It isn’t easy to resist the buzzwords or the promises of miracles, designed to entice consumers to buy, buy, BUY skincare. Expected to reach $11 Billion by 2018, the US beauty industry taps into our desire for the best version of ourselves to drive sales. Effective for the company, but not so for consumers. Before you buy, ask yourself why?
Yes, it is possible to predict the success of any skincare without a chemistry degree or a crystal ball. Just look to the back of the container, read the label, and research the ingredients. When another product fails to meet our expectations, nobody wins – nothing but regret and disappointment.
If you want to improve the odds of loving your next skincare product, ignore the promises and only shop the ingredients.
Splurge on Performance Ingredients
Typically found in the top 1/3 of the product ingredient label, performance ingredients power the desired skin enhancement – skin feels smoother or looks firmer.
Most skincare contains a higher percentage of aesthetic ingredients, also known as “fillers”, like dimethicone or thickeners.
Regardless of the product price-point, always look for performance ingredients to get the most for your budget and your skincare.
If unsure of the performance of an ingredient, try researching prior to purchase using an unbiased resource, such as:
Potency is Paramount
Performance ingredients are often pricey, so many formulations lack adequate potencies to deliver any real skin benefits. Like about-face essentials, some products furnish the potencies, like 15% Vitiamin C or 6% Niacinamide. If not, research optimal potencies and then request product specifications from the manufacturer.
A quick comparison of the stated potency and the label may help to assess accuracy. No calculator required to detect the problem with the serum advertising 60% Matrixyl with 100% Hyaluronic Acid when the top ingredient is water. Am I right? Some performance ingredients have a lower maximum potency, like retinol or peptides. Therefore, even at maximum recommended potencies, many performance ingredients do and should appear in the lower 1/3 of the ingredients label. Trust me, few would actually love 100% Hyaluronic Acid – it’s a sticky, gummy mess.
Price May Not Buy Value
It makes my heart sing to know that approximately 63% of skincare consumers regularly check the label prior to purchase. Beyond the cost of ingredients, manufacturing, packaging, the price of skincare largely helps to offset Company expenses for Marketing – you bought more marketing than actual skincare. No big surprise, with the cost of a single, full-page, colored advertisement in a fashion magazine ranging from $100K to $350K, US. Expecting more from their skincare and dissatisfied with the status quo, consumers are fueling the explosion of Indie Beauty brands.
Independently owned and funded cosmetic companies like about-face essentials, Indie Beauty brands possess a profound passion for customer satisfaction, ingredient quality, product efficacy, and ecological sustainability.
The ingredients in any skincare are dynamic – subject to change. In pursuit of formulation perfection, due to ingredient shortages, or cost-saving substitutions, skincare manufacturers alter the ingredients of the formulation, for better or worse. Review the ingredients at every re-purchase of your trusted products.
Recently demonstrated with the repurchase of my favorite mineral foundation, when I neglected to re-check the ingredients. After decades of superior and reliable performance, the disappointingly sub-par coverage and finish left me dumbfounded. A quick review of label confirmed the addition of the much-hated ingredient, dimethicone. Like jewelry, judge products on purity and specifics.
Seek Validation – Look for Proof
How would you respond if I told you that I could make you rich beyond your wildest dreams? Most likely, you would want to know “how”. The same should be true of any skincare claim. Without science and facts, it's only an opinion or marketing. Love jazz hands, but only in a Fosse number. Hype sells skincare, but only data helps to assess performance.
Review the clinical research and efficacy testing to determine the performance of a skincare ingredient – either in a test tube (in vitro) or on faces (in vivo). Evaluate any clinical data with a critical eye for any bias, such as trial sponsorship, sample sizes fewer than 30 participants, lacking any blind comparison, or only proven to work in a test tube (in vitro). Maintain healthy skepticism and do your own research to confirm any clinical studies with an unrelated resource, like EWG’ Skin Deep Cosmetic Database or PubMed.gov.
Research data for performance ingredients available for review via Pinterest or invest some time in your own research.