In general, most of us do not know enough to decide which product works better or why, and many of us do not have the time or inclination to learn. So invariably we're either guided by the magic of marketing or by the recommendations of our friends or skin care professionals. However, considering how costly skin care can be, and how much the health and look of our skin impacts our well being, it stands to reason that we should try to gain more knowledge so that we can make our own informed decisions when purchasing a product.
Most quality products will feel good on the skin and will have FEW good ingredients in them. Few however is the key word, a lot of the products at the beauty counters contain a very small percentage of skin actives or nutrients and a high percentage of excipients, humectants and preservatives, yet come at a very high price tag and many alluring promises.
These are some of the top active ingredients you should be looking to find on each label:
Hyaluronic Acid, Peptides, Anti oxidants (most plant derived extracts and vitamins), Amino Acids, Alpha Hydroxy Acids (Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid), L Ascorbic Acid or Vitamin C, Retinoils or Vitamin A, Tocopherols or Vitamin E, Ceramides
These are some of the most common inactive ingredients found in most skin care formulas:
Water, Glycols, polysorbates, preservatives and/or parabens
As an informed consumer, when viewing the list of ingredients on the label of a potential product, you will note that all ingredients must be listed in descending order of concentration, the ingredient with the largest concentration is listed first and then the next largest and so forth. Active ingredients such as the ones listed above are considered to have an altering effect on the skin, and that is what you should be paying for. Inactive ingredients are excipients, fillers and preservatives, they are necessary to stabilize, assist in the delivery, and most importantly preserve the active ingredients, but have no direct effect or benefit to the skin.
Patented ingredients can be anything and are unlikely to be worth the investment.
In order to determine whether a skin care product is good value, it is important to evaluate the proportion of active ingredients to inactive ingredients. If the active ingredients are few and far between and are listed only towards the bottom of the list of ingredients, then it should be assumed that their concentration is too low to provide the consumer with much benefit.
You will note that our Susanne Kaufmann products have formulas with an abundance of active ingredients and very little excipients, you will also note that our Hyaluron Serum's top ingredient is hyaluronic acid which makes it one of the most concentrated hyaluronic acid serums on the market.