While recession has impacted the buying habits of all consumers, we do not need a recession to remind us that buying smart is the only way to get the best value for your dollar. Buying smart means two things—a reasonable margin over cost is allowed to be included in the retail price and the product lives up to its claims. With respect to beauty products, unfortunately, the industry is teeming with products that are pushed with hype and nothing else. So here is how to go about buying smart.
Let us first understand the beauty products segments. There are two major ones. Clinical beauty products and Fashion beauty products. The clinical segments consists of things like skin toners, eye conditioners, cleansing products and moisturizers. Fashion products mostly consist of perfumes and fragrances, but may also include aromatherapy products. Note that I have not included the third kind, “Muscle manipulators” as beauty products. These include botox and other invasive and non-invasive, sometimes surgical products. Simple advice–stay away from these. They are fatal to your long term looks.
1.First off, be very careful of overapplying make-up. Make-up products contains acids and chemical restoratives which may have negative impact on your body and hormone’s natural rejuvenating process. A quick tip–if you look pasty and 100% wrinkle free (as do many TV anchors and actors and actresses) you are harming your skin permanently. Make-up should be a light sheen on your skin. There is another way to deal with wrinkles, but caking make-up over wrinkles, as any dermatologist will tell you, causes long term skin damage and may even lead to other diseases like immno-deficient trends and allergy build-up. Similar, use moisturizers very sparingly–no matter how they are hyped, they contain reagents that take away skin’s natural moisture making ability.
2. Do not be fooled by hype. Study the manufacturer. Study its history, its recalls, its problems and if a public company, study its financials to see how much it spends on research and development, not on marketing. The money it spends on marketing is a negative investment to you as a consumer. Investment in research on the other hand shows you that they are forward thinkers. If you do not get the information from the financials, ask the management.
3. Buy your clinical product from one who specializes in skin toners, cleaners and other conditioners. Never buy fashion products from the same manufacturer. You will find that making perfume is an age old process and companies that dabble into it are not necessarily leaders. While both are chemical processes, perfume making is an art, not science. That is why the perfume brands that have been around for 50+ years generally do not peddle skin toners. If they do, stay away. There are at least 10 excellent companies in each category so you have plenty of choice.
4. The best clinical products are ones without added fragrance. The best fashion products, specially perfumes, are subtle, not overpowering. Also, remember evening scents are different from morning scents. Finally, both type of products, definitely clinical products should be bought after consulting with a good professional, because they can determine your natural skin tones and underlay textures and advise you accordingly.
5. Remember what I said about hype? Forget overhyped, branded products. You are mostly paying for marketing dollars. Instead, compare the ingredients–ignore the ones that have fancy names like “so and so’s formula” or “musk hair extract”. It means nothing because FDA will not allow an untested product to be prominently mixed, so you may be getting a negligible amount of that fancy ingredient. You will find that cheaper or store brands have the same chemical or natural ingredients as the fancily priced ones. The only exception I make is in perfumes. Certain perfumes have been around for a long time and never go out of fashion. On the other hands, the upstarts, peddled by actresses and actors, are usually cheap smelling, overpowering and have very little elegance and subtlety. Remember, you are wearing a perfume strictly for others. The trick is this–if you can “smell” your own perfume, you have either put too much or the perfume is cheap–and I don’t mean price wise. The best perfume is the one that subtly “hangs” in the air. You should either not smell a good perfume, or smell it very faintly–almost as if you are not sure you smelled it.