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Boutique Brands One of the most frequent questions I get from patients is, "Are expensive skincare products really worth it?" Based on my experience working with a variety of companies and countless formulations, my answer is often no. In a nutshell, beauty behemoths like Unilever (the company behind Dove and Ponds), L Oreal (responsible for lines like Vichy and La Roche Posay) and Johnson Johnson (maker of Neutrogena and Aveeno) have deep pockets, so they have more resources to research, develop and test their products. Of course there are some higher priced companies like Este Lauder that do great research and have products worth the cost. It really depends upon your skin type and what ingredients are right for you. When large personal care companies like the ones mentioned earlier start the product development process, it can take years (and millions of dollars) for the actual product to hit store shelves. They undergo extensive testing both in the lab and on real people, and many of these companies have their own research institutes devoted to product testing because they can afford them. For example, a few years ago, Loreal s research budget was over $200 million. Smaller boutique brands, on the other hand, conduct their research and development on a much smaller scale. While they may create their formulations in smaller batches and with more rare or expensive raw materials, these costs are passed along to the consumer. But does this mean these products are more effective? Not always and they seldom have the independent clinical studies to back their claims because clinical studies cost a lot of money. It is important to look for the words "clinically tested" on the packaging to know that the actual formulations have been studied. When considering costs, consumers often turn to generic brands instead of brand names but these products are not identical. Brands youth ugg boots do the research and then generics just copy the ingredients, but the actual formulation is often different. The order in which the ingredients are added, the temperature used during mixing and the pH of the ingredients are trade secrets that greatly contribute to the efficacy of the products. While I love CVS, I have found that their generic versions do not work as well as the brand name products they are copying. In my opinion, stick with Vaseline, Aveeno and Cetaphil and don t be fooled by the similar packaging. A recent study featured in Consumer Reports compared mass market anti aging brands with pricier boutique counterparts, and the results may come as a surprise especially if you re one of those people who believe you get what you pay for. These creams were ranked by effectiveness (as determined by their effect on wrinkle reduction), and five of the top nine were inexpensive mass products. So if less expensive products are often just as effective, or even more effective, than department store skincare offerings, you may be wondering what else contributes to their cost. In addition to the research and development mentioned above, elaborate packaging and celebrity endorsements contribute to the price as well. But if you re like most shoppers, the most important thing you look at when it comes to choosing a product is the price tag. Here are my product picks for a variety of skin types, whether you re looking to save or splurge If you re looking for niacin Great for sensitive skin and those with stubborn pigment, I often recommend niacin. The NIA 24 line contains a form called nicotinamide which is believed to penetrate the skin best, but your skin can also get a dose of niacin with CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM, which is much cheaper. If you re looking to even out your skin tone Clinique Even Better is a patient favorite, but you can also help eliminate unwanted pigment ugg boots store locator with Neutrogena Visibly Even Daily Moisturizer SPF 30, and the sunscreen is key for optimal results. If you re looking for an antioxidant I love Combray Oil because its packed with a powerful antioxidant called Oxofulleram, but in its place you can use Aveeno Active Naturals Ultra Calming Daily Moisturizer SPF 30, which contains feverfew for a similar protective effect. Serum Prep (which contains DMAE), you can try Specific Beauty Skin Brightening Serum or Sophyto Anti Aging Antioxidant Serum, available at Sam s Club. But then again, if you re willing to spend the money, cheap genuine ugg boots Combray Oil, iS Clinical s Pro Heal Serum Advance+ andSkinCeuticals CE Ferulic are worth every penny. If you re into high tech soap Silver based Cor Soap has a cult following despite its $125 price