A question that I had when getting into skincare was “does the quality of a product matter?”
Probably not in those EXACT words, it was most likely something like “Can I get away with buying Burt’s Bee’s at CVS?”
And the answer is… yes, it matters - it matters a lot.
Well, I’m so glad you asked because I’m about to throw down all the science on you
But first, an analogy. You know how I love a good analogy!
Think of it like this - you’re baking a cake. Gluten free, red velvet, vegan, plain vanilla, you pick. Now, you can get all the best ingredients, organic, free range, locally-sourced, full of angel’s prayers, whatever. OR you can go the less fancy route, like almost-expired eggs or imitation vanilla flavoring. Obviously the difference in ingredients is going to produce a vastly different kind of cake. Next you can follow the directions to the letter or you can just mix it all up in one big bowl and see what happens.
The analogy represents two important factors - ingredient quality and formulation.
So when these big skincare brands go to the ingredient store (I don’t think that’s actually a real place), they can buy two different kids of groceries to put in their face-cakes. The best choice is whats called a “pharmaceutical-grade” ingredient. These come with a “certificate of analysis”, which means that the ingredient was run through a fancy machine (called a mass spectrometer) that verified the purity of an ingredient. This is also what they use for pharmaceutical medicine. The less-best choice is called a “cosmetic-grade” ingredient and its more of the imitation-vanilla flavoring. There’s no proof that the ingredient is what the seller claims. Now I’m not saying that there are nefarious companies out there selling you snake oil (super not-vegan!), but it does mean you really have to take their word for it.
Ultimately, it all means is poor-quality ingredients will have a poor performance.
But you know who has ALL the certificates and white papers and scientific integrity?
You already know the answer.