A poorly hidden secret of fashion magazines is that advertisers rule their editorial pages. If you wonder why the same brands or products are featured month in and month out, it’s not because they’re necessarily interesting or effective, it’s because they dish out a ton of money for ad space and employ aggressive publicists who will remind editors as such.
Last month I did a skincare story for a national magazine and a few of the products I originally wrote about were swapped out for big-budget brands. I was angry when I saw the issue because I knew a woman from Kentucky or Kansas would read the story, buy the products, and then quickly learn that they didn’t work. It’s a growing frustration among consumers, but unfortunately, that’s the industry. Don’t expect it to change any time soon.
Products often don’t win awards without corporate bias either. In 2011 Halle Berry’s Pure Orchid perfume won a Fifi award in the Broad Appeal category (Coty, Inc.) and Clinique’s Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector won a CEW award in the Anti-Aging Prestige category (Estee Lauder). Neither were the best in their categories, in my opinion.
Many beauty products that don’t win awards and don’t have a tremendous ad budget and at times don’t get a lot of press. So, here’s a list of ten of my favorite products from niche brands that are worth your cash.
1. Suki exfoliate foaming cleanser
No gimmicky ingredients like snake venom or bird crap here. Suki uses potent, synthetic-free ingredients. $32.95.
2. Suki butter cream healing salve
Neglected alligator heels are saved for summer. $27.95.
3. VMV Hypoallergenics SuperSkin2 Toner
This line was created for those allergic to pretty much everything, but acne sufferers will find solace in this non-drying toner. $25.
4. VMV Hypallergenics Hydra Balance moisturizer with SPF 15
A moisturizer that doesn’t clog pores or leave skin looking like an oil slick. $29.
5. Qtica intense lip repair balm
Not the sexiest packaging in the world, but a tiny dab of this lip balm heals the crustiest lips. $12.
6. Byredo Parfums in Seven Veils
The fragrance market is saturated with generic scents marketed by celebutantes merely looking to expand their brand. But Byredo is made by hand — as great perfume should be — in Sweden. With this, you won’t smell like every other woman on the street. From $145.
7. Obagi professional C-serum 20%
Wrinkles, zits, hyperpigmentation — this miracle serum fixes everything. $97.50.
8. Sunday Riley Stimulant III
Not many skin serums are worth $300, but this high octane number lightens dark spots relatively quickly. $295.
9. Tatcha beauty papers
You only need one sheet to sop up oil, unlike the other tiny, rubbery sheets on the market. $12.