Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sephora and MAC's Travel Size Products by Value; Or: When Is the Travel Size Product Secretly a Way Better Deal?

You've probably already noticed it. In fact, I probably even know what the products were. One day, you were looking at the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer and something clicked in your brain. "If the full size is $36 for 1 ounce and the travel size is $10 for 0.4 ounces," you might have reasoned, "why the everloving fuck would I ever buy the full size? That is a way worse deal!" (I recently heard a consumer lament, "Does Smashbox think we can't do math?") If it wasn't Smashbox, it was probably MAC's Strobe Cream, where the full size comes in at $32 for 1.7 fluid ounces, and the travel size is $10 for 1 fluid ounce.

Image source: http://www.reddit.com/r/MakeupAddiction/comments/20kzh8/does_smashbox_think_we_cant_do_math/
Although Smashbox's notorious primer and MAC's illuminator are the most commonly cited examples of the travel size version being much cheaper, ounce per ounce, than the full size, I decided to investigate a little further and see what other products have a cheaper miniature version. I went through both the Sephora and MAC sites to classify the travel size products by value.

The value is expressed in the form of a percentage. A travel size that costs the exact same, ounce per ounce, as the full size, would be labeled 100%. If it costs twice as much, it would be labeled 200%. If it costs half as much, it would be labeled 50%.


For the purposes of this post, I skipped mascara. This is because, in my opinion, mascara is "used up" in a different way than other products. Because they have such a short shelf life, I tend to toss my mascaras long before I've used every last bit of product.

Products Where the Full Size Costs Significantly Less 
(Preferable for the company, since it incentivizes the purchase of a larger product.)
Why you might choose the travel size version anyway: You are actually traveling. You aren't sure if you will get a lot of use out of the product and don't want to commit. You know you only want a few uses out of the product. You are giving gifts or something and need to keep overall cost down, but don't care if they use the shit up.

Sephora Creamy Body Wash
Full Size: $7 for 4.73 fl oz, $1.48 per fluid ounce
Travel Size (Caps): $1 for 0.26 fl oz, $3.85 per fluid ounce
260.14%

MAC Green Gel Cleanser
Full Size: $21 for 5.0 fl oz, $4.20 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $10 for 1.0 fl oz, $10 per fluid ounce
238.10%

Make Up For Ever Mist and Fix
Full Size: $29 for 4.22 fl oz, $6.87 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $12 for 0.84 fl oz, $14.29 per fluid ounce
208.01%

Alterna Bamboo Volume 48-Hour Sustainable Volume Spray
Full Size: $25 for 4.2 fl oz, $5.95 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $10 for 0.85 fl oz, $11.76 per fluid ounce
197.65%

Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil
Full Size: $38 for 3.4 fl oz, $11.18 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $18 for 0.85 fl oz, $21.18 per fluid ounce
189.45%

Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
Full Size: $30 for 4 oz, $7.5 per ounce
Travel Size: $14 for 1 oz, $14 per ounce
186.67%

Urban Decay De-Slick Oil-Control Makeup Setting Spray
Full Size: $30 for 4 oz, $7.5 per ounce
Travel Size: $14 for 1 oz, $14 per ounce
186.67%

Living Proof Restore Conditioner
Full Size: $28 for 8 fl oz, $3.50 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $12 for 2 fl oz, $6 per fluid ounce
171.43%

Living Proof Restore Shampoo
Full Size: $28 for 8 fl oz, $3.50 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $12 for 2 fl oz, $6 per fluid ounce
171.43%

DevaCurl Light Defining Curl
Full Size: $19 for 12 fl oz, $1.58 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $8 for 3 fl oz, $2.67 per fluid ounce
168.99%

DevaCurl No-Poo
Full Size: $19 for 12 fl oz, $1.58 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $8 for 3 fl oz, $2.67 per fluid ounce
168.99%

DevaCurl One Condition
Full Size: $19 for 12 fl oz, $1.58 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $8 for 3 fl oz, $2.67 per fluid ounce
168.99%

Amazing Cosmetics Concealer
Full Size: $42 for 0.5 oz, $84 per ounce
Travel Size: $28 for 0.2 oz, $140 per ounce
166.67%

