There really is a difference!
Quality ingredients are not the only thing that matter when it comes to good skincare. It also makes a huge difference where those ingredients fall when listed on the product. One thing to be aware of is when your looking at pharmacy brands and direct sales product lines, you will find many of the effective and active ingredients fall toward the bottom of the list. That means they are the smallest percentage of the overall total makeup of the product.
When looking at professional spa brands, normally you are going to find the active and targeted ingredients will be listed in the upper half of the ingredients list, not the last 3 to 5 items. That means you are actually getting what you are paying for and you'll also find that there are no fillers. Each and every ingredient on the declarations list is an active part of what makes the product work and why you will be seeing the results you were expecting.
Quality product costs a bit more at the front end, but what you will find is it actually takes much less of the product when applying. So, in the end, quality product ends up being much more cost effective.
Let's take it a step further and talk about reputable department store brands. The actives will still be found higher up on the list of ingredients, but you are also going to find fragrance, parabens, SLS's, artificial colors and perhaps a bit more. Maybe a few more names that you have to google to uncover what they really are and if you should even be putting them on your skin.
Skincare is serious business and being familiar with your brands and how ingredient lists stack up are going to help you make purchasing decisions that will benefit you and your pocket book.