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  • Stop Breaking the Bank on Beauty Brands: Why I Made the Switch (and you should too!)

    For years, I’ve been testing out drugstore brands and have realized that using beauty-based brands like L’Oreal, Olay, or Clean and Clear would not satisfy the needs of acne-prone or sensitive skin.

    My experiences with poor results forced me to consider how much “good” my pharmacy runs were to me. I thought I was saving money by sticking with “cheap” pharmacy options, but what I didn’t realize was that these brands were causing my skin, wallet and environment major damage.

    Many drugstore brands use base level ingredients in their products, meaning that their ingredients are the lowest possible quality approved by the FDA. We only get one chance to treat our skin right. Are you sure you trust these brands to take care of your skin into your 80s?

    It’s so easy to get reeled in by deals and low prices upon walking into a drugstore. 2-for-1 deals appear more cost-effective as we toss another bottle of goo into our basket. However, I’ve discovered that there’s a better way to healthier skin.

    Choosing professional skin care products will save you long-term damage to your skin and save you more money in the long run.

    Stop goo-hoarding: Get saving

    Would you believe that I only use a dot of face wash the size of a pea or smaller for my entire face? This is the result of using a product that is focused on skin health and not skin “beauty.”

    be the next Veronica Mars: Bust the lies of beauty brands

    Photo: Alexander J. Ma
    Photo: Alexander J. Ma

    Many of the products in local pharmacies like Rite Aid and CVS in the “Beauty” aisle are designed for the use of the masses, which restricts products to providing minor skin improvements. Not only are these products half as effective as professional or medical products, but they often are dishonest or sneaky about the nature of their ingredients.

    If you are tired of the disappointing results of beauty brands, but still won’t spend the pretty penny, here are my tips to a safe and effective drugstore trip:

    3 Steps to buying an effective product:

    1. The first ingredient in skin products (especially cleansers) should be water!
    2. Stick to dermatologist recommended brands that are honest about ingredients. The Environmental Working Group also has a database full of product assessments for you.
    3. If you have to buy a second product to compliment your initial buy, it is most likely ineffective!

    Professional Brands: unveil the new you

    Many stare at the prices of professional products with googly eyes and shut down immediately. If you can get past the initial shock of seeing $30 instead of $3.99, I can assure you it may be one of the best decisions of your life.

    Beauty brands don’t have the same kind of merit in the skincare world as professional brands and shouldn’t be claiming to be solutions for acne, oil, or dryness. Professional brands also address skin aesthetics, however, their focus is not just on making your skin “beautiful” but rather healthy.

    When you use a higher quality product, you are reducing the amount of chemicals (like harsh microbeads) from entering our water supply as well as while creating less waste. Thank me later when you only have 2 bottles in your shower instead of 10 barely-used products.

    My current brand of choice is Murad.

    Murad Products: Change how you view your skin regimen

    Photo: Alexander J. Ma

     Murad gives you a reason to trust their products – each product is crafted by Dr. Murad, who takes pride in studying and hand-picking every ingredient used.

    A full-sized Murad facial cleanser can stay strong from 6-12 months. I am currently approaching month 7 of using my full-sized Clarifying Acne Cleanser.

    With a shelf-life up to 2 years, Murad products are crafted with the intent of conservation: our environment,and our health, not only externally but internally. I, too was doubtful when a smiling esthetician warned me that I would only need a tiny dot for my whole face upon buying my first Murad product.

    All of my doubts about professional skincare were cleared in a matter of days as I saved cash (and time) avoiding those regular trips to local drugstores to buy yet another replacement. Instead, better quality products have paid for themselves over months.

    As I found myself resisting drugstore deals that added up over time, the $30 I spent began to seem like less and less money.

    Honesty: know what you put on your skin

    Many brands are not up front about the ingredients they put into their products; beneath each Murad product description is a list of principal and active ingredients. For skincare junkies that aren’t sure why they are putting tea tree oil, queen of meadow, or white clay on their skin, there is often an ingredient spotlight description below.

    There is no deceitful or false advertising involved in highlighting exactly what is going on your skin and why.

    Diversity of products: stylize your regimen

    Another advantage of investing in higher quality products? You won’t be conned into buying products you won’t use. What you see is what you get, and you don’t need to purchase a counterpart for the product to be effective.

    For example, with Murad Products, you can personalize your treatment to a “T” by choosing a line or category or even mix and match like I do (take a glance at the pic of my varied collection above!). To ensure best use, I’ve learned to make sure to follow the numbers on products as each correlates to a step in your skincare regimen.

    Corporate responsibility: take the wheel

    Along with taking responsibility for your health, skin-related or personal, and our environment, Murad also takes responsibility for our furry friends with a no animal testing policy.

    Have you made the switch to professional skincare products? Tell us your favorite products in the comments below.

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    About Julia Davis

    Julia Davis is finishing her second year at Temple University. She has a great love for many art forms including dance, creative writing and visual arts. As a Pittsburgh-native, she has developed a great love for repurposing used or abandoned materials and making art out of them, but most of all loves a good snuggle with her dog Fig.

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