Bargain shopping is fun. The thrill of the challenge, the elusive find, the sense of victory when you win a steal. That’s ok for antiquing and accessorizing. Not so much for skin care.
There’s definitely something to be said for quality, especially when it comes to what goes into the products designed to nourish and care for the largest organ of your body: your skin.
Cheaply produced and packaged products with cute titles might have gotten you through your teens, but your mature self deserves more respect.
Just like the bargain basement toilet paper your husband came home with last month, there are some serious holes in a skin care routine that hasn’t had some thought put into it. That’s not to say that you have to go out there and purposefully auction off your kidney so you can buy the most expensive skin care products on the market just because they’re – well – the most expensive. No. But you should be paying attention to quality and arming yourself with the best skincare products that your budget can afford.
What Does Best Mean in Skincare?
We’re talking about the best for you. The best for your skin. The best for your goals.
Know Your Skin
Typically, what looks pretty on the storeroom shelf or has the funniest commercial isn’t necessarily always what is best for your skin.
It doesn’t matter what fabulous new serum you come home with tomorrow, if it’s not chosen to suit your particular skin’s needs, it’s not good for much of anything. Take some time to do your homework and get to know your skin before going shopping for shiny packaging.
Look at your face through a magnifying mirror and analyze it. What is your skin type? Are you seeing broken capillaries? Pale or sallow skin? Is your skin the same all over, or do you have certain problem spots? “Think of your skin as having different ecosystems,” says Kate Somerville, an L.A.-based aesthetician who caters to celebrities such as Katherine Heigl. “Are you dry around the eyes but experience hormonal breakouts on your chin? It’s all about treating these areas with the right products.” It’s worth taking some time to figure out exactly what your skin care needs are. If you’re not quite sure where to begin, invest in a trip to your dermatologist for some guidance.
If you’re using the wrong products for your skin, not only will it not get any better, but chances are, it’ll get worse.
It’s All About the Best Ingredients
What makes a quality product is quality ingredients. When you’re seeking the best skincare products for you, you’re looking for things that are going to be right for your skin type and address the problems you need to fix. There is nothing more important to the overall effectiveness of a product than the ingredients that go into it. And let’s face it, typically you get what you pay for in this department. Just look at the difference in cost of products that contain high levels of filler ingredients versus high levels of active ingredients; lab-created compounds versus sustainably sourced extracts.
And the right ingredients can do the right job. Be careful of what you read on labels. You are shopping for effect, not promise. Beware of label claims like “improves the appearance of” followed with a problem (acne, dark circles, fine lines). Instead, “look for important words such as ‘exfoliating,’ ‘hydrating’ or ‘mattifying’ and then match the product to your skin’s needs,” says Fiona Stiles, a celebrity makeup artist for Mark whose clients include Lucy Hale and Elizabeth Banks.
You’re seeking products that have a high percentage of active ingredients involved. Many formulations can be up to 80% water. That’s not really going to do much for your skin, and you’re paying for a tubeful of the stuff. In some drugstore or even natural brands, “water can masquerade as Aloe Vera juice or herbal infusions,” warns Julia Teren of Thesis Beauty.
Taking Time to Find the Best
What is best for you and your skin isn’t necessarily immediately discernible. Sometimes it takes a little while to allow products to work their magic before you know they’re the one. A zit-on-the-run shouldn’t take 10 days to go away. If you used a spot treatment chances are it resolved on its own. Anti-acne treatments are designed to work pretty quickly. With anti-aging products, it’ll take a bit longer before you start to see an improvement in the dark spots and wrinkles. “You need a minimum of two weeks—but closer to a month—to see results,” says Dr. Schultz. A moisturizer should produce some change immediately, but an exfoliating product will likely take a week or two.
Quality Skincare on a Budget
Not every purchase has to break the bank. There are plenty of affordable-for-most-budget brands out there that fit the quality guidelines we outlined above, offering effective products. They focus on using good ingredients at wallet-friendly prices.
Find the combination of products that works best for you and stick with it.