Why The Pros Want You To Cheat
EVERY SUCCESSFUL PRODUCT LINE LOOKS AT THEIR MARKET, JUST LIKE ANY GOOD BUSINESS DOES
How To Cheat The Right Way
Instead of committing to a full line without giving it much thought, Dr. Swann prefers a “skin typing” approach to creating your own unique routine. It’s simple: Determine what your skin type is (you may need the help of a dermatologist or aesthetician for this) and what your goals are (to prevent fine lines, breakouts, dullness, or just keep the status quo with the right protection, for example). Then, look for products that fit your needs and are suited to your skin-type.
Dr. Swann recommends cherry-picking from lines that do clinical testing for efficacy, likeObagi, SkinMedica, and Elta MD. Skinceuticals, which releases studies on their efficacy, is also a good one to explore.
But before you get overwhelmed, heed Dr. Tanzi’s advice. “Skin care doesn’t have to be complicated,” she says. “You just need three steps.” That is: cleanse, treat, and protect with sunscreen in the morning; cleanse, treat, and moisturize at night.
Disclaimer: This isn’t to say that some lines aren’t a great base for your research. There’s no denying that you will find great products packaged together, but don’t feel obliged to go all in just because the brand is marketing them as a line — think of trying a range a bit like dating, not every person product is going to work with you and your needs, no matter how alluring they are. [Ed. note: For me, face mists are like bad boys, they seem like they’ll be fun and invigorating, but they just dry out my skin.]
HONESTLY, BUYING A ONE-BRAND, MULTI-STEP SYSTEM IS FOR THE LAZY PERSON.
Monogamy Has Its Benefits
Of course, this isn’t totally black-and-white. “There are some advantages to using a single line of products,” Dr. Swann explains. “If a company that is manufacturing the products does a lot of testing, they’re probably testing the products together.” That translates to “elegance of use,” Dr. Swann says, which doesn’t mean more effective, just more pleasant (one product won’t pill on another and everything will feel and smell good together) and easier to use (the order and time of day is often mapped out for you).
IT’S QUICK AND DIRTY, BUT BETTER THAN NOTHING IF YOU CAN’T SHOP AROUND.
The Exception To The Rule: Acne
“Acne is a little bit of a different animal,” Dr. Swann explains. Using Proactiv as his example, he breaks it down like this: No ingredient in a typical acne kit is fancy or unique to that kit (acne lines are all basically made up of the same ingredients, but more on that in a second); but packaged together, they make it easy to feel like you’re doing something to help your breakouts.
Dr. Tanzi agrees. “There are a couple of key ingredients for acne that work: benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, plus something to soothe the skin, so it’s a little easier to get a good kit for acne than it is to get a kit for something like anti-aging,” she says. “I’ll have patients call me and say ‘I’m not in the country right now,’ or, ‘I just need something quick for my acne,’ and I tell them to go to CVS and buy La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar system,” she says. “It’s quick and dirty, but better than nothing if you can’t shop around.”
The moral of the story? If you suffer from acne, can’t be bothered to pick and choose, or have a good thing going, a pre-designed routine could be a great option for you, but don’t feel beholden to every product, since some could just be filler. As for everyone else? Playing the field is all it’s cracked up to be.