(Is the dilemma necessary?)

More and more of us savvy customers know that high price does not necessarily equal high quality. But why are some products getting more and more expensive?

From the marketing point of view, price range and targeted consumer group almost define each other. High-end products (which are getting “higher” all the time) will always have a specific arena to thrive.

But, from a personal point of view, a perfect skincare product for someone, regardless of age, gender, or skin-type, can simply be from any price range. As long as we have the adequate knowledge, the rest is mere preference.

I don’t necessarily see anything wrong with going for a relatively expensive moisturizer if it happens to be a well-formulated product that has a consistency, texture, and aroma that suit or appeal to someone. A good moisturizer will indeed hydrate the skin, improve its feel and texture, maintain its good condition, and delay the appearance of signs of aging.

However, I think it is wrong to assume, believe, or dream that a fancy and pricey face cream will permanently erase any wrinkle or lift any part of our faces. (That is what plastic surgery is for.) Many cosmetics companies know how dreams and promises are worth, and they are putting them on the price tags and touting them with provocative but ambiguous language.

I remain skeptical of the word “anti-aging” as a marketing term. An enduringly successful marketing term as it has proven to be, the word itself can be rather misleading. It creates a whole new genre of skincare products, but, unfortunately, some of them are shockingly redundant.

It is a blessing to able to have and afford choices, but let’s all know more about what we are paying for…

Catch up with previous posts in A Touch of Blusher’s Anti-Aging Series:

5-1: Wisdom from Mom
5-2: Top of the Chart
5-3: The Only Words You Need to Know
5-4: The Best 10 Minutes You Could Ever Spend


Some time ago I read the article What Makes a State-of-the-Art Moisturizer? on Paula Begoun‘s website.

I urge everyone to read it. Clear, concise, jargon-free, and informative, it has all we need to know about moisturizers.

In summary of her article, a top-of-the-notch moisturizer, by today’s standard, should include these ingredients:

–ingredients that mimic the structure of the skin


–cell-communicating ingredients


–sunscreen ingredients (for daytime moisturizers)

I will leave you to have a look at the article to see exactly what these ingredients are and what they do for our skin.

With this knowledge, we don’t necessarily need others (sales assistants, celebrities in TV adverts,…) to tell us what product works. (It doesn’t have to be any of Paula’s products.) We can all make a sound judgment on our own and pick out products that are superior to others wherever we do our skincare shopping.

Concluding tomorrow: Sagging Skin vs. Thinning Purse…


They are:

-zinc oxide
-titanium dioxide
(aka Parsol 1789
or butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane)
-Mexoryl SX

Each of these ingredients protects against UVA, which has been proven to cause signs of aging and skin cancer.

On your next shopping trip for a daytime sunscreen moisturizer, if you don’t see any of those on the ingredient list as an active ingredient*, put it back. You’ll be surprised at how many moisturizers that claim to offer UV protection actually don’t have any of these ingredients. These products are simply not suitable for daytime use alone and will have to be paired with a proper sunscreen product.

Estee Lauder DayWear Plus SPF 15 for Oily Skin (featured yesterday) is a great daytime moisturizer because:

1. It has butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane as an anti-UVA ingredient.

2. It includes anti-oxidants such as grape seed extract and rosemary extract.

3. The product is housed in an opaque bottle and is dispensed with a pumper, so the anti-oxidants don’t lose their benefits due to exposure to light and air.

During daytime, UV protection is really all we need. The rest is just a plus.

In Japanese skincare and foundation products, a PA marking (ranging from PA+ to PA++++) specifies the level of UVA protection alongside the SPF marking (which only indicates UVB protection). For example, Sofina’s Very Very UV Cut Milk has the “SPF 24 , PA+++” marking.

This is standard practice in Japanese cosmetics, and I hope more western brands would adopt a similar system. This will definitely raise the awareness of proper sun protection, which is the most vital part of anti-aging skincare.

Tomorrow: Five pillars of a great all-round moisturizer.

*If the list does not indicate what the active ingredients are, at least it has to be close to the top of the full ingredient list. (The ingredients are listed roughly in the order of the percentages they occupy in the formulation.)

