Mark-ups beyond promise
I COULDN'T tell eyeliner from lip liner or blush from eye shadow. Not even if my life depended on it.
But it seems I may be alone in this deficiency with the beauty industry in Australia alone worth some $20 billion.
The quest to look younger, better and wrinkle free is big business and one can hardly walk through a large department store, chemist or supermarket for that matter without noticing the hundreds of products on offer.
Big brand products that promise the earth come at a price and are more aspirational than practical.
"Some skin products cost about $2 to make but then are on sale for $300," says Perry Romanowski a cosmetic chemist who is one of the minds behind BeautyBrains.com - a site that answers questions about science and cosmetics.
"And although the actual percentages of the mark-ups is a trade secret that companies don't reveal, in general, these products are not using ingredients so expensive that they would warrant the cost. No anti-wrinkle cream is worth $150.
"In fact, any product over $25 is a waste of money."
The price of beauty products is mostly about brand name with premium brands demanding premium prices.
It's also about expensive packaging and marketing costs.
After all someone has to pay for the high-profile celebrities who put a face to the campaign.
There is hope though for beauty product lovers who can't afford the big price tags.
Cosmetic experts and those in the know insist that there are offerings on the cheaper end of the budget that can also do a sterling job.
Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector Cream ($13.95) - May not clear up uneven pigmentation like more expensive BB creams but will give you skin with a healthy glow.
Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer ($14) - Rich in antioxidants, it helps plump up lines and wrinkles while the SP30 protects from sun damage.
Roc Retinol Correxion Deep-Wrinkle Serum ($20) - Retinoids is the buzz word for anti-aging ingredients but they often cause irritation and dryness. By all accounts this Roc formulation is one of the easiest for the skin to tolerate.
Revlon Photo Ready ($37) - Uses photochromatic pigments that adapt to varying light conditions giving the appearance of flawless skin.
Natio Pure Mineral Foundation ($19.95) - Radiance-boosting liquid and talc-free tint blends with your skin's natural colour. Easy to apply and long lasting.
Maybelline Pure Makeup ($6) - Water-based foundation gives sheer coverage and beautiful glow.
Face of Australia Eye Primer ($7.95) - Keeps eye area light and bright and creates a uniform colour across the eyelid. Use as a base for your eye makeup or use on its own.
NYC Sparkle Eye Dust ($4) - If you don't have time for make-up highlighter can make a big difference to a glowing, fresh look.
Loreal Voluminous Mascara ($5) - Formula has a good consistency making it easy to fill out your lashes in one coat.
Clinique Long Lasting Glosswear ($14) - Comes in 18 shades with SPF 15 and is non-gluggy and long lasting.
Nivea Lip Balm Natural Volume (4.95) - Collagen enhancer and light reflecting pigments provide natural volume and extra shine.
NYC Smooch Proof Lip Stain ($4.99) - Easy to apply and smudge-proof in a host of yummy flavours.
World's most expensive beauty products
H Couture Socialite range - $14m for mascara and lipstick encased in 18k gold with 2500 blue diamonds and 1300 pink diamonds.
Gold Rush Couture nail polish - $130,000
Crème De Le Mer moisturiser - $3000 for 30g
Le de Peau Beaute Intensive Cream - $1000 for 35g
Kanebo Sensai Collection Premier face moisturiser - $650 for 35g