Beauty News

The 7 secrets to buying skincare

How to avoid spending more than you should on lotions and potions.
The 7 secrets to buying skincare

From “anti-ageing” this to “topical regeneration” that, buying facial beauty products can be so confusing, even the shrewdest shopper could break out in a nervous rash.

Not that it stops us.

New Zealand female baby boomers spend around $1.3 million each week on beauty products and perfume. It’s a giant industry reliant on shoppers desperate for the next big thing to brighten and tighten.

“It helps to remember there is no Holy Grail product in skincare,” says skincare expert Christine Clais, aka The French Facialist. “If a claim seems exaggerated, then it probably is – so always follow your intuition when you’re shopping.”

Here’s how to take some of the confusion out of shopping for cosmetics:

Know your skin type

Before hitting the beauty counter, find out your skin type – combination, oily, normal or dry – this will help you settle on the type of products you’re looking for.

“You don’t have to get bogged down in the scientific aspects of diagnosing your skin – you just have to know a little,” says Christine.

To work out if you’re prone to oiliness or dryness, wash your face, let it dry naturally and see how it feels 10 minutes later. If it’s screaming out for moisture, you’re dry. If you have a light shine, you’re oily.

If it’s neither thirsty nor shiny, you’re normal. If you have patches of dryness combined with oiliness or some normal areas, you’re combination. Having that basic understanding of your skin type makes it easier to buy skincare products and services that will do you good.

Develop trust

Whether you prefer pharmacy products, department store brands or salon-only supplies, Christine says it’s important to be able to trust the person advising you.

“See someone who specialises in treating skin every day,” she advises.

Ask your friends if they’ve had a good experience buying skincare and get the details. Or get your friend to introduce you to their beauty expert – chances are you’ll both receive excellent service.

Another tip is to visit the salon or counter of a brand you’ve liked in the past and strike up a conversation with the staff working there.

“You might prefer talking with an older woman because much younger women have very different skincare concerns,” Christine suggests.

When you find someone who you have a rapport with, find out how they care for their own skin and what works best for them.

“They don’t necessarily have to be trained as a facialist, as long as they have a passion for skincare and use these products themselves,” Christine tells.

A little Q&A

Ask lots of questions before purchasing, including how and when to use each product and whether you really need it.

“Ask about the ingredients and test the knowledge of the person you’re talking to,” Christine suggests. “If they look at you blankly, then maybe they haven’t had the right training,

so you’d be better off going elsewhere instead.”

Likewise, you want a skincare consultant who asks the right questions of you too. Be open to answering queries about your complexion concerns and what you’re currently using, as well as describing your general health and lifestyle.

“You cannot separate your skin from your body and your life,” Christine says.

Finally, if you’d like to try a new skincare product without committing to a purchase, ask for a sample.

“I’m always very willing to give samples, especially when someone has reactive, sensitive skin,” Christine says.

4 French cult skincare brands to try: Clarins Mission Perfection Serum, $115, Decléor Aromessence Neroli Oil Serum, $115, Avène Antirougeurs Redness Relief Soothing Mask, $39.90, L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Extraordinary Oil-Cream, $39.99

Resist pushy sales tactics and wild claims

If you’re shopping for a new moisturiser but the consultant wants to sell you a cleanser, toner and eye cream as well, it can be tricky knowing what to do! Especially if they’ve spent a lot of time with you letting you test each product.

“Don’t be intimidated,” Christine says. “If someone is pushing you towards products you are not ready to buy, you can just walk away.”

Remind yourself that many skincare professionals mix-and-match products from a range of brands and price points to create the ideal routine.

“That’s the way I get my results,” Christine tells.

Be gentle

Always use suitable products and never sluice with piping-hot water. “No stripping the skin’s natural barrier, no inflammation and no trauma,” says Christine.

Be consistent

“You don’t need to spend hours on your skin to get noticeable results, but sticking to a daily routine is the key to helping keep your skin healthy,” Christine explains.

How long do products take to work?

“Your skin renews itself every 28 days (later with age), so any new product you use will need at least a month to show its real effect on your skin,” Christine says. “But if you have a major skin concern, such as adult acne, it can take six months to a year, although you will see a gradual improvement along the way.”

Christine’s three-minute skincare ritual

Step 1: Cleanse face, neck and décolleté (60 seconds).

Step 2: Apply eye gel/cream to the eye contour area (30 seconds).

Step 3: Apply face cream/sunscreen to the face, neck and décolleté (90 seconds).

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