two women boxing

We all love a bargain, but how to know if skin care really is good value? What I look for are products that punch above their price point. These are skincare products that do their job because they have been made with intelligence and care and I know that my money is going into ingredients, not packaging.

Here is my criteria: well formulated ingredients (and I don’t mean high concentrations of an active — in fact, that can be an indication of a not-so-good formulation) with a good encapsulation or delivery system; a roster of good quality botanicals ingredients; one or more high impact active.

And now for my selection. They aren’t always the cheapest, but they punch above their price point and are worth high fives from us.

SkinOwl ‘s mantra is that results are all about ingredients. This is well demonstrated by Eye+ ($46 in the shop), a damn good eye cream that is packed with no less than 13 amino acids, essential to the synthesis of collagen and elastin, and tons of other impressive anti-agers and botanicals. Oh, and it works.

At the other end of the SkinOwl spectrum, it doesn’t get much simpler than the Beauty Drops ($30 in the shop), which are a base of 100% raw unfiltered argan oil and either Geranium Oil a moisturizer for uneven skin, or Clary Sage for aging skin.

On the subject of oils, Your Best Face Private Reserve are a great example of how oil-based serums can deliver potent actives without diluting them in water that then requires compromising stabilizers. Private Reserve Antioxidant Oils ($75 in the shop) are a cost-effective way of getting a decent dose of YBF’s signature free radical scavengers, spin trap and Lipochroman-6.

The same can be said of YBF Antioxidants Concentrate in that you get the best of YBF’s key actives ($65 in the shop) and would be a good option for those who prefer a cream to an oil.

A good dose of one of my favorite actives comes with iS Clinical Copper Mist ($38), an incredibly simple delivery mechanism for copper peptides. This collagen-building active is relatively expensive and difficult to formulate with and this mist gives a refreshing burst of it. Great for before or after an LED treatment.

Mad Hippie’s Vitamin A Serum ($32.99 in the shop) uses a new form of retinol called retinyl retinoate and which is more suitable for sensitive skin. As always, Mad Hippie opts for a nature’s brew of actives (although I’m disappointed that there isn’t cannabis here) and earns a loyal base of budget conscious fans.

I always do a double take when reminded of the price of Dr. Dennis Gross Triple C Peptide Firming Oil ($62 in the shop), which is the best vitamin C serum that I have found. In addition to three types of vitamin C, there are vitamins K, A, D and E.

Since all good things seem to come in threes in this serum, there are three peptides: tetrapeptide-21, palmitoyl tripeptide-1 and palmitoyl tripeptide-28. This is one heavy hitter.

Skinfinite LOL Eye Serum ($49 in the shop) has been a favorite with the Truth In Aging community for a few years now. This is a good all-rounder with ingredients to tackle crow’s feet and wrinkles, dark circles and under-eye bags.

The pocketbook always benefits from a multi-tasking day and night cream and we have two. La Vie Celeste’s Day & Night Face Cream ($65 in the shop) has the brand’s two signature actives, alpha lipoic acid and a peptide for firming the skin, with an all-natural formula and no nasties. Jenetiqa Premiere Essence Day & Night Anti-Aging Serum and Dark Spot Corrector ($65) is a serum and dark spot cream for day and night use with arbutin, vitamin C, ellagic acid and niacinamide.

All-day hydration, and instant glow and a slew of antioxidants comes with SimySkin Hydrating & Nourishing Face Moisturizer ($45 in the shop).  I love that it gives pride of place to one of my favorite antioxidants, astaxanthin. There’s a stable form of vitamin C, beta-glucans, alpha lipoic acid, white tea and on and on….

For nature lovers, we have two eye serums that do not compromise on ingredients. Sevani Ageless Eyes Revitalizing Eye Serum ($54 in the shop) is a blend of essential oils, including jojoba, argan, sea buckthorn berry and rosehip. ExPürtise Effective Eye Serum ($65) thinks it is a $100-plus product with an impressive ability to lift lids. It is packed with peptides such as Matrixyl 3000 and Synth’6, which (trust me) are expensive raw ingredients to formulate with and ensure that ExPürtise packs a punch.