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Rant & Rave: High-End Skincare

Share: Tell us what you love and hate about High-End Skincare!

my answer: A lot of them are very perfume-y, and when it comes to scents in skincare, I am far more sensitive to them. I think everyone (whether it’s $5 or $50) over-promises on benefits, but when it’s high-end, it can be frustrating when they don’t perform well. I like the texture, though, of a lot of higher-end skincare products.


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Allison Avatar

Airelle Skincare ( is the BEST I have found. It’s an all-natural, anti-aging skincare line that’s extremely effective and results-driven, yet all natural. There’s no heavy odor and the line is very light feeling.

Lizzi Avatar

I feel like price doesn’t always equal the quality. The St. Ives face scrubs are better than the Dr. Brandt $75 one in my opinion. You need to experiment and find what works for you at the price you are willing to pay.

Kayla Avatar

I have never tried Dr. Brandt products but I did want to let you know a little friendly insight, and in no way am I trying to tell you you’re wrong or should change your ways. Not at all, but being as esthetician I was always, always taught never to use St. Ives on clients. ( I used to use this product in my teens all the time too!) My first thought was, “but it leaves my skin soooo smooth!” Then I learned the reason behind that is because it is literally leaving microscopic tears in your skin because the grains are too harsh and too large. Which can in turn, open your skin up to being more perceptive of infection or breakout or dryness. All said and done, if you love the product, I say use it! Every single person has their own skin and if they like certain results regardless, if it works for you, it works for you! 🙂 I personally switched to an AHA exfoliator. Also, I use baking soda for an extra smoothness! The particles are small enough, but tough enough to exfoliate well. Just make sure you use a face wash afterwards, it can tend to leave a residue. 🙂

Wwendalynne Avatar

Rant: It is impossible to determine the quality of a skincare line by price. You can spend the moon–La Prairie, Revive, Sisley *gasp* .. and end up ridiculously disappointed. Sample packets are useless unless you have enough to cover you for a month or two. I find skincare cannot be evaluated based on one of two applications.

Rave: Some products of these super expensive products are really wonderful products, unfortunately it’s difficult and extremely expensive to filter the gems from the hoards.

I now work with lines recommended by my dermatologist. Get your skin evaluated by a professional. Sometimes it’s just a case of not knowing where your skin is at and what it needs. We are not always the best judge and can get swayed by ridiculous claims in advertising.

Christina Avatar

Rant – overly promising but in fact doesn’t do anything beyond average, ingredients sometimes are as good as in dirt cheap skincare (I’m looking at you,Chanel), maybe it’s cleverly put and even works, but such things as parabens in it for such a high price is somewhat dissappointing. I’m not scared of parabens, but in my opinion these don’t indicate luxe quality and don’t justify the price either. I can pick up cheaper product with similar list of ingredients.
Rave – the packaging is often good, the scent & texture are pleasant to work with. They can be cleverly formulated and actually work.

Joanna Avatar

I use Guerlain’s Abeille Royale skincare.

Of course, I don’t like the price, but I do like the way it makes my skin look and feel – and for me, that’s worth the price. Plus, I just turned 40 and although I don’t have wrinkles yet, I know they are around the corner and I want to take good care of my skin.

Judith Avatar

I like that some formulations are very innovative and some specialized brads are hypoallergenic. I’m a big fan of chemical exfoliant it really completely got rid of my dry patches without irritating my skin like a scrub do.

I feel that most of the time though the anti-aging claims are exaggerated and I really don’t see any difference

Karen Avatar

Prices has no bearing on quality in skincare. If you check out reviews at I’ve seen $300 creams come in at an ‘average’ rating. Sorry, but if I’m paying a crazy high price, I would expect a crazy awesome result, which is face it, not likely. I search reviews before I buy anything. I’ve found lots of great drugstore products that have solved all my skincare problems. I actually get complimented on my skin now. It just takes a little bit of research before you buy. VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLARS! Stop buying overpriced stuff that doesn’t do anything.

Mariella Avatar

I veer back and forth between high and low end skin care products (from Eucerin through Jouviance Complex Magistral and on up to Clarins). I don’t find price is always a guarantee of effectiveness and, much as we would like to believe it, there is no “fountain of youth” in a jar, even at $300 or $500 a jar. So I guess basically, I want a product that will work well without irritating (whether a cleanser or moisturizer, etc.) and will deliver on its promises and not make outrageous claims to get me to part with my money. I notice Lizzi commented about a $75 scrub for which she’s found a much more affordable product that is just as good. I’ve found similar – I used to use ExfoliKate by Kate Somerville (great but crazy expensive) but I’ve since found Vasanti Enzymatic Exfoliator for a fraction of the cost and you get WAY more in the tube and I think it’s actually even better than Kate Somerville.

Jen Avatar

I think it’s often overpriced. I recently learned that 2% salicyilic acid is great for my skin condition. Very few pricey products have that, but you know what does? Oxy. I started using that and got better results than I’ve had from any skin care product, including expensive prescription ones.

fancie Avatar

Fragrance is the biggest problem I have with high end skincare. I love my Chanel and Dior skincare products but I’m still not used to the perfumey fragrance. I have sensitive skin and I haven’t noticed any breakouts or anything yet but it’s still off putting. I guess it’s something I have to adjust to.

