When I was 23, I didn’t know anything skincare except that it was expensive. I was chubby, and I had some acne issues.
I didn’t feel good about myself , but I was too ashamed to ask for help. Help came without me asking. I was doing my internship in a pharmacy and there was this lady, Manuela.
She worked at the skincare aisle. Manuela is a very direct person. She told me that I was pretty except for ….it didn’t feel good but it also gave the motivation to change.
Manuela suggested that I start using some skincare products, and she sold me a bunch of them. My acne didn’t improve much with those products alone. But since that day, I became passionate about skincare so I guess it was worth it after all.
My acne finally improved when, besides using the right skincare products, I started to eat well and solved the hormonal unbalance I had. The #1 principle you must understand is that:
Skincare is not quick fix. It complements a healthy lifestyle.
Bringing more transparency to the beauty industry has been my goal since day 1.
I want you to have all the tools you need to make the best purchasing decisions for you skin and your budget.
Some might be as simple as cleaning your skin in a gentle way and that’s okay. I am here to make a revolution in the beauty industry. Come on board!
Formulations should promise one thing and deliver it. As simple as it sounds this not always the case. With the plethora of products the industry offers, it’s hard to know what to buy to make the most out of hard-earned bucks… So I decided to write this short guide to help YOU navigate the beauty industry. I want you to spend money on products that are really worth it!
Best skin care products- The #1 misconception you need to know
Cosmetics should adhere to high quality standards.
A common misconception is that expensive products are better than average priced/cheap ones.
This is rarely the case.
When buying cosmetics you’re not only paying for the product itself (ingredients, packaging, manufacturing, etc.). You’re also paying for all the advertising, distributors, retail locations, research and so on.
High end brands use celebrities to endorse their products and place their stores in fancy metropolitan areas.
High end brands can charge more because of their brand positioning.
To help you understand this concept, think about Mc Donald’s coffee ($1) and the Blue Bottle coffee (don’t know the exact price for a cup, but I do know it’s expensive).
Coffee quality is not the same, indeed. Yet, the difference is not so prominent to justify such price gap. When you decide to sip Blue Bottle coffee you’re paying for the overall experience, not for the price of the coffee itself.
Blue Bottle doesn’t cater to the same kind of consumers as Mc Donald’s does. Their brand positioning is completely different.
The same concept applies to skincare.
Does this mean you shouldn’t buy expensive products? Not-at-all.
High-end products are usually very appealing and give you a remarkable sensorial experience. Fragrances are pleasant and not overwhelming, textures are light and elegant.
The experience is very enjoyable – we all agree on that! But don’t think that because they feel so nice on the skin they’re giving you more benefits.
Expensive products are more polished and sophisticated.
Luckily, if you cannot afford such expensive products, you can still find high quality cosmetics. So the real deal is learning how to differentiate a high quality product from a bad one.
This is crucial when making skincare choices; in fact, some formulations contain more than 80% water- they won’t make any difference.
Best skin care products in the world- What makes products work (Hint: it’s not their marketing ).
The first thing you need to know is that what makes a product working is a combination of the following factors:
- What ingredients are in the product
- The amount of these ingredients
- The formula (crucial!)
You need all these 3 elements for the product to work.
If one is missing, there would be a substantial decrease in the performance.
The first thing you want to do when selecting a product is to analyze the ingredients list.
A basic understanding of cosmetic labeling helps you choose the best skin care products.
Remember that ingredients are listed in descending order.
How to read cosmetic labels
What are the “active” ingredients in this product?
With “active ingredients” I mean ingredients that have a proven record of being able to address a particular skin concern. For example, we know that hyaluronic acid , vitamin C, niacin, Retinol, Kojic acid among others are effective. We know because they’re backed by science.
If you can’t identify any active ingredient, there could be 2 scenarios:
- scenario #1: the product is of a very poor quality one, composed of water and natural extracts (fancy name for water).
- scenario #2: the product does not address a particular skin concern and is intended to preserve a skin that is already in good condition and to make it feel soft. This is the case of basic moisturizers that lock in pre-existing moisture. Be wary of natural extracts as well. Most of the times, they’re so diluted that it’s impossible to notice any benefits (same principle as homeopathic remedies).
Ingredients position in the list
Are they towards the beginning or the end? If they are towards the end, it’s not a good sign. The worse sign is reading something like /water, glycerin, dimethicone, etc. (in this order). Don’t get me wrong, glycerin is an excellent humectant for the skin , but it’s also very tacky. This is why its percentage must be limited in a formulation.
Glycerin is also a very cheap ingredient (along with dimethicone); to make myself clear, if you see a product with that composition that costs more than $10.99, it’s not worth the money.
Big brands are becoming increasingly aware that the order of the ingredients in the list counts; for example, the Aveeno Shampoo proudly claims that oat extract is the first ingredient. This is very important. I don’t know how diluted is the extract but I can appreciate the effort for transparency.
Some indie brands are making a difference by using hydrosols or floral water as first ingredients and/or avoid free glycerin (it means they use natural extracts in glycerin instead of just glycerin). This is definitely an improvement and something to look forward to.
How many ingredients are there?
As a general rule, the more the ingredients, the lower their relative % , the lower the benefits. Steer away from products that have a super long ingredients list. In this case, less is more.
Is the majority of the ingredients cheap?
