As a person who has always loved and used expensive skincare (a perk of the job when I was a Vogue beauty editor), I am firmly in the camp that thinks pricey creams are worth it.
I may be delusional, but then I cannot for the life of me see the value in a Ferrari, so it’s horses for courses, I guess.
In my early days as a beauty assistant, I would dutifully call the Australasian College of Dermatologists and ask them eager questions about all the whizz-bang ingredients that were being promoted by the beauty companies, hoping against hope they were going to say: “Yes, eureka! It sounds like a miracle cream, lines and wrinkles, gone!”
But depending on who picked up the phone on any given day, the answers ranged from: “Nah, that wouldn’t penetrate,” to “There is no reason to believe that would benefit skin,” to a long, tired sigh followed by, “Honestly, give it a rest! Just cleanse with sorbolene and use a standard moisturiser.”
We gave up calling after a while, but I clung to my Pollyanna belief that rich, expensive creams would be a buffer between me and the winds of time.
Retin A, Royal Jelly, seaweed, crystal-infused, caviar-laden – I bought into any buzzword or ingredient a marketer could throw at me.
Did the people who worked at the sake factories in Japan have super soft hands because of the miracle of Pitera? Hell yes! Was a small jar of Crème de La Mer worth spending more than $400 on because it could be used to treat cow udders? Absolutely, who wouldn’t?
I believed a Ponds Institute actually existed, a shiny positive futurist lab where people walked around in lab coats with glowing complexions.
A tiny part of me, the reasonably intelligent bit, said: “You know what, high-SPF sunblock and some Oil of Olay is probably the whole key to it.” But why spoil the fun?
The whole process of using expensive creams is innately pleasurable, from the luxury packaging to the gorgeous textures and the exquisite smells.
I am 100 per cent certain I will achieve the same result from a jar of L’Oréal Plenitude as I will from La Prairie, but to a beauty addict, this is not a reality we want to embrace.
And there is much to be said for a quality facial. I was recently treated to the most exquisite anti-ageing facial by La Maison Sisley Paris, which is renowned for high-end skincare that is a mix of botanicals and science.
After the most soothing 90 minutes, complete with a heated bed and mood lighting, the therapist handed me a mirror and said the obligatory: “Look at your skin now.”
Given that I had the flu and had been braving the January sleet for the last 10 days, my expectations were low, but I was absolutely stunned to see the results – my skin was literally glowing, plumped and smooth.
I flew back to Sydney the next day and, of course, by the time I disembarked, I looked like a wildebeest. But for one night in Paris, thanks to the magic of Sisley, my skin was perfect. And now I’m hooked.