7 Generic Wellness Buys Better Than the Expensive Originals


You don't need to spend a fortune to look and feel your best. Here are seven generic wellness buys that maintain the same high quality and perform as well (or even better) than name brands.

1. Vitamins

Because ingredients in vitamins are regulated by the FDA, there's little reason to choose expensive name brands over generics. What's relevant is the vitamin content and formulation. Compare the percentages of different vitamins and minerals across brands, and choose the best option for you. Often generics are exactly the same as name brands, but they almost always cost less.

2. Over-the-Counter Medications

Like vitamins, over-the-counter medications are also regulated. What you want to compare is the percentage and type of active ingredient. As long as those are the same as your usual name brand, you should get the same results at a lower cost.

3. Spa Day Supplies

Spas are expensive because you're paying a premium for service. But you can often find generics at your neighborhood pharmacy and chain stores with the same ingredients as name brands. And even cheaper still is making your own products, with the added benefit of fewer chemicals or harsh ingredients:

  • A combination of brown sugar or sea salt with coconut oil and a dash of essential oil (any scent you like), for example, makes a luscious body scrub.
  • Half an avocado and one tablespoon of honey creates a deeply moisturizing face mask.
  • A quick hair rinse of white vinegar in a squeeze bottle restores shine.
  • And a handful of epsom salts with a dash of essential oil makes for a relaxing and detoxifying bath.

4. Sunscreen

It's important to apply sunscreen every day — no matter the weather. While the price varies widely across brands, what matters most is making sure your product is PABA-free and has a high level of SPF (experts recommend an SPF of at least 30). Focus on these facts and ignore the brands on the bottles.

5. Veggies

Up your vegetable intake, and you're sure to improve your health. Rather than buying expensive fresh vegetables that have a short shelf life, you can get the same benefits in frozen veggies that are often cheaper and fresher than even the crispest vegetables in the produce section of the grocery store. If you're feeling particularly ambitious (and patient!), you can also buy seeds and grow your own veggies at pennies on the dollar.

6. Personal Care Section at Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond carries the Harmon Face Values brand product for just about every personal care item you could want. This line has many of the same active ingredients as the name brands and is cheaper. You'll often see them side by side on the shelf with their name brand competitors and a price comparison sign to show you how much you're saving.

7. Health Food

Several grocery chains have drastically improved their generics in recent years. For example, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Wegmans all have store brands that have intense loyal followings and a wide variety of products. These lines are healthy and less expensive than their name-brand counterparts.

Which generic wellness buys do you swear by?

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