If you're in the market for affordable natural skincare products, you've probably noticed something - they're hard to find! Have you ever wondered why that is?
Of course there are some obvious differences between natural products and conventional ones. You're getting better quality ingredients in a natural product, so it makes sense that you'll need to pay a little more. But is that the only thing that accounts for the difference in price?
I've done a little digging into why there's such a disparity between conventional and natural skincare products, and I've discovered one really major factor.
Why Is it So Hard to Find Affordable Natural Skincare Products?
If you look at some of the best known natural skincare brands (like Aloette, Arbonne, Beautycounter, and Verefina), you'll find something in common: they're all multi-level marketing companies. This reason alone accounts for much of the reason natural skincare can be so expensive.
Now I know this can be a bit of a hot-button issue, and I'm not here to make any sweeping statements about whether MLMs are good or bad. What I do want to say, though, is that the MLM model lends itself to high prices without necessarily an increase in quality or effectiveness.
In case you're not familiar with this model, it's the practice where products are sold through independent distributors. Distributors can make money through selling their products and by recruiting more distributors underneath them. Think of the tupperware parties your mom used to go to, or the person you know who sells protein shakes on Facebook. That's multi-level marketing.
What's the difference between multi-level marketing and pyramid schemes? Well, we find this definition by consumer.sd.gov is helpful:
"Multi-level Marketing (MLM) or network marketing, is individuals selling products to the public - often by word of mouth and direct sales. ... The difference between a pyramid scheme and a lawful MLM program is that there is no real product that is sold in a pyramid scheme." - consumer.sd.gov
Why Multi-Level Marketing Companies Charge More for Beauty Products
Sure, MLMs aren't = to pyramid schemes. But you've got to admit, there's a strikingly similar, geometric architecture to the two of them. . .
MLM companies pay their distributors on commission. What's more, they often have different tiers of commission (the more you've sold or the longer you've been with the company, the more commission you make on what you sell). In order to cover those commissions, the prices of the products they sell have to be higher than a comparable product you'd find in a shop.
Unfortunately, many consultants who sell through this model have a very hard time making much money at all. Much of the profit filters upwards, leaving independent distributors stuck with expiring products and mandatory minimum orders. In Multi-level Marketing Unmasked, Dr. Taylor found that 99.7% of people who join MLMs actually lose money on their investments. This data corresponds closely with what you'll find in the financial reports of Beauty Counter, Roden Fields, and other MLM beauty brands.
Multi-level marketing is an interesting and nuanced topic. If you're interested in learning more, I'd recommend this article on Janny: Organically.
But How Good Are These MLM Products?
We will leave that to you to decide. We haven't found any yet that use organic ingredients. Some claim they use "Natural" ingredients. But, if you dig deeper, there are still those questionable (at the least) additives — the polysorbates, retinyl palmitate, octinoxate, and many others.
Don't assume because of marketing gimmicks that products are "green" or have clean ingredients. Dig deeper and you can always refer to the EWG's Skin Deep Database.
So Is There A Way to Find Legitimately Affordable Natural Skincare Products?
Absolutely! It's just time to think outside the MLM box. There are plenty of independent companies (such as Beauty by Earth) that create products that are just as safe, natural, and effective as anything you'd find from an MLM.
What's more, because these businesses don't use a multi-level marketing model, they have no need to build commissions into the prices of their products. And unlike sprawling international MLMs, small cosmetics companies have greater oversight over the quality and sourcing of everything they make.
Whether you're shopping Beauty by Earth, Zoe Organics, Tata Harper or another independent natural skincare provider, you won't have to worry about where your money is going. What's more, you'll never have to pay the high prices you'll find from most MLM businesses. With all that going for you, you'll never have to worry about finding affordable natural skincare products again.
What's your favorite source for affordable, natural products? Let me know in the comments below!
Cheers and Peppermint Toasts,
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