Living Proof Full Conditioner
Full Size: $24 for 8 fl oz, $3.00 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $10 for 2 fl oz, $5.00 per fluid ounce
166.67%

Living Proof Full Shampoo
Full Size: $24 for 8 fl oz, $3.00 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $10 for 2 fl oz, $5.00 per fluid ounce
166.67%

Living Proof No Frizz Conditioner
Full Size: $24 for 8 fl oz, $3.00 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $10 for 2 fl oz, $5.00 per fluid ounce
166.67%

Living Proof No Frizz Shampoo
Full Size: $24 for 8 fl oz, $3.00 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $10 for 2 fl oz, $5.00 per fluid ounce
166.67%

MAC Cleanse Off Oil
Full Size: $30 for 5 fl oz, $6 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $10 for 1 fl oz, $10 per fluid ounce
166.67%

Korres Body Butter
Full Size: $29 for 7.95 oz, $3.65 per ounce
Travel Size: $10 for 1.69 oz, $5.92 per ounce
162.19%

MAC Fix +
Full Size: $21 for 3.4 fl oz, $6.18 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $10 for 1.0 fl oz, $10 per fluid ounce
161.81%

MAC Pro Eye Makeup Remover
Full Size: $21 for 3.4 fl oz, $6.18 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $10 for 1 fl oz, $10 per fluid ounce
161.81%

Josie Maran Argan Oil Serum
Full Size: $30 for 2 fl oz, $15 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $12 for 0.5 fl oz, $24 per fluid ounce
160.00%

Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Conditioner
Full Size: $32 for 8.5 fl oz, $3.76 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $8 for 1.35 fl oz, $5.93 per fluid ounce
157.71%

Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Shampoo
Full Size: $32 for 8.5 fl oz, $3.76 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $8 for 1.35 fl oz, $5.93 per fluid ounce
157.71%

Sephora Collection Daily Brush Cleaner
Full Size: $15 for 6.75 fl oz, $2.22 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $7 for 2 oz, $3.5 per fluid ounce
157.66%

Living Proof Flex Shaping Hairspray
Full Size: $24 for 7.5 oz, $3.20 per ounce
Travel Size: $15 for 3 oz, $5.00 per ounce
156.25%

Philosophy Purity Made Simple
Full Size: $35 for 16 fl oz, 2.19 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $10 for 3 fl oz, 3.33 per fluid ounce
152.05%

Living Proof Full Thickening Mousse
Full Size: $26 for 5 oz, $5.20 per ounce
Travel Size: $15 for 1.9 fl oz, $7.89 per ounce
151.73%

Living Proof Prime Style Extender
Full Size: $20 for 5 fl oz, $4.00 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $12 for 2 fl oz, $6.00 per fluid ounce
150%

Soap and Glory The Righteous Body Butter
Full Size: $20 for 10.1 oz, $1.98 per ounce
Travel Size: $5 for 1.7 oz, $2.94 per ounce
148.48%

Philosophy Hope In a Jar
Full Size: $42 for 2.0 oz, $21 per ounce
Travel Size: $15 for 0.5 oz, $30 per ounce
142.86%

Make Up For Ever Sens'Eyes Waterproof Sensitive Eye Cleanser
Full Size: $24 for 3.38 fl oz, $7.10 per ounce
Travel Size: $10 for 1.01 fl oz, $9.90 per ounce
139.44%

Bumble and Bumble Super Rich Conditioner
Full Size: $26 for 8 fl oz, $3.25 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $9 for 2 fl oz, $4.50 per fluid ounce
138.46%

Bumble and Bumble Thickening Conditioner
Full Size: $26 for 8 fl oz, $3.25 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $9 for 2 fl oz, $4.50 per fluid ounce
138.46%

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion
Full Size: $26 for 4.2 oz, $6.19 per ounce
Travel Size: $14.50 for 1.7 oz, $8.53 per ounce
137.80%

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel
Full Size: $26 for 4.2 oz, $6.19 per ounce
Travel Size: $14.50 for 1.7 oz, $8.53 per ounce
137.80%

Clinique Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel
Full Size: $25 for 1.0 fl oz, $25 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $17 for 0.5 fl oz, $34 per fluid ounce
136.00%

Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray
Full Size: $26 for 4 fl oz, $6.50 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $15 for 1.7 fl oz, $8.82 per fluid ounce
135.69%

Bumble and Bumble Gentle Shampoo
Full Size: $24 for 8 fl oz, $3.00 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $8 for 2 fl oz, $4.00 per fluid ounce
133.33%

Bumble and Bumble Thickening Shampoo
Full Size: $24 for 8 fl oz, $3.00 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $8 for 2 fl oz, $4.00 per fluid ounce
133.33%

GLO Whitening Antioxidant Toothpaste
Full Size: $15 for 5 oz, $3 per ounce
Travel Size: $6 for 1.5 oz, $4 per ounce
133.33%

Bumble and Bumble Tonic Lotion
Full Size: $21 for 8 fl oz, $2.63 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $7 for 2 fl oz, $3.50 per fluid ounce
133.08%

Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover
Full Size: $18 for 4.2 fl oz, $4.29 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $9.50 for 1.69 fl oz, $5.62 per fluid ounce
131.00%

Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo
Full Size: $21 for 2.5 oz, $8.40 per ounce
Travel Size: $11 for 1 oz, $11 per ounce
130.95%

Eve Lom Cleanser
Full Size: $80 for 3.3 fl oz, $24.24 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $50 for 1.6 fl oz, $31.25 per fluid ounce
128.91%

Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray
Full Size: $28 for 8 fl oz, $3.50 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $9 for 2 fl oz, $4.50 per fluid ounce
128.57%

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
Full Size: $28 for 6 oz, $4.67 per ounce
Travel Size: $12 for 2 oz, $6 per ounce
128.48%

Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash
Full Size: $24 for 6.7 fl oz, $3.58 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $9 for 2 fl oz, $4.50 per fluid ounce
125.70%

Sephora Collection Tinted Self-Tanning Body Mist
Full Size: $16 for 5 oz, $3.20 per ounce
Travel Size: $6 for 1.5 oz, $4 per ounce
125.00%

Bumble and Bumble Hair (Un)Dressing Cream
Full Size: $29 for 5 fl oz, $5.8 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $14 for 2 fl oz, $7 per fluid ounce
120.69%

Bumble and Bumble Straight Blow Dry
Full Size: $29 for 5 fl oz, $5.8 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $14 for 2 fl oz, $7 per fluid ounce
120.69%

Perricone MD Photo Plasma
Full Size: $69 for 2 fl oz, $34.50 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $20 for 0.5 fl oz, $40 per fluid ounce
115.94%

Lancome Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector
Full Size: $89 for 1.0 fl oz, $89 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $69 for 0.67 fl oz, $102.99 per fluid ounce
115.72%

Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Styling Cream
Full Size: $26 for 4 fl oz, $6.50 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $15 for 2 fl oz, $7.50 per fluid ounce
115.38%

Bumble and Bumble Prep
Full Size: $21 for 8 fl oz, $2.63 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $6 for 2 fl oz, $3 per fluid ounce
114.07%

Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm
Full Size: $36 for 1.5 fl oz, $24 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $18 for 0.66 fl oz, $27.27 per fluid ounce
113.63%

Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil
Full Size: $48 for 1.7 fl oz, $28.24 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $16 for 0.5 fl oz, $32 per fluid ounce
113.31%

Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil Light
Full Size: $48 for 1.7 fl oz, $28.24 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $16 for 0.5 fl oz, $32 per fluid ounce
113.31%

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
Full Size: $20 for 0.37 oz, $54.05 per ounce
Travel Size: $12 for 0.2 oz, $60.00 per ounce
111.01%


Products Where the Full Size and the Travel Size Cost About the Same
Why you might choose the full size version: You know you love the product and don't want to keep track of extra stuff. It is an inconvenience to keep re-purchasing a bunch of minis. A very small difference in price is important to you. The packaging for the travel size is less desirable.
Why you might choose the travel size version: You can have multiple versions everywhere you might need them without a high price. If you don't adore the product, you can stop using it sooner without feeling wasteful.


