Not getting what you pay for: Hong Kong consumer watchdog says most expensive make-up remover is not necessarily the best available

·2-min read

More expensive make-up removers do not necessarily work better than others, while water-based products were largely “mediocre”, Hong Kong’s consumer watchdog said on Wednesday.

In a study of 40 make-up removers, the Consumer Council found those that scored five stars overall had a price difference of more than three times, while some more expensive products had average outcomes.

The top five products in terms of cleansing power were from Helena Rubinstein, Vichy Laboratoires, Clinique, Muji and Bobbi Brown.

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Their indices in cleansing performance ranged from 84.7 and 86.5, but their unit price per millilitre ranged from HK$0.62 to HK$2.64 (34 US cents), with Muji the cheapest.

Gilly Wong, Consumer Council CEO. Photo: Handout
Gilly Wong, Consumer Council CEO. Photo: Handout

The council noted Aesop’s Remove cost about HK$3 per millilitre, the highest unit price among all tested products, but it performed “relatively poorly” and only scored 24.3.

“[The findings] prove once again that product prices do not always reflect quality,” Dr Lui Wing-cheong, vice-chairman of the council’s research and testing committee, said.

Researchers conducted tests on 10 oil-based products, 11 water-based items and 19 others that contained a mixed base of water and oil. They found those with a mixed base had outstanding cleansing power, while the performance of oil-based products varied.

Water-based removers had the weakest cleansing performance, with eight of the samples scoring less than five in terms of cleansing power.

One of those, Mineral Cleansing Water by bareMinerals, which sold for about HK$0.98 per millilitre, had a cleaning power index of only one.

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The company representing bareMinerals told the council that different products targeted specific types of make-up, while it stopped selling the highlighted product last year.

Lui reminded consumers that water-based products had limited cleansing efficacy on waterproof and greaseproof cosmetics, and they might not completely remove these products.

This would increase the risk of pore clogging or enlarging pores, he added.

But the council’s CEO, Gilly Wong Fung-han, said consumers should consider their skin conditions and whether they were wearing heavy or light make-up.

“If you have more skin problems, such as frequently having acne problems or even have rosacea or eczema, I certainly will advise everyone to consult your dermatologists,” she said.

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