are expensive skincare products better

Are Expensive Skincare Products Better?

Have you ever wondered whether there is a difference between a high-end facial cream for $300 and a drugstore product for $30? Are expensive skincare products better and does it pay off to buy them?

I have done some research in this topic and I hope I can provide you with the answer to that question.

Are Expensive Skincare Products Better?

Some of the most expensive skincare products do contain really special ingredients like caviar but most of the ingredients that have anti-aging effects are same in both the cheap and the expensive products. Retinol, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, squalene, matrixyl; those are proven ingredients and they are contained both in drugstore creams and in high-end skincare products.

What makes a big difference is the package. The expensive skincare products make an impression of luxury at first sight. The brand and skincare product name are in golden letters, packed and sealed meticulously and they look great.

Are There Different Ingredients?

Even big producers of cosmetic products admit that the difference between an expensive product and a cheaper one may be minimal. The biggest difference is usually the package. And good marketing. Watching a movie star promoting the product is a huge attracting factor because the perfect-looking woman makes us feel we will get the same look if we use that skincare product she promotes.daily skin routine matters most if you want to have young looking skin

Regular Care Is What Counts Most

All dermatologist agree on one thing: regular care is what makes the difference between a good-looking complexion compared to skin that is not looked after. Regular skin care routine and the way you apply cosmetic products on your skin are essential. It is obvious: if you don’t use even the most expensive cream regularly, you are not going to see you any results.

When Does It Make Sense To Go For A High-end Product

In general, a luxury skincare product can make you feel special and that might make you want to use it more diligently on a regular basis. Then it is worth buying.

However, if you only look for the scientifically-based evidence regarding the ingredients, there is no need to go for a high-end product.

What To Look For In A Creamhigh quality cream is important but it does not have to be expensive

I would say there is equal chance that you will get a cream suitable for you from either category. I have tried many brands before I found one that seems to get along with my skin best. And it is at the low-end. I was really surprised that it was not more expensive regarding the fact it contained matrixyl, squalene, three essential oils and vitamin E, all very effective ingredients that help with the anti-aging battle. In addition, it’s hyper allergenic and fragrance free.

So if I were on a quest for a cream that would suit my skin best, I would search on the internet and look at the active ingredients in creams:

Vitamin E – it is an antioxidant. Its biochemical name is tocopherol so that’s what you should be looking for in the list of ingredients. A study with seventy-five adult Japanese volunteers with dark under-eye circles and wrinkles was performed applying a gel containing 2% phytonadione, 0.1% retinol, 0.1% vitamin C, and 0.1% vitamin E for 8 weeks. Results show fair or moderate reduction of dark under-eye circles and a slight improvement of wrinkles.

Squalane – an ingredient derived from plants such as olives and rice bran, amaranth seeds or wheat germ. Squalene with an “e” is produced by the body but our natural production of squalene slows after the age of 30. So it makes sense to add it to skincare products. What does squalane do? It seals moisture naturally. And that’s what we what, right? It also stimulates cells and promotes wound healing.

Matrixyl 3000 – is considered one of the most effective anti-aging ingredients. It contains an active ingredient known as Palmitoyl Pentapeptide which helps to stimulate new collagen growth, hyaluronic acid and elastin. Matrixyl 3000 is a peptide consisting of two proteins. It fights signs of aging helping your skin look more youthful.

Matrixyl 3000 also inhibits the damage caused by the effects of sugar on your skin and helps reverse the existing effects. So that’s definitely another ingredient you want to have in your skincare product!creams with active ingredients are essential

Hyaluronic acid – also known as hyaluronan, this substance is naturally produced by your body and its natural property is to retain water. Hydrated skin reduces the appearance of wrinkles and it can also reduce redness and dermatitis. Reduction of wrinkles, that’s what you want! Moreover, it has inflammatory properties and promotes wound healing. So this is another ingredient you should look for in skincare products.

Retinol (vitamin A) – another ingredient that rewinds the signs of aging boosting collagen production and plumping out your skin. It also improves uneven tone and pigmentation. As a result, your skin is smoother, brighter and looks more youthful.

Retinol is the number one ingredient in skin care aimed at diminishing the signs of aging. Fine lines and wrinkles are significantly reduced with it. Fewer wrinkles, that’s what we all wish for!

Vitamin C – is a potent antioxidant that restores glow, evens out fine lines and acts as a barrier against stress – another powerful ingredient contributing to a more youthful complexion.

