Have you ever read a rave review about a skin care product from a celebrity, beauty editor, beauty blogger or even a friend you follow on Instagram only to find that when you purchased it and used it, it didn’t work at all or even made your skin appear worse? I know this is frustrating but it happens all the time for so many people in their quest for solving their own skin challenges.
What you need to realize when reading reviews or getting a recommendation from a friend is that every type of skin is different and what works for one person will not work for everyone but unfortunately, you won’t always know how your skin will respond to a product formula until you actually use it. As an esthetician with 25+ years of experience, what I know for sure is that you cannot simply label your skin type as the standard dry, normal and oily categories that cosmetic companies so often use. Dry, normal and oily only describe how much or how little sebum (oil) your skin produces, and while this is helpful in getting a moisturizer to give the right amount of hydration, it doesn’t take into consideration all the other traits of your skin like redness, circulation, the various types of breakouts, discoloration from sun, hormones or breakouts, and the list goes on and on. (I believe there are nine different types of skin and to find yours, you can take my online quiz.)
Here are five things that can be helpful in making an informed decision before you take the plunge in trying a miracle product you’ve heard about:
1. Try to find out more details about the reviewer’s skin type. Ultimately, if someone’s skin has similar traits to yours, then in theory, this could potentially increase your chance of a product working just as well for you as it did for them. To me, a good beauty blogger will give you specifics about his or her skin type to allow for more of an informed review and if not, post a comment to see if you can get them to share this. Unfortunately, when you read about a product in a magazine, you’ll never get these kinds of details.
2. Be wary of judging a product by the ingredient list. It would only be natural for you to want to see an ingredient list so you can make some assumptions on whether or not the product might work for you, right? Not quite. I’m here to tell you that seeing an ingredient list (and it looking like a good one!) will most definitely NOT guarantee a positive outcome when using the product. I talk about all of this in detail in this post, but unfortunately, the results a product delivers are based on the percentages of the ingredient used in a product—and this, you’ll never know from looking at the list on the back of a bottle.
3. Be sure to take every product review with a grain of salt. After all, some people get paid money to give reviews when they may not actually like the product or have even tried it. One would hope that a celebrity, blogger or online influencer would only endorse products that he or she is truly passionate about, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. I work in LA with celebrities so I hear all about this kind of stuff.
4. Whenever you use a new product, I suggest you do a patch test. If you have extremely allergic skin, it’s always recommended to do a patch test for compatibility prior to using any new products.
How to test for a possible allergic, rash-like reaction: Apply a small amount of product to the skin and leave on for 24 hours. The side of the neck is a good starting point for true compatibility because it’s thinner and generally more reactive. The idea is that if it can be tolerated on your neck, then you can feel confident that it will be okay on the face. Also, should you encounter a negative reaction such as an itchy, red rash; you might want it to appear on the neck rather than on your face.
If your sensitivity is more related to products causing bumps or blemishes, then you’ll want to patch test on the chin. There are a number of oil glands there so if a product doesn’t break you out there, then it’s highly unlikely it would break you out elsewhere on your face. (Although, there are always exceptions because…every person’s skin is just so different.)
5. Go into every new product you purchase with the mindset that it may or may not give the desired result. I really think this is the most important thing to know. Sometimes, you’ll hit a home run from a product reviewer and find one that truly is a miracle, but more often than not, your skin wants to do what it wants to do and you can’t always change that with a topically-applied product. (No fun, I know.) Our Anti Cyst Treatment is a perfect example of this. It’s a truly unique product for reducing the appearance of stubborn cystic breakouts FAST and it’s gets so many positive reviews from celebrities, bloggers and our customers calling it a “life-changing product”, but unfortunately for a small percentage of people, it doesn’t give miraculous results. The reason for this is not all types of breakouts are equal, not all bacteria that leads to a breakout is the same for everyone and a host of a gazillion other reasons that we can’t even begin to know.
The skin is very complex but consulting with a trusted skin professional like an esthetician or dermatologist is always recommended as we have a deep understanding of how the skin works.
I hope this post gives you some good things to think about when reading product recommendations. Be sure to read more of my blog posts to get educated about how to care for your unique skin type.
Read: In Your 20s? The 10 Best Ways To Prevent Wrinkles— Starting NOW
Read: Five Ways To Hydrate Oily, Acne-Prone Skin Without Causing Breakouts
Read: Everything You Need To Know About Preventing Adult Hormonal Breakouts
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Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”