Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Recessionista Review #2: SKINCARE Department Store Brands

With the skincare industry being a multi-billion dollar industry, it might be overwhelming sometimes to choose something that works with your skin and budget. Having used everything from high-end brands to drug store brands, I will give you my two-cents worth on what I think of department store brands. Today, I will review 3 of my all-time favorites.

Department Store Brands:

La Mer

La Mer is like the caviar of skin care in terms of price point. It is also much raved about by celebrities and women from all walks of life. Their first product I started using was the Eye Balm ($140) and I absolutely can't live without it. I've tried their new and improved Eye Concentrate ($165), but still preferred the Eye Balm.

The other La Mer products I've tried include: Creme de la Mer, (1 oz $130), the Moisturing Lotion (1.7 fl oz $190), and the Cleansing Gel (6.7 fl oz $65).

Verdict: IMHO, the Eye Balm is only product that is worth every single penny. If you have been looking for an eye cream to lighten dark circles and minimize eye bags, this is the best product. I think the La Mer facial moisturizers are good too but are a little too pricey. If you have the budget, I would recommend the Creme de la Mer for dry skin, and the Moisturizing Lotion if you have normal to combination skin. The rest of the products are good products, but I think they are not worth splurging on.

Estee Lauder

As one of the early pioneers of skin care, Estee Lauder is said to have one of the best R&D in skin care. Their prices points are also considered on the high side. Its clientele consist of mainly women in their 30s and up; though I know that many 20 somethings also use some of their products. My Mom has been an loyal fan for over 30 years and still swears by them.

I have used the Perfectly Clean Foaming Cleanser ($19), Perfectly Clean Fresh Balancing Lotion ($30), So Polished Exfoliating Scrub ($22), Night Repair and Idealist ( both $73).

Verdict: I highly recommend the Idealist because it really helps diminish the appearance of large pores on my cheeks. I no longer need a foundation primer after I started using this product. There are raves about the Night Repair product, but I didn't quite care for that as I didn't see any results after using it for a year.

Shu Uemura

Shu Uemura is a Japanese brand, well-known for its make up colors and brushes. I started using their skin care line since I was 16. I used their Cleansing Oil (15.2 fl oz $62), Foaming Cleansing Water (15.2 fl oz $62), and Principe 21 Essence (30 ml $58). Many of my model friends love the Cleansing Oil because it cleans off every bit of makeup on your face. I used that for about 2 years when I was modeling, but stopped after that.

Verdict: My most favorite Shu Uemura product is the Principe 21. This product might be the reason why my skin looks so youthful. I have used probably 10 bottles of it by now. Everyone I know that uses this product looks sooooo young, even my aunt who is in her 50s! It is really expensive though because a 30ml bottle doesn't last very long and there is no way you can break the packaging to get all the product out. I find the Foaming Cleansing Water okay, but I definitely didn't like the Cleansing Oil because it makes me break out with whiteheads every now and then. The only reason why I used it was because of its heavy-duty makeup removal ability. So, depending on your skin, it might work very well for you.

Final Verdict: To date, I've tried approximately 36 department store skin care brands, and what I've found is that when it comes to skin care, price doesn't always equal to quality. There are several other department store skin care products that I like too, but I can still live without them. These 3 products you see here (pictures shown) are the ones that I will continue to buy even on a Recessionista budget. In my humble opinion, I can scrimp on fashion, but certainly not skin care products that I swear by. What about you?

I will be reviewing drug store skin care brands next in Recessionista Review #3: SKINCARE Department Store Brands.

Disclaimer: I am not a beauty expert or a licensed esthetician, I am simply a skin care customer who is providing feedback based upon my personal experiences.