It protects against sun damage, pollution and environmental stress, as well as free radicals – damaged cells that contribute to aging on. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, protects the structure of your skin and promotes the production of collagen to keep it looking plump and firm. Another ingredient to look for when you are choosing your beauty product.

Niacinamide or vitamin B3 – is a water-soluble vitamin that works with the natural substances in your skin. According to Paula’s choice “helps visibly minimize enlarged pores, tighten lax pores, improve uneven complexion, soften fine lines and wrinkles, diminish dullness, and strengthen a weakened surface.”

When used in high concentration, niacinamide can cause redness or irritation but it is very rare. After all, you can be allergic to any ingredient and there is no other way than trying it out.

There are many more ingredients that could be named here but the ones described above are really very effective in everyday skin care and it pays off to look at the composition of the cream you are going to buy very carefully.

These ingredients can be found in low-end drugstore products as well. After all, every person is different and you might experience an allergic reaction to ANY skincare product. An expensive one or a cheap one. You have to try it out.

So Is It worth It To Spend A Lot Of Money On A Face Cream?

high-end skincare products are sometimes almost the same as the cheaper ones

Not necessarily.

“In my opinion, you really don’t need to spend a lot of money on fancy moisturizers,” Dr. Samer Jaber, of Washington Square Dermatology in New York City.

“When you’re getting a fancy, expensive moisturizer, you’re really paying for a couple things,” he explains. “You’re paying for the packaging, you’re paying for marketing, and then sometimes [expensive creams] have some proprietary ingredients or chemicals that are more rare and a little more expensive.”


What is your experience with expensive skincare products? Did you experience such awesome results as claimed by the movie stars who promote them?


8 thoughts on “Are Expensive Skincare Products Better?

  1. Hello, I really want to first appreciate your effort in putting this great website together and writing this article. some times, the composition and source of ingredients is what makes a cream more expensive and i do believe that branding is the key. the more popular, the more expensive. thanks for this review

    1. Thank you Benny, yeah it is exactly that. Expensive brand, popular and promoted by stars and supermodels so that’s why it is expensive. Sometimes there is some special ingredient the company invented but you can never be sure. One thing is what they are saying and the other thing is reality 🙂

  2. It is really valuable information, people think that the cheap products contain low-quality ingredients and are not as efficient as the expensive ones. Thank you for this post!

    1. I would have never thought there is almost no difference between products that cost $300 and those $20 or 30. But even dertmatologists confirm that and it is logical, we just pay for the package and the feeling of luxury. Well, I don’t need that 🙂 What I want from my skincare products is efficiency so I always look at the ingredients. Then I test it on my skin because even if the cream contains the best ingredients, your body might still not be happy with it, it can be allergic to one of the compounds. And if you find out the product is not for you, it was only a few bucks wasted, not a couple of hundreds!

  3. Such a fantastic and informative post will help many people in making the correct decision. There are rumors that the cheap once sometimes they include harmful ingredients and or unapproved ingredients, is it true? As you are saying that the high-end ticket we are paying for the packages or more money goes to packaging and advertising. 

    1. Harmful or unapproved ingredients can’t be used even in the cheap products because they would be banned. Even the drugstore products have to have approvals and certifications. 
      You guessed it right, in the high-end skincare products we are paying for the package and for the “luxury” same as with clothes. I’ve watched an interview with a marketing director of a renowned brand and she was saying exactly the same. She said: “you can buy cheap jeans for a few bugs or expensive ones from a renowned brand and you are paying for the brand.”
      It is really unbelievable, I know, but just like everything, if you want good quality, you have to do research, find out what works and what is contained in which product, read a lot of reviews and then test it on yourself.
      Especially don’t believe what famous actresses and models say in adverts. 🙂

  4. I very much agree with what is written. More expensive products are not necessarily better, we pay for the brand, expensive packaging, advertising, and image maintenance.
    Even the more affordable skincare products are effective and beneficial. And since not every cream is suitable for every skin, you really need to try a few products before you find the one that suits you.

  5. Thanks, Lenka.  This is really a great article on skincare products.  I had to laugh at the part where you discussed packaging because all too often, I say to myself, we are paying for the packaging. I am grateful to read your review which reveals the minimal difference between the expensive products and the inexpensive products.  I agree with you that it is all about regular skincare and discovering what works for the individual.  I recently met a lady with beautiful skin.  When I asked her what she used, she replied, “Vaseline, plain, old fashioned Vaseline”.   She discovered what worked for her. This article is very encouraging.  Again, Thank you.

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