We all squander money sometimes, let’s be honest. Some of us spend all their money on shoes, bags, sunglasses… And then there are those who are hooked on beauty products. It’s so easy to go to a beauty and makeup shop, and only realize at check-out that you spent about half of your assets — and let’s not even get into what happens when you go have a look at online stores (hello, Asos beauty section!) In Europe, unlike in the US, everything is made worse by a strict no-return policy of products, meaning we must keep anything we don’t like, or that simply does not suit us: once we spend our money, it’s gone. Managing your savings is obviously a skill that should not be underestimated, especially at the start of the year when “saving money” tops many of our lists of New Year resolutions for 2017. As for me, I decided to go for a mixed approach: when it comes to makeup, I try to just give myself little low-cost gifts here and there, to grant my wishes and keep my desire for new things under control just enough for my bank account not to go in the red. When talking skincare, though, I don’t compromise at all.
Taking care of your skin with mid- to high-end products is a choice, an investment and a guarantee for the future, literally. If you look it up on a dictionary, investing means “expend money with the expectation of achieving a profit”, and our mission here is to take care of our face, that will be our visible result in the long-term. If you think about it, long-term perspective is at the heart of any investment, motivating us to make a few sacrifices and not focus on mid-term rewards only: the fruits we reap will be juicy and smooth, like a peach (or a🍑, if you will) So, the question that obviously comes up is, is there really such a big difference between cheap skincare products and expensive ones? The answer is yes, ça va sans dire, you get what you pay for. A large proportion of the price tag is part of the effort to creare an experience, which includes branding, bottles, etc. A luxury beauty routine is not just good for the beauty it brings us, but also for the psychological benefits. It’s for the eyes, which will enjoy looking at the beautiful packaging, as well as for the skin, of course. Expensive skincare products are part of a magical, opulent ritual which will make you feel like you are on a SPA visit every morning and every night, anytime you apply those products. It’s all rainbows and unicorns in the beginning, but it can turn into an addiction later on, one you won’t be able to live without.
As for formulas, the expense is justified by several factors. First and foremost, the cost of the ingredients used, which might be more or less complex to work on, and which might not accessible to every brand. Think of Miracle Broth™, the mix of active ingredients that is found in the entire La Mer product line. It’s an exclusive cocktail made of seaweeds and seawater and the result of years of lab research, and it’s just unmatchable in its complexity and exclusivity. Another case is Retinol 8, patented by Verso, which is up to eight times as powerful as the regular vitamin A that is normally found in regular cosmetics and over-the-counter products. Obtaining this kind of formula requires year-long studies and testing, and any company would be hard-pressed to sell such expertise for a low price.
Secondly, the elegance of the formula itself is a factor. If you ever compared a low-cost cream with a luxury one, you will probably have noticed that applying the two feels very different: the texture of the luxury one will be softer, it will be more fluid, and it will not make you feel like there are any leftovers on your skin after just a few seconds. This kind of quality to a formula is usually due to added ingredients or components that are treated differently, which usually make luxury products more pleasurable to use. Trust me, I really know what I am talking about. After testing about 40 different face creams, I can tell you that you will feel the difference between something that was just made to suit anyone, and a product that wants to create an experience – as well as do its financial value justice, to the last cent.
Another factor you should consider is the scientific and market research that brands conduct. These are also part of what makes a product valuable, and most of all, they will give you the knowledge you need to make a conscious choice. Thanks to their research, brands can give you the perception that they will keep their promises, and offer you a guarantee on your investment before you test the value of their product on your skin. Unfortunately, independent brands can be an exception to this rule, since they often don’t have high budgets that they can invest in large market research – even though their research on raw materials is excellent. In that case, you will have to go with your gut and take a little leap of faith, hoping that your choice works well for you. In this case, you might want to wait until you buy an entire line of products, but test them first, maybe starting with their best selling product, to then try out other ones later on, eventually.
Going back to shopping tips, mixing is an art, and it is also the key. Just like in fashion, alternating low-cost and luxury products for skincare seems to be your best bet, and also the best tip I can give you. You can go for a rather cheap detergent and invest your money on a good serum or under-eye treatment, depending on what you need to focus on, for your skin. Once you found your way, you will be ready to go on a shopping spree! Take your time, be patient and make a few mistakes in the beginning, because finding your Holy Grail will not be easy. Once you found it though, don’t let go, so that your investment can pay off later. So, did I convince you? Have a look at the gallery at our tips on the best ways to make your every single cent yield. Happy shopping!