Always Bring Your Calculator to the Makeup Counter

I’m not shy to say I love luxury makeup and skincare. I know there’s a lot of blogs and commenters out there to shoot down products because of crazy price points. This post isn’t to defend certain products, as certain products are right for people, and wrong for others. This post is, however, an important lesson to always remember when shopping for products.

The beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. There’s a million products out there, so how do you choose what to invest in? I have a 3-step system I always like to explain to my clients.

1. Find what ingredients work for you

Is it dark spots you want to get rid of? Wrinkles? Firming? Pores? Do some research on what ingredients REALLY work for you. Many times you can find specific ingredients to look for. Say you find that you need Mandelic Acid for dark spots.. Google “Best Serums with Mandelic Acid”. I’m sure you’re going to find a huge list. That’s just one example.

2. Do the Research (via Nordstrom Beauty Stylists & online reviews)

Once you find that ingredient you want to try, you need to find out which products people are loving and leaving. Nordstrom Beauty Stylists are wonderful because we literally try everything and get feedback very quickly from clients we’ve sampled and know what is a waste of time or not and aren’t afraid to tell you because we don’t work for any brand, yet are trained in all of them. Online reviews don’t hurt either, although it’s easy to spot when a competitor or all around hater is trying to sabotage the product (there are literally blogs dedicated to “debunking” Creme de la Mer.. when it’s an incredible product). Ingredients aren’t always just ingredients though. Let’s use La Mer for example. One thing I’ve read a lot online is that “it’s just seaweed and mineral oil!”. Not at all true. When doing research you can learn that a NASA Astro-Physisict named Max Huber (and his entire team) got burned very badly with rocket fuel in a lab experiment and he spent the rest of his life finding a cure for scars for us. He did over 6,000 experiments with different fermentation processes and different delivery carriers and after 12 years found a certain fermentation was delivered deepest with a specific mineral oil. That doesn’t mean you can go buy seaweed from the store and blend it with mineral oil and make your own La Mer. That would be the same thing as expecting blended grapes and water to turn into an amazing Pinot Noir. Long story short, do your research.

3. Do the MATH

Seriously- this. I worked with someone the other day who refused to buy a product for $60 and went for the $42 product even though she didn’t like it as much. I explained to her that the $60 was actually twice the size. She didn’t understand, so let me break it down for you with certain products I believe to be comparable. Treat the beauty counter like Costco! I find this to be so common sense but I find myself explaining this on a daily basis.

Find your common denominator, the ML or OZ.

Let’s start with an easy example I’m sure you’ve done before.

I totally love Jo Malone perfume. All the magical scents come in a 1oz and 3.4oz (sometimes even larger). So you’ve decided that new Peony and Blush Suede is the perfect scent for you this Spring. For $65 you can have 1oz of it. For $115 you can have 3.4oz. The larger one is $34 an oz. For $50 more, you can have 3 and a half times the amount, or 1.4 oz free.


Now for a better example…

For the last 2 years my favorite daily peels have been the Dr. Gross Alpha Beta Pads. I have not one bad thing to say about them, they are amazing, they work. They come in various sizes, which using example 1, you can determine which is the best value for you.

Alas, if you go back to Step 2, you would know to look at the label to see what makes those pads work so well. Find out what the competitors are. Trish McEvoy (a personal Saint to me) has just released her Correct & Brighten Weekly Peel Pads. Same acids as the Dr. Gross, as well as many other peel pads. So which one should you go with (assuming you have tried both and both do not irritate your skin)?

Since Trish’s are much stronger, you need to use them just once a week. One box comes with 12. Dr. Gross’ comes with 30. The price for Trish is $125 ($10.42 per pad), the price for Dr. Gross is $86 ($2.87 per pad).

Just looking at price per pad, it would seem Dr. Gross is a much better deal, here’s the thing. You need to use those pads every day for them to be effective as they are intended. Are you really going to do that? If so, great. Trish’s you use once a week.

Still following me?

Dr. Gross’ pads are $86 for 30 days, making them $86 a month. Trish’s are $125 for 12 pads, making them last 3 months, taking it to $41.67 a month, and easier to use.

It’s a much smarter buy to go with Trish for this instance!

More breakdowns: Not saying these products are dupes for each other just using examples I’ve thought of recently.

Trish BB Cream ($85/1.7oz) vs YSL Touché Eclat Foundation ($60/1oz) = Trish’s is actually less expensive, and it’s packed with anti aging peptides

YSL Touche Eclat Foundation Review

NARS Radiant Creamy Compact Foundation ($38/0.42oz) vs. Armani Luminous Silk Foundation ($60/1oz) = With the NARS compact being over $90 an ounce, It’s a much smarter idea to go with Armani.

NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation

There’s a lot of food for thought in this post, but hopefully it will help you out next time you feel overwhelmed!

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