Jenny Avatar

I think exactly like you: don´t like perfume on high end skincare, and if the product is not decent I get frustrated because I paid a lot of money. Also what I trully hate about high end skincare is the size of the samples. I have to save a lot of money during some time (maybe 2 or 3 months) so I can buy for example one good moisturiser, and I´m sorry, I´m not gonna buy something (expensive) based on a 1, 2, maybe 3 ml sample that can last me 3 or 4 times. That being said, the positive is that usually high end skincare works far better on me than most low cost products, because I have a complicated skin (sensitive, I need lots and lots of hydratation…) although I have a pharmacy night cream that costs less than 6€ (around $8) and it works magically on me.

Chelsea Avatar

High-end skincare IME has a tendency to have perfumes, alcohols, and irritants – Chanel, Lancome, Dior, I’m looking at you! I used to work for one of the above, and have friends who work for all these counters. I got a bunch of samples recently, and they were alcohol-laden, perfume heavy, trash that dried out and irritated my skin. Plus, the science backing their “anti-aging” technology isn’t as proven as ingredients like retinoids and antioxidants that are available at all price points.

I find it much easier to find products for sensitive, dehydrated skin at lower price points.

kashinka Avatar

My big complaint about high-end skincare is that it is ludicrously overpriced and no more effective than drugstore or even homemade stuff. I’ve been suckered by enough “premium” products by now to be impervious to their lofty claims. My serious skin issues I take to a dermatologist, who writes me prescriptions for things that really work.

I exempt cleansers from the above rant because, while I don’t believe any of the hype, sometimes I just want to feel pampered when I do something as humdrum as wash my face. The texture and fragrance of some high-end skincare is very pleasant and feels luxurious (which, at that price, they darn well should be).

Astrogherkin Avatar

I avoid both high end and low end “skin care” because I don’t think any of them really care for your skin. The worst things about high end skin care in particular are (1) that they are ridiculously overpriced – you are just paying for the “status” factor and (2) their pseudo-scientific advertising, which has absolutely no real evidence of working. Even if they give short-term results, I think they have long-term hazards, as their ingredients are often toxic or carcinogenic. And I avoid both high and low end products that exploit Third World producers – I’ve learned through experience not to trust “fair trade” claims one bit!

My skin care philosophy is “less is more” and based on benign neglect. I don’t wash my face a million times a day (twice at most, if I wear makeup that day), I don’t exfoliate or tone or use a “cleanser” (I use soap and my fingers). And the “products” I use are straight from my kitchen – some of the unrefined oils we use in food are the best type of skin care. And I think my skin looks pretty good! 🙂

Aelita Avatar

with skincare I have one rule- never buy anything without testing it first, if product doesn’t have a sample or a mini-version I don’t buy it! saves me tone of money at the end of a day:) as I don’t buy stuff I end up throwing away, I use everything I buy, and this way I can afford better and more expensive skincare:)

if its a high-end brand, they must have a sample, often SA just want to keep them for themselves and reluctant to give to the clients:) I always ask for a sample, if they say they don’t have it, I mention that my skin is super-duper sensitive, which is true, and I don’t want to buy something, end up with a breakout or a rush or dehydrated flaky skin and return the product:) miraculously the sample I ask for is found every time:) or SA can order sample for you to pick up later:)

oh, and of course price tag doesn’t mean a thing, for example La Prarie eye creams, I had everyone of them(courtesy of my mom, big fan of La Prarie) they do nothing, like nothing at all… Shiseido benefiance concentrated eye contour cream for less than half the price is a much much better product:) however the best eye cream I have right now is surprisingly enough Chanel sublimage eye essential regenerating eye cream, never believed in their skincare, had several bad experiences with it, were given a sample of it, tried it on a long haul flight and fell in love! great quality, works really well, hefty price though, but for me totally worth the money, as I’d rather buy one product that would be working for me, than 10 cheaper ones that wouldn’t:)

I’m not all for high end skincare, for example for me the best body moisturizer is an organic sweet almond oil form whole foods(the one you can eat actually, not from the beauty section, from a cooking one):) considering the amount of it, its super cheap, work wonders for dehydrated sensitive skin:) my HG!

Puja Avatar

I think it depends on the skin and what works for you and the purpose of the product. I have had both duds and excellent products on the high end. I have a combination acne prone skin…most drugstore night creams were too heavy for me and made me break-out. I then used Ren’s Boscia cream …I loved it ….there is something in it that leaves your skin very relaxed and bright. At $50 price tag, it was expensive but not unaffordable. Another brand that I have had a lot of success with is Goldfanden MD. I love their serums and night cream.

I might be wrong but I have noticed that you need very little to quantity to make a difference compared to drug stores skin care.

Julia Avatar

the lip balm is worth it’s weight in gold (and the price you pay is pretty close LOL) but I used it once and then never again. It’s the best thing in the world if you’re a beauty editor that doesn’t actually have to pay for it.

