For three and half years, I have been writing Beauty: BUSTED! When I started this blog, my main focus was answering questions for consumers to ensure they were getting the best value for their money, and debunking marketing claims made by cosmetics companies. Not much has changed in that area - there are still a lot of crazy, over-the-top, ludicrous, and outright ridiculous claims made about products, in order to help consumers part with their money.
That doesn't mean there aren't good products out there, it just means the claims do not always live up to the actual formula's abilities.
Over the last year, I have been approached, very regularly, by cosmetics companies to review their products, but I prefer to review products about which readers have asked (99% of my reviews are because a reader has expressly asked me to research a product). Still, every day I receive boxes at my office, full of products with notes asking for reviews.
I am always happy to see what is new on the market, but I do not just review products for the sake of filling space.
There have been products with very negative reviews and some with very positive reviews on this blog, and I think the marketing departments have figured out which products to send me in order to ensure the best possible review.
In order to temper this slant, I am asking you, the reader, to send me your requests for product reviews, and I will certainly put them up here for you to see. I work on about a three week lead, so sometimes it takes a little while to get the review up, but I am always happy to help analyze your products or help you before you buy.
This week, I was sent a tube of Weleda Cold Cream. Don't be confused, this is not your grandmother's type of cold cream. It is more a play on words, because this product is designed to help the skin when temperatures drop, and extra moisture is needed.
Weleda is not a new company; it is celebrating its 90th year in business this year. It is a cosmetics company founded on the principles of biodynamic farming - using only ingredients sourced through holistic, biodynamic processing. Actually, the company's founders were the developers of the farming technique that is now considered the "new age" way to grow plants and food. Founded in Switzerland, these products can now be found in fifty countries world wide.
Does this mean they are top quality? I think with some updating and a few formula tweaks, this line could be quite stellar. First, it is important to recognize that there is no such thing as an organic cosmetic. Anyone can call their products 'organic' when formulated into a cosmetic. Certified Organic only refers to food. Weleda is careful in its language and calls its products "Certified Natural," which is really just a marketing claim.
Weleda Cold Cream ($18 for 30mL)
Waleda's ad copy: "A nutrient-rich balm that goes to work restoring and protecting the skin’s natural moisture from damaging environmental influences."
1. Minimal ingredients overall. The main ingredients are targeted to the product claims. Three natural moisturizing factors that will replace lipid content and repair damaged skin.
2. Beeswax base, which will provide lubrication without preventing respiration.
3. No synthetic carriers, preservatives, or dyes.
1. Fragrance is added to the product - there is no reason to add this at all. For sensitive skin, this will cause irritation, and if it gets too close to the eyes, they may have a burning sensation. Fragrance is the second most volatile ingredient category in cosmetics. If the skin is broken, this product is not a good choice to use.
2. Five irritating plant oils that have no benefit to the skin. In fact, these oils can cause contact dermatitis.
3. No active carriers, which means that the product will sit on the surface of the skin with minimal epidermal penetration. Basically, reapplication will need to be frequent in order to benefit from the formula.
A prodct with a lot of potential. The formula is very old fashioned, with no active carriers in order to allow the formula to work beyond the surface of the skin. No time-release mechanism to prevent the product from being metabolized too fast, and no vitamins for prolonged repair to the skin. Great moisturizers that will certainly soothe the skin and offer plenty of hydration, but these are negated by the addition of so much frangrance and essential oils that serve no purpose at all and coud actually be very harmful to the skin. This formula needs an update to make it 21st century quality. There are better choices out there.
Alternative Repairing Creams:
Pure Sweet Almond Oil - the key active ingredient found in Weleda Cold Cream can be bought in any health food store, for about $30 a litre, and will provide the same repairing benefits without the fragrances.
Shea Butter - pure shea butter is one of the best options to repair the skin, and can be bought in any drug store for about $20 for 100mL.
My favourite new skin repair product is Papaya Ointment - read my review - and, yes, it will be available in Canada starting in June (I just found out).
Last week I posted about what I considered Beauty On A Budget moisturizers.
Well, I received more than a few emails asking where I came up with the "budget" in my recommendations. Of course, I should have been more clear; I really was writing about "bargain" buys, meaning not actually "cheap," but "value." I still stand behind my recommendations—I do think for the performance, direct comparison and the ingredients, the creams I listed are very good value for your money. (One reader asked how I could recommend a cream that was almost the same price as a high-end department store product, but while on the surface the prices look the same, mL for mL the one I recommended was actually almost half the price. But I digress.)
One note really struck me though—a reader took me to task saying (and I am paraphrasing), "What about those of us that have to put shoes on our growing kids' feet? Where is the budget for us?"
