Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Way Over-Priced Moisturizers – Who Buys This Stuff and Why? November 17, 2011

Filed under: Skincare products — askanesthetician @ 6:50 am
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I read the article “Complexion Perfection: The Statement Piece of the Season May Be Your Moisturizer” from the November issue of Vogue with mounting horror.  The article gives the reader a rundown of the newest and most expensive facial moisturizers on the market.   By expensive I mean $490 for one ounce of a product (Guerlian’s Orchidee Imperiale Longevity Concentrate).

Let me give you an example:

… when scientists at Chanel heard about Vanilla planifolia, a plant coveted by local women in Madagascar, they headed straight for the northern tip of the island to study its winding vines, which grow along the trunks of the region’s cocoa tree.  Realizing the potential of its antioxidant-packed vanilla fruit to address multiple signs of aging – fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and dullness – they set up high-tech greenhouses and began cultivating their own plants.  Today, each podlike fruit grows to precisely fourteen centimeters before it’s picked and rushed to the lab in the South of France, where technicians extract only the single most antioxidant-rich molecules from the mix – and slip them into Chanel’s Sublimage range of products, including La Creme ($390) and, this fall, the new Masque Regenerant Fondamental ($190).  …

La Prairie’s new Cellular Power Charge Night ($475) dispenses freshly oxygenated retinol from a silver dual-chambered pump reminiscent of the look of one of Balenciaga’s sleek geometric cuffs.

You might be asking yourself, as I did, how can one justify spending that much money on a moisturizer and who actually buys this stuff?  I can’t answer the second question, but the article does quote Manhattan esthetician Eileen Harcourt as saying:

Listen your skin is your best accessory.  You wear it 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  It’s not a bag you can retire to the back of the closet when it starts to look banged up.

Now though I happen to agree wholeheartedly with the quote above, I could never ever use that as a justification to recommend that someone buy a $400 moisturizer or anti-aging serum.  There is absolutely no reason to spend that much money on a skincare product!  When a non-prescription product is priced at more than $150 I start to get suspicious about what you are truly paying for.  Now some cutting edge skincare ingredients, like growth factors and peptides, drive the price of a product up dramatically you always have to look at your ingredient list to make sure that the ingredients that are meant to make a real difference in how your skin looks and feels are present in the product in a large enough percentage in order to justify you buying the product in the first place.  Don’t run after the newest and flashiest products.  Skincare companies constantly have to come out with new products in order to look like they are making great innovations irregardless if that is true or not.

Interestingly the article makes its own comparison to a cheaper product that also totes amazing benefits for the skin:

When developing their Anew Genics Treatment Cream, the scientists at Avon zeroed in on research performed at the University of Calabria, in Italy, that uncovered a highly active youth gene in the area’s unusually long-lived population.  “It’s not that some people have a youth gene and some people don’t,” explains Glen Anderson, Ph.D., the company’s executive director of global R&D.  “These genes are present in every cell of every human being.  The point is that some people are predisposed to a higher expression of them.”  Linked directly to the mitochondria (the “energy power plants” of the cell), the genes are ultimately responsible for everything from the generation of healthy collagen to the production of hyaluronic acid.  Seeking to increase their activity in the skin, Anderson’s lab screened thousands of molecules before settling on the two now formulated in each jar of Genics.  And according to test subjects, it worked: Just three days of use revealed smoother, more radiant skin.  The price: $38.

So definitely give a lot of thought to the purchase of a skincare product that costs more than $150.  Consider your motivation behind the purchase – is there really proof to back-up the claims the manufacturer is making about the product or are you just chasing the newest thing on the market?

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