A crucial step people miss is reading the ingredients list before purchasing a product.
The cosmetic industry is all about perception. This means that some products are perceived of high quality (even if they’re actually not) because of their flashy packaging, marketing claims, price, and brand positioning. Truth is most of the times these products are very diluted so of course they don’t work.
Tons of positive reviews? It doesn’t mean a thing when they’re fake or people get paid to endorse a product over another.
Most of the times people choose a product for one of the following: fragrance, packaging, celebrity endorsement, or simply because of they trust brand.
Expensive products have to be good, right? Otherwise why would they have such price tag? They got to be high quality!
This is a very common misconception.
Truth is a hefty price is not by any means a guarantee of quality. You are paying for the product (ingredients, research, manufacturing, etc) but also for the advertising, retailing locations, packaging, etc. I see this everyday; for example Omorovicza Oxygen Booster is a real rip off, and the oxygen booster claim totally unfounded (besides being quite ridiculous).
Many high end brands use cheap ingredients; this is a fact.
If you can’t trust luxury brands, how can you tell if a product is going to be good?
Here it is: it’s the formulation of a product that determines its quality and effectiveness. Everything else (marketing claims, packaging, which celebrity endorsed it, etc.) is irrelevant from a consumer’s point of view.
As a cosmetic chemist I know how to recognize a properly formulated product from a crappy one.
Here are a couple tips on how to recognize a good quality skincare product.
First you should look for active ingredients; with this I mean ingredients which have been scientifically proved to be effective, for example retinol, hyaluronic acid, kojic acid, or vitamin C.
If there are no active ingredients the product could either be:
A very poor quality one, mainly composed of water;
A product that doesn’t address any particular skin concern, and therefore is only meant to preserve a skin which is already in good condition (which means it won’t do much for you).
You should look at where the active ingredients are located in the list. Remember that the ingredients are listed in descending order. If the active ingredients are towards the end, that’s not a good sign. This means they’re most likely present in such a low % that you wouldn’t really notice a difference if they weren’t there!
The number of ingredients is also important. As a general rule, the longer the ingredient list, the lower their relative %, the lower the benefits. In this case less is more. It implies you need to use a bunch of different products when the truth is that two or three are enough when they’re high quality ones.