I am going to keep the intro short and sweet; I’ve put a lot of thought and effort into this post because I found that many of you have a hard time picking out skincare. Below, I highlight the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’t’s’ when buying skincare. These are all my thoughts/opinions based on my personal experience as well as research. I hope this post helps many of you!
♥ Determine your skin type. This is so essential when buying skincare because you need to know YOUR skin type. A product that works for a bunch of people or influencers that advertise that specific product could be totally unsuitable for you. Don’t know your skin type? Google is your best friend – Do your research (or go see a dermatologist).
♥ Determine your skin concerns. Are you looking to help get your acne under control? Do you have dry skin? Oily skin? Anti-aging? Sensitive skin? This is huge when considering the product you are purchasing.
♥ Define your needs – Are you in need of a mask, exfoliator, serum, SPF, etc. Narrowing down what you actually need in your skincare regime makes it so much easier to select products! After you have determined that you need a mask (for example), is it a hydrating mask? An oil control mask? Do you want no fragrance (best!)? Once you determine what products you actually need, looking for them will be much less of a headache.
♥ Do research – Do research on the brand(s) or product(s) that you are interested in. That is the best way to know what the product does, who it is best suited for, and what the Company stands behind.
♥ Are the products cruelty free? A lot of companies test on animals… yeah, think about your pet or your friend’s pet; now would you still purchase products tested on animals? Here are some brands that are cruelty free: Paula’s Choice, Di Morelli, Drunk Elephant, & LUSH. PS – There are a ton!
♥ ALWAYS make sure to check the expiration date as well as the duration your product is good for after opening it. Expiration dates aren’t always labeled due to certain regulations, but when they are, it’s nice to see. If you use the product(s) after the ‘good for x months after opening period’ (ie. 6 months, 12 months, etc.) its not a huge deal; however, the product(s) could have lost their effectiveness and you may see slight changes in colour/scent.
♥ Check the ingredients – I ALWAYS check ingredients for all skincare items that I purchase. The reason for this is because I know numerous ingredients that aggravate skin OR increase the aging of skin by slowing down skin cell turnover as well as the production of collagen. TIP – The higher an ingredient on the ingredients list, the more potent/dominant that ingredient is in the product.
Some ingredients I avoid are:
o Natural/synthetic fragrances & (some) plant extracts – including essential oils (i.e. Lavender/lavandula, lemon peel, peppermint, grapefruit, etc.)
o Alcohol (ethanol or ethyl alcohol, denatured alcohol, methanol, isopropyl alcohol, SD alcohol, & benzyl alcohol) – These dry out the skin and can cause more oil production!
o Sodium lauryl sulfate – Sensitizing cleansing agent (more irritating if it is higher up on the ingredients list)
Some ingredients I look for are:
o Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) – Great antioxidant/anti-aging ingredient
o Hyaluronic acid – Replenishes moisture to reveal brighter & more plump skin
o Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) – Improves the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, & wrinkles, to name a few!
o Retinol (Vitamin A) – This powerhouse ingredient has a variety of benefits including
o Salicylic acid (BHA) – This cult classic helps so much with breakouts/redness & clogged pores.
** If you are ever unsure about an ingredient, I HIGHLY recommend checking out the ingredient dictionary that Paula’s Choice has kindly set up. PS – I also recommend their products 😉
♥ DON’T’s ♥
♥ Don’t base your purchase on reviews. As I mentioned, everyone’s skin is different; what works for person A, B, and C may not work for you. It is okay to read reviews to get an idea of how that product was for others, but don’t buy something just because it had a 4.5/5 rating on Sephora because it may not be suitable for you and can actually be the total opposite of what your skin actually needs.
♥ Don’t purchase skincare without knowing the return policy. Let’s say you just bought a $70 face serum and it is irritating your skin. Do you throw it out? Of course not, that would be a huge waste of money. Most companies have a decent return policy for skincare for this reason: it simply may not work for your skin. That is why it is so important to always check what the return policy is, or ask in-store.
♥ Don’t get fooled by product packaging. So often I see product packaging making outrageous claims such as, eliminates all wrinkles (impossible); detoxifies (no skincare can actually detoxify your skin… detoxification happens within your body.
♥ Don’t get fooled by trends. I’m going to use organic skincare as an example. A lot of brands that advertise their products as natural/organic contain several sensitizing ingredients such as essential oils, which lead people to believe that since it is natural (i.e. lemon/lavender) it is better, when in fact, these actually aggravate the skin (either within the deeper/inner or outer/visible layers of the skin).
♥ Don’t purchase skincare that is packed in JARS. The main reason for this is because as soon as air enters the product, oxidation occurs & a lot of beneficial ingredients begin to breakdown/degrade and in turn lose their activeness in the product. If that isn’t a good enough reason, since jars are not sanitary (i.e. dipping fingers into the jar), you add bacteria, which can cause acne!
♥ Don’t assume that just because a product is more expensive means it is better. There are so many big brands out there that are considered “luxury” because of the hefty price tag, packaging, texture, added colour, and pleasant aroma (bad!). That is how they suck those in who have the money & want the luxe products. You have to look beyond all that fancy stuff and look at the ingredients list (mentioned above) to see if the product is actually a win.