Why All the Discontinued Hair and Beauty Products?

WHO MOVED MY SHAMPOO?

Before I begin this eulogy to once-loved, now-discontinued beauty products, let me explain that I'm no beauty junkie.

I don't bother with makeup most days. Blow drying my hair is a feat reserved for special occasions. And when I shop, I view the endless aisles filled with skin care, hair and makeup offerings dubiously.

But that doesn't mean I don't enjoy a bubble bath or a little primping now and then. And just because I don't live at Sephora, it doesn't mean that I don't have strong preferences when it comes to what I choose to put on my my face, my hands and my hair. I do.

Texture, function, scent and value — all of this matters to me. And so many of the products out there don't measure up.

So when I do find a product that works for me, I come to love it, and I never want to let it go.

That is the precisely my problem. My favorite shampoo will be on the shelf one month and gone — forever — the next.

Discontinued hair and beauty products are the bane of my low-maintenance routine.

WHY ALL THE DISCONTINUATIONS?

As far as I can tell, the products are usually discontinued without explanation or warning from the manufacturers. Often, the products that vanish seemed to be widely popular.

Good reviews don't seem to matter either.

  • For example, out of four cheek and lip stains featured in the September 2008 issue of Lucky magazine — that's only a year ago — one is already no longer available.
  • And out of three hair styling products recommended to "weatherproof your hair" in the March 2007 issue of InStyle magazine, two are no longer sold. (Except, in one case, on eBay.)

So why all the discontinued products?

Perhaps some simply were unpopular and weren't selling. But my guess is that most products disappear for the same reasons that product packaging and prices are ever-changing.

The beauty and fashion industry thrive on trends and novelties for a reason. A confused, bewildered customer may make for a more adventurous (and spendthrift) customer.

Most likely, marketers already know what I have learned through experience: I end up spending more time shopping and drop more money trying to find a decent replacement product than I would if I were able to simply buy refills of my beauty staples several times a year.

THAT'S HOW IT IS, BUT I DON'T HAVE TO LIKE IT

I can no longer be surprised by the death of any product I have come to love.

But I can still be annoyed.

Especially at the bottom on the market, the industry should also should be about supplying the daily staples that help us stay clean, look presentable and add a little pleasure to the day.

Now, let us now praise those dear, departed products that once lined many a bathroom counter.

THE PERFECT SHAMPOO

Thermasilk

For years, I relied on Thermasilk Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner, as well as a matching leave-in conditioning creme.

Then, one day, the entire line vanished.

I'm not the first to mourn this shampoo's passing. (Read another woman's complaint here.)

Since Thermasilk's death, I've tried what looks like a replacement shampoo set — Sunsilk — but the scent seems different. The ingredients listed on the backs of the bottles vary, too.

Occasionally, I'll still see a tiny bottle of Thermasilk for sale inside a pre-packed travel kit for sale at drug stores, in there with the dental floss.

The good news is that if the shampoo is still sold in any form, at least that means it wasn't pulled because something in the formula turned out to be dangerous, and thus quietly discontinued. (I hope, at least, that I can assume that no chemicals in the shampoo were slowing turning us into mutant, glowing reptiles?)

Maybe Unilever will bring the real stuff back someday?

THE PERFECT FACE SERUM

Pure Simplicity Everlasting Flower

Once upon a time, Bath & Body Works sold a line of Pure Simplicity face creams and serums with names like Oat, Rice and Everlasting Flower.

I ended up with a small gift set, and I loved it. The serums were incredibly light and made my face feel fresh-smelling and smooth. The tiny, travel-sized bottles were perfect, too.

And now it's all gone.

THE NOSTALGIC PERFUME

Amarige D'Amour

The first bottle of perfume I ever bought was Givenchy's Amarige D'Amour. I still remember carefully making my selection, still too young and nervous to try many samples at the department store counter.

For a long time, this was the sole "pretty" perfume bottle I owned, and a spritz of it went with me to several big events.

The mix supposedly had sweet peas in it — one of my favorite flowers. I'll admit that the perfume could be too strong for me at times, and I later came to prefer other scents. But when my bottle ran low last year, I still wanted to replace it.

I tried and accidentally bought plain, old Amarige, which turned out to be rather foul.

The D'Amour version is no longer sold.

THE ULTIMATE HAIR ACCESSORIES

Large, sturdy hair pins, brand unknown

These were my solution to the one-minute updo. I would twist my hair, quickly poke in just two of these perfect pins, and my thick, long hair would stay tamed in a casual updo all day long.

