A Skincare Formulator Describes the Lure of Luxury Products

Anita Quade chats to leading skin specialist and founder of his signature brand Douglas Pereira, who will join Professional Beauty in September at the BEAUTY & SPA Insiders event to discuss skincare formulations. With his 25 years experience in the beauty industry he reveals the benefits of investing in luxury skincare at home and in your salon and why it’s always important to read the ingredients on the bottle.

Beauty clients are looking for aspirational skincare – the holy grail in a bottle that will turn back time and erase a slew of beauty misadventures.

When it comes to that splurge, many believe that the higher the price tag, the better the quality and effectiveness – but sometimes the hefty price tag doesn’t match what’s in the bottle.

Read on for Douglas’ views on the topic –

Skin Specialist Douglas Pereira


“The first thing to clarify is the definition of luxury skincare. For many years the phrase luxury skincare has been related to designer brands. These product brands although effective, have beautiful textures, aromas and have beautiful packaging ‘that look beautiful on your bathroom bench’ but take a more cosmetic and superficial approach in the formulation they develop, and tend to contain a lot of synthetic ingredients, fillers and fragrances that our skin’s function don’t really relate to and can be toxic or harmful to our bodies.”


“These products also come with a high price point but what’s in the bottle doesn’t always equate to the cost or types of ingredients used. Thus, making the return on investment or results not always worth the high price point.”


“Over the last decade we have seen an increase in cosmeceutical grade skincare products becoming more readily available to the consumer, some matching the high price points of the well known cosmetic brands. But the difference to cosmetic products is, most of the cosmeceutical products being formulated today contain high quality, potent percentages of active ingredients that the skin’s function can relate to. Within these formulations are also a superior delivery system to optimise the delivery of its actives and increasing the efficacy and results.”


“In addition to the result-driven formulations many of the cosmeceutical manufacturers have also realised that the consumer is not only wanting results from the formulations in their bottle but looking for products that reflect a luxury aesthetic. So, to capitalise on the aesthetics of the luxury cosmetic brands, many cosmeceutical labels have been moving away from the traditional medical/clinical packaging and designing luxury or more trendy packaging to house their formulations. Giving the consumer the benefits and results of an active cosmeceutical formulation, but still looking beautiful and luxurious.”

“Some products also come with a high price point but what’s in the bottle doesn’t always equate to the cost or types of ingredients used. Thus, making the return on investment or results not always worth the high price point.”

Douglas Pereira


“When it comes to the consumer investing in luxury skincare the most important thing is to invest into products that are formulated with proven applied sciences, quality ingredients of the correct percentages and that have an effective delivery system. This combination will support the transformations results equating into the investment made into luxury skincare.”


“We all want to achieve maximum results from the investment made into our skincare regimes, so, when I have a client that is working to a budget, I like to keep things real. And find a solution that best fits my client’s budget. Firstly, I like to discover their key concerns and what they would like to improve with their skin health. I will then always show them my recommended complete skincare regime and explain how each product will benefit their skin.

Once they have a clear understanding about the complete regime, I will then discuss with them if the investment is within their budget, if the investment is over budget, we then together start a process of elimination and prioritise the most beneficial products recommended.”


“Generally, I always suggest focusing on the serums. I have always said ‘the work engine of any skincare regime is the active serums’, so, this is a great starting point in any skincare regime. I will then recommend a more cost-effective alternative for the product we have eliminated, sometimes these products may not even be from my range. Most of the time this is the cleansers, moisturisers, and sun protection products.

I always say to my clients ‘you can always build on your regime as your budget permits, having a few products of quality going on your skin is better than nothing at all, or a product that is not going to improve your skin health’.”


“Like anything of quality and luxury it comes with a cost even at the manufacturing level. When you are producing a product backed by science, containing high end, high percentage actives and an effective delivery system within the formulation, and presenting products in luxury level packaging, it will be costly to produce.

A lot of people say to me, ‘you are the manufacturer of your products, you must be making a huge profit’. Yes, the profits are great, but because we source the best of the best quality ingredients from all around the world this comes with a price tag, not to mention the cost of freight at the present time.”


“When we are formulating our products, we also need to keep in mind the cost of a product for manufacturing and what the end price will be for the consumer. If money was not an option, we could use only the best and most expensive ingredients in all our formulations. But this is not always realistic, so sometimes we need to look at alternative more cost-effective solutions that will give us the best results possible and making the product more affordable for the consumer.

If we take a careful and calculated approach to our formulations without compromising quality and results, we will always see a profitable return. And amazing skin health results.”


“From my evolving experiences over the last 12 years with my own range I would highly recommend clinics and salons embarking on the adventure of an in-house range of skincare. It brings broader skincare solutions for their clients and creates a point of difference for their business. Not only that, but if done correctly it can increase profits. But this can only come with doing things right from the beginning and doing your research.”

This is a cut-down version of an article that originally appears in our July-August 2022 print issue.

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