Are Expensive Skincare Products Worth It?

Does a Higher Price Mean a Better Skincare Product?

Jar of skincare cream on top of water
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The best part about shopping for moisturizer is that there are so many options. The worst part? Also that there are tons of options. From budget-friendly drugstore finds to super expensive jars of luxurious creams, are skincare products really worth their price?  

A word of advice: Take the price point and the brand out of the decisionmaking process and look at the ingredients list. No one knows what label you're wearing on your skin—the results are what matter most.

Here's a look at the ingredients of one luxury anti-aging night cream versus an inexpensive one. Look beyond the thickeners, emulsifiers, and emollients (like cetyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, and caprylic/capric triglyceride) that are mainly there to make the texture more appealing. Consider the active ingredients instead.

Lancome Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Night Cream ($122)

This high-end night cream contains antioxidants, collagen boosters, and cell rejuvenators—all excellent for anti-aging. Here's a breakdown of some of its most powerful ingredients.

  • Saccharomyces/Xylinum/Black Tea Ferment: Better known as kombucha, black tea ferment boosts skin's immune function and helps plump skin.
  • Hydrolyzed Linseed Extract: Also known as flaxseed, linseed has antioxidant properties, as well as fatty acids to help skin retain the moisture needed to maintain a youthful appearance.
  • Hydrolyzed Soy Protein: Soy is a rich source of isoflavones. These appear to protect the skin against hormone-related aging, such as in menopause.
  • Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid is a major component of the skin; it's involved in tissue repair. Topically applied, hyaluronic acid forms an air-permeable layer and penetrates into the dermis, boosting hydration and skin elasticity.
  • Adenosine: Present in our cells, adenosine functions as a cell-communicating ingredient—an energy source that supports healthy cellular activity.
  • Acetyl Tetrapeptide-9: This is a powerful active ingredient that firms, plumps, and stimulates new collagen.

​RoC: Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream ($16)

Minerals and antioxidants give this drugstore night cream serious anti-aging power.

  • Squalane: A more stable form of the skin's naturally occurring squalene, squalane is a prized ingredient for anti-aging. Young skin has sufficient levels of squalene, but the levels drop considerably as you age. Squalane can help to replenish the natural levels lost, regenerating skin to restore a more youthful appearance, and boosting resistance to inflammation.
  • Glycolic Acid: This chemical exfoliant safely removes the outer layer of dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, revealing fresh new skin. Glycolic acid can also help lighten discoloration such as sun spots or age spots, and clear acne-prone skin.
  • Retinol: This derivative of vitamin A is a tried-and-true hero ingredient in anti-aging and anti-acne products. It accelerates cell turnover, facilitates collagen production, and clears pores to keep skin tight and bright.
  • Zinc Gluconate: This form of zinc is thought to help heal blemishes, calm inflammation, and reduce hormonal breakouts by regulating the skin’s oil production.
  • Copper Gluconate: Copper stimulates fibroblasts to build collagen, making it great for wound healing and anti-aging.

The Bottom Line

Both skincare products have quality anti-aging ingredients and benefits. Each one offers things the other one lacks, but standing alone, they're both great choices for an anti-aging night cream.

So, could you pocket the $100 difference, go with the cheaper cream, and see results? Absolutely. Does that mean that the more expensive cream isn't worth buying? Only if you can't afford it. If you can, luxury skin care is a thing for a reason—it's about the experience as much as it is the efficacy. Depending on your budget, you could go either way and be happy with your skin.