Clearly, not all ingredients have the same price. Some companies care about consumers, others make decisions with only profit in mind.
I saw this “moisturizing” cream on Amazon made out of water , glycerin, and a bunch of different silicones. This cream was $37 for 2 oz. Overpriced!
My point is that you shouldn’t be paying $60 (or more) for products that are made with cheap ingredients overseas. Because you’re not paying for the product! You’re helping the company to make money at your expense.
No, I don’t have anything against capitalism. In fact, I support it. BUT I don’t support companies that are dishonest.
The example of petrolatum (Vaseline)
Many products have a high percentage of petrolatum and yet claim to be miraculous when you could have the same results by buying Vaseline.
An example of this is the La Mer lip balm, retailing for $60; it claims to contain a “Miracle Broth”, yet the first ingredient we read on the label is …petrolatum! The miracle broth is present at 0.001%. Guess what? You wouldn’t even notice if it wasn’t in there.
Analyzing the ingredients list can give you a pretty clear understanding of the /overall quality/ of a product, but there’s more to consider. Let’s jump to point 3.
The formulation- why it matters.
Formulation affects the quality and the performance of a product.
Unfortunately, consumers have no way of knowing how a product has been formulated , and this is kind of a big deal. In fact, while the presence of active ingredients is certainly beneficial, the presence itself is not enough. The formulation plays a huge role. For example, there are some ingredients that are active only within certain pH level. If you make a mistake with the pH, the active ingredient is not going to work.
This is why I always suggest to avoid purchasing from DIYers, at least when it comes to skincare. You want someone with a strong chemistry background AND years of experience to be formulating cosmetics. Certain skills cannot (and should not) be improvised.
Has the company performed some kind of *independent* clinical testing on the product?
90% of the time , the answer is a sound no. There are either no data at all or, if you’re lucky, only some small studies performed on 4/5 subjects (family and friends).
It’s also important to point out that, when present, these studies have been designed by the company itself. No Government research entity will ever set up a double blind placebo study to make sure wrinkles disappear. Still, it’s a promising sign of a company’s good intentions!
When was the last time you read on a magazine about a beauty product that doesn’t work?
Truth is, it never happens. Conversely, you’ll find tons of vague benefits.
Don’t even make me start on social media… those are the worst: fake reviews, influencers who get paid to endorse products they don’t even use, celebrities who dare to swear their flawless visage is due to a miraculous serum.
The only way to know if a product really works is to conduct clinical studies. Not the endorsements, not the reviews.
Ideally, these studies should highlight a noticeable difference between the “before” and “after”.
When I mention clinical studies, I’m only referring to skincare products whose promises seem a little bit “too much”. No need to perform clinical studies for products that only claim to be gentle on the skin or to leave it soft, supple, and moisturized.
You shouldn’t trust online reviews and, at the same time, from a consumer’s prospective, statements such as “clinically proven” or “dermatologist approved” are misleading. They could refer to almost anything. You need to investigate what studies have been performed and what their conclusions were.
What are the “best” face products?
Since there are literally millions of skin care brands and products and I haven’t tried them all, I don’t feel I’m the position to tell you what to buy and what products are superior.
I will give you my opinion on specific products in the comments section.
To summarize, I want to give you some guidelines that will allow you to understand and chose the best face products. As a general rule, the best face products are not necessarily luxury skin care products such as LaMer or La Prairies.
Also the so called “medical grade” facial treatments are no different than regular ones. The only way to know is to look at the ingredients list, clinical studies, and company’s profile.
As far as the ingredients, opt for products that state the concentration of the active ingredient. For example , a serum than contains 10% niacinamide is better than one that doesn’t say anything (especially if you see niacinamide towards the end of the list…).
Keep in mind that smaller companies might have higher prices compared to big corporations because their costs are higher. This leads to the fact that a $300 jar of LaMer cream is overpriced BUT a similar product from a very small company might not be. Huge companies are able to buy packaging and ingredients in bulk , thus paying less for those.
If you have sensitive skin, avoid products that contain colorants (on the ingredients list as CI followed by a number) and fragrances. There’s no such thing as “BEST PRODUCTS”. There’s the product that works best for you which is a completely different concept. Yes, we can look up the ingredients but at the end of the day we don’t know how companies work behind closed door. Take what I say as starting point , but then go out and make your own research. Try different products and see what works the best FOR YOU.
Best skin care products in the world-Make a difference with your brand
If you own a beauty brand or planning to start one, make sure to adopt a real approach of transparency.
Transparency seems to be a buzzword nowadays.
You need to make it a reality for your brand.
People don’t trust companies like they used to. Brand loyalty is going down as well. You need to give your customers a reason to buy from you and one to come back. Creating simple yet effective products is always a damn good strategy.
#1 Make sure you’re able to substantiate the marketing claims you make; if you aren’t, don’t make them. Simple as that.
2# Don’t fool customers into believing they’ll obtain some instant anti-age effect or they’ll look 10 years younger. They won’t.
3# Do your homework and apply the transparency rule. For example, if you claim your ingredients are natural, make sure they really are. This seems obvious, however you have no idea how many products I see that are not 100% natural yet they claim they are. Truly disappointing.
I hope this “small guide” on how to choose the best skincare products was useful.
If you want to make sure you’re buying products that are worth their price, check out these products I developed using knowledge, love, and passion.