Julia Avatar

Personally, about 95% of products (high and low end) are too harsh on my dry, red, super sensitive skin (looking at you Simple and your so called ‘Kind to Skin’ range) that I just use 3 brands: Avene (mostly), Bioderma and La Roche Posay. All French and not low end or terribly cheap but the only thing that doesn’t burn my skin (looking at you and you’re ‘Redness Relief’ line Clinique!)

Susan Dowman Nevling Avatar

Julia, my skin sounds similar to yours, wind burn from walking from house to car-20 ft.-have rosecea. Love La Roche Posey with I started at recomendation of my dermatologist.
Also good luck with Algenist, Caudilie, and Dr. LeWinn (@Walgreens)
For cleansing, I use Sephora cleansing oil about every two weeks and super sensitive facial cleanser by Clinique. I use a Clarisonic Mia 2 several evenings a week with sensitive or pore ckeaning brush.

zainab Avatar

Obviously the biggest rant is the price. I got a gift pack of Guerlain samples when I bought something from them and it included Orchidee Imperiale- the 50mL bottle is $542! So I’m scared to use it in case it IS a fountain of youth because at that price I won’t be getting more.

The other thing is cost vs efficacy. I’ve found great products for $30 or so, so it just seems silly to spend more just to spend more. If I was in a situation where money was no object maybe I’d be tempted, and I certainly won’t mock anyone who does buy these things if they like using them, but cynically I don’t see how a product can actually be worth $500+ if they can give me a decent sized sample essentially for free.

I guess my rave would be if they actually work. If some company developed a product that really could prevent or remove stretch marks, wrinkles or whatever, I would (grudgingly) give them my money.

Sarah Avatar

RAVE: I only use particular high end products like Fresh or Origins because of the no parabens but it works for me and my skin type. Depending on what you like or how it can react to your skin.

Julia Avatar

I am hooked on Arbonne and won’t use anything else. I’ve tried everything, including natural products and I always land back at Arbonne (or am disappointed by a pimple or dry skin). If Arbonne keeps my skin perfect why stop? I use a mix of the FC5, RE9 and Seasource lines. I’ve got my kids and husband using the Seasource Rescue Wash and 24 hour remineralizing lotion. Bye bye eczema – hello beautiful skin.

StylishlySocial Avatar

I’m on the fence on this one. A lot of the high end skincare products I’ve tried I have gotten for free, I received a full-size Restorsea set from Klout and LOVED it and also really loved the Innarah VenoDefense Cream that I won from Allure. Had I paid full pop for these I might be singing a different tune though! And do I tend to spend that kind of money on skincare? Nope. However, there are certain products I might be willing to go the distance with. I recently tried a sample of Dr. Brandt Light Years Away Brightening Eye Cream (from Birchbox) and I must say it did wonders for my dark circles. Maybe I just had a few good days of sleep though! 🙂 Maybe I’ll snag another sample from Sephora and if I still love it I’ll make the investment!

smfrances Avatar

I have tried products from almost all of the HE lines, some that cost about a thousand for their skincare regimen, and they never did anything for me. They never helped acne, dry skin, sun damage, etc. I think that mass market skincare, whether HE or low, just can’t have enough actives because they don’t want people to be returning the products because they had a reaction. Now I only use products from derms or ones they recommend. I have been on Obagi NuDerm and it has totally changed my skin for the better. It is pricey but worth every penny (for me).

Deb Avatar

Rant: the worst thing about high end skin care is the excessive claims made of the products performance. I have been outraged and amazed at some of the claims that are in fact, not scientifically possible. One example: Tarte had a product (can’t remember the name now) that claimed to actually reduce the size of your pores. Not scientifically possible. You can reduce the appearance of the size of your pores, but the actual size is genetically determined and no product on earth will change that. Not that I consider Tarte a high end brand, but this particular product claim of their is a good example. These pseudo-scientific claims should be illegal because they are only being used to justify the stupidly high costs.

Rave: some high end skin care is more effective than the cheaper versions. And if they work for you, they are a luxury and a pleasure to use.

For me, the real bottom line is common sense. Do I believe that a $1500 jar of La Mer cream is going to perform miracles? No. Is a 1 oz jar of serum for $500 going to change your life? No.

Use what works for you, and what you can afford, regardless of the label.

Renu Avatar

Some of them break me out – I bought two 50ml bottles of Lancome Visionnaire (for the gift with purchase and because I had Christmas money) and despite persisting and trying again months later, it broke me out very badly. That’s when I learnt that the high-end tag didn’t make any difference to my skin while it made a huge difference to my purse.

DonnaJ Avatar

I don’t believe that high end is any better than drugstore and I don’t want to find out that I am wrong since I can’t afford it anyway. I am very unlucky in that I have super oily skin, who wants to be a grease ball? But I am also very -lucky- that I have super oily skin, because at 50 I only have two wrinkles on my forehead and nowhere else. I guess if I had the money for high end skin care I would not waste it on expensive lotions and creams, I’d just go for the botox!

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