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Mass vs Class

How to tell the difference between expensive and cheap products

Mass vs Class
29 September 2011

Some of the prices of the grooming stuff in magazines are completely out of my budget. Is there any noticeable difference between a product that costs £3.99 and one that costs £150?

Greg, Devon

Our expert Ahmed Zambarakji answers your questions below:

Completely understand your hesitation when it comes to parting with your hard earned cash. There are a lot of premium products out there all of a sudden (when I started out 10 years ago, you’d be hard pressed to find a men's product that cost more than a tenner) and, yes, a lot of those price tags are hard to justify. A lot of it is strategic marketing but you do get what you pay for, according to cosmetic surgeon Dr Sebagh (

“It’s like chocolate,” he says. “A 70 per cent cocoa luxury bar will always be superior to Dairy Milk.” So if it’s active ingredients you’re after (that is to say, if you have a specific concern that you need to fix sharpish), then you’ll have to shell out a bit more. The £3.99 product might have the right ingredients on the label but it might not have them in the right concentration. As with most things in life, you’ve got to read the fine print.

That’s not to say your average supermarket brand won’t suffice for day-to-day stuff. The products you can pick up while doing your weekly shop are a lot more sophisticated than they were even five years ago and the sheer economy of scale that some of these brands have means a lot of research goes into them.

So, rather than look at the price tag, look at the ingredients list on the back. The words might be indecipherable at first but the more you look, the more you’ll recognise key ingredients that reappear in different products across the board. And if you need a hand translating some of the gobbledygook on the box, head to my website below and drop me an email.

Find Ahmed at

(Image: Rex)