The beauty industry has a habit of portraying itself with a “for everyone” approach. Certain brands have made a habit of collecting all women together as if they have the same issues – and, most importantly, the same budget.
The sad truth is that when it comes to beauty, you need to spend money. While you can try and curl your hair at home or dye your own eyelashes, it’s almost impossible to replicate the results of a salon. As well as the result of the treatment differing, the price point is huge. A DIY eyelash tint is around £5, whereas salons can ask for up to five times that.
If you want to look good, then it might be tempting to think you should spend whatever it costs. Oh, but it costs so very much. If you don’t have that high a disposable income or just think spending that amount of money on beauty is problematic, then where do you turn next?
Understanding The Power of Branding
For the vast majority of “miracle products” loved by the rich and famous, the products have nothing to do with the cost price. Just because something has a label slapped on it does not mean it’s more effective. It just means it’s exclusive. Rather than your beauty treatments being about you and your individual needs, it’s more a statement. It says: look what I can afford!
A BBC documentary revealed that the most famed of face creams, Creme de la Mer , is actually… not that moisturising. That’s a problem for something that retails for over £100 for a tiny tub and claims to be a moisturiser. It’s supposed to be beloved of Kate Moss and a raft of other celebrities. So why does everyone love it, if it’s not so good? Because they have been duped by branding and exclusivity.
So learning to step outside of that world is a major part of finding a beauty regime that suits you. You can investigate treatments, products and elixir promising youth on their own merits.
If it’s so easy, why do so many of us still fall into the same trap? Because this isn’t the Wizard of Oz; and as hard as some of us try to pull back the curtain, some people will still believe. They think cost equals quality and – importantly – makes things more efficient. To support this notion, they surround themselves with some infamous myths – so let’s debunk them, once and for all.
Myth: “Cheaper makeup brands aren’t as good for your skin.”
The Argument: To have a cheaper price point, lower-cost makeup brands use ingredients that aren’t good for you. You have to go into premium beauty, where there are no compromises on quality for cost, to avoid it. This is particularly important if you have sensitive skin.
The Reality: Nope!
The ethics of the company and the ingredients they use is rarely decided on cost. You can find high-street brands that don’t use parabens for example, and premium beauty brands that do. There’s simply no truth whatsoever that the idea that price dictates the impact on your skin.
The key here is to learn to read ingredients lists and find out the things you should avoid. And if you’re concerned about animal welfare, it’s worth looking into cruelty-free credentials too. Some of the most famous – and therefore most expensive – brands still test on animals.
Myth: “Okay, fine, they’re not better for you – but they do last longer!”
The Argument: A cheap eyeshadow will rub off in no time. A more expensive eye shadow will have poor pigment and no staying power.
The Reality: Some truth, but some lies.
Again, it all depends on the brand. There are brands available in your local Superdrug that have better reports of eyeshadow pigment than high-end. And of course, vice versa. The result of how something works and its staying power depends somewhat on the product, but also on how you use it. Primers have been in circulation for awhile now and can make a huge difference.
Myth: “You can’t do something with a cream that should be done with surgery!”
The Argument: Creams, serums, toners, cellulite treatment, breast enhancers – they’re pointless. The only route to smooth skin, less cellulite or a bust boost is to go under the knife. While this has a myriad of potential surgical complications, it costs more, but it’s because it works.
The Reality: Variable
It depends on the result that you’re after. If you have severe facial wrinkles then there is a chance that a cream can’t fix them – but do you need a total fix? For the fraction of a cost of surgery, you can improve areas you dislike to the point you are comfortable with them. Retinol creams have made advancements in anti-ageing; Naturaful cream can let your cup size runneth over.
The change is never going to be as dramatic as with a four-figure surgical procedure, but the risks are much lower too. Less money spent and lowering your risk of a serious problem like DVT? Seems worth it.
Myth: “Sensitive skin can’t handle cheap products, be it skincare, makeup – whatever. You have to invest.”
The Argument: As sensitive skin makes you a super special snowflake, if you are cursed with it then your beauty budget has to go through the roof. Only high-end brands can cater to your needs.
The Reality: Absolutely Not
When a brand can stamp “for sensitive skin” on a product, what they really mean is “another marketing tactic”. The term is not protected or regulated, so it could contain sulphuric acid and still be marketed as sensitive-friendly.
Again, this is about knowing your ingredients list. Try and find out the particular chemical components that irritate your skin and then avoid them. The brand of what works for you doesn’t matter; it’s what they contain that does.
So why waste money on high-end products if you can achieve the same, or similar, impacts for less? The VIP lifestyle in this regard is just about following a trend, rather than following the things your body actually needs.