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A few weeks ago, I was browsing the racks of Holt Renfrew and found myself in the beauty department. I thought why not talk to an expert for proper skincare and beauty advice since I’m already here. (Because after letting myself go for almost a decade, I was in dire need of help).

And so began, my interesting journey to learning beauty and skincare 101.

The Experiment

I visited 9 beauty advisors in 5 different stores. The tenth one was an online recommendation.

The strangest, sometimes worrying findings for me from my little research experiment were:

  1. 10 different advisors recommended 10 different kinds of products to me. I was told my skin is dry, combination, normal, AND sensitive. I am pretty sure that if I continued my experiment and spoken to 10 more beauty advisors, I would have gotten 20 different product recommendations.
  2. Most advisors recommended products and gave skincare advice based on personal experience of what worked for them, without including many (or any) actual facts.
  3. More than 50% of the beauty advisors did not answer all my questions or address my concerns. Even worse, many of them guessed the answers when they were unsure.
  4. The advisor’s knowledge did not correlate to how expensive the store was. Some advisors at the higher end stores struggled to answer questions that were easily answered by drug store advisors.

*Please keep in mind that I am not putting these beauty advisors down in any way. I am sure they had good intentions and helped me to the best of their ability. I am simply highlighting the importance of doing your own research.

Before I share my biggest takeaways, I will present to you a chart that summarizes my experience.

I asked every advisor the following questions about proper skincare:

  1. What type of skin do I have?
  2. What skin care routine do you recommend for me?
  3. What are serums used for?
  4. What is the difference between a serum and moisturizer and face oil?
  5. What can I use to address my concerns of sun spots, fine lines, uneven tone, dullness and dark circles under my eyes?

The Advice I Got

Beauty Advisor #


Advice Given

Products Recommended


Holt Renfrew

  • Dry skin.
  • Use powder instead of liquid foundation because the liquid flakes on my dry skin.
  • Drugstore makeup such as Maybelline and L’oreal are not good. 
  • Guerlain Abeille Royale Double R Renew and Repair Serum, day cream and eye cream.
  • Giorgio Armani, Charlotte Tilsbury, Chanel and Laura Mercier makeup products.


Predire Paris/ Adore Cosmetics

  • Normal to combination skin.
  • A serum penetrates into the second layer of the skin.
  • Exfoliate 1x week to get rid of dead skin and help products absorb into skin better.
  • Their products are superior because Dr. Oz recommends them.
  • Predire Paris products.
  • Cleansing milk.


Shoppers Drug Mart

  • Normal to dry skin.
  • T-zone blemishes are due to dirt entering large pores, so exfoliate 2-3x a week to rid pores of excess sebum, dirt and impurities.
  • It is better to deal with hydration of skin first before addressing other concerns.
  • Vichy Mineral 89 serum because it has hydrating hyaluronic acid.
  • Joviance brand for the rest of my skincare routine because it is simple.
  • NeoStrata.


Shoppers Drug Mart

  • Normal to combination skin.
  • In Canada, everyone’s skin gets dehydrated do to the climate and that is what is causing the tightness in my cheeks.
  • Better to invest in skincare vs. makeup.
  • Exfoliate 2x a week in the shower.
  • To make your cleanser last, sometimes you can skip cleansing in the morning and only tone.
  • Serum provides extra hydration because the water we drink goes mainly into our bloodstream.
  • Night cream has more ingredients
  • If you can only afford one moisturizer, choose the night cream instead of the day cream.
  • Eye serum is better for people with milia (small white cysts) because eye cream is heavier than eye serum
  • Clinique Smart Line because she has used it with great success.
  • Smashbox and Benefit makeup products.


Shoppers Drug Mart

  • No advice only product recommendation
  • Lancôme Rénergie Multi-Action Intense Skin Revitalizer because she uses is with success.



  • Combination skin that is dry and sensitive
  • Milk cleanser is more hydrating, milder and leaves skin more supple
  • Treat skin 2x week with a mask.
  • A mask has more concentrated ingredients that target certain issues over time
  • Serum is the most concentrated with the smallest molecules to penetrate deeper.
  • Eye cream is specially formulated because the skin under your eyes is finer and drier
  • Moisturize: It is a drink of water for the skin
  • Face oil seals everything and is newer to skincare routines
  • Tatcha Cleansing Oil.
  • Darphin Cleansing Milk.
  • Clinique Pep-Start Double Bubble Purifying Mask for T-zone.
  • Dr. Brant Radiance Revitalizing Foam mask for the rest of my face.
  • LANEIGE Brightening Serum.
  • Origins Refreshing Eye Cream.
  • LANEIGE Water Bank Hydrating Gel


Saks Fifth Avenue Location 1

  • Skin needs hydration from not drinking enough water.
  • Lancôme Genefique Serum
  • Laura Mercier foundation
  • By Terry concealer


Saks Fifth Avenue Location 2

  • Serum has smaller molecules to penetrate the second layer of the skin and has active ingredients
  • Moisturizer protects and seals the skin
  • You can wear a moisturizer without a serum, but you cannot wear serum without a moisturizer
  • Tata Harper Resurfacing Serum
  • Tata Harper Illuminating Eye Crème with diamond dust


Laura Mercier

  • Combination skin
  • A balancing cream cleanser helps when you have combination skin
  • Use an essence instead of a toner. It will help your skincare products perform better.
  • Face oil not recommended for combination to oily skin types
  • Laura Mercier Flawless Skin line of skincare products


Skin Inc.

  • Your skin is likely to be experiencing signs of dehydration which may include dryness, roughness and a feeling of tightness
  • Your skin may also be experiencing environmental stress which leads to a weaker skin barrier and more sensitivity or reaction to changes whether internal or external
  • Your skin may also be experiencing greater stress which may appear on your skin as dullness, uneven skin tone, dark spots and age spots
  • Hyaluronic Acid for long lasting hydration
  • Chlorella Serum for pigmentation and brighten dull skin
  • Ceramicide for roughness, dryness and sensitivity

The biggest takeaways I took from this little research experiment are:  

  1. Do your own research. 
    • Learn about skincare ingredients 
    • Find out your skin type 
  2. Speak to and get advice from a dermatologist for major skin concerns such as:
    • Problematic Acne 
    • Eczema/Psoriasis 
    • Rosacea 
    • Scars 
  3. Find an advisor you are comfortable with and that you trust. 
    • Make sure he or she is not simply guessing the answer to your questions.  
  4. Make sure the advisor is listening to your concerns.  
    • Some will skip your questions/concerns altogether and dive straight into product recommendations! 
  5. It is better to spend your money on the best quality skincare you can afford instead of the most expensive makeup.
    • Nothing can beat healthy, naturally glowing skin. Even the highest quality, most expensive makeup. 
  6. A higher price tag is not synonymous with better results.  
    • Though I do believe quality products are usually pricier, there are many extremely expensive products out there that perform terribly. 

There you have it my friends. Remember to be good to your skin! 

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