Bliss Lemon+Sage Body Butter Maximum Moisture Cream
Full Size: $29 for 6.7 oz, $4.33 per ounce
Travel Size: $8 for 1.7 oz, $4.71 per ounce
108.78%

Perfekt Skin Perfection Gel
Full Size: $48 for 1.0 oz, $48 per ounce
Travel Size: $13 for 0.25 oz, $52 per ounce
108.33%

L'Occitane Cleansing and Softening Shower Gel with Almond Oil
Full Size: $25 for 8.4 fl oz, $2.98 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $8 for 2.5 fl oz, $3.20 per fluid ounce
107.38%

DERMAdoctor KP Duty Moisturizing Therapy
Full Size: $38 for 4 fl oz, $9.50 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $10 for 1 fl oz, $10 per fluid ounce
105.26%

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
Full Size: $52 for 1 oz, $52 per ounce
Travel Size: $18 for 0.33 oz, $54.54 per ounce
104.88%

Tarte Maracuja Oil
Full Size: $46 for 1.7 fl oz, $27.06 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $17 for 0.6 fl oz, $28.33 per fluid ounce
104.69%

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment
Full Size: $85 for 2 fl oz, $42.50 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $22 for 0.5 fl oz, $44 per fluid ounce
103.52%

Bumble and Bumble Straight Blow Dry
Full Size: $29 for 5 fl oz, $5.80 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $12 for 2 fl oz, $6 per fluid ounce
103.45%

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Mineral
Full Size: $33 for 1.75 oz, $18.86 per ounce
Travel Size: $19.50 for 1 oz, $19.50 per ounce
103.39%

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Oil Free
Full Size: $33 for 1.75 oz, $18.86 per ounce
Travel Size: $19.50 for 1 oz, $19.50 per ounce
103.39%

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance
Full Size: $33 for 1.75 oz, $18.86 per ounce
Travel Size: $19.50 for 1 oz, $19.50 per ounce
103.39%

Soap and Glory Hand Food Hand Cream
Full Size: $12 for 4.2 fl oz, $2.86 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $5 for 1.7 fl oz, $2.94 per fluid ounce
102.80%

Hourglass N28 Primer Serum
Full Size: $65 for 1 oz, $65 per ounce
Travel Size: $22 for 0.33 oz, $66.67 per ounce
102.57%

Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water
Full Size: $39 for 10.15 fl oz, $3.84 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $13 for 3.38 fl oz, $3.85 per fluid ounce
100%

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream
Full Size: $39 for 1 oz, $39 per ounce
Travel Size: $19.50 for 0.5 oz, $39 per ounce
100%


Products Where the Travel Size Costs At Least Slightly Less
Why you might choose the full size version anyway: The product is not available in your preferred color or scent in the miniature version. It is an inconvenience to keep re-purchasing a bunch of minis. The packaging for the travel size is less desirable.


Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream+ Broad Spectrum
Full Size: $35 for 2.1 fl oz, $16.67 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $19.50 for 1.2 fl oz, $16.25 per fluid ounce
97.48%

Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm
Full Size: $34 for 1.18 fl oz, $28.81 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $14 for 0.5 fl oz, $28.00 per fluid ounce
97.19%

Make Up For Ever HD Microperfecting Primer
Full Size: $34 for 1.01 oz, $33.67 per ounce
Travel Size: $16 for 0.5 oz, $32 per ounce
95.04%

Boscia BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 27
Full Size: $38 for 1.75 fl oz, $21.71 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $18 for 0.875 fl oz, $20.57 per fluid ounce
94.75%

GlamGlow Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment
Full Size: $69 for 1.7 oz, $40.59 per ounce
Travel Size: $19 for 0.5 oz, $38 per ounce
93.62%

Smashbox Camera Ready CC Cream
Full Size: $42 for 1 oz, $42 per ounce
Travel Size: $19.50 for 0.5 oz, $39 per ounce
92.86%

Benefit Cosmetics Dr. Feelgood
Full Size: $31 for 0.85 oz, $36.47 per ounce
Travel Size: $9 for 0.28 oz, $32.14 per ounce
88.13%

Sephora Collection Age Defy Moisture Cream SPF15
Full Size: $30 for 1.69 oz, $17.75 per ounce
Travel Size: $15 for 1 oz, $15 per ounce
84.51%

