Does expensive equal good? Do more steps equal better results? Can you fix your aging skin? These are the questions the skincare industry often lobs at the post-menopausal crowd. Then they offer us miracles to calm our panic. Aging women (as well as young consumers who could rub dirt on their faces and still look good) need to speak truth to big beauty and learn a bit about the industry.

There is a certain type of customer who would rather read the price tag while shopping at Saks than the ingredient list while shopping at Trader Joe’s. It’s just so comforting to feel that big beauty understands us, and that all we must do is spend a lot of money at a fancy place on a tiny jar with a French name and voila, our skin will magically improve. If only beauty were that easy.

A product doesn’t need to be expensive to work. What works are ingredients. Many affordable products contain the same or more active ingredients as their pricier counterparts, and there are very few ingredients that can actually make a difference. Some are expensive, like Retinol, or its kinder cousin bakuchiol, and some are less expensive like hyaluronic acid. Peptides work. Old-fashioned oils and butters work if they’re not processed to death. There are powerful ancient extracts that have been around forever, and then there is the newest, greatest extract of-the-month that calls to us, but may be no better than a good dose of vitamin C. 

Keep in mind that no matter how expensive an ingredient is, there is zero reason for any company to engage in the expensive-equals-better myth just for the sake of financial gain. The beauty industry offers plenty of room for a healthy bottom line without crippling our wallets. This is especially true for mature women on fixed incomes who may be made to feel that the beauty industry has abandoned them.

Then, how do you choose a skincare brand? Research both ingredients and corporate philosophy. Be sure you know the ingredients you plan to apply to your face and skin. Remember, ingredients are listed in order of amount. Ingredients like Retinol are used in small amounts, while vitamin C should be near the top. Hyaluronic acid should be plentiful, while peptides may be further down the list.

Visit the brand’s website, click on “About Us” and see if you resonate with the founders and their principles. When a company is at the beginning of their journey, if they are still independent and have not yet been sold, there’s a better chance of their integrity and enthusiasm for their product still being intact. It isn’t until they scale up that they become attractive to the big guns. And that’s when the compromises may start to happen until the brand you once knew and loved becomes a ghost of its former effectiveness.

Next time you’re about to impulse buy, do your homework. An expensive marketing strategy should not be enough incentive for you to reach for your wallet. The goal is healthy, comfortable skin achieved through your informed choices.

Brook Dougherty of Indio is the founder of JustUs Skincare and welcomes your questions. She can be reached at (310) 266.7171 or [email protected]. For more information, visit

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Comments (1)

  • Great article Brooke! Full of wise information about Just Us products and the perils of buying into the marketing schemes of big skin care companies.. We’re fortunate to have your knowledge.


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