immersed in the ‘prestige’ world of cosmetics since the very day I became a ‘consumer’ (with my own hard earned birthday money), its often assumed that I have an innate bias toward high end cosmetics in my attempt to stay reputable. I, as well as most people, have a pretty realistically tight budget, and dread the day when I no longer work where I work and I’ll actually have pay for all my skincare! Through these uneasy times, we are all being forced to reevaluate our spending and seek other alternatives for our previously profligate expenditures; thus, in lies, the art of compromising over our choice of relative ‘necessities’, including our cosmetic items. We have to wonder, Is there a difference between high end cosmetics and skincare that you would typically find at a department or specialty store and your local drugstore?
The day before I started my fancy new job in cosmetics, I was asked that very same question by a skeptical friend of a friend of the family who was clearly not impressed by the ‘over-priced’ nuances of the high end market. I knew the answer was ‘yes’ but I was so unqualified to offer a logical explanation, my meager half-hearted ‘yes, but I don’t know why’, only reinforced her dubious opinion.
After absorbing an erudite 6 years of this industry, I still frequently recall that disappointing conversation that I wish I could go back to redeem myself in. Since I can’t go back in time (yet) I can attempt to redeem myself now.
In the world of cosmetics, you absolutely get what you pay for, but what do you need to pay for?
Cleansers- You can get some amazing cleansers at the department store loaded with so many different ingredients to do many things; lightening, exfoliating, softening, brightening, help fight acne, etc. but if you’re simply looking for a cleanser that will remove your makeup and all the dirt and grime from the day, you can definitely skip the department $$ and go for a good basic cleanser at the drug store. Many dermatologists recommend Neutrogena or cetaphill as a basic daily cleanser.
Serums: Sorry guys, you can’t scrimp on your serious skincare. Unfortunately, through a lot of advertising, some drug store brands lead consumers to believe that they same ingredients can be found in their lower priced items and try to make higher end brands seem like they hike up their prices. The reality is, it is all about ingredients, both in QUANTITY & QUALITY. A drugstore brand may have a fantastic ingredient, but what they don’t tell you is how MUCH is actually in the product vs. fillers, as well as the quality of the ingredient. This is a situation where you DEFINITELY get what you pay for.
Moisturizers/eye creams: I’m going to have to say the same thing as I did with serums. These products are your serious skincare items. Bear in mind, you don’t have to spend $100 on a good moisturizer. There are a lot of options out there. Philosophy is a great brand to invest in for your money. Their ‘hope in a jar’ moisturizer is only $35 and it’s a great product with a huge cult following. If you are a fan of natural products, the Boscia oil-free daily hydration moisturizer runs you from $12 - $27.
Sunscreen: I don’t care where you get it, the abc store, Sephora, Walgreens, Neiman’s, or safeway..just buy some (at least an SPF 15) and wear it EVERYDAY. For the rest of your life. There are no excuses to not incorporate this simple small step to preserve your health and the vitality of your skin. People ask me all the time, what is the best thing they can put on their skin to prevent aging and the simple answer is sun protection. Like cleansers, there are a lot of additional benefits to investing in higher end sunscreens, but it is not one of those products that someone can just 'skip' because they can't afford it.