Rather than merely paying attention to the brand and PR, I've started looking at the ingredients and educating myself on what I am actually paying for.
I am a skincare junkie. After fashion, it’s my next biggest indulgence. As someone who suffered from acne for years, I know how crippling it can be for your confidence. Given my past experiences, I am prepared to throw silly amounts of money on products that promise to keep me blemish free. However, over the years I have allowed myself to get sucked into the view, the costlier the product, the better it will be.
I recently discovered the budget skincare line, nspa, which I’ve really enjoyed using. The quality of the products are great, they are all made in the UK, the majority are vegan-friendly and they’re effective; all of this and they have the most purse friendly price tag ever!
Using nspa has triggered a shift in how I perceive beauty products. Rather than merely paying attention to the brand and PR, I’ve started looking at the ingredients and educating myself on what I am actually paying for. I am by no means an expert but I thought I would share what I believe the difference between luxury and affordable skin care to be.
A lot of the time when I’m comparing ingredients of one face cream to another I’m continually surprised by how similar they are. From my understanding, there is no such thing as a lesser quality ingredient, for example, you can’t get a poorer form of Glycolic Acid than another. Instead, it comes down to the amount used.
There are some ingredients which are simply costlier than others, so an easy way to reduce the cost is to cut down on the amount used. The ingredients must be listed according to the highest percentage unless it is 2% or less (in which case it can go in any order) so you can compare where the ingredients fall in the list between products. In a lot of cases, you’ll be surprised how similar the levels are.
Given that so many luxury and affordable products have the same level of ingredients in them, what is it we’re paying for?
Often, it’s new technology. A lot of the more premium brands want to be at the forefront of new technology and be the first to harness it. They are continually ploughing money into lab research which can cost huge sums of money and is therefore reflected in the final RRP. On the flipside, you are getting a product which is cutting edge and, until its competitors catch up, more likely to be unique.
The other thing that can make a product expensive is patency protection. Often brands will want to protect their creations with as many patency laws as possible. This is for the obvious reason that they’ve spent millions of dollars on researching and formulating it and they don’t want one of their competitors recreating it and undercutting them. As we all know, anything which involves lawyers is expensive and we, the consumer, end up paying for it in the final price. Unfortunately, I’m yet to work out an easy way to tell which products are patency protected and which are not.
Other costly implications include advertising, brand positioning, packaging and the target audience. Having said all of this, I sit in neither camp when it comes to buying skin care. I am not a loyalist to luxury or affordable. Although I would obviously always prefer less if I can. My view is, keep buying what works for you. If you feel better using a more premium product, carry on using it. Everybody’s skin is different and we all have to go with what works best for each of us.
At the moment, I am still using and buying expensive skin care products but I am actively looking for more affordable substitutes. I will ONLY ever move to an alternative product if it’s as good, as I’m someone that won’t skimp on skin care due to the reasons I mentioned earlier.
If you are looking for an affordable skincare line, I highly recommend checking out nspa. I did a full comparison post on their Hot Cloth Polish with Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Polish. It’s a good example of how a luxury product isn’t always better than the high-street alternative (catch the post HERE if you missed it).