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How do you test new products?

Because I’m so particular and OCD about reviewing products based on their ingredient lists before actually trying said products, I don’t have to test them for too long before deciding whether or not they’re suitable. I will typically try a new product for two weeks to determine if it fits into my routine and that it doesn’t trigger any negative reactions. Now, I’m very satisfied with my current routine because there are ingredients present that address virtually every problem or issue I have and will encounter. Therefore, the only reason why I’d switch out a product is if I think I’ve discovered something even better.

  • First, I identify what category of product I’m trying to find substitute. For example, the sunscreen, retinoid, or antioxidant serum.
  • Second, I make sure that for the two weeks of testing, the rest of my routine remains exactly the same. Think of it as a psuedo-scientific experiment: I try to keep all variables the same (dependent variable), and isolate/change a single variable (independent variable) that I’d like to investigate and improve.
  • Third, I apply the current product on the left side of my face, and the new product on the right side. I do this for two weeks. If the new product triggers a negative reaction, I discontinue use until said reaction is gone. Then I try the product again to see if I can replicate the same negative reaction. Obviously, if the negative reaction comes back, I throw the new product out. If it doesn’t come back, I continue with the two weeks of testing.
  • Finally, at the end of two weeks, I evaluate if there is a noticeable difference between the left and right sides. Obviously, if one side of the face has a noticeably positive difference, I will go for the product that was applied to that side. If however, and this occurs more frequently than nought, both sides appear the same, I will ultimately have to go back and consider the evidence, the ingredient list. If I still can’t decide which product I prefer based on merit alone, I factor in other aspects such as cost, ease of acquisition, and texture.

How do you guys go through this process? Is it as intense as mine? Let me know down below!

About John

The Triple Helixian is an unbiased science and research-based site that attempts to clarify and elucidate questions about skin care, while aspiring to be the most thorough and complete source of information.


4 thoughts on “How do you test new products?

  1. I test products almost exactly like you. Haha I’m currently trying a new sunscreen since the one I’m using is just too time consuming to apply. So I’m applying the new sunscreen (Skinceuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense) to the right-side of my face, but I’m not sure how to compare it to my current sunscreen (where UV protection is concerned) other than checking the ingredients list and having faith in what the manufacturer tells me. I mean, the effects won’t be noticeable any time soon, regarding UVA. Do you have any tips on comparing suncreens?

    Posted by Lucas | May 13, 2012, 1:54 pm
    • Hi Lucas,

      Yeah… it’s a lot more difficult when it comes to sunscreen. All you can do, and all I do, is look at the ingredient list. Since it’s quite easy to get adequate UVB protection, I’m usually just concerned with the UVA aspect of it. I make sure that the ingredient list contains at least 9% of zinc oxide. In case you’re wondering, that IS just an arbitrary number that I’ve chosen. I realize that 9% of ZnO might mean something different in one sunscreen compared to another. On another note, I also don’t use chemical sunscreens, so I don’t have to worry about having its efficacy compromised if I’m going to mix sunscreens, or apply something on top of it.

      When I test sunscreens, it’s mostly about how it feels on my skin, given its texture, how much of a white-cast it leaves, how well it layers over my antioxidant serum, etc… It’s more a about cosmetic concern rather than scientific ones. In the case of the latter, I just say, the higher amount of ZnO the better. I mean, my beloved Shiseido SPF 55 has 16.3% ZnO. Lol! Unfortunately, we just don’t have the necessary equipment to calculate how much UVR protection a sunscreen provides.

      Posted by John | May 13, 2012, 7:06 pm
      • Yeah, I wanted a sunscreen with zinc oxide; that’s why I’m trying the skinceuticals one.

        How do you like the Shiseido Cream SPF55? Is it easy to blend and how does it look without makeup over it? Do you have any trouble washing it off (shiseido says it’s very water resistant, so I’m worried it’s hard to take it off)?

        Thank you.

        Posted by Lucas | May 14, 2012, 12:42 pm
        • The SPF 55 is very easy to blend, but it does not work too well with liquid makeup, at least if you try and smear around liquid foundation on top of it. You’ll want to stipple, not swirl.

          That’s because it is very water-resistant and becomes a bit tacky after it dries, and the tackiness doesn’t disappear until about 10-15 minutes. That’s why you need to be careful with this product. You’ll want to wait about at least 10 minutes before powdering down your face, if you do at all.

          Also, the SPF 55 does leaves a noticeable white-cast that will disappear after an hour or so. To minimize this, I make sure my powder has some color to it; don’t use a translucent powder.

          Finally, it is quite difficult to wash off. Even after washing with my regular water-soluble cleanser twice, there is still some leftover. It’s not that big of an issue for me, since I take a shower right after. But yeah, it’s very transfer-resist, which is good and bad. 🙂

          Posted by John | May 14, 2012, 9:25 pm

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