Indie skin care is an actual thing that’s happening. Why? Because people like me are figuring out that IT DOESN’T COST A TON OF MONEY TO MAKE GREAT THINGS HAPPEN ON YOUR FACE.
There are only a few ingredients that actually do anything real to your skin on a cellular level, and most of them aren’t that expensive. Take lactic acid. I can buy a gallon of the stuff for $125. That’s less than some serums that brag about how much lactic is in them.
Even Sunday Riley only uses 20% in Good Genes. Yummy oils and botanicals do cost some dough, but it’s not like buying a cheetah. Here’s expensive-- an ounce of watermelon extract can cost $22. Retinol (the good stuff) is costly as is hyaluronic acid, but even if you max it out in a formula, you can still deliver top-drawer at nice prices.
The deal is that there are these fancy laboratories that make anti-aging mixtures in giant vats and then sell them to fancy manufacturers to make products with fancy names and claims. Everyone on that supply chain is happy, except the 99% of people who would like to buy the stuff but can’t afford it. And the makers like me who would like to buy just a little bit of the fancy mixture.
So how do people like me get that fancy stuff? Ah Hah! First, you have to know the name of the fancy ingredient, which is usually something like “luboquibotlik” or “botaniconimicroretoniqual,” or some other very science-y name. (One learns this stuff at trade shows and in industry publications and by being obsessed with anti-aging ingredients.)
Then you have to call one of your amazing small vendors who tolerate your questions and say, “Tom, please, what is luboquibotlik?” And then Tom says, “Oh, for Pete's sake, that’s just tri-peptide 38 in a glycerin base with some rice quat.” The tri-peptide 38 I can buy-- ditto the glycerin and the rice quat. The peptide might cost $150 for 8 ounces, but at least it’s gettable.
The cool thing about having a little indie company is that if the recommended usage of an ingredient is 3-10%— I’ll use 10%. Why not? I actually know the people who buy from me, and I want them to look goooooood.
Sure, I may not be able to lay my hands on Norwegian Donkey Thistle or whatever the next botanical-of-the-month is, but it’s usually okay to default to last month’s trend-- say-- Knotgrass Flavonoids (that’s an actual thing.)
I mean, really. Our Sailor at Night Deep Wrinkle Cream is bursting at the seams with hyaluronic acid and mango and peptides... and.... a very fancy deep-wrinkle complex that a very decent vendor just started selling in very small amounts. Yep. It's $26. Indie is happening. Right?