Monday, December 24, 2012

The Difference of a Version

A little while ago, I was updating some of my staples blog post and I remembered that I had switched back to a foaming cleanser when I'm at my boyfriend's place. The thing is that I know exactly which one I did switch back to, but I wasn't sure what brand. Did I switch back to the CVS Ultra Calm Foaming Cleanser or Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser?

So here's the thing about the original versus the generic (or the store brand), they look the same and sometimes they act the same. The store brand is sometimes cheaper but that doesn't always necessarily mean it's better. It's kind of a gamble to be honest.

A few years ago, someone gifted the Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser to me, which I normally wouldn't get on my own. I had been a pretty staunch user of Noxzema all of my life, but I noticed that the foam gets my makeup off way faster. As of now, it's still a toss up between the two. So why grab a CVS version rather than the original? Honestly, it was likely due to availability. Something I bemoan constantly about (on this blog) is that items fly off the shelf at my local CVS which has caused me to change up routine on more than one occasion.  So sometimes, I settle for the store brand version. Sometimes, it really did come down to the price.

Here's a short list of things I noticed in the bathroom that tend to be almost interchangeable with the store brand version, based on availability.

Original Store Brand Observations Thoughts
Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser ($5.99) CVS Ultra Calm Foaming Cleanser ($4.49) The CVS version is cheaper and the ingredients are almost exactly the same (the difference is that the CVS explicitly states that it does contain Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide and the original says that it may contain those items). I have no issues using these interchangeably, especially if one isn't on the shelves. They work exactly the same for me.
Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 15 ($12.74) CVS Illuminating Moisturizer with SPF (No Longer Available). I can't find an ingredient listing so I can't compare the initial observations. So here's the thing, I never tried the original. I was looking for something that could travel better than my Alba Hawaiian facial moisturizer so I was specifically looking for a pump. I found this on the shelf and I'm okay with it. 
Noxzema The Original Deep Cleansing Cream ($3.74) CVS Cleansing Skin Cream Original ($2.99) While the CVS version is certainly cheaper, there's a lot more variation in the ingredients. The drugstore version is missing these: Eucalyptus, Globulus Leaf Oil, Sodium Bicarbonate, Calcium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Potassium Chloride. While the drugstore version does have Eucalyptus Oil, I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes. While I could use them interchangeably, I really do have a preference for the Noxzema brand. Perhaps it's because of the extra oils, but it just seems more refreshing on my skin.
Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque ($2.79 Walgreens) CVS Purifying Mint Masque (No Longer Available). These two were about the same price, but for some reason, the CVS' around here don't carry them. Walgreens does, but during the time I was looking to replace my last tube, I couldn't find it on the shelves. Instead I found the store brand version. The ingredients are the same. Queen Helene, hands down. If only I could find it in steady supply. The CVS version burns like crazy at the beginning which is amazing for a product that is exactly the same ingredients as the original.
Vaseline Cocoa Butter Lotion ($5.49) CVS Deep Conditioning Moisturizer, Cocoa Butter ($3.74) Here's another instance where the drugstore version varies a bit. Between the two, the drugstore is missing the following: Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil or Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Collagen Amino Acids, Lecithin, Mineral Water, Sodium PCA, Potassium Lactate, Lactic Acid. I tend to slather lotion on quite a bit. I'd prefer the original, hands down, as it feels the best. The problem is that I do use a lot and fining the large size of the original tends to be hard which is why often, I don't really have much of a choice.

So, you might be wondering what the point is. The thing is, the cheaper version isn't always as bad. Sometimes, it doesn't lack quality. But it's kind of up to you to decide what's worth it. For me, availability does weigh heavily in the decision making process. Yes, I'd love to stick to all my staples at all times but sometimes, it just doesn't happen. 

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