tag for one bar! but you ll be shocked to learn that Dove is a much better choice for your skin since it deposits fatty acids on the skin that leave it soft. If you use daily SPF (and you should!) Women often fork over oodles of cash for sunscreen, and many of my patients swear by Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Mega Moisturizer SPF 15, Clarins Vital Light Day Cream SPF 15 and La Mer The SPF 30 UV Protecting Fluid. I recommend saving your money and trying Eucerin Q10 Anti Wrinkle Sensitive Skin Lotion SPF 15. If you re looking for retinol Anti aging products with retinol are the best way to keep lines and wrinkles at bay. On the more expensive side, there are offerings from Prada and Chanel that will do the trick, but you re paying more for the name than anything. In the middle of the road, there s SkinMedica Tri Retinol Complex at $55 and Philosophy Help Me at $45, but I ve found that RoC Multi Correxion Night Treatment and Olay Professional Pro X Deep Wrinkle Treatment are fantastic options that won t break the bank If you have very dry skin Patients of mine with extreme dryness say that La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Cream and Sisley Confort Extreme Night Skin Care are their extravagant go tos. That s when I tell them that I prefer Burt s Bees Radiance Night Creme ($18), First Aid Beauty s 5 in 1 Restore Cream ($36) and Reviva Labs EFAs Cream ($23). Always worth the splurge Yes, these products are on the pricey side, but I ve seen them at work so I know they deliver results. Sold exclusively in doctor s offices, Vivit Vibrance Therapy improves signs of sun damage like roughness and dark patches. Also keep an eye out for Elure, a brand new product that shows great promise for lightening unwanted pigment.

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Boutique caters to the posh pooch ST. PETERSBURG Every morning before work, Chanel gets dressed in the latest fashion from Paris or Milan. Maybe a green and pink dress set off with a sharp looking belt and hair bow. Then her owner lifts her into the car for a day of patrolling the Pawsitively Posh Pooch and Classy Cats Too boutique and spa from 8 inches off the ground. Such is life for the inspiration and in house model of the new high end dog and cat emporium, which carries the trendiest in dog carriers, outfits, organic Ugg Black Sparkles Short Boots foods and spa treatments. "My vision was to make it almost like a sidewalk in Paris," said Susan Nice, who owns the two week old store on Fourth Street N. Entering the store, one is first drawn to the walls, adorned with painted murals depicting the faces of Nice s pets atop human bodies, sipping wine. Several chandeliers hang from the ceiling. The merchandise ranging from Louis Vuitton dog carriers to doggie bridesmaid dresses has only been in place for about two weeks, and the customer base in those departments is beginning to grow. But the true draw of the store is the spa, where dogs and cats can be pampered with a dip in the Jacuzzi tub, a blueberry facial or a Dead Sea mineral scrub. Lynne Nichols, who has more than 400 hours of training at the Academy of Animal Arts in Largo, grooms about a half dozen pets per day, by appointment ugg boots store only. She said grooming requests have caused the phones to ring off the hook. "I ve been to a lot of groomers, but I ve been waiting for someone like her," said Nanette Shook as she picked up her Maltese Sasha. "She treats your animals with a lot of respect." The store becomes the second high end pet boutique in St. Petersburg, joining One Lucky Dog on Fourth Street N. One Lucky Dog specializes in collars and costumes and also has a spa. But Pawsitively Posh Pooch brands itself more as a hangout for dog lovers, offering free Wi Fi and a selection of coffee and wine. is Yappy Hour, which drew about a dozen dogs last week in attire ranging from motorcycle jackets to Betty Boop costumes. Nice also owns Lasting Impressions, a neighboring home furnishings store. She used to lease the adjoining space to a cabinet ugg boots original company. When the lease was up about six months ago, Nice decided to open up the boutique in honor of her three dogs, five cats and three birds. But the true inspiration comes from Chanel, whom Nice bought about five months ago after falling in love with a dog dress. "The lady who sold me the dress asked what kind of dog I had," Nice said. "I said whatever will fit into this." Chanel s Closet: Carries designer labels in styles ranging from feline beach wear to doggie bridal gowns. There s also diamond encrusted collars and Gucci bags made for toting a small dog.

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