If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Beauty brands (or any brands for that matter) know exactly what to say to get into your purse. They play to our weaknesses. Ruthless, but it sells. I found it so frustrating that brands would approach sales in this way, using our insecurities against us, until I came to a realisation. The only reason this marketing/sales tactic works is because we let it.
I only had to read the words ” look ten years younger in ten days ” and I would be reaching for my bank card. Or ” get the ultimate glow ” and my budget was out the window for that week. I was a marketer’s dream, and I had absolutely no idea!
That was until I happened to start working in a marketing department and soon became enlightened to the way products and services are marketed. Brands research the sh*t out of us, the consumers. They look into our weaknesses, our fears, our hopes, and dreams. They use this information to their advantage, saying all the right things (reminds me of my ex-boyfriend actually)
When I first discovered this absolute revelation, I was deeply offended. How dare they use our fear of aging against us? Our insecurities about our skin texture? What type of person would happily take our insecurities and turn them into financial gain? What an unsavory thing to do.
However, as time went by, I realised that the reason they did this, the reason they got away with it, is because we, the consumer, let them. We fuelled the fire. Our desperation, gullibility, self-confidence, wanted so badly to believe the claims, that our common sense didn’t stand a chance.
That’s what the marketing claims are for. They are there solely to get our attention. The beauty industry is saturated. The competition is rife. The beauty companies need to get noticed, grab our attention, in order to make sales.
Yet how can they get away with such ludicrous claims?
Every country has a regulatory board within the beauty and cosmetics industry. The main purpose of this board is to make sure that the beauty products are safe for use. That’s the priority, and rightly so.
It seems the regulatory boards are not as strict when it comes to marketing claims. Whilst they will question some of the more ridiculous, marketers have become very clever with terminology, and are managing to get away with rather exaggerated promises.
There have been a whole host of ludicrous claims over the years, particularly in the beauty industry, but below are a few of my favourites and my thoughts on each one.
- “Botox in a bottle”: Unless you are going to pour the contents of that bottle into a syringe and inject it into your face, it is not Botox in a bottle.
- “Clinically proven”: By which clinic? How large was the test group? Was this an independent study? Where exactly is the evidence?
- “Needle-less filler”: Topical skincare does not penetrate the skin deep enough to have any chance at ‘filling’ anything.
- “Dermatologist approved”: By which dermatologist? I could go and pay a dermatologist to approve a new formula every day of the week.
It is thought that these claims are that exaggerated, the regulatory boards refer to them as ‘fluffery’, and believe that consumers will take them with a pinch of salt. That common sense will prevail. Therefore, the claims are harmless.
However, what they don’t take into account, is our insecurities. Many of us have been at a low point with our skin. This could be due to aging, pigmentation, texture, blemishes, and so on. We have all struggled with some form of skin concerns, and we have all felt desperate.
When feeling desperate, common sense takes a back seat. We want to believe the claims. We want to achieve “perfect skin in 7 days”. So we ignore the quiet little voice telling us the claims are ludicrous, and we purchase anyway.
Do Your Research.
Whilst not all claims are bogus or exaggerated, many are, so to avoid getting attention grabbed by clever terminology, do your research.
I get it, we are all short on time. We don’t want to have to conduct lengthy research just to buy a new serum. However, it may take 20 minutes out of your day, but it will save you a tonne of cash and will mean you are making more informed purchasing decisions.
We have Google at our disposal. Any piece of information we require can be found with the tap of a button. There is a wealth of reviews online, and some really useful tools.
My favourite being incidecoder which is a fantastic tool that decodes any ingredient list. Simply copy and paste, and you will get an explanation of what each ingredient is, and what it is used for.
Whilst I wish marketing claims were regulated more severely, it, unfortunately, does not look like that is going to happen anytime soon, therefore we need to be a bit savvier when it comes to the terminology.
The beauty and cosmetics industry cannot sell products over the counter if the product can physically change your skin and cell structure. For this, it needs to be sold as a prescription-only product and is classified as a drug.
Over the counter beauty can only ‘improve the appearance’ of skin.
In addition, there is only so much skincare can do, whether it is over the counter or prescribed.
Obviously, I am a skincare nut and have experienced great improvements in the look of my skin through topical skincare, however, we need to have realistic expectations.
I would love nothing more than for a skincare product to make me look ten years younger, yet alas, that is unfortunately not going to happen!
Let’s embrace our flaws, our imperfect perfectness. Let’s stop being so hard on ourselves and use skincare for the right reasons. To enhance what we already have. As a form of self-care, and a little bit of enjoyment.
I will leave you today with what I say to my daughter when she asks me if she looks beautiful:
“Yes, you are beautiful. Not because you are wearing the lipstick you pinched from me, and not because you are wearing a new dress. The only thing you need to wear, to look beautiful, is a smile.”