The most expensive beauty products are not necessarily the best

Beauty: it’s only by reading the labels that you can separate the worthwhile from the waste of money

 

I have a love/hate relationship with the beauty industry. On one hand it’s full of experts and products that can truly help you change the way you feel about yourself; but on the other hand there are brands and companies who will say pretty much anything to sell a product that may have zero effect.

When I started writing about beauty, and about skincare especially, I made it my mission to dig into each term I didn’t understand, and what I quickly realised is that many of the words used so frequently don’t really mean anything at all. Whether or not you can decipher the label on a product is often down to some serious homework, or, like me, to having a chemical scientist sister, who is always on hand to debunk the latest jargon term. Most people don’t have either of these things, but luckily – I’m here to help.

It took me ages to realise that expensive products are not necessarily the good ones. And it’s only by reading the labels that you can separate the worthwhile from the waste of money. When it comes to skin creams, look for ingredients like vitamins C, A and E (anti-ageing), alpha hydroxy acids (fine-line reducing), beta hydroxy acids (good for spots) high up on the list, meaning there is a high percentage of them in the bottle. But don’t presume ingredients you don’t recognise won’t have an effect either. I’ve discovered ingredients that I was ready to rubbish, such as LR2412 (found in Lancome’s Visionnaire cream), that have scientific papers written about them, proving their efficacy.

What to watch out for? Waffley terms like “natural” and “hypo-allergenic” that don’t mean anything at all. There is no legal standard that has to be met for you to call your product either of these terms. Also, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. There is only so much a cream, applied topically, can do. For example it is physically impossible to “reduce pore size” so don’t believe any product that says it will. And while I’m at it, there is no cream that will break down fat and make your cellulite go away. I know, I was disappointed by that one too.

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