When it comes to your skin care routine, is your spending more in line with a Hyundai or a Bentley? Do you own every product in the line or do you mix and match pricey pore reducers with cost cutting Clearasil to reach an attainable middle ground?
Whatever your choice, you cannot swim fast enough from the tidal wave of high-end skin products flooding the beauty market of late. They call to you from the pages of the glossies, from Bliss and Sephora catalogs, and from Fred Segal’s website.
While the seasoned players like la Mer  are still going strong, newcomers are a big part of the inventory at your local beauty outlet. It’s looking like high-end skin care is the new face lift and women seem more than willing to pay the price if they can avoid getting injections or going under the knife. Skin care companies are intimately aware of this. Skin is in and I’m talking about the kind on your face and neck, not the oooh la la version.
High-end skin care products are high-tech and you could easily further your frown lines trying to decipher the aminos from the peptides. And just when you think you’re up to date with the latest skin-lingo, a new scientific term or abbreviation will be dropped in the beauty aisles as casually as celeb-names are dropped in LA eateries. Take for instance GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid), which is naturally produced in the body (who knew?) It graces Freeze 24-7 , a product line I tried with fantastic results. Applied on its own, GABA won’t affect the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles—it is the perfectly researched blend of it with the other ingredients that creates the magic. For DDF Wrinkle Relax , a dynamic duo of peptides increases elastin and collagen, helping to prevent lines caused by repeated facial movements. The research team at Chanel created Planifolia-PFA, for their Sublimage  cream, from a plant found in Madagascar. Ah, research and development. All those microscopes and lab coated scientists whipping up skin care recipes. It really warms my heart. To cool your spending, you can visit your local drug store for low-cost versions of high-end skin products jammed with effective ingredients.
RoC,  owned by Johnson and Johnson, boasts the Retinol Correxion and Retinol Actif Pur lines. The latter was developed in 1995 and was the first pure and stabilized form of vitamin A. This was a huge breakthrough and I hope they cracked open the champagne right there in the lab, as I did in my living room when I heard the news!
Along with the science of formulating pricey skin care products comes the skill of packaging and marketing same products so you think your life won’t be complete without them. Charts, graphs, and before and after photos lure you to your computer, cosmetic counter, or makeup aisle at your drug store, with promises of a better, firmer, younger looking you. For most people, treating their skin with products and getting regular facials is more within reach mentally and financially than getting fillers injected or having surgical procedures performed.
“Women all over the world are spending more and more every year on skincare. The price seems to matter less and less … if the product works,” says Scott Gurfein, CEO of Freeze 24-7. “When Freeze 24-7 came onto the market with its anti-wrinkle cream—at $115—people were at first hesitant to purchase, but once they saw their fine lines and wrinkles melting away, they were hooked!”
If you buy an expensive eye cream and don’t like the results, there is a chance you could get your money refunded, especially if you have made friends at the cosmetic counter. If you don’t like the results of your neck lift or Restylane treatment, good luck seeing that credit on your Amex card. Creams, lotions, and serums in pretty packagings, which feel like buttah on your skin, have vast appeal over needles and scalpels for the majority of women. While certain aspects of skin products can be considered “warm and fuzzy,” nothing about needles or surgery can, no matter what spin you put on it.
Keep your expensively-creamed eyes peeled though, because just when you’ve committed to the most high-tech, new, and expensive high-end skin care item on the market, Vogue, Allure, and Bazaar will slap some slick editorial your way to tell you and sell you on an even newer and more miraculous development in skin care. High-end skin is where it’s at and once it’s keeping the highly sharpened knives at bay, I take comfort in the constant onslaught of expensive products I must have!
What’s really funny is that I know more than a few dermatologists who recommend simple soap and water for skin. That must be some really high-end soap they’re using.
Related story: “Painted Face: How Cosmetics Endanger Women.”