Choosing the best for you.
How do you make the right choice in skincare? Do you have specific criteria or values you always look for?
The right skincare choice that suits you and works for you can be both confusing and distressing. How much should you spend? And after all the money you’ve spent is it really working? Which brand should you trust? Who speaks the truth and where to go for the best advice?
It’s a dilemma. With so many brands on the market and so many promises. What should you do?
Firstly, I always like to bring it back to ingredients. But even this can be a mine-field, as every brand tries desperately to bring you their own unique spin on the super ingredients in their formulations.
Along with their uniqueness, most brands will bring you their own unique brand of hype.
I often get asked this question. How do you choose? When you’ve narrowed it down to a couple of brands. Do they have similar ingredients and systems? What then? It can still become difficult to choose. So, secondly, I look at my own specific criteria for a brand.
Bring it back to your own personal values. What’s important to you?
I believe one of the ‘numero uno’ reasons to use a product is for the results you get.
Finding a product that works. Of course, that’s what you want. Seems obvious. But, once you’ve finally found the product that’ll deliver on it’s promise, there are other things to consider to make you feel happier and satisfied with your choice.
If you know the ingredients needed to help you achieve results then it will come down to what’s important to you.
What’s important to you? Is it about results. Organic or natural? Cosmetic, cosmeceutical or medical grade? Scientific evidence or sustainable packaging? Cruelty free or is it all about the service on offer?
Before we go through what may be important to you when choosing a skincare brand, let’s look at whether the brand you’re considering is going to deliver.
Firstly, is it a ‘true cosmeceutical brand’. Cosmeceutical skincare has become a bit of a buzz word, many brands will use the term to describe their brand even if it’s not really. (Scruples? No not really).
In my view, a cosmeceutical should be formulated with the correct amount of effective ingredients to make a difference to your skin in a formulation or regimen that’s likely to give your skin a workout and assist in the penetration of key active ingredients into the deeper layer of the skin.
On the other hand, a product that instantly diminishes wrinkles and sagging the moment it touches the skin, but only lasts for a few hours or until washed off is NOT a cosmeceutical. It may be very clever, but it’s just that. A clever cosmetic preparation that will provide you with a short term or instant result. It will NOT make any difference to the underlying issues or skin conditions worrying you or the ongoing health of your skin. If you want to know more about cosmeceutical skincare you may like to read this article.
It’s not so important for me, but it may be for you. If it is, great, but first, be clear on what organic means. For me it means naturally sourced ingredients grown without pesticides. You need to be aware that a skincare brand may have organically grown ingredients added to it, but the other ingredients used to preserve and carry these essential ingredients within the formulation may not be.
If organic skincare is important to you then you need to ask the question. How much of this product is truly organic?
It’s worth noting that naturally derived ingredients in ANY cosmetic brand will have ALL the pesticides completely removed in the sterilisation and manufacturing process before they are added to any formulation.
So, while organic seems like a nice idea, it may not be worth the extra money you’re spending, when all mass-produced cosmetic formulations will have all traces of pesticides removed.
It’s also worth noting organic does not mean free of preservatives. So, once again, you need to check this before you purchase what you think is a pristine product.
Many organic brands are not cosmeceutical or dermo-cosmetic or medical grade; which may not matter to you if you’re just looking for a brand that maintains your skin as it is today and feels good when you use it, in which case you should be able to find something that meets your need for organic skincare. But, do your homework before you buy organic so you get exactly what you’re expecting.
The look, feel and scent?
This is important for me. How does it feel on my skin? How does it make my skin look and do I like using it?
I’ve tried many, many products since starting The Beauty Issue. There are many I never write about simply because, not only have the results been less than impressive, but the feeling on my skin or the scent is unpleasant to me. There’s no point buying a product if the texture or scent turn you off and you never use it as it’s intended. That’s a big waste of money and you’ll never get the results you’re hoping for if it sits languishing in your bathroom cabinet.
Premium, luxury or supermarket?
How much should you be spending? I’d like to do an article just on this one topic alone, but for now, I’ll just say, the most expensive product is not always the best, but then neither is the very cheapest one.
Again, what are your values around spending money on skincare? If you want the most luxurious product you can find sitting in your bathroom, then that’s the one for you. Spending $600 or more on one cream or serum will not bother you.
But, if you’re less inclined to blow the budget and results are your number one goal then think about the active ingredients inside, the supported science, the type of service you get before and after you buy the product and the superior quality of the packaging and the company’s willingness to reveal what’s inside their formulas.
Tested on animals.
This one may be an absolute deal-breaker for you and many brands now feel the same way. For a cosmetic brand to be truly cruelty-free, where they source their raw materials from manufacturers with the same values and practices of not testing on animals. Likewise, if they sell in or out of China then they will be required to test on animals to do this. In Australia look for the bunny rabbit logo for peace of mind.
It should be a deal-breaker. I’d prefer cosmetic brands didn’t use any plastic at all. But sadly, it’s very difficult to find this across an entire range. So, I compromise and look for minimal packaging and containers that preserve the stability of the formulation inside. Is it airtight, is their limited exposure to light? Both are important, especially for ingredients that are light-sensitive such as retinol and ascorbic acid. If the brand uses plastic tubes? Is it BPA free? Again it will come down to what’s important to you.
The science behind the brand.
Sometimes it can appear that a cosmetic brand is fully backed up by scientific data, but when you dig a little deeper you’ll find, it’s ‘smoke and mirrors’.
When it comes to science, a company can or should bring to the market ingredients and formulations proven for their efficacy and the scientific evidence available to back it up.
Then there are the ‘clinical trials’. While I think this is an important aspect of the ‘science behind the brand’, what does it mean?
In most cases, clinical trials are conducted on willing participants over a period of time determined from the outset of the trial. All the criteria for the trial will be agreed upon to provide the company with the information they are looking for. Sometimes these clinical trials are conducted independently to give a degree of credibility.
Despite the term ‘clinical trial’ it can still be subjective and not always the best way to choose a product, even if the intention of the company is honourable and good.
You have to ask yourself if 100 people tried a moisturiser and 80 of them view it as favourable, what does this really mean? What condition was their skin like before? How familiar were they with effective skincare? What were their personal expectations? Any product can seem fantastic if the participant has never used much on their skin in the past? Or they’ve been prompted to answer questions after the trial in a specific or favourable way. Right?
The service being offered, both before and after.
I go on about this a lot. For good reason. If you’ve decided to spend more than you normally would, but you feel the product stacks up and you’re just itching to get started then, the kind of service and consultation you get before and after your purchase is very important. It can make or break your results.
It’s one thing to pick up cream at the supermarket. You’re not expecting too much and you’re certainly not getting any advice either, however, if you’ve just spent a weeks salary on your skincare routine, then raise your expectation of the company and the person recommending the product. You deserve the attention required to ensure you get results and feel good about the money you’ve just spent. Right?
And now you?
Have you found a way to make the right choice in skincare? Do you have a specific set of values or criteria when choosing your favourite brand?
Deal breakers that you refuse to budge on? Or is it a criteria based on quality and performance? I’d love to hear your views and if you liked this article why not share with someone else it may help.
See you next time,