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Is Expensive Skincare Worth the Price Tag?

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It’s the age old conundrum, isn’t it? You get what you pay for. Or do you? Do we really get better quality if we splash out and spend a lot of money on the things we need or want? Or are the cheaper versions just as good? 

Perhaps in some areas we benefit from spending more. Let’s take clothing. If we buy a T shirt for a few pounds, the chances are, it’ll only last a few washes before it shrinks, the side seams get twisted or the colour fades. But if we spent say £30 on a well made, organic cotton T shirt then it could last us for years. 

Taking away the affordability aspect, spending a little extra on clothing often pays dividends in terms of not having to buy so often. Which also ticks the eco box as an extra bonus. 

But what about skin care? Does spending extra on our cleansers, moisturisers and other items that we keep in our bathroom cabinets also pay dividends? Do the more expensive products and brands have more benefits to our skin? Or could we get the same benefits from cheaper products that claim to do the same job? 

None of us like to feel like we’ve been ripped off or sucked into a slick marketing campaign. So what’s the truth? Is it worth splashing out on skin care? Or are we better off sticking to the basics? 

Here’s our take on the topic.

What makes skin care expensive?

Obviously, the word ‘expensive’ is subjective. What might be expensive to one person, might not be such a big deal to another. We get that. But what we generally mean here is a basic tube of facial moisturiser for £1.99 vs a facial moisturiser with targeted ingredients priced at around £25. The latter is obviously more expensive than the former.

But why? What makes certain skin care products more expensive than others?

The answer to this is in the ingredients. Let’s take the facial moisturiser example again. All moisturisers have a moisturising base. That is, a base that contains something that hydrates the skin.

There are three main types of moisturiser - humectants, emollients and occlusives.Humectants work by pulling moisture (water) from the air into theupper layers of the skin. Examples of humectants include salicylic acid,glycerin and alpha hydroxy acids, orAHAs.

Emollients are usually oil based and fill the gaps between the skin cells with hydrating oils to help manage dry or cracked skin. Examples of emollients include shea butter and colloidal oatmeal.

Occlusives work by blocking the evaporation of water from the skin by forming an oily layer on the skin. Examples of occlusives includemineral oil and other petroleum derivatives such as Vaseline, lanolin and silicone. 

Some of these ingredients are cheap to produce and therefore products manufactured with cheap ingredients such as mineral oil and lanolin are cheap to buy. Other ingredients, especially newer, more targeted ones such as AHAs, salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid (another type of humectant), are more expensive to produce. 

Therefore, facial moisturisers and other products that contain such ingredients, are generally more expensive to buy. 

Do expensive skin products work better?

Just like sports nutrition, superfood based food supplements and anything else that’s continuously studied and perfected, skin care ingredients keep getting better. 

The more research that’s done, the more miracle ingredients are found and the more miracle products are released to an eagerly awaiting public looking to fix ‘imperfections’ in their skin. Be that wrinkles or acne, it seems there’s a new wonder product released each week. 

The problem is, all this research costs time, and money. That’s what generally makes expensive skin care products expensive - the costs incurred in researching and perfecting a product. 

Of course, there will always be brands and manufacturers who use fancy packaging and glossy advertising to convince us to part with a lot of hard earned cash and use their products. 

These products however might just be that - fancy packaging and glossy advertising. They might not contain much more than mineral oil, water and fragrance, plus a lot of bumph. 

Throw in a celebrity endorsement and an Instagram influencer, and you have a whole lot of cash spent on telling you about a product that might not have much to it. Style over substance, as everyone’s favourite master baker, Paul Hollywood, might put it. 

So, where do we stand on the matter?

Sönd skin care you can trust

Here at Sönd, we makeextremely good skin care products. How do we know that? Because we made them for ourselves and we’re our biggest critic. Our products are designed to meet the needs of skin that’s stressed out or non conformist, because that’s the type of skin we have. 

In order to develop our products, we used a specialist lab to discover ingredients that work and create combinations that work even better. We use medical grade ingredients that are known to have the right effect on contrary skin that might be too oily, too dry, prone to acne or rosacea or suffers with other skin complaints such as psoriasis and eczema. 

On your quest for skin care, do your research. If a skin care brand is proud of the work they’ve put into developing their products, they’lltell you about it. Their website will be full of information on the why behind their ingredients and how they work.

Then you’ll know that your money is worth spending and that you’re not just paying for questionable influencers and a slick marketing team. 

So, as with anything, it’s really down to individual choice. Some brands might be ripping you off, whilst others are expensive because they create their own ingredients in a specialist lab like we do. 

Choosing a skin care brand like us means that you’re getting great value for money whilst supporting and nourishing your skin in the way it deserves. So give us a try today! 


Hannah de Gruchy BSc(Hons)

About Author

Hannah de Gruchy is a freelancer writer who specialises in health and wellness. She has a keen interest in the biology of skin and loves using her words to help separate the real science of skincare from the pseudoscience of some skincare brands. Hannah has a degree in Human Biology and many years’ experience working in laboratories around London. Using this experience, Hannah enjoys turning complex science into interesting, engaging and easy to digest pieces to read. In her spare time, Hannah runs, practices yoga and loves cooking plant based foods.

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