I am very fortunate that I am, sometimes, able to make slightly extravagant purchases without having to consider anyone other than myself. I, of course, know that for many working parents there are many other considerations to be made when allocating dollars to anything—least of all, beauty products. The lesson for me was one of gratitude, and at the same time humility.
So with that said, I really had a good look at the products I like to use and recommend. Yes, I do have some special items that are luxuries, but, above all else, good value is for what I most often shop.
There are a lot of great products out there that can fit anyone's budget! Great products can be found at any price point.
Here are my top 7 picks under $15. How did I choose them? They all meet my exacting standards for ingredients and performance, and they are all in my bathroom right now! All of them are excellent formulas that will deliver results like many expensive designer or spa brands.
1. John Frieda Frizz-Ease Secret Weapon ($7 for 120mL)
Forget the expensive Moroccan Oil, this product controls hair that is out of control, even in the worst humidity. I use it all summer long here in Toronto, when the humidex reaches into the 80s.
2. Neutrogena Rainbath Shower and Bath Gel ($15 for 500mL)
Fresh, clean and beautifully foamy, this shower gel has the same ingredients as any high-priced designer fragrance, and a beautiful clean scent. Great value for the dollar.
3. Dove Energizing Body Mist Grapefruit and Lemongrass ($5.99 for 90mL)
This is my summer fragrance! I used to buy a very expensive French perfume made from graepfruit, but I can't tell the difference between this Dove product and the one I used to buy (except it is about 10 times less expensive).
4. St Ives Timeless Skin Collagen Elastin Facial Moisturizer ($7.50 for 300mL)
Okay, I admit, I do not use this on my face, but it is an excellent body cream with moisture factors found in very expensive lotions. In addition to that, it works with any fragrance I choose to wear. A great cream for feet, elbows, shoulders and knees. I use it very liberally.
5. Burt's Bees ResQ Lip Balm ($3.60 for 4g)
I rarely use lip balm, but when I do, this is the only one. No petroleum, no synthetics, no stickiness, and also great as a cuticle treatment when I need a quick fix in between manicures.
6. Nivea Sun-Kissed Beautiful Legs ($12 for 200mL)
While marketed as a self tanner for legs in short skirts, it actually works all over the body. I like a little colour in the summer, but I never go in the sun. This product goes on like lotion, has no smell, and gradually gives colour without streaking or patchiness. Yep, I have even used it on my face.
7. OPI Nail Polish ($10 for 15mL)
The gold standard of nail polish! In the summer, I love to use a dark colour on my toes. When I am at work my feet are in dress shoes, but on the weekend I like to be a little daring when wearing flip-flops. Wears for over a week without chipping and is available almost everywhere!
My semi-annual trek across Eastern Canada is almost upon us.
This is one of my most favourite parts of my job. Getting out on the road, travelling from city to city and meeting all the YMC members live and in person. I am always so happy to talk with you and answer your personal beauty care questions. I am so lucky to have a great network of locations to visit where you can come and say hi and have a personal one-on-one with me.
Unfortunately, I can't get to every city I would like and as yet Western Canada is still a market that I have to develop (hey, if you are in Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg or Regina and want to find Daniel Thompson Beauty products let your local spa or parfumerie know and we can connect with them for a personal appearance by yours truly). There are some plans in the works that will take me truly national by the end of this year. Stay tuned to this blog for more developments on that front!
Here is my Spring/Summer Tour Schedule. Remember everyone is alwasy welcome to come to any appearance—all you have to do it call to ensure you can have a personal appointment with me. It is always free and always lots of fun!
Call right now to reserve your space.
Toronto, ON March 20
Paramedical Skin Health. 2120 Queen Street East. 416 916 7395. This is a special skincare clinic event where I will personally be analyzing skin conditions.
Charlottetown, PEI April 7
Mientjes Salon. 140 St. Peters Road. 902 566 4780. See the newest spring looks for make up and learn about prepping the skin for the summer season.
Charlottetown, PEI April 10
Allision's Hair Design. 119 Kent Street. 902 566 1141. See the newest spring looks for make up and learn about prepping the skin for the summer season.
Toronto, ON April 14 and May 19
Andrews. 55 Avenue Road. 416 969 9991. See the newest spring looks for make up and learn about prepping the skin for the summer season. Two dates because this location is always books up quickly.
Brooklin, ON April 21
Orchid Salon and MediSpa. 24 Princess Street. 905 655 2424. See the newest spring looks for make up and learn about prepping the skin for the summer season.
Ottawa, ON April 24
Daya Spa and Well Being Boutique. 200 Dalhousie Street. 613 244 4333. See the newest spring looks for make up and learn about prepping the skin for the summer season.
Fredericton, NB May 12
Sue Lawrence Hair Spa and Gallery. 550 Queen Street. 506 457 2922. See the newest spring looks for make up and learn about prepping the skin for the summer season.