How To Hack These 3 Cult Beauty Products

None of us are immune to the siren songs of miracle products purported to make us look younger, healthier and prettier. Some of us (ahem, no names mentioned) are so obsessed with expensive beauty products that we will go into debt and/or on a super sad ramen diet in order to fund them, all the while knowing, deep down inside, that much of their hype is just marketing. We investigated three hero products with cult followings to see if we could find effective, yet budget-friendly, alternatives. Here are the results.

Moroccan Oil

Moroccan Oil

Argan Oil, the marquee ingredient in Moroccan Oil, is expensive; however, it also comprises just a small percentage of the commercial product and is not what actually makes it effective. Moroccan Oil’s real hero ingredients are silicones, which are widely believed to be bad for your hair, but which these scientists say aren’t worrisome if they work for you. The same scientists break down the full ingredient list of Moroccan Oil here.

This super-cheap drugstore product has a nearly identical ingredient list. If you’d prefer to care for your hair the all-natural way, opt for using Coconut Oil instead of Argan Oil for similar (but more budget-friendly) results.


SK-II Facial Essence

If Cate Blanchett told us she was spreading the droppings of a sewer rat on her face, we’d probably follow suit as she is one of the most beautiful, ageless women in Hollywood. As such, SK-II is either the smartest or luckiest marketers in history for attaching her to their brand. The main ingredient in their popular SK-II Facial Essence is, like in other SK-II products, something called Pitera (it is purported to comprise a whopping 90% of the Facial Essence). Pitera was discovered accidentally in the 1970s when researchers noticed that the soft hands of sake brewers contrasted with their wrinkled, aged faces. They then spent years looking through yeast strains to find the one that produces Pitera, which SK-II has exclusive rights to use.

Most (of the limited) studies done on the effects of Pitera have been funded by SK-II’s parent company Procter and Gamble; this study showed that the live yeast derivative stimulated the healing of wounds, which could potentially slow the aging process; this study showed that there is reason to continue investigating the yeast as an anti-inflammatory; and this study showed that Pitera enhances skin’s barrier functions.

While Pitera might be proprietary, several other brands use fermented yeasts in the same family. The Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence with Zyosys, which is comprised of 80% fermented yeast, is a comparable alternative at one-third of the price.

Rodin Olio Lusso Facial Oil

There’s no denying the amazingness of this all-natural product; however, we would argue that if Linda Rodin created it in her bathroom (she did!), there’s no reason we can’t do the same. Every ingredient in this concoction--Neroli Oil, Sunflower Oil, Calendula Oil, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Rosehip Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Argan Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Jojoba, Apricot, and Jasmine--is accessible via the internet or Whole Foods. We suggest experimenting with various combinations to get the one that works best for your skin.

If DIYing this product sounds a little too arduous for your liking, we suggest trying the Lavido Replenishing Facial Serum instead. It lists most of the same ingredients used in the Rodin oil, but is only one-third of the price.