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The Honest Truth: Are Expensive Skin Care Products Worth It?

Posted by Nikki Wisher on Nov 22nd 2022

The Honest Truth: Are Expensive Skin Care Products Worth It?

We all want to be savvy with our money and avoid spending more than we have to, but at the same time, quality matters. That’s especially true when it comes to your skin care, because if a cheap product messes up your skin, you’re stuck with the problem until it heals.

But this leads us to one of the most asked questions in aesthetics: are expensive skin care products really worth the price? Do they actually work better, or are you shelling out more cash for something that works the same as something you’d pick up at the drug store?

Buckle in, folks, and let’s get into the honest truth.

Are Upscale Skin Care Products Worth It?

I’ll cut to the chase – are luxury skin care products worth the price? Sometimes. I know, a simple “yes” or “no” would be more helpful, but it’s just not that cut and dried.

Some expensive skin care products are absolutely worth the price tag. Many of the top skin care brands are doing cutting-edge research into skin health, discovering or pioneering new ingredients, and exploring brand-new ways to nourish skin and solve common problems. All of that comes at a cost, as does using premium ingredients, but you’ll get a quality and formulation that you can’t match with budget products.

At the same time, there are some cases in which you’re just paying for a label and a name, like many products from celebrity-backed brands or fashion brands. Some brands also purposely price their products high to create the illusion of value. Yes, the ethics are sketchy, but it’s a strategy that’s out there so it’s important to be aware of it as a consumer.

“Worth It” is Relative

Before I go further into the question of how to tell if a product is “worth it,” I need to note that the question of whether a product is “worth it” is entirely relative to the person.

Let’s say there are two products – one costing $20 while the other costs $100. For two people, that $100 product might only work slightly better than the $20 product, and that may be worth it to the person who has the income to drop $100 without much consideration, but it may not be for the one who would be maxing out their budget with that $100.

Similarly, maxing out your budget might be worth it if this $100 product is the only thing you’ve found that resolves your skin issues. It’s not worth it, though, to someone who has the same budget but doesn’t have the same skin issues you do.

How to Tell if an Expensive Skin Care Product is High-Quality

While keeping in mind everything above about how relative the question of being “worth it” is, how do you tell which skin care products are genuinely high-quality and which ones are highway robbery? There’s no naughty and nice list, but you can use these criteria as you weigh your buying choices.

Consider the Brand’s Reputation

The brand is a huge part of assessing a skin care product. Put on your Google Detective badge and start doing some searching. What are dermatologists and other skin care professionals saying about the brand? What kind of reputation does the brand have? Is it sold in medical offices and sold by retailers that specialize in quality skin care (ahem, Skin Elite), or only by more general consumer retailers?

Understand What the Brand Does

As you’re finding out more about the brand, find out what that brand’s focus is. Is it purely or primarily a skin care brand? Or is the brand best known for other products like clothing, fragrances, or makeup? If the brand exclusively produces skin care, it’s more likely to have products that are worth their price tag because it’s more likely to be investing in research and development.

Consult Your Dermatologist

Remember when I mentioned that your skin needs are part of what will determine if it’s worth it to spend a lot of money on a skin care product? Your dermatologist can shed some light on this.

Ask your dermatologist about their thoughts on or experience with the product. Ask if they think it will make a significant difference for your skin. They know your skin’s needs well and they know what active ingredients will (or won’t) make a powerful difference.

Check the Ingredients List

Fine print time! Check out the active ingredients listed on the skin care product you’re considering. Then, find out what those active ingredients do. For example, a quick search of hyaluronic acid will tell you that it’s a highly effective ingredient for skin hydration.

As you’re doing this, see if those active ingredients line up with what the product claims to do and, just as importantly, what you need from a skin care product. If a product claims to reduce wrinkles but none of the active ingredients are known to actually accomplish this, stick that product back on the shelf.

Bonus tip: the more you do this, the more familiar you’ll become with the names of active ingredients. Before you know it, you’ll be able to look at a list of ingredients and have a good idea right away of whether a product will do what it claims to do.

Start Small and Give It a Try

You’ve heard this before and you’ll hear it again: everyone’s skin is unique, so the only way to really know if a product will benefit your skin is to try it. If you can, buy the smallest (i.e., most affordable) size of the product or a trial skin care kit and try it out. Keep in mind that it takes a while for you to start seeing the results of any skin care product, so aim to use it for around six weeks before you reach a verdict.

Being Skin Care Savvy

When it comes to skin care, you often get what you pay for, but it takes some smart shopping to know for certain. Use the tips above to get the best skin care products for your budget. You can get started right now with some comparison shopping for skin care products from Skin Elite .