Sep 28, 2009

Open Forum: Expensive Cosmetics - Are They Worth it?

According to an article in Forbes, some of the most expensive skin care products cost more than caviar but less than gold with an average price of $402 per ounce!(1) The question is, are they any better because of their sleek packaging and supposed state-of-the-art ingredients. Sales of prestige skincare products in U.S. department stores alone reached $2.1 billion in 2004, up 17% from 2000 (2), a staggering amount by anyone's comparison.

According to Dr. Gregory Brown, founder of RéVive, topical application of an epidermal growth factor accelerates the rate of healing of second-degree burns and partial-thickness skin wounds.(3) RéVive's most expensive product, Intensité Volumizing Serum, sells for $600 per ounce and uses a bioengineered molecule called keratinocyte growth factor. Brown justifies the expense by saying the reason his products cost so much is because they use growth factors obtained from recombinant-DNA technology. Celebrity beauties such as Madonna are said to use his products.

Estee Lauder sells a line of skin care under the Re-Nutriv moniker with a price range of $85 - $900.(4) Lauder owned Creme de La Mer is well over $100 per ounce.(5) I have tried numerous products from both the Re-Nutriv and La Mer lines and while they are extremely luxurious products, the formulations, at least that of the Re-Nutriv line, are very similar to other Estee Lauder products sold for much less. Are they worth it? It depends on what your take is on such things. The Re-Nutriv line contains some expensive ingredients such as gold and pearl. As an Estee Lauder fan, it is difficult for me to say the products are overpriced. However, I use Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex, $47.50/1 ounce, which I consider to be quite expensive. While there are far less expensive serums available, I have found this particular one works best for me so I continue to purchase it.

It must be kept in mind that part of the retail price for any product is the research, development, ingredients, packaging, marketing, etc., that goes into said product. Products containing the newest ingredients will usually cost more than previous products the company sells. When a new "it" ingredient starts getting press, many companies rush to develop a new product with it or update a previous product to include it.

Mastey de Paris, on the other hand, markets a number of skin and hair care products for less than $40 with mostly naturally derived ingredients. They avoid using the fluff and trendy ingredients found in so many product lines and instead stick to what is actually known to work. Mastey doesn't have the expenses associate with brands that are sold at department stores; this results in a line of products that work extremely well and at a reasonable price. I have used Mastey products for years and love them.

We all like the idea of some new magic ingredient that will do this or that. But the newest ingredients generally have little to no research backing up the claims. Many of the research studies done on new ingredients are done in-vitro and therefore their effects on skin are not fully known. Many of the studies are done by the company who manufactures the ingredient which is not as impartial as outside research studies.

So, how much is too much to pay? That all depends on your bank account and how important name brands are to you. There are many excellent products out there at all price points. It all comes down to how much are you able/willing to spend and whether or not a product works.

(1) Forbes
(2) NPD Group
July 1989 in the New England Journal Of Medicine
(4) Estee Lauder
(5) La Mer

Sep 21, 2009

Clinique Maximum Hydrator

Clinique is not a brand I generally go for; their toners contain alcohol, a lot of their products contain mica and their facial soaps are a bit harsh for my skin. Clinique is Estee Lauder's allergy tested line of skin care products, make up and fragrances.

Clinique Skin Supplies for Men Maximum Hydrator is a wonderful product. A little dab spreads extremely well covering the skin, absorbing fast and making it feel extremely well hydrated. Anyone who has ever used a Clinique product is familiar with the "Clinique" scent. It's a nice scent in my opinion, not heavy or offensive, sort of natural and herbal.

This cream appears very similar to the discontinued Clinique Moisture On Call.

It contains peptides which as thought to firm the skin along with numerous hydrators such as shea butter, jojoba, olive fruit extract and sodium hyaluronate. This is an excellent product and great for use at night. Because it contains no sunscreen it is recommended that if used during the day it be used in conjunction with a sunscreen of at least SPF 15.

There is a noticeable improvement in the tone and texture of skin after using this product. It seems to plump up fine lines and even skin tone rather quickly. I was quite surprised by how quickly this great product got to work on improving my skin.

1.7 ounce jar retails for $27.00 from Clinique counters and website and $21.75 from the Cosmetics Stores which is an Estee Lauder brand outlet store.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tricaprylin, Butylene Glycol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Dimethicone, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ahnfeltia Concinna Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat Bran) Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Powder, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Sodium Hyaluronate, Caffeine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cholesterol, Linoleic Acid, Sucrose, Cetearyl Glucoside, Methyl Glueth-20, Hexylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chamomilla Recuttita (Matricaria), Xanthan Gum, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-8 Hydrogenated Lecithin, Behenyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Phenoxyethanol.

Sep 14, 2009

Ingredient Spotlight: PTFE (Teflon)

PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) is known by the trade name Teflon, and is a non-stick coating used on cookware to prevent food from sticking, made by DuPont. Most of us are familiar with Teflon but how many of us know about it being used in skin care products? A prominent French skin care company uses it it their products! Is this safe to use in skin care products that are absorbed?

Sep 7, 2009

DermOrganic Conditioning Shampoo

DermOrganic Laboratories is a company founded by the son of the Mastey de Paris founder. According to the DermOrganic Laboratories website the products are made to be 100% vegetarian, contain no animal by products and have never been tested on animals, contain no sulfates, parabens, glycols, DEA, MEA or colorants of any kind and are gluten-free, alcohol-free and sulfate-free. The products are naturally preserved and the Argan oil is certified 100% Organic according to USDA NOP standards.

The texture of this creamy, white, shampoo is not as thick as some shampoos. It does, however, lather extremely well. The scent is amazing and it leaves the hair feeling extremely clean, soft and supple.

As a HUGE fan of Mastey de Paris products, I was pleased to try this new product featuring one of the latest buzz word ingredients: Argan oil. This shampoo left my color-treated hair extremely soft and manageable just like Mastey de Paris Traite Shampoo. It contains amino acids, panthenol, vitamins, Omega-6 and gentle plant derived cleansers. This product also worked well as a facial cleanser on my extremely sensitive skin.

This is a great shampoo and meant to improve the condition of dry, color-treated, permed or heat styled hair.

The website doesn't currently allow online ordering but the products are available by calling the company.

Ingredients: Aqua/Eau/D.Water, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate(1), Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate(2), Decyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Glucoside, Methyl Gluceth-20, Infusion of Argan Oil & Sunflower Seed Extract & Grape Seed Extract & Rice Amino Acid & Sodium PCA & Panthenol & Tocopheral Acetate (Vitamin E), Glycereth-2 Cocoate/Benzoic Acid (natural preservative), Fragrance.

(1) Amino-Acid based, plant derived cleanser.
(2) Essential Lipid based, plant derived cleanser