All skin care products can be grouped into one of four categories. Why should you care? Because it's a way of evaluating what you're doing for your skin and body. After all, if you're going to compare skin care products (and you DO think about what you use, don't you?) there must be a basis for comparison.
For instance, many people ask "What is the best face cream?" If you don't know what you want, how can you possibly answer that question. What if you found a facial moisturizer that truly reduced wrinkles better than any product on planet Earth – but it would shorten your life by 10 years? Would that be a worthwhile trade-off to you?
So here is a way to evaluate all skin products so you can prioritize what's best for you.
#1: The "Usual Suspects" Face & Skin Care Products
This is by far the largest group. These are the famous brand names we hear every day: Clinique, Mary Kay, Estee Lauder, Lancome, Arbonne, Shiseido. Avon, Chanel and Proactiv.
ADVANTAGE: they're everywhere, so they're easy to come by.
DISADVANTAGE: they're loaded with chemicals and preservatives that make them risky to use. Don't make the mistake of assuming that the skin care products that cost more are safer than the cheaper ones. Maybe they are – but often they aren't! Noxzema is actually a safer product than Peau Magnifique. Without educating yourself, you may be unwittingly adding doses of poison to your body on a daily basis. Granted, it's a small amount of poison each day, but add that to:
All the other poisons we are surrounded with in 21st century life …
And poison yourself every day for decades …
Not a good idea.
#2. "Natural" Facial Care Products
There are certain skin care lines that are advertised as being 'natural' or 'organic'. The names in this group are Saffron Rouge, Aubrey Organics, Tom's Of Maine and Dr. Hauschka.
ADVANTAGE: if they're truly made from all-natural, organic ingredients, they are far safer to use.
PRICE: generally, they aren't cheap! Here is a Quince Day Cream from the famous Dr. Hauschka line. These are definitely lovely products – but they're expensive [although, in fact, there are many natural products that cost more]. This is only one part of the entire skin line which includes:
* Cleansing cream or cleansing milk
* Facial toner – which includes "intensives" for skin over 35 and these are priced at $89.95
* Moisturizing with day creams
* Eye creams
Then there are more specific products like a cover stick, masks and lip care.
It's clear that buying this entire line with cost a substantial amount of money.
DISADVANTAGE: they may – or may not – be truly healthy and natural. Unless you can read labels and understand what you're reading, you may be fooled. Here are the ingredients for this "Organic Toner":
Organic Aloe Leaf Juice, Organic Bilberry Extract, Organic Sugar Cane Extract, Organic Sugar Maple Extract, Organic Orange Fruit Extract, Organic Lemon Extract, Organic Cranberry Extract, Malic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Tea Tree Essential Oil, Black Willowbark Extract, Polysorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Tetrasodium Edta
Polysorbate: is an alcohol. Alcohol may cause body tissues to be more vulnerable to carcinogens. Mouthwashes with an alcohol content of 25% or more have been implicated in mouth, tongue and throat cancers.
Phenoxyethanol: linked to cancer, allergies, immunotoxicity, irritation of the skin, eyes or lungs; linked to hazards for workers exposed on the job, including acute dangers from chemical handling or longer term health effects from routine occupational exposures; organ system toxicity; endocrine disruption; neurotoxicity ranging from subtle developmental delays to chronic nerve degeneration diseases.
Tetrasodium Edta: there are concerns about organ system toxicity because animals have shown organ degeneration at low doses; irritates the skin, eyes or lungs; there are few studies on toxicity and this absence of data can be worrisome.
#3. "Kitchen" Beauty Products
These are the kinds of wonderful products that you make in your kitchen with honey, fruits, yogurt, natural oils and even chocolate. What's not to like with these fun products? I even whip up a chocolate face mask from time to time – it's good enough to eat! (Hmmmmmmmmmm … there's a new business idea … edible skin care products :-)
ADVANTAGE: YOU are in charge. You know what's in your skin care goodies and you can eliminate horrid chemicals and use only fresh, natural ingredients.
PRICE: great price! A few strawberries and a half cup of yogurt cost a whole lot less than most skin care products – including the WalMart brands.
DISADVANTAGE: wonderful as these products are, they can be quite impractical for several reasons:
They are perishable. If you whip up a yogurt and banana facial on Saturday afternoon – and want to use it again on Sunday and it hasn't been in the refrigerator – well, yuck!
And it's inconvenient to run to the kitchen every time you need a skin product, since most of us work on our faces in the bathroom.
And a dose of icy ingredients can be rather shocking, especially in the colder months.
And even if they are kept cold, they have a very short life. Actually, some of them can be used only once – think of a banana the next day, one that has been exposed to the air.
These products are time-consuming. It takes time to make them and they take time to have an effect. You can put cream on your face and race out the door. If you leave home with fruit on your face you are going to be seriously stared at!
Generally, a kitchen cosmetic has only one function: it's a moisturizer or it's a scrub. Store-bought skin products are multi-purpose.
#4. Professional Natural Skin Products – But Made By YOU
This option combines all the advantages of the three methods above – with none of the disadvantages! So cool! You can whip up your own professional-grade skin care products that are as good as the ones at Neimans … except they're better!
ADVANTAGE: There are major advantages for DIY products:
You make them specifically for YOUR skin. "One size fits all" doesn't apply to skin care products because your skin is different from mine, so what's good for me won't necessarily help you at all. And more: your skin is certain to change over time and even from season to season. Example: I use a toner in the summer, but not in the winter, because it's too drying.
Your DIY beauty products don't need preservatives because you will use them up quickly. Brand name skin care products are made to sit on a shelf for years – yes, years. The ingredients degrade over time and the preservatives are toxic to the human body.
This makes your natural skin care products very convenient. No need to race down to the refrigerator or to wait 45 minutes with fresh fruit or sticky honey on your face.
There are no chemicals in your own 'brands'. For instance, any time you see the words "synthetic fragrance" or "synthetic color" you can be sure there is an undesirable chemical involved. In fact, often just "fragrance" or "color" means the same thing.
They're incredibly simple to make. If you can use a spoon, you can make your own skin care products.
PRICE: to say they're inexpensive is overstating the case. Here's an example of a product that my skin loves: vitamin C lotion. Here's an analysis of my costs.
Lotion that acts as a base = 24 ounces for $11.97
Cost per ounce = $.50
Vitamin C: $13.76 for 60 caps. Start with one cap and increase to two caps if you need a stronger potion
Cost per cap = $.23
Total cost for my vitamin C skin care product:
$.73 or $.98 per ounce
Currently, the most popular skin care brand on eBay is Clinique. You can see the price of the Clinique brand vitamin C.
This is from the Yahoo shopping mall which shows the Clinique price as $51-$92 for 1/3 of an ounce.
DISADVANTAGE: we simply don't know any. I suppose the effort of making your own products can be a disadvantage, but it takes only a few minutes to assemble your ingredients and mix them up. Considering the safety and money-saving potential of DIY skin care this seems like a no-brainer trade off, but of course that's an individual decision.
This guide should give you a simple way to compare skin care products, whether purchased or manufactured by you. What's right for you depends entirely upon your priorities. Our job: to give you helpful and accurate information. Your job: to make the best choice for your situation.