‘Expensive isn’t necessarily better’: how to build an

Navigating beauty stores and even online beauty retailers can be tricky. Trust me, I make a point of visiting beauty retailers in every country I travel to, so I’ve seen a lot. And I’ve been dealt a lot of marketing spin in the process.

The first thing to remember about buying skincare products is that you have to go in armed with knowledge. Knowledge gives you power where your skin health is concerned. It’s also good to remember that not all shop assistants actually know what they’re talking about – they’re often just great at talking the talk.

Understanding your skin type and the condition you’re trying to correct will give you (and the assistants) a better chance of finding products that are the right fit.

When it comes to spending your money, new beauty brands are popping up every day, each with a new claim. Always keep in mind that stores will recommend their own brands first to shift product, and influencers and celebrities may be promoting specific products to further their own agenda. Try not to listen to the noise – what works for one person may not work for another.

A true expert who knows their stuff will give you frank, honest advice and never push a product on you.

If you’re feeling pressured in a shopping situation and find yourself worrying about investing that much money into a product, or unsure about its suitability, thank the sales assistant for their time, do your own research and come back later if you decide it is right for you.

Once you find a product that works for your skin, it can simplify life to re-purchase that product online to avoid any impulse buying. I prefer to stick with brands I’ve used and loved before, as brands always create ranges that complement each other. If you find that a certain product works really well for you, it might be worth looking into the other products in that same range, as the ingredients will likely have been engineered to work in tandem with the product you’re already loving.

It’s also important to understand that more expensive products don’t necessarily equal better. I’ve tried almost every product under the sun, and some of the best I’ve found have been purchased at the local pharmacy.

Understanding ingredients is the key to identifying the best products. For example, knowing that you’re looking for a product with hyaluronic acid because you want a product to hydrate your skin is a great first step, as you are going into the buying process armed with information. When buying online, compare products, read reviews and look at the ingredients list. How is this product actually going to serve you?

My philosophy is to have a few products that work really hard, rather than 15 that dilute each other. Cleansers and moisturisers can be found for really affordable prices, so there’s no need to splurge on these. Sunscreen is another essential that doesn’t need to cost a bomb. Any sunscreen will do. There are plenty of great formulations available at the pharmacy.

If you’re going to spend money, do it on your serum or corrective treatments.

The Modern Guide to Skin Health by Melanie Grant.

The ingredients in these products tend to work best when they’re of a high quality, which generally means a higher price tag. It is possible to find very hardworking serums for a low price, but just make sure you’re doing your research. And if you only have four products in your kit, make it a cleanser, a moisturiser, a serum and a sunscreen.

There are also a lot of at-home remedies that can be made for just a few dollars, too! I love using honey as a mask because of its antibacterial properties, while sugar makes for a sweet lip scrub.

And if you’re ever stuck or unsure what brands are best at the pharmacy, look to French pharmacy brands, which are now widely available in lots of chemists or online. The French really pioneered affordable, accessible skincare, and there are plenty of great French brands that strike the perfect balance between innovation and low price points.