Cover FX Mattifying Primer with Anti-Acne Treatment
Full Size: $38 for 1.0 oz, $38 per ounce
Travel Size: $16 for 0.5 oz, $32 per ounce
84.21%

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer
Full Size: $43 for 1.5 fl oz, $28.67 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $20.50 for 1 fl oz, $20.50 per fluid ounce
71.50%

Sephora Collection Contour Eye Pencil
Full Size: $10 for 0.04 oz, $250 per ounce
Travel Size: $5 for 0.028 oz, $178.57 per ounce
71.43%

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer
Full Size: $36 for 1 oz, $36 per ounce
Travel Size: $10 for 0.4 oz, $25 per ounce
69.44%

Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer
Full Size: $34 for 1 fl oz, $34 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $10 for 0.5 fl oz, $20 per fluid ounce
58.82%

MAC Strobe Cream
Full Size: $32 for 1.7 fl oz, $18.82 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $10 for 1 fl oz, $10 per fluid ounce
53.13%

MAC Studio Moisture Cream
Full Size: $32 for 1.7 fl oz, $18.82 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $10 for 1 fl oz, $10 per fluid ounce
53.13%

MAC Oil Control Lotion
Full Size: $32 for 1.7 fl oz, $18.82 per fluid ounce
Travel Size: $10 for 1 fl oz, $10 per fluid ounce
53.13%

18 comments:

  1. You forgot a reason to buy the overpriced travel sized products (my reason).. Someone likes lots of nicer makeup, but is on a drugstore budget. I'm not patient enough to save up, and buying four travel sized products makes a smaller dent than four full sized products. That being said.. I'm never buying a travel sized UD setting spray again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's true! Especially for temporary money tightness.

      Delete
  2. May I suggest one additional possible reason? Packaging is hard on landfills; one might buy the larger version to avoid throwing away a bunch of mini tubes/pans/etc.

    Thank you for the analysis!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a great reason that I did not think of! Thanks!

      Delete
  3. It might just be an illusion, but it seems to me that the product from bigger packages gets used up better - it's more accessible to brushes, squeezable and stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It depends on the product for me! I usually have no problems with minis, though.

      Delete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I prefer minis when possible because I don't wear makeup every day, and so I go through stuff incredibly slowly. I am not sure I've ever finished a liquid product before it went off! So even if it's twice as expensive per ounce but half as much money overall, it's worth it for me. However I am feeling a lot better about my purchase of the MUFE HD finishing powder mini after reading this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a good point, as well! I am a heavy foundation user, so that's not a problem for me. ;)

      Delete
  6. This is so interesting! I actually quite like to buy smaller versions of things, because I'm wanting to try stuff and don't want to commit to the full size. I've seen a few things here and there that seemed cheaper in the travel version, so I'm glad it wasn't just my brain playing tricks.

    I don't tend to overanalyse costs, since everything is so breathtakingly expensive or hard to get/expensive to ship here that you tend to just be in the 'can I afford to own this product, fullstop' bracket, hehe! But I appreciate your efforts, and always enjoy your big cost/benefit breakdowns.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The US definitely has it easier in that respect.

      Delete
  7. such an informative post! I'm sure it took you a really long time to do all this research! I really appreciate it!
    Next time I'm considering getting a travel size product I'll keep this in mind
    The Beauty Break

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's easy to double check, too, if you are interested in something not on my list.

      Delete
  8. You know, reading your blog really got me to think about beauty products ito cost per ounce, instead of absolute cost (so obvious, and so not what I was doing). It's a real eye opener to think about it this way - suddenly some products look crazy cheap, and others look crazy pricey. So, thank you for your smartness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No problem! I think about it different ways depending on the product. I definitely think about mascara in terms of overall cost, since I try to be diligent about tossing them when they get to be old, even if there is still tons of crap in there.

      Delete
    2. And overall cost isn't worthless, either. I wouldn't buy ten pounds of eyeshadow for $6000, even if that's a good deal when you price it out. ;)

      Delete
  9. ok, I'm late to the party, but seriously-where do you find tarte travel sized anything?!? I travel a lot for work and would love this.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This makeup is beautiful,I want to become beautiful point, so recently wanted to buy some cosmetics to dress themselves, do not know mac makeup good or not, many of my friends are using.

    ReplyDelete

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