Have you ever picked up a skincare item, looked at the price tag, and instantly become overwhelmed and red to the face, thinking to yourself really? THAT price for THIS? –don’t worry, you aren’t alone. In a world of influencers and deceptive advertising, it can be overwhelming to know if what you’re seeing is really the truth. To know exactly the difference between expensive and affordable skincare, it takes a professional to know, and that is me.  As a qualified skincare specialist, I am going to help you understand the efficacy of these two price tags, and the role that they play in reaching our skincare goals separately.

Marketing and appearance

Ever heard the phrase “you pay for the name”? –sadly, this holds true in the skincare world. Ingredients aside, the reputation of a brand often increases the price of its products. Packaging plays a significant role, too. The material a brand chooses to package their product in is completely their preference, but understandably, the higher the quality and the rarity of the material they choose, will all affect the retail price.

Fashionable/exclusive products

Ever noticed labels that say “new and improved formulation or “new age technology”, but with a higher price tag than before? Often in skincare, brands replace existing products with new ones that have upgraded ingredients. Why then, would the price increase? This boils down to the ingredient/s that they changed – the harder the ingredient is to source, or the rarer it is, the higher the overall retail price will be.  But remember– just because a brand has sourced an “exclusive” or “rare” ingredient, does not mean it is better.

Concentration VS potency

Concentration refers to the amount of active ingredients in a product, while potency refers to the percentage of those ingredients. When reading the ingredients label on a product, it’s important to know that they are listed in order of potency from high to low. For example, if Hyaluronic Acid is listed first, and water is listed last, this means that Hyaluronic Acid has a higher potency in the product than water does. Consider this analogy:

Imagine two anti-ageing products, both containing the same 10 active ingredients. Serum A is $80 and considered high-end, while serum B is $30 and more affordable. So does that mean stronger is better? No, not necessarily.

When it comes to skincare there is no ‘one size fits all’ One product that might agree with me, may cause havoc for you. Just because a brand is selling a vitamin C serum at 20%, does not mean it’s going to be more effective than the brand selling their vitamin C at 10%. The 20% vitamin C may be too strong for you and could potentially cause stinging, burning and even small pimples on the skin. Your skin would probably excel with the product that uses the same vitamin C, but at a reduced potency. 

The takeaway

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that expensive products don’t work – of course they do. And if your budget can allow for the high-end product, then by all means go for that one! All I’m saying is that there are a ton of great, inexpensive products on the market that offer the exact same active ingredients as the high-end ones, so don’t overlook them! At the end of the day, consistency is key in skincare. Whatever price you purchase a serum for, you have to be using it regularly in order to get to your desired result. And just because you are using a more expensive serum, does not necessarily mean you will get better or faster results!