Other than having the exclusivity of a brand attached to the skincare, something that elevates luxury beauty above the rest are ingredients. Ingredients matter more than you think when it comes to beauty - here’s why. First, let’s break down how to read an ingredients list.
Why Ingredient Order Matters
Did you know that cosmetic ingredients lists need to follow a particular order? Every single ingredients list that you’ve ever seen follows this order, too - and luxury beauty is no exception.
Ingredients are always ordered from highest quantity to lowest quantity - so usually, at the top, you’ll see base ingredients such as water, and closer to the bottom are ingredients in smaller amounts like preservatives and fragrance.
Knowing this when looking at an ingredients list can give you an idea of just how much of an ingredient that a skincare product has. For example, if there’s ‘Orchid Extract’ closer to the top than to the bottom, then you know a product has a pretty decent amount of that ingredient, especially relative to the backbone ingredients of product base and preservatives.
La Prairie Skin Caviar Essence-in-Lotion | $365
This essence from La Prairie has a base of caviar water - boosting benefits for your skin and providing a potent, yet pricey formula base.
Exclusive Ingredient Access
Luxury skincare brands can access the best of the best skincare ingredients - and this makes a huge difference when it comes to skincare. Sometimes, brands buy already developed ingredients from labs to add to their skincare routine - however, when it comes to luxury beauty, exclusive access is what takes their product to the next level.
SK-II is a great example of this, thanks to their bespoke Sake-derived skincare ferment, Pitera. Because SK-II was able to develop this unique skincare ingredient on their own, you have the guarantee that it features only in their skincare - so if you want to get the benefits of it, you had better shop at SK-II.
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence | $379
Rich in SK-II’s Pitera, this essences brightens and nourishes skin for a flawless complexion.
This also goes for Guerlain - in the Abeille Royale line, they strongly feature Honey, Royal Jelly, and sometimes Propolis. However, it doesn’t come from just any bees; Guerlain exclusively uses products from the black bees of Ouessant Island, a small island off the coast of France. Guerlain is the only luxury brand with access to these ingredients, too.
The brand has a partnership with the French government to conserve and protect the natural environment, ensuring that the black bees’ home is protected plus exclusive access to any bee byproducts.
And here’s the thing - these are just two examples of the mainly exclusive access relationships that luxury beauty brands have created. These definitely aren’t the only luxury brands that have formulated their skincare with ingredients that the competition just can’t get their hands on!
Guerlain Abeille Royale Double R Renew & Repair Serum | $304
This serum rejuvenates and revitalises skin with a blend of Ouessant Island Honey and Royal Jelly.
What’s In a Name?
Something else that matters (and much more than you think!) are ingredient names. Here’s the thing - skincare ingredient naming conventions on their own can’t tell you much. Even if ingredients are technically listed as the same thing, they’re not all equal. Let’s look at Guerlain as an example again!
On their skincare, it’s not possible to list ingredients as “Black Bee Honey” or “Ouessant Island Royal Jelly”. To keep things as simple and unified as possible worldwide, these ingredients would have to be listed as simply “Honey” or “Royal Jelly”. But here’s the thing - you wouldn’t know that this type of honey has unique benefits, just based on the ingredients list.
That’s where branding comes in, and knowing that Guerlain has this specific type of honey differentiates all other skincare that just has regular honey in it.
La Mer The Hydrating Facial Mask | $542
These sheet masks are infused with La Mer’s potent & unique fermented seaweed Miracle Broth for glowing, hydrated skin.
La Mer is another famous example of having an amazing skincare ingredient that gets reduced to a name that does it no justice. La Mer’s famous fermented seaweed miracle broth can only be labelled as “Seaweed Extract”, when you and I both know it’s more than just a simple plant extract.
It comes from a specific type of kelp and is processed in a way that’s unique to La Mer - something that anything else labelled as “Seaweed Extract” doesn’t really match, but based on ingredients list conventions, they’re ‘exactly the same’. However, if you really want the full effects of La Mer’s miracle broth, you had better buy the real thing!
Ingredients are a crucial part of making the difference in luxury skincare - whether that’s sourcing ingredients that other companies can’t, or even creating something unique and bespoke to the brand, luxury skincare brands have formulas to truly bring the luxury difference.
Still trying to figure out how to create your perfect luxury skincare routine? Our skincare quiz can help by creating a routine that's perfect for your skin type and skin goals!