Related Posts:

Anti-Aging Week 5-1: Wisdom from Mom

Anti-Aging Week 5-2: Top of the Chart

Anti-Aging Week 5-4: The Best 10 Minutes You Could Ever Spend

Anti-Aging Week 5-5: Sagging Skin vs. Thinning Purse

Sunscreen Basics


(Estée Lauder DayWear Plus
Multi Protection Anti-Oxidant Creme SPF 15

for Normal/Combination Skin)

(Photo from

Britain’s How to Look Good Naked is Extreme Makeover without the knife. It is about dressing right for every body-type, a healthy lifestyle, and body-image confidence. It is also one of the very few prime-time TV programs in the UK that touch upon skin/hair/body care.

Each week (during the second series) they presented the result of a consumer trial. In their anti-aging moisturizer test, Estée Lauder’s DayWear Plus SPF 15 topped the chart.

To me, this result is immensely interesting in two ways. Firstly, as far as I know, DayWear Plus has never been marketed as an anti-aging moisturizer. (It is not in the anti-aging category on Estée Lauder’s website either.) But I am glad that it was included in the test, because I have always believed that, so far, sunscreen products with UVA and UVB protection are the only truly anti-aging products.

Secondly, I have been using DayWear Plus for years. I used the original DayWear for a while and I switched to the oily-skin version (seen below) when it came out. This lighter version is moisturizing (without being greasy), features anti-UVA and UVB ingredients, and serves as a good makeup primer. (Now I alternate between this and Olay Complete Care Multi-Radiance Daily Illuminating UV Fluid, which has the same assets.)

(Estée Lauder DayWear Plus
Multi Protection Anti-Oxidant Creme SPF 15

for Oily Skin)

(Photo from

The test in the program is by no means exhaustive. Only four moisturizers were chosen, based on a wide range of prices and general popularity. But it is great to see one of my favorite moisturizers beat the others, which all claim to have anti-aging properties.

Read the rest of the articles in my Anti-Aging Series!


My mother rarely wears makeup. She doesn’t need it. In fact, I think she looks the best with no makeup.

She will turn 60 in a couple of years and she has very dry skin. But she always looks wonderful and younger than her childhood friends of similar ages.

There is absolutely no secret to her radiantly dewy complexion, but I’ve always observed that–

–She rarely stays up.

–She is one of the most positive and stress-free people I know.

–She eats a wide range of fruits and vegetables every day. (When I was growing up, I had to eat at least two kinds of fruits every day apart from the usual meals, which were already packed with veggies.)

–She loves walking, cycling, and line-dancing.

She never buys expensive skincare products. (Olay and Nivea are her usual choices.) But she uses sunscreen every single day. At night, Vaseline Petroleum Jelly is one of her staples for her very dry skin.

–She doesn’t smoke.

–She drinks a bit of red wine (about one-third of a glass) every now and then, which is probably the healthiest possible way to consume alcohol. (Some research showed that it is better than totally avoiding alcohol.)

For me, “anti-aging” is not just a word written on skincare products. It is written on fresh fruit, a good night’s sleep, running shoes, and relaxing laughter. (Most of my 10 Golden Skincare Rules are reflections of my mother’s lifestyle habits.)

Tomorrow: an “anti-aging” moisturizer that tops a consumer test in the UK


Since I started this blog, I have not touched upon a hot topic: anti-aging skincare.

This will be my focus throughout next week. All the five posts (one for each day, from Monday to Friday) will be about the idea of anti-aging. Here is a preview:

You’ll read about what my mother does to keep her skin healthy, radiant, and dewy and to keep her looking younger than her (jealous) school friends.

You’ll read about a moisturizer that tops a consumer test in a popular British TV program and why I have been using it for years. (It is not Boots No. 7’s Protect & Perfect (named Restore & Renew in the US).)

You’ll read about what I refer to when I choose moisturizers and about relations between price and quality.

I am not a skincare expert, but there are simple things I believe in and I look forward to hearing what you think next week!

(Do subscribe to my e-mail updates so you won’t miss out!)