At this point, we all realize that most personal care products on the market contain toxins that could be potentially hazardous to our health. We’ve all heard the outrageous facts about how little control the government has over ingredient regulation, but did you know that there is less regard to product marketing?
It’s not enough to simply commit to using organic or non-toxic products anymore. In terms of regulations, skin care companies are not held to any standard when it comes to product marketing. Companies can create a compelling infomercial about the amazing benefits of antioxidants in their “natural” product and never once mention the slew of carcinogenic toxins lurking in the rest of the formulation. Or they can use misleading claims on their product packaging.
The industry has made the term “beauty secrets” endearing and playful, but we think otherwise. What secrets are beauty companies keeping from you? Is it that they put lead in their lipstick? Is that they’re testing their products on animals? Is it that their cosmetic line contains Bismuth Oxychloride that could be the possible cause of your acne? You can no longer take commercials, magazine editorials, or product marketing at face value. In this confusing, and often times overwhelming industry, you must ask questions, do your own research, and ask more questions to become your own expert. We each have skin that is unique to us, so who better to be the expert about you?!
Be Wary of Natural Marketing Claims
Many products on the market will use words like “all-natural” to describe their product, but while it might sound healthy, it doesn’t have any indication as to what is inside. It takes only one plant-based ingredient for a product to be called “natural.” We urge you to remove “natural” from your vocabulary, because poison ivy and lead are “natural” ingredients and definitely not something we want to rub on