I've been receiving so many e-mails from you all that I decided to just do a series called Office hours on this blog and address some of the most common questions I am asked. Will do my best to update periodically.
Is it just good marketing or should I really change the products I use every season?
It's good marketing because it gets you out to purchase more products, but it's also true but not in the way you imagine. To be fair, you probably will be using different products in the summer and winter where in the summer you might feel a facial oil will suffice by itself yet in winter, you might want a moisturizer. But the way I prefer to see it is, the skin is so dynamic that it's needs are constantly changing as a response to your diet, lifestyle, environment, stress, climate and so forth. Therefore this entire idea of changing out products due to weather is such a small part of the overall picture. My advice: listen to your skin and what it needs on an ongoing basis.
What products can I save money on and where should I splurge?
This is quite different for everyone, for instance if you live somewhere like Miami or Hawaii you will definitely need a sunscreen that works with your skin regardless of price. If you're pretty young with oily yet problematic skin, indulging in a moisturizer like La Mer is counter productive yet you should purchase a really good acne treatment (even opting for organic Tea Tree Oil over regular Tea Tree Oil).
Generally, I believe there are 2 areas that are investments: your serum and your cleanser. Without a good cleanser, none of the other products you use will really get a chance to do their job so it's completely wasted time and money. Serums are the most active skincare products and they are the most concentrated, these are the products that make a difference in your skin so investing in this will more directly benefit your skin.
An area to save in my opinion is moisturizer. Moisturizers provide a barrier for your skin, other than that any additional benefits are secondary and pale in comparison to the activity found in serums. The best moisturizer should not clog your skin but should provide you with supple skin, beyond that there is no need to go for fancier ingredients.
Should men and women use different products?
Everyone, regardless of gender, should be using products suitable for their skin. In other words, I'd rather you consider products are being suitable for skin type rather than gender. Most of the men's lines on the market are marketed as gender-specific in order to draw in the hesitant male customer and there are no ingredients in there that for example will give a woman a beard if she uses it.
There are some generalities (as with all generalizations there are exceptions): men tend to have thicker and oilier skin caused by testosterone which means the products we use in general are lighter. Men should also exfoliate more (and we do through shaving). Besides that it's just everyone figuring out what works for them.
If you have any questions you'd like me to answer just leave them in the comments and I'll try to get to them for my next office hour!