beauty

A dermatologist told us most celebrity skincare is a waste of money. Here's why.

There are a lot of things 2020 didn't need. COVID-19, mass toilet paper shortages, Elon Musk's baby's name, virtual award ceremonies (the Emmys haunts us) and... another celebrity skincare line. 

They're literally EVERYWHERE. Can't escape 'em. And every time you see a new one pop up on Instagram (in 2020 alone, so far we've seen more than 10 new celebrity-owned beauty brands) you internally groan.

Because the market. It's crowded. There's already so much frilly, fluffy hype-y stuff. It's hard enough trying to navigate what products are legit and the ones that aren't worth it, and celebrity skincare brands seem to just add to this confusion. 

Sigh.

Watch: Just on ingredients and such, check out some of the gross things hidden in your skincare products. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

How does one separate the utter BS from the stuff that's actually worth our money?

Well, we went ahead and asked an expert for her opinion on celebrity skincare lines - 'cause if there's anyone who knows about skin things, it's a dermatologist.

"So far, celebrity skin care brands do not add anything to the existing skincare market. We don’t see new cosmeceutical ingredients or scientific innovation," said dermatologist Dr Katherine Armour from Bespoke Skin Technology

Oh.

"You are mostly paying for a tiny piece of the relevant celebrity’s 'brand'," said Dr Armour. "What we tend to see is use of existing well-established ingredients (like niacinamide, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid), often in very low concentrations. Or, you are paying big money for something that has no active ingredients at all."

How annoying.

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Listen: Speaking of active ingredients... do you know how to use them? Not really? Get this episode of You Beauty in your ear holes and find out what happens when you use too many actives (hint: it's not great). Post continues below.

So, are they all the same? Or are some better than others? 

To break it all down, we've rounded up some of the latest celebrity skincare brands on the market and asked Dr Armour to tell us everything we probably don't know.

JLo Beauty.

One of the latest contenders in the celebrity skincare line-up is Jennifer Lopez's newly launched JLo Beauty. 

While we don't yet know a whole lot about the products in the range, what we do know is that there's been a helluva lot of awkward backlash surrounding J-Lo's recent denial of having injectables and fillers during the launch of her new brand.

In case you missed this entire thing:

"I haven't ever had Botox to this day... I'm not that person. I don't have anything against people doing that; it's just not my thing. I'm more about a natural approach to skincare… but I want [my products] to work," Lopez told Daily Mail.

"I want the hyaluronic acid in there. I want the things that are going to help, because I don’t want to have to go to the needles at some point. I’m not saying one day I won’t, but I haven't yet."

So, do her products actually work like she said they do? Or is she trying to pull a fast one on us?

"JLo Beauty is now available for pre-order, and promises us our very own 'J-Lo glow'," said Dr Armour. "I'm sorry, but, at 51 years of age, J-Lo’s divine, indisputable glow is due to her blessed genetics and perhaps one or two visits to a cosmetic dermatologist’s office over the years. 

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"The JLo Beauty packaging looks stunning and would glam up any bathroom. The products are very basic in terms of ingredients. But, they are reasonably priced," said Dr Armour.

Looking at the ingredients (or lack thereof), it's fair to say that you shouldn't expect any dramatic results using JLo Beauty skincare products. "I think with this line, we’re buying glamorous presentation, rather than results. But, if you’re okay with that - go for it!"

GOOP Beauty.

"Gwyneth Paltrow tends to polarise. But, love her or hate her (I’m pretty neutral TBH!), she has done an amazing job in marketing GOOP skincare. However, this is another example of 'nothing new to see here'," said Dr Armour. 

Give us the goss here, Dr A! Is it worth our pennies?

"GOOPGENES All-In-One Nourishing Face Cream is a plain moisturiser, containing nothing innovative, but carrying a price tag of $152 here in Australia. It is a lovely plain moisturiser, that no doubt feels divine on the skin," said Dr Armour. 

"But, it claims to improve 'firmness and elasticity'…after just four weeks. Sorry, Gwyneth, that's just not possible with the lack of collagen-stimulating ingredients in the formula." 

Gwenny! WTF. This is almost as bad as that time you tried to sell us a bag for watermelons. Almost.

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According to Dr Armour, the GOOPGLOW Microderm Instant Glow Exfoliator is also very pricey for what it is, and can actually cause some real havoc to those with sensitive skin.

