Discover beauty through professional reviews

(Available in USA only)
NOW READING Is Blind Loyalty to One Brand Hindering Your Skincare Goals?
August 23, 2018

Is Blind Loyalty to One Brand Hindering Your Skincare Goals?

Loyalty is an admirable trait — unless it involves skincare. Because when it comes to your face, it shouldn’t be about brand loyalty. It should be about being loyal to your skin’s needs and the ingredients that will meet them. Here’s why.


Confession: I’m a skincare slut. I sheet around, and I’m not ashamed. But I wasn’t always this way. I’ve been brand loyal most of my life, wooed by the infomercial illusion of flawless, poreless, ageless skin. As soon as I could afford a skincare routine, I signed on for the original Principal Secret line. I bought their entire “system,” and had it shipped every 90 days for at least five years. They even invited me to film a testimonial in 1992, but, “Really,” I thought, “who puts stock in reviews?” Ha!


Over the years, I approached skincare like romantic relationships: devoted for years until something went inexplicably wrong. I used Proactiv, Serious Skincare, and even bought into the Meaningful Beauty hype. Straight up: Their Superfine Exfoliant makes St. Ives feel like whipped cream.


Today, my loyalty lies not in a singular brand but in a unifying concept: being loyal to my skin’s needs.


brand loyalty


Options? What Options?


Depending on your age, you may have grown up with endless choices for skincare, but some of us remember three distinct options: drug store, department store, and infomercial. For many people, myself included, brand loyalty started at the infomercial level with the “30-day money-back guarantee,” which devoted skincare enthusiasts know doesn’t always align with their skin’s cellular turnover.


Home shopping brought options out of the woodwork, and boutique brands we’d never seen in stores because of their small market share started pitching for our dollars … and our loyalty. Today, the options come directly to us by the brands themselves, which is why K-beauty stands (mostly) apart from the pack. You see, as a general rule, we’re pursuing them instead of the other way around. Who has the power now?


curation brand loyalty


Accepting Meh Out of Fear


For many of us, brand loyalty is also rooted in fear. If a product has worked (mostly) consistently for a number of years, we hesitate to spend money on something new because, frankly, money ain’t easy to get. We’ll occasionally settle for less-than-stellar results from our “tried and true” rather than risk potential failure. And since it takes anywhere from 28 to 90 days (depending on your age) to see any real results, we’re often stuck with useless shit stuff that we feel duped for buying.


No Brand Gets Everything Right


When you have a general health question, you contact your primary care provider (I hope), but you visit a dentist if you have a toothache. Imagine relying on the same person for your yearly wellness check (i.e. pelvic and breast exam) as the one you go to for glasses. Many people buy everything from a specific brand on the assumption that all the products work synergistically and even work better because of the others in the lineup. But loving XYZ cleanser doesn’t mean their serum will deliver.


brand loyalty


Sadly, the exuberant claims outnumber the results. Just look at the language in the above Google listing for Serious Skincare (the brand I mentioned using). See anything wrong here? I do! They don’t know me, and they sure as hell don’t know every single one of my “skincare concerns” because they come and go like a summer fling. Specialization has a purpose, but brands that claim to have something for every skin condition rarely live up to their own hype.


Why Ingredients (Not Brands) Deserve Our Loyalty


At some point in your life, and I’m guessing you’re already there, you have to do the legwork, the research, and the analysis to get the results you want. The days of trusting actresses and celebrities to know what’s best for our skin are gone because we now have access to the evidence ourselves. Thanks to amazing skincare bloggers, smart shopping sites, and a community of engaged skincare enthusiasts, we understand not only what to buy but how products work (like niacinamide and vitamin C — thank you, Kind of Stephen!).


brand loyalty
My summer routine


While a good 30% of my skincare routine comes from one brand, I have at least five or six products that I consider “one-offs.” And you know why I stick with them? Because they each do the one thing I need them to do: Calm redness, reduce hyperpigmentation, soothe my pissed off tret face, and attempt to plump up my wrinkles. Knowing that results can be achieved without remaining committed to one brand opens up possibilities that brand loyalty never will. Thank you, K-beauty!


P.S. There’s not a single solitary product in my routine that was there four years ago, and that excites the hell out of me.


Have you ever suffered from blind brand loyalty and if so, what brand and why?


Tracy is a "quality over quantity" word girl fascinated by eagles and life in a small SoCal mountain community. She believes in the now, has written professionally for 30+ years, and worships at the alters of serum and Sulwhasoo.



In the beginning, I always got my products from only one brand. I thought that this might lessen the chances of anything happening to my skin. If that brand didn't work, I would jump onto another brand. The only problem was that nothing was really being solved. I still had my redness, dry flakes, and hyperpigmentation. That's when I started to research about certain ingredients, and that led me to having satisfying results. Now, I commit myself to the ingredients instead of the brand!

