The cosmetics industry is a world-wide industry that has grown wildly over the last decade, particularly by way of the Web. The industry includes products purchased and used by consumers for personal use, and while woman used to be the main target, the number of male consumers has grown tremendously over the last few years. Skin and hair-care products, colognes and perfumes, soaps and cleansing products, and other products used for the purpose of improving physical appearance are included in this category. There are thousands of different cosmetics brands and millions of different products.
Sephora and Douglas are two popular cosmetics stores, each offering top brands, like Chanel, Dior, YSL, and Lancome. Sephora also offers newer brands, such as Two-Faced and Hard Candy, and often caters toward the younger consumer. It also offers a lot in the way of men's cosmetics, while Douglas does not. As a highly effective marketing ploy that is actually beneficial to consumers, Sephora has a "1-5" shelf displaying the top-selling cosmetic products in the store. Douglas is a more sophisticated and elegant cosmetics retailer, especially in the aesthetic feel of its locations, and offers only high-priced brands from around the world. It targets the more mature consumer. Douglas sells some brands, such as Kinebo from Japan, that can't be found in any other multi-brand cosmetics retail stores. Douglas provides a more pleasing shopping experience with its service and atmosphere than Sephora -- but be armed with a heavy wallet.
Some luxury brand cosmetics are not worth the high price. Chanel, one of the most if not THE most expensive brands, has a long reputable position in the cosmetics industry, but it is often true that the packaging and prestige of Chanel is what its buyers pay for. In a test of Chanel nail polish, lip gloss, and eye shadow, for example, there is no visible difference between this brand and a less expensive alternative, such as Rimmel London, which is sold in drugstores. On the other hand, Chanel Luminating Concealer is retailed around $45 and, in my experience (which includes trying nearly every product out there!), there is nothing better on the market. This little tube of heaven, however, only lasts about three weeks if used daily. Shame.
Newer brands like Two-Faced deserve attention. Two-Faced was started by a celebrity make-up artist in L.A. who was dissatisfied with the colors and shades on the market, and began by making her own. These cosmetics products are exactly what makeup should be about: enhancing features in a no-fuss, natural-looking way. Two-Faced "Snow Bunny" is an excellent bronzer that is light and gives the face a natural-looking glow. the "Lash Injection" mascara is clump-free and lasts all day without a trace of smudging or running. Also, the colors available, be it in concealers or eye shadows, are refreshingly, well, fresh! For face makeup, this brand is reliable for just about everything.
Other new brands include Kinebo, a Japanese brand that costs a pretty penny, and can be found in high-end stores like Douglas, as well as exclusive boutiques in major cities, such as New York and Paris. Japanese brands are always well-respected in the cosmetics world because of their precision and high quality, and the fact that Japanese women tend to have fantastic skin and hair. Keep in mind, though, the Japanese naturally have great skin. In answering the question of "Wow, great skin! What are they using?" the answer should be, "Their genes." I paid the whopping price for the silk peeling powder, and while it feels nice, I have to say that after months of use I don't see how my skin looks or feels any different. However, Shiseido is an incredible cosmetics brand. I am caucasian and I don't like face makeup, like foundation, usually because A) I don't like things that feel heavy clogging my pores, and B) because I have extremely fair skin, and most shades available make my skin look pink, or even ill. Shiseido offers foundation that feels weightless, is very natural-looking, and is shaded to match my skin perfectly, with no distasteful undertones that look pink or too yellow. The new Bio-Performance line of Shiseido is great for 30-something women wanting to both protect their skin and fight the signs of aging. The Super Eye Contour Cream feels greasy, but is effective in keeping the skin around the eye moisturized and with a dewy, youthful appearance.