Deceptive Marketing in Skin Care: What You Should Look Out For
Everybody wants to be more beautiful. It doesn’t matter what age, gender, or country you are from, everybody has their own standards of beauty that they believe in, and hope to uphold or adhere to. Of course, we can all agree that beauty is subjective.
One great improvement in the fashion industry is that they have come to realize that women of all ethnicities and sizes should be celebrated, as more ethnic and plus-size models can be seen in advertisements across the world. Just like any other industry, some countries are more progressive than others when it comes to their beauty standards.
Unfortunately, while the beauty and fashion industry have realized that there are customers that do not fit the “white skinny supermodel” version of beauty, the same kind of progress cannot be said for marketing in beauty products. It is very clear that beauty companies still use underhanded tactics when it comes to the customer, and if they are not outright deceiving the consumer, one can say that they are at the very least confusing them.
There is plenty of money in exploiting the need to be beautiful, and there are all sorts of companies with their own codes of ethics when it comes to all sorts of aspects, whether we are speaking about child labor or sustainability. However, consumers do keep falling victim to some of the same old tricks when it comes to skincare products.
One clear deception that is common is that they disguise the preservatives in their products.
Now, there are many people that may argue that there is nothing wrong with preservatives. In fact, there are many people who feel as if they are necessary to help the product be void of bacteria, for example. However, for those who DON’T want preservatives, they are regularly tricked into purchasing products that disguise the preservatives in their product by another name.
The company may call the preservative a skin tightener or an essential oil because they recognize that they could be missing out on customers by explicitly stating that the product contains multiple preservatives. Believe it or not, there are policies in place that allow companies to declare preservatives as “process aids”, which means that they do not actually need to declare them on the label.
Similarly, there are companies that are honest in the OPPOSITE fashion. How so? They may claim plainly that their product is “preservative free”. Now, while this may seem comforting to those who are trying to avoid preservatives, to the seasoned skin care consumer, this actually should raise an eyebrow. In fact, many customers should be MORE skeptical of this particular product, because it could mean that the product is potentially dangerous, if not dishonest.
This is because any product that contains water will on some level need preservatives to combat against mold and bacteria. So either the company is telling the truth, and the product is potentially harmful, or they are not telling the truth, and you are supporting a dishonest company.
Unfortunately, the regulation in the skin care industry isn’t where it should be.
Many people would argue that food companies could never do this, because, say – a peanut allergy could potentially lead to a life-threatening situation. A company who attempted to lie about its ingredients could potentially be the source of a class action lawsuit and worldwide media attention if it were so brazen and belligerent to blatantly lie about some of its main ingredients.
The dismal truth when it comes to the skin care industry is that many companies do have the audacity to lie. Why? Well, they are hoping that no one finds out. It would take someone actually testing the product in an analytical laboratory, to prove the company wrong. The company may hope that no one takes the time, money, or energy to do so. Of course, this is not ethical, but for some companies, the profit is all that matters.
The size of the industry is so massive that there is bound to be corruption. This, of course, is not comforting to the average consumer. The FDA has all sorts of loopholes and terms such as “cosmetic” and “cosmeceutical”, that are often confusing and contradictory. For example, many of the products are marketed as having a medicinal effect, while technically, a “cosmetic” should not have ANY effect. Of course, this is one of those strange grey areas that many advertisers and marketers can exploit, and they have.
One company was even fined an exorbitant amount of money for using prescription drugs in their products.
This may have made headlines, but it doesn’t change the fact that the company still made a massive amount of money on the product. This, of course, led to other companies following suit, once they saw that the FDA will only slap a company on the wrist for such an infraction.
In many ways, the entire industry operates in a very murky area ethically. We all know that cosmetic products of all sorts are marketed for men and women of all ages to improve their beauty in very specific ways, even if the FDA does not fully acknowledge this. Of course, when it comes to money, people are willing to look the other way. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t be an informed customer. You can choose to spend your money with a company that may not be perfect, but at the very least, has a basic set of ethics that matches yours as much as possible.
Here at COUI skincare, we are committed to being transparent about our ingredients, scientific research behind our formula and love for our customers' skins. We offer 100% of your money back should you find our product doesn’t meet your skin's needs. It is clear that companies have been deceptive, and will continue to be, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find the products that you deserve, if you take your skin seriously.