Nine years ago I used to blow my entire monthly beauty budget on my favourite M.A.C. lipstick. It was the perfect relationship – we worked together, partied together and never fought. Then one fateful December, I popped out to the Waterfront at lunchtime to get a new tube. When I couldn’t find it, I enquired at the counter. The lady beamed at me, told me it had been discontinued, but not to worry, she had a replacement colour.
A… replacement… colour! Was this woman high? And just like that, my trusty friendly lippie broke up with me – no call, no fax, not even a Post-It note.
I may sound overly dramatic, but I know I’m not alone. There are many who collectively mourn the loss of discontinued products every year – from that lip ice you can’t live without, the make-up remover that wouldn’t quit on your worst mascara disasters and your signature scent.
What to do when your favourite beauty product is discontinued? Some people dig out every scrap from the bottom of the tube or tub and savour that last bittersweet moment of bliss. Others spend hours scouring different branches of Clicks or Dis-Chem and some write to us in desperation, asking for help. More than 20 of you have written to us in the past two weeks about the Like Silk brand going AWOL.
Dear Joan, It’s not you, it’s me…
In the interest of beauty public service, we reached out to the industry to find out why brands or products get discontinued. Most were reluctant to share. Thankfully, Laura Nel, Head of Communication and Public Affairs for Johnson & Johnson was happy to answer our questions. First we wanted to know why it happens. “Usually, it is because a product is not performing well and clearing the minimum annual sales hurdle,” she says. It’s inefficient and costly for companies to keep something in stock if it’s not selling briskly.
“It could also be that there is a new and improved item planned to replace the current product or range,” she continues. Shops don’t always have space for old and new products, so they’ll want the manufacturer to discontinue the old before introducing the new.
“In other instances, which is common at J&J, some things are discontinued because they no longer meet the ever changing regulations for ingredients. If our products contain parabens or ingredients on a ‘banned’ list, we have an ethical duty to discontinue them or replace them with compliant formulations,” says Laura.
The decision isn’t taken lightly. “The process at J&J involves an annual review of a brand portfolio. Items that no longer clear the sales hurdle, are identified as at risk of discontinuation. If there is an opportunity to drive sales or improve costs to avoid discontinuing the product, this is implemented,” she adds.
Sometimes a brand pulls out of South Africa or the local manufacturers have not renewed the license due to the Rand taking a pounding. Or a big corporation buys out a smaller one and makes their product range for a very short period before shelving poor sellers and developing new formulas. Finally, some brands issue limited-edition ranges. So if you fall in love with one of those, best you stock up.
Where does that leave you? If you’re willing to fork out the hefty import tax, you can buy from overseas sites. But won’t you run the risk of buying a grey product? Not necessarily, Laura says. “From a J&J perspective, it would be an authentic product.” The product might be taken out of a certain market because of how it sells there. “So if a Clean & Clear product is discontinued in South Africa, it isn’t always discontinued globally as well.”
There you have it. And now for a list of brands and products that we know have been discontinued in South Africa. If there’s anything else, let us know in the comments and we’ll verify and add. Sharing is caring, beauties – especially when you’re nursing a broken beauty brand heart.
Brands that have said bye-bye to SA:
House of Gallia
I Love… Cosmetics
Model Co Range
Revlon Charlie Skin and Make-up range (but you may still find some stock in stores)
Sunsilk Hair Care Range
St Tropez Tanning Products
Twisted Sista Hair Care range
Products that have been discontinued:
Beauty Magic Cleansing Face Wash
Beauty Magic Facial Bar
Beauty Magic Mattifying Moisturiser
Eucerin 48hr Anti-perspirant Roll-on
Eucerin 24hr Deodorant Sensitive Skin Roll-on
Garnier BB Cream in Dark
Garnier Anti-Age Cream in Medium
Lip Ice Medicated and Orange flavour
Maybelline Great Lash Lot of Lashes Mascara in Blackest Black
Maybelline Great Lash Washable Mascara in Brownish Black
Maybelline Master Duo 2-In-1 Liquid Liner
Maybelline Define-A-Line Pencil Eyeliner in Ebony Black and Brownish Black
Maybelline Define-A-Lash Lengthening Washable Mascara in Brown
Maybelline The Colossal Kajal Eye Liner in Turquoise
Maybelline Dream Pure BB Cream in Light, Light/Medium, Medium/Deep
Maybelline New York Super Stay 24Hr Makeup in Caramel/ Chestnut, Hazelnut and Cocoa
Maybelline Color Sensational Velvet Matte Lipstick in Coral
Maybelline SuperStay24H Dual Ended Lipstick in Red Passion and Soft Taupe
Maybelline Superstay24H Ultimate Red Lipstick 575 Always Crimson
Yardley CC Cream
Yardley Colour Eye Make-up Remover
Yardley Colour Quick Dry and Stayfast Nails
Yardley Colour Radiant Glow Illuminator
Yardley Curvilicious Lashes
Yardley Supermoist Lipsticks
Yardley Uplift Maxx Foundations
Yardley Oatmeal Foundation Oily
Yardley Oatmeal Combination Night Cream
Products that have been discontinued and replaced with something new:
Everysun Anti Age Face Protect SPF 30 and SPF40 have been discontinued and replaced with Everysun Anti Age Face SPF50.
Tropitone Waterbabies Range has been discontinued. It’s now part of Everysun brand.
Garnier Hydra Match moisturisers have been discontinued and replaced with Garnier Moisture+ moisturisers.
Johnson’s African Nurture range has been discontinued and replaced with the Vita-Rich Body Care Range.
Nair Brazilian Spa Clay range has been discontinued and replaced with the Nair Argan Oil Range.
Schwarzkopf Gliss Marrakesh and Liquid Silk have been discontinued and replaced with Hydra Miracle and Magnificent Strength.
Yardley CC Cream foundations have been discontinued and replaced with Yardley Even Complexion Foundations.
Yardley Mascara Lash Plumper have been discontinued and replaced with Yardley Multi Effect Mascara
Brands that have a site which list discontinued items and help you find a replacement:
Maybelline South Africa. Go here to check in future.
Brands that just got a make over and fab new packaging:
Biosense Hair Care Range