What’s Better: Drugstore Skincare or Expensive Skincare?

Today I want to answer a question that I’m sure is something that you guys have been wondering about too. Are expensive skin products really any better? Or are there hidden gem drugstore skincare products out there that will keep you looking ten years younger??

drugstore skincare

I’ve always suspected that there’s some drugstore skincare products that are every bit as good as the super-expensive (3-digit!) stuff! Do you really have to spend $100, $200, or more for some sort of magical product that gets rid of or prevents wrinkles, or keeps your skin smooth and glowing?

Well, journalists at Byrdie seeking to figure out just that asked Joyce de Lemons, a cosmetic chemist!

She said that oftentimes, more expensive products are not better, but the reason for this isn’t necessarily that the expensive brands are trying to “trick you.” Instead, they use special ingredients in addition to the tried-and-true cheaper ingredients, and it turns out that when you remove these special, rare ingredients, the product works just as well. So in a sense it’s better to stick with what we know – hyaluronic acid, retinol, aloe vera, vitamins C and E – and lay off the expensive experimental stuff, like a rare variety of honey from the Pacific coast of Peru. 😉

These things sound REALLY cool though, I know…and higher-end brands may actually be really excited about them, not just using them as a marketing tactic. But at the end of the day, it’s your cheaper “old faithful” that is probably going to make the most difference. (Even though we all have the impression that the reason celebrities look so young is that they have access to some rare Himalayan flower that we commoners don’t.)

The Byrdie article even states that higher-end brands will often experiment with the product, by taking out the most expensive ingredients, and then selling it to a cheaper brand.

So does that mean that if you’ve been buying expensive products instead of drugstore skincare, you’ve just been wasting tons of money?

Not exactly. (Phew!)

For one thing, part of the reason expensive products are more expensive is they have special texture compounds such as silicones, talc, or mica, that not only feel better on your face, but that also apply better (they won’t clump or pill up).

Also, it is true that there are some expensive proprietary ingredients that WILL make that expensive product better than drugstore skincare.

For example, there are some expensive brands that have human growth factor in them! SkinMedica is one of the most well-known brands that have done studies to back up how HGF keeps skin looking young and supple. But first of all, there are cheaper alternatives, like Rhonda Allison and SkinCareRx…

…And second of all, you know what REALLY boosts your HGF and keeps you looking younger, rather than just applying expensive products?

High-intensity interval exercises!

Just look at this study, showing that HIIT increased human growth hormone levels by as much as 2,000%! And that way, the anti-aging effects are in your bloodstream too, not just being slathered on your face! So that’s definitely the method I recommend. 😉

Let me know in the comments what products really work for you, whether it’s drugstore skincare, or a product you have to shell out a few more $$$ for…