Thursday, December 18, 2008

Putting my limited knowledge to use...

I, JessicaMarie, am a cosmetics junkie.

But I'm not addicted. I could quit anytime, I swear.

As an avid cosmetics/hair/makeup/beauty collector, I recently decided that if I'm going to blog about stuff I know, I can safely review and recommend products that i've tried, just in case any of you care about my opinion or happen to be looking for something new.

Most of my friends and family already get doses of my opinion pretty much anytime they mention anything about makeup, their current skin malady, or some outrageously expensive product they just bought to make their dreams come true. I absolutely require of myself that I be an informed consumer for these things, because the truth is, there is a LOT of crap out there. And the crap can cost just as much or even more than the stuff that actually works. And even worse (as far as I'm concerned) is that products claiming to treat a problem can actually exacerbate the issue you're shelling out money to treat. LAME!

Oh, and by the way, when I talk about a product that "works", I mean that the product is effective for what you buy it for after your own investigation, not necessarily that the product does what it claims. For example, one product I use claims that it "is a nightly moisturizing cream clinically proven to start to visibly reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and age spots in one week for healthier, younger-looking skin", and (doy) i'm not very wrinkly or age-spotted. Why do I use it? Because it has an effective amount of Retinol as an active ingredient, which helps me with my acne problems. Savvy?

Being an informed consumer of these specific products is very important because cosmetic companies can make all sorts of silly claims and show off results from their independent, clinical *coughsuper-biased* studies and nobody regulates them! The exception to this rule is products containing SPF. The sun-protective content has to be legit. But, that doesn't mean anything else they claim is backed by the FDA. Don't look at what the people who make money if you buy the product say. Look at ingredients and reviews from competent people who have actually tried the product.

Another important thing to point out is that these things can be CHEAP! There are only so many active ingredients that work for each condition, and they can mostly be found in just as many quality drugstore products as they can in department stores or higher-end shops. And, most of the department store brands out there are actually owned and manufactured by the same people who own those cheaper brands. So a lot of the time, the only difference between the products is the price while the formulations are almost IDENTICAL!

Anyway, how have I come to know all this information? I've read up on a few great websites and books. If you're interested in becoming more beauty-product-savvy, I suggest checking them out! One of the best ways I use my iPhone is checking every product out before I buy it to avoid having to return the dang thing (though I do like returning stuff, probably because of getting money back that I thought was gone forever).

Paula's Choice is where I got started with this whole shindig. Paula Begoun pretty much saved me from my struggle with acne for the past decade. Once you get to the site, the best place to start is under the "Learn" heading in the left sidebar. You can see how she rates products in her reviews, and she cuts through a lot of the ridiculous claims made by cosmetic companies. She has great information for people with all sorts of different skin issues and sensitivities. However, poking around this free site, you don't get to see her exhaustive collection of product reviews... for that, you need a subscription to Beautypedia. A subscription is currently $24.95/year, which is definitely worth it, as you can save far more than that by educating yourself before going out and impulse-buying products.

Makeup Alley has product reviews for just about anything you've ever seen at the store that might be used cosmetically. Membership is free, and you can post your own reviews for products, read other people's reviews, and even participate in Swapping products that you don't like for products that you do (GREAT alternative to throwing stuff out years after the fact). Also, because regular cosmetics junkies like me are the ones adding reviews, a product will often be reviewed very soon after hitting the shelves, which isn't necessarily the case with some of the other links I'm putting here. BTW, HERE is my personal MUA profile!

So, there you have it. Now you can expect to see more reviews and information as I actually get posting about these things! =)

No comments: