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Beauty Dictionary: Efficacy

Beauty Dictionary: Efficacy

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You’ve probably heard this week's beauty dictionary term thrown around a lot —especially when people are chatting about skincare. It’s one of the hottest beauty buzzwords, but you might not get what its entire deal is.

The word: efficacy 

Also known as:  How well your beauty works 

What it means: When you see “efficacy” you probably think about “efficient” or “effective,” right? Well, you’re on the right track. Efficacy is basically a fancy term for saying the product does its job. Beauty founder and formulator Rachel Winard from Soapwalla explains, “Efficacy in skincare is one of the most important criteria to consider. Often skincare products promise a specific therapeutic effect on the skin (reduces redness, eliminates fine lines, heals scars, etc). Efficacy means that the product provides the desired results it promises.”

Efficacy is all about having products with formulas where the ingredients can actually penetrate deep into skin so you can actually see results when you look in the mirror. Silver Mirror Facial Bar co-founder Cindy Kim explains, “Skincare efficacy comes down to the delivery system of the ingredients in the product. There is no point in having a skincare product with wonderful skin healthy ingredients if those ingredients can’t reach the deeper layers of the skin where they can actually make an impact. Most brands with active ingredients and products back up their efficacy claims with studies, so if you’re all about results, make sure to look for and read up on the science behind the product!

When shopping for products, you obviously won’t find “efficacy” listed as an ingredient, but as Kim said, you can find effective products through researching the science behind them.

Shop it:

Dr. Brandt Power Dose Vitamin C ($69)

When they say that this is a power dose, they’re not kidding. This anti-aging product is packed with a whopping 20 percent vitamin C. The formula has been specifically designed so that the vitamin C will actually stay in the body to ensure maximum efficacy.

Dr. Brandt Power Dose Vitamin C


Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum ($80)

Everything from the formula to the packaging has been considered with Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma Day Serum to ensure maximum efficacy. The product has an airless pump which prevents the vitamin C from losing its efficacy. That means it’s at full fighting potential to tackle wrinkles and signs of UV damage.

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum

Equitance Brightening Serum & Spot Corrector ($125)

Don’t let the pretty tube fool you. This serum is powerful stuff. It’s formulated with microcapsules, AKA lposomes, which help delivery the exclusive blend of brightening ingredients. The combination of everything ensures maximum efficacy so you can say so long to dark spots. 

Equitance Brightening Serum & Spot Corrector

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