25,000 skin care products!
When I heard that statistic, it got me thinking. With so much choice and so many promises, how the heck do you know which skin care product or brand is right for you? Now here’s another statistic, there are a bajillion beauty blogs and websites offering advice. Of course, with a worldwide population of 7 billion, a bajillion, perhaps is still not enough.
Oh and yes, here’s one more statistic. There are 525,600 minutes in a year. How many of those precious minutes do you want to spend pondering your skin care?
Perhaps only as many as it takes to apply your beloved lotions and potions everyday and of course, just a few more to read some of what I have to say here at The Beauty Issue.
The beauty industry has gone and got itself a bad reputation and with good reason.
25,000 reasons it would seem. How do you choose? How do you sort the good from the bad. Or is it all hype? Which promises should you trust and which do you kick to the kerb.
Well for me, it’s not that there are too many skin care products, but maybe just far too many promises are being made. Promises rolled out to make a brand unique. So unique in fact, that you will find yourself wanting to try it.
We can laugh at the old-fashioned salesman peddling snake oil to cure just about anything. But, here we are in 2014. What’s changed? Are we still buying into a dream rather than reality?
A little wander around the internet and you will find things like, Dragons blood, (not sure who’s slaying the dragon!!), snake and bee venom, why, I’ve even seen essence of jellyfish… I know. Who knew? And don’t get me started on the slime from agitated snails. Now, before anyone gets upset with me. I have no idea whether these ingredients work and frankly I don’t think I care. But I will say this. Can we just leave the bees alone! They have enough to worry about just surviving, without us wanting to extract their venom for the sake of our wrinkles!! Aye Karumba!!
To say that I get annoyed when I see these kind of ingredients is an understatement.
Many brands make promises that are difficult to keep.
Okay, small rant over. Most of these ingredients will make the promise of firming or lifting the skin, some even say the sting effect of said venom will throw your collagen-making-skin-cells into action and make more collagen. Maybe, or maybe you are just buying a jar of irritation. If you choose to use creams and serums with these kind of ingredients, you may see some tiny and temporary improvement in your skin, but in most cases you will probably be disappointed.
Is it all nonsense?
Whether you’ve been around for a while like me, or you’ve just noticed your first wrinkle and think it’s time to get serious about good skin care, you’ve probably seen enough to feel like it’s all nonsense and hope in a jar. You are just not buying into it. But you still linger over the advertisements with the promise to turn back the clock. The before and after pictures all look pretty convincing and you dream of a beautiful youthful skin just like… [insert your favourite celebrity name here].
With all this hype, marketing, unbelievable promises and absolute nonsense, I fear the baby has been thrown out with the proverbial bath water. If you know what to look for there are some really amazing, sophisticated formulations to be found.
But how do you choose? How to find the holy grail of skin care without slaying any dragons? Well, as someone very wise once said. ‘Knowledge is Power’. So today, I wish to provide you with a bit of knowledge and a tiny drop of common sense. Now there’s a potion worth putting in a jar!
There are only a handful of ingredients that actually work.
Despite what you have read and heard and with 25,000 skin care products to choose from, you just need to remember there are only a handful of active ingredients that actually do anything meaningful to make a change. But the good news is, they do exist.
Here’s what to look for.
To improve your skin and spend your money wisely, look for ingredients that are protective, corrective, communicate with your cells and are skin identical.
Clever ingredients. These are the ones that have been proven to communicate with your skin cells. By communication, I mean your cell receptors recognise these ingredients and will accept them into the cell where they can do their stuff. Pretty Cool. These are the ingredients that are skin identical, having an affinity with your skin in order to protect and correct.
Look for these key ingredients.
Niacinamide for skin boosting immunity.
Vitamin C to fight free radicals and build collagen.
Retinol for the repair of your skin cells.
AHA’s and BHA’s for improving cell turnover
Phospholipids, essential to the healthy function of skin cells.
Ceramides, linoleic and linolenic acids, hyaluronic acid and glycerine for barrier protection.
All amazing ingredients that communicate with the cells of your skin. I’ve talked about all these ingredients before and if you want to know more about them go here.
A brand you know, love and trust.
Finding a brand to trust. Okay, so this one can be difficult, because the advertising copy and imagery for some skin care brands can be so compelling it’s hard to see past it and decipher the truth from the fiction. It’s easy to be dazzled by it all. Further more, we want to believe it.
But before you do, ask yourself this..
Is the brand prepared to clearly explain their key active ingredients including those ingredients hidden behind their proprietary name and trademark?
If you can, look beyond the advertising hype, look at who is making the product, try to get a feel for the company. What are their beliefs and philosophies?
Organic, natural, preservative free and cruelty free.
For many of us choosing organic, natural, preservative free or whether a product is tested on animals is pretty important. The reason why you choose any of these reasons is a personal matter. But if they are important to you then great, follow your heart when you choose.
Does sampling a product help?
If you are going to sample a product, do not think of it as a test drive on results, nothing works that fast. Depending on your age, your skin takes from 30 – 45 days to renew itself. Most samples will not last that long unless it’s a trial kit. So, please, when sampling, it is not results you should be looking for, rather, ask yourself, do you like the feeling on your skin, the scent and the texture.
Okay, so what’s next?
So now you know you like the feel, the scent and the texture of the product, the next step is to follow the advice of the skin care professional who is making the recommendation. This is where it gets a bit tricky as they need to know their stuff. But really, it’s quite simple. Just ask them how the ingredients in the products are going to work on your skin. If they cannot answer your questions, you may need to seek advice from someone else or go directly to the company that makes the product. Most good skin care companies have an education department and should be happy to answer all your questions.
Lastly and it’s a biggie!!
The really good brands work within a system of products to achieve results.
Not everyone will agree with me which is fine, but here it is. Don’t mix up your skin care brands. If the brand you have chosen is good, it will have a system of products that meet your skin care needs. Of course there will be times when you change your brand. Some skin care products specifically cater for younger skins, while others are very clearly engaging in the needs of the more mature skin. But a really good brand will be able to move with you through your life stages.
Good brands… great brands resist the temptation to continually add to the ever burgeoning list of products on the market just to keep you coming back. If the product is good you will. Of course, we all love variety and as new and better ways to formulate products emerge, skin care companies will change and reinvent their products, just be wary of the same thing all dressed up in a different outfit.
De-clutter your bathroom cabinet.
When I started this website I promised to help you de-clutter your bathroom cabinet. How much is in there right now? Go check it. Oh, you’re at work, okay then, just do a little mental tally in your head followed by a mental calculation on how much you have spent in the last year. A bit shocking right? Worse, you’re still not happy, and even more upsetting most of the stuff in your bathroom cabinet has not been used. Don’t fret, it’s just human nature to do this. We’re all just a little bit hardwired to keep looking for that one perfect product.
So unless you take great delight in buying the latest promise in a jar because you like the packaging or because you want the most fashionable brand displayed on your bathroom vanity, find a brand you know, love and trust and stick with it. Commit to their system. Give the products a chance to work on your skin. Follow the system regimen.
Take the advice of the company and the recommendations they have prescribed for your specific skin care needs. If you can’t find good advice over the counter or in the beauty salon or cosmetic doctors office, call the company advice line.
Don’t be shy about it, if they are the right kind of brand and company they will be passionate about helping you.
Failing all this, I’d love to hear what you’ve struggled with? Share your skin care story. Have you found the holy grail in skin care? Or perhaps you have a burning beauty issue you’d like me to write about in a future article? Drop me a line here or leave a comment below.
See you next time,