The old saying ‘You get what you pay for’ isn’t entirely true when it comes to beauty products, especially skincare. It is not always the greatness of the goo inside that determines the price.

Sure a cream that costs $150 for 10ml will look fancy and come in a pretty box but it may not work any better than one that costs $35 for 100ml.

So how do you know if your favourite face cream is worth your hard earned cash?

Well as much as we love things in beautiful packaging being promoted by beautiful people we need to look past it all and read the unglamorous small print on the back. The ingredients list is where the real truth lies.

A cosmetic label by law needs to list ingredients in order of weight highest to lowest.

Basically what makes up your moisturiser is a combination of water, oil, emulsifiers, thickeners, preservative, fragrance and the rest.

To go a step further the approximate percentages are water 70- 90%, emulsifiers and thickeners 5 – 10%, fragrance 1% and preservatives 0.5 – 2%. That leaves anywhere between 2% and 20% for all the other good stuff. If there are 30 more ingredients and only 2% of space left in the bottle? Yep you guessed it there aren’t much of them.

A typical MoistuiserDon’t get me wrong certain ingredients are very effective in small concentrations and any more would be too powerful for your skin. But does their inclusion warrant the lofty price tag?

If you’re buying a product because it has a particular amazing ingredient in it but that amazing ingredient is listed after the fragrance or preservative then you know that it’s highly likely there’s less than 1% contained in the product, and you might not be getting value for money.

On the flip side if you see an ingredient listed before water or aqua (or water is not listed at all) then you know it makes up the bulk of the product.  Many certified organic products use Aloe Vera juice instead of water. This is because in certified organic products 95% of the ingredients need to be organic and water isn’t organic.

There are heaps of reasons one skincare company may be charging more than another for an inferior product. A lot will come back to other expenses the skincare company has – like expensive packaging, TV commercials and other advertising, celebrity endorsements, and even organic certification can be very pricey.

The best thing you can do is get familiar with reading your ingredients and don’t fall for all of the marketing hype! There are lots of good products out there, it’s just up to you to find them.

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  • Great article, I have found some cheap products that work so well for my skin type compared to the pricier ones.


  • Interesting read thanks for sharing.


  • I break out with a lot of moisturisers and I stick with the one I have found that doesn’t cause this – clean and clear! Lol


  • I love my moisturiser and its one of the cheaper brands.

    • I also use a homemade soap and water to clean my skin.


  • I think all skincare is well overpriced, but it does seem to work, what I have used


  • I’m not usually fussy with most products, but I absolutely swear by SKII – expensive but worth it.


  • Good read thanks for the information


  • expensive isn’t always the best, ponds is one of the best around


  • I try to stick to one brand that I trust


  • It is so hard to know what you’re paying for. Is it great ingredients or amazing packaging? Also I wish more companies would offer samples. I hate buying expensive creams and then finding they don’t agree with my skin. Puts me off trying something new.


  • Some great advice, thanks for sharing.


  • Sorbolene cream is inexpensive and such a great moisturiser


  • It is hard to know what the best skincare to use is.


  • Wonderful advice, a very motivational article.


  • Women’s skincare is becoming very expensive. Mens are cheaper and I wonder why with the same ingredients!


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