Save or Splurge? Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream vs. Equate Beauty Moisturizing Cream

Is Cetaphil's formula worth paying for, or should you try out Equate's dupe at a fraction of the price?

Store-brand dupes of drugstore mainstays never fail to intrigue me. Why not get the same thing for less moolah? But oftentimes, the items they’re duplicating aren’t exorbitantly expensive in the first place. So the question is: Is it worth splurging just a little more to get the name brand, or should you save a little bit of money and go with the dupe? I don’t have a definitive answer for you. The quality of store-brand dupes can vary, and name brands are under pressure to deliver high-quality products that are worth duplicating in the first place. If you think about it like that, then you should just spring for the name brand.

As I was browsing Walmart’s website the other day, I found out that their beauty brand (Equate Beauty) had created a duplicate version of Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream (a very popular moisturizer that’s a cult favorite that’s recommended by laypeople and dermatologists alike). Curious to see if Equate could deliver on its name by delivering equally moisturizing properties, I decided to ask my dad for his opinion on the quality of this dupe. Note that I haven’t actually tried Equate Beauty Moisturizing Cream—I just wanted to ask him if he thought it would be a decent dupe to try out, based on these two products’ (slightly different) ingredient lists.

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream review vs. Equate Beauty Moisturizing Cream comparison

Equate Beauty Moisturizing Cream ingredients

water, glycerin, petrolatum, dicaprylyl ether, dimethicone, glyceryl sterate, cetyl alcohol, prunus amygdalus dulus (sweet almond) oil, peg-30 glyceryl sterate tocopheryl acetate, acrylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, dimethiconol, benzyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, glyceryl acrylate/acrylic acid copolymer, disodium edta, sodium hydroxide

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream ingredients

water, glycerin, petrolatum, dicaprylyl ether, dimethicone, glyceryl stearate, cetyl alcohol, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, peg-30 stearate, tocopheryl acetate, acrylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, dimethiconol, benzyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, glyceryl acrylate/acrylic acid copolymer, propylene glycol, disodium edta, sodium hydroxide

My Dad the Chemist’s review of Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream vs. Equate Beauty Moisturizing Cream

Dear Emily,
Looks like Equate’s formula went through a contractor to duplicate Cetaphil’s formula, I think Propylene Glycol won’t make a difference, but the key is how to properly put the formula together to also duplicate the performance.

I think it’s worth trying once because of the price difference, then you can make better decision before the next purchase. (the difference in price vs. in the performance).

Love,
Dad

Companies can go through contractors to duplicate name-brand formulas, but the results vary even if the ingredients lists are exactly the same (or slightly different, in this case). According to my dad, the lack of propylene glycol in the Equate’s dupe of Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream won’t make a difference, so he recommends trying out Equate’s formula to see if it did a successful job at duplicating the properties of the Cetaphil version. In short, he doesn’t see any alarm bells that would warrant sticking with the name brand if you’re already a fan of Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream .

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream review vs. Equate Beauty Moisturizing Cream comparison

This brings up a good point when it comes to store-brand dupes in general: The quality of the dupe will vary according to the caliber of the contractor hired to duplicate the real thing. We also have no way of knowing when a store will change the contractor they use, or if they use the same contractor for all of their duped products. I suspect that some dupes are better than others, so you never know until you try.

My two cents: If you can afford to buy the name brand, I would suggest sticking with it since it usually isn’t that much more expensive than the dupe. To save money but still get the same product you know and trust, you could buy the product in bulk (the pictured 20-oz. tub was ordered from Costco). Pro tip: If you live in NYC and you don’t have a car, you can use Google Express to order from Costco (with a valid membership) with free delivery over $75.

On the other hand, if you find that you’re not feeling particularly loyal to the name brand, and you’re willing to accept the possibility that a store dupe will be less satisfying than the real thing, then why not go for it? If you end up liking the dupe, then you can continue buying it—and that small bit of savings will add up over time.

Have you tried Equate Moisturizing Cream before? Comment below to let us know how you think it compares to the name-brand original, Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream!

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