Are you falling for common marketing ploys found on most top skin care product labels? Let's find out.
If aren’t privy to Paula Begoun, it’s time to introduce you. Author of multiple beauty books, Begoun is one of the top sources in beauty ingredient knowledge. She doesn’t beat around the bush when reviewing products. If the ingredients inside the bottles won't actually do what the companies say they will do, she lets us know. You don't need to know what each ingredient means; that's what Paula is for.
Here are my favorite five marketing tricks found on many top skin care products that Paula Begoun busts for us.
FALSE! When you hear the word “cosmeceutical”, you think cosmetics plus pharmaceutical, therefore it must be better for your skin, right? The fact is, simple ingredients make a good product. The term “cosmeceutical” is purely a marketing ploy to make you think spending money on something that sounds medical is a better idea. The FDA doesn’t recognize cosmeceutical as even existing and considers the term as nothing more than a good marketing term.
FALSE! First, did you know that there are no regulations on the term “natural”? That means that any product can say it’s natural, no matter what’s in the bottle. Shocking, isn’t it? We as consumers are drawn to products claiming to be full of natural ingredients, but Begoun points out that natural products aren’t always the best for our skin. Synthetic ingredients can be great for our skin, but we don’t have that drive to buy them when they are next to the product claiming to have mostly plant or fruit extracts. Begoun lists a group of natural ingredients that can be irritating to your skin, as well as a list of ingredients that you should look for when looking for natural products.
FALSE! This is always a shock to many. Did you know that “Dermatologist Recommended” or “Dermatologist Tested” simply means that as little as one dermatologist tried this product or used it on a patient and were happy with the results? This is another marketing slogan to get us to buy their product.
FALSE! Another marketing slogan! Again, there are no FDA regulations for this term which again means that any company can put it on their bottles and market it as such. Think about it; one person’s allergies are different from the next. What makes one person break out could be fine for someone else, even if they have allergies. Look at the labels and see what’s in it. If you break out from it, steer clear from other products using the same ingredients or go visit your dermatologist for help narrowing down what is causing your breakouts.
FALSE! You hear it everywhere, especially for those who make ‘natural’ products; mineral oil is bad because it comes from crude oil and it suffocates the skin by forming an oil film. We’ve all heard it, right? Begoun calls this accusation “maddening. Cosmetics-grade mineral oil and petrolatum are considered the safest, most nonirritating moisturizing ingredients ever found. Yes, they can keep air off the skin to some extent, but that’s what a good antioxidant is supposed to do; they don’t suffocate skin! Moreover, petrolatum and mineral oil are known for being efficacious in wound healing, and are also considered to be among the most effective moisturizing ingredients available.”
Cosmetics & Toiletries, Jan 2001, page 79
Cosmetic Dermatology, September 2000, pages 44-46
Cosmetics & Toiletries, February 1998, pages 33-40)