Thank you for the great article! :)

I'm so glad you're getting great results after making the switch to an "ingredient focused" routine. I think we all buy into the hype and want to believe that a single brand will do us right on every front, but I just haven't found that to be the case. Shopping around can be very rewarding!

Nope! There are a couple of brands I have more than one product from, but only because of the ingredients and because they worked.
I will admit it's difficult to want to branch out and try more, though, since I have had some results.

Good for you, mochiblossoms! I really think this is where K-beauty shines. The community is filled with information and friendly people who freely share tips and advice. It\'s so different than it was even 10 years ago. I\'m endlessly thankful for the guidance I\'ve received along the way, and as long as something is working well for you, stick with it.

Yes! Thank you 😄 great article! It is frustrating to work through finding things that are best for my skin but getting there slowly!

I've kind yo-yo'd through different stages with my skincare where I was hell bent on using everything from one brand and then swinging to the other side of things where I was trying too many new things and not knowing what was causing any potential congestion or irritation. I've definitely settled into what I feel is a more long-term, good rhythm of having fairly consistent steps and swapping out products as I see appropriate. I can say right now my skincare basket is split right down the middle of K Beauty brands and more Western "eco/green" beauty brands and I... Read more

K-beauty and very curated Western brands is where I am as well. I've never been in the situation where every single product of a particular brand thrilled me. It's always been I love this from this brand, but not that. I am a sucker for ingredients. Get me a good ingredients list and I'm like 😍😍😍

I find myself staying more loyal to specific ingredients over brands. However, when certain brands drop something new that aligns with my skincare needs, I board that hype train because those brands always deliver a quality product.

I also worry about getting stuck in a skincare rut - I LOVE trying new stuff!

I swear I run into that "issue" I know we all feel where I wish I had two (or three) faces to try different routines out with lol. Thankfully, someone of us have SO's that end up being blank slates to play with lol

My SO has sensitive skin, while mine is resilient - meaning I've set him up with his own routine and now have an excuse to buy new stuff for him that may not work for me!

I'd be so bored if I had to use everything from just one line or brand. I love the adventure and experimentation of finding new ingredients and products that just keep getting my skin better and better. It truly is a hobby/passion project, and best of all, I get some self care out of it!

I always want to try the "new new" - whether it be new releases, or reviewers' I enjoy new favorites.

I love that you called it a "hobby/passion project." I think that's what really sets the K-beauty community apart. It's not about "having" the latest thing but getting the best results and helping and learning from others along the way. That's why I'll never commit to another brand exclusively again.

Great article! When I think back to when I started getting into Kbeauty, I definitely was better about trying different brands. Then I discovered the magic of COSRx and integrated many of their products into my routines. This pattern has continued as I've discovered new brands (Purito!) and found things that have really excited me (looking at you Sulwhasoo). Now i'm making a more conscious effort to document my routines and results with different products, I've found myself being better at diversifying the products that I use!

Sulwhasoo is my next frontier (the First Care Activating Serum to be exact) and I'm both excited and terrified that I'm going to like the products as much as everyone else lol.

For the most part I've loved every Sulwhasoo product I've tried which is great for my face and bad for my wallet.

You took the words right out of my mouth!

I've always said that if I ever win the lottery my entire skincare wardrobe is just going to be pounds of sulwhasoo. No regrets!

sheryll, I\'m building my Sulwhasoo wardrobe one product at a time. I can\'t even throw away my empties!

I made the mistake of opening a sample for the First Care Activating Serum before finishing my other pre-serums, and now I'm faced with the possibility of never finishing the others BECAUSE IT'S SO GOOOOD.

Take it from someone who's been there: finish all your pre-serums before touching this magic HAHA

When I gave a friend an 8ml sample of the FCAS, she wrote to me the next morning and called me a crack dealer. Ba ha ha. I tried Missha's, then the one from Hanyul (which I still like, too), but the Sulwhasoo is my HG, and I have not one but two backup bottles.

I feel like there is a huge chorus of people in my ear saying that the FCAS is so amazing and I went from being super weary of it because of the alcohol content to dying to try it out because everyone keeps saying it's everything you could ever want.

I use it on and off because of the alcohol content too leolouie. I went through my first bottle with no problems a few years ago, and am thinking about getting it back into my routine. What I really want is that Sulwhasoo ginseng emulsion, but I\'m waiting for a sale hahahaha

How do you slot emulsions into your routine? That's always the odd product for me that I never know quite what to do with. Do I use it as a last step at night in the summer where I need less occlusives? Do I use it in the fall/winter during the day under sunscreen? I'm so conflicted lol