and you want to get into skincare, please go to your local esthetician that you trust, obviously ask for referrals, you know, check reviews and stuff like that, but go to a quality place guys, your skin and your self care. Well thank you. So if you’re in the Ottawa area, feel free to check us out. But honestly I think the message here is please go encourage a small business, a small medium business that is around you. And that can give you the results that you’re looking for.

Go to a quality place guys, your skin and your self care well thank you. So if you’re in the Ottawa area feel free to check us out. But honestly I think the message here is please go encourage a small business, a small medium business that is around you and that can give you the results that you’re looking for. If this is what you’re looking for, but yeah, just screws Sephora and all these big stores, they have a lot of money they don’t care about your sale. When you go to a small business like ours, we actually jump every time we make a transaction like in our in our head but it’s just so important to support small businesses. So just think about where you put your money guys, and just make sure that you understand that it does make a difference to a business when you go to a small business like ours. Anyways, I hope this kind of lightened the topic about what’s the difference between these two very different types of products. And that if you’ve been thinking of investing in your skin and you’re just like, I don’t know where to start, make sure that you reach us out. You can send us an email hello@themetaesthetique.com or just send us a DM on Instagram @metaesthetique,  or just go on our website and book an appointment you can use the online scheduler to do so. If you have any questions just comment below. Leave them there and I’ll make sure to reach out to you. And next week there will be no podcast we are away we doing a family vacay we’re going to Barbados for a week. It’s been a long time coming. So we’re taking a break next week. So next week there’s no podcast but I’ll be back the week after all comfortable and you know, refreshed from our holiday with brand new ideas to talk about. So hope you have a nice warm day wherever you are. And we will chat very very soon on the next episode.