"Glycolic acid is a great chemical exfoliator, leading to smoothing and brightening. However, GOOP combines both chemical and physical exfoliators in this product. This one is definitely not for those with sensitive skin, as the chemical and physical exfoliant combo will irritate," said Dr Armour.

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Wa-wa-wait. We're not done here, you guys.

"The GOOPGLOW 20% Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid Glow Serum is a potent combo for brightening. If you are tolerant to vitamin C, it could be for you. But, again, this product is expensive for what it is. Twenty per cent vitamin C is likely to irritate those with sensitive skin. I'd recommend starting with a much lower concentration or even avoiding vitamin C if your skin is reactive."

Kylie Skin.

What's a celebrity skincare round-up without Kylie Skin? The range recently dropped in Mecca stores around Australia, but are the prods actually worth your cash?

Probably not.

"This is an affordable range with cute packaging," said Dr Armour. "Again, there is nothing new here in terms of ingredients. I think that $40 is too much to spend for 50ml of a very basic facial moisturiser (aptly named, 'Face Moisturiser')." 

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Indeed.

"But, these products don’t contain synthetic fragrance, which is a plus if you have sensitive skin. You’re buying a little piece of Kylie. And, if that makes you happy, go for it."

Important: Dr Armour recommends completely steering clear of any sunscreen formulations from a celebrity skincare brand. "Remember that moisturisers or foundation with sunscreen are a useful adjunct, but not a replacement for a standard substantive sunscreen," she said.

"These products with added SPF are regulated as cosmetics. So, they are not subject to the same rigorous testing standards that stand-alone sunscreens must meet."

Fenty Skin.

What about Rihanna's Fenty Skin brand? Is it any good?

"Rihanna is the face behind this brand, and I think that it’s a great offering for younger skin. Her products are aimed at those who don’t need a lot of hydration," explained Dr Armour. "So, for most of us over 35s, it won’t be appropriate."

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Why? Because us oldies need the hardcore stuff - the active ingredients that pack a real punch when it comes to protecting and repairing your skin (AHAs, BHAs and such).

In saying that, Dr Armour said Fenty Skin has chosen useful antioxidants such as niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and lots of Australian botanicals for its formulations - which are some good, hard-working ingredients that can benefit any skin type.

"What I really love is that Fenty Skin has created recyclable packaging and offers refills for some of its products. Very earth conscious! If I was in the under 30 age bracket, I’d be trying this range."

Honest.

Heard of it? For those who haven't, Honest is Jessica Alba's wellness brand, which includes a sizeable skincare offering characterised by clean ingredients.

So, what's the overall verdict?

"I actually quite like this brand," said Dr Armour. "While there is nothing clever or innovative here in terms of ingredients used, she creates scientifically evidenced products that are cruelty-free and very reasonably priced."

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Yay! Gold star for you, Alba.

MDNA.

For the ultimate celebrity skincare, Madonna's MDNA skin is where it's all at. The stuff is exxy AF. There is a serum that is... $335.

*Squints at price in confusion*.

Must be full of some pretty freakin' magical ingredients, no?

"'The Serum' contains ingredients which are not expensive to work with (hyaluronic acid and resveratrol) and those that just don’t work (apple stem cells). The website also states that this serum contains 'various vitamins', yet there is no full ingredient list for any of the products," said Dr Armour. 

How shady is that? (Rhetorical question).

"The lack of disclosure of the full ingredients list is unusual in skincare today. It’s really important for consumers to know exactly what is in a product. This allows individuals with contact allergies to fragrance or preservatives to avoid products they’ll react to.... I think I'll save my funds."

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Same, Dr A. Same.

Instead of splashing out on celebrity skincare brands that will reap little or no results, Dr Armour said, "In my opinion, your money is better spent on established brands with effective ingredients, such as Avene, QV Skincare, Cetaphil, Bioderma and La Roche-Posay – these are great skincare ranges, backed by science, and at an accessible price."

Affordable and effective? What a dream.

"If you have the finances to buy cosmeceutical grade skincare, discuss your skincare needs with your dermal therapist, cosmetic physician or dermatologist. Or, consider an online algorithm such as Script Skincare, which can advise you on which products to choose given your skin’s needs."

However, if these celebrity brands work for you and you love them and don't mind forking out the extra cash - you do you, friend.

"With celebrity skincare, you are buying a little slice of their brand. If that makes you feel good, enjoy! But, in terms of results, don’t expect any miracles."

Feature image: @jlobeauty@goopshop

What's your view on celebrity skincare? Would you try it? Share with us in the comment section below.

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