I could even go running and the 'do wouldn't budge. No damaging rubber "grippers" to deal with, no foundry's worth of metal bobby pins required, and no unsightly chopstick-style rods poking out from the back of my head.

Too bad I didn't stock up when I could have. After several years, one pin snapped in half from overuse and the magic was lost. Replacements — or even any similar products — were nowhere to be found.

THE MOST SUMMERY SPRITZ

John Frieda Beach Blonde Ocean Waves Sea Spray

This sea-colored spritz may not have transformed my tresses, but it did indeed lock in a few tousled waves. Meanwhile, it smelled amazingly like summer: a mix of salt spray, coconuts and beach.

If I had been wise, I would have hoarded my lowly drugstore bottle as an investment instead of just using it up. The discontinued spray has moved from store shelves to online auctions: I've seen bottles offered for resale on eBay for over $100.

THE ESSENTIAL AIRPLANE HAND REMEDY

Savannah Bee Hand Cream

Thankfully, I still have something left in my tiny, 1-oz. jar of Savannah Bee Beeswax Hand Cream.

The cream is thick. The scent is unusual, but pleasant. The cream's value to me is that nothing else works as well when my hands and cuticles get dry on a cross-country airplane flight.

I've been using the cream sparingly since I learned it is no longer sold in smaller sizes.

At some point in the future, I might be tempted to sneak the larger, 3.4-oz. jar past airport security.

THE RIGHT, RED LIP GLOSS

Ulta Ribbon Red gloss

I rely on a sample-sized square pot of Ribbon Red lip gloss from Ulta when I want a touch of color that is not too dense or gloppy. I also appreciate that it has a completely neutral taste, and the color is perfect.

Ulta still offers some products in Ribbon Red, but somehow, I don't think the "super shiny" tubes are the same formula.

POLL

Does the constantly changing lineup of beauty products bother you?

  • Yes. Make it stop.
  • Not really. I'm drawn to new products.
  • What are you talking about? I always find what I'm looking for.
See results without voting

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Comments 9 comments

bingskee profile image

bingskee 7 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

one reason maybe is the cost of manufacturing the products. in this ever changing world, and with competition rising against manufacturers who sell cheaper, these products will likely be obliterated from the list.

it does annoy me, too.


E. A. Wright profile image

E. A. Wright 7 years ago from New York City Author

I'm sure that's one of the factors, too. There are so many products on the shelves, it's hard to imagine that all lines could possibly survive.


Ryan 6 years ago

For years i used Clairol Color ProTec Shampoo and loved it. Took it for granted. Then one day it was gone. I used to be stopped in the street and asked what i used on my hair. It was strong, thick and healthy. It has never been the same and regardless of what i use or how expensive it is thinning, breaking and just has never been the same. I think Clairol marketed to the wrong group by trying to reach those in the industry rather than selling in super markets, drug stores etc. I heard Clairol was bought out and thus the winning product was dropped.


Debbie 6 years ago

Used a L'oreal hair product - 'Elvive colour refresh' for Blondes; fantastic for after bleaching process and gave a lovely colour. No lomger available. Very upset! Why?


Native Gardener profile image

Native Gardener 5 years ago from Topanga Canyon, California

I don't go with these products anymore. They are all full of chemicals and I have found natural alternatives. If you want, I will tell you about them.


Catherine 4 years ago

I think I know about the Bobby Pins you are talking about.. I too have been looking for them and have been obsessive about the remaining few I have (to the point where my friend's think I am crazy). I have not seen them in years, and it makes me sad! I don't even know who made them, but I believe I bought them at a Target or Walgreens, so it had to be one of the bigger companies like Goody.


Rozalyn Winters 2 years ago

I'm glad you wrote about this--it is seriously annoying! I think you're right about spending more time and money finding an alternative. It's such a waste! Great hub :-)


Deanna Woods 17 months ago

There are a couple of reasons for this.....One, it has to do with the manufacturer and the supply and demand....there are many people who love to try new and do not stay faithful to the same products and as long as this is the way of it the products will continue to be discontinued per the trends....sad but try!!! Two, the fashion and cosmetic industry dictate what is offered and as long as we have this.... we will have discontinued products as well...I don't know about others but for me...I refuse to replace my entire wardrobe due to the fashion industry deciding what will be "in" this season every year and what colors it will be offered in!!!....and we wonder why so many, as well as our country, is in debt up to our eyelashes :)


Judy Quinn 16 months ago

Thank goodness I found a place to vent. I,too, am a victim of a discontinued product with no replacement per Loreal. Nothing was like Beautiful Body on my hair and now I have tried many other products but nothing comes up to the mark. Must confess....I do contribute to the land fill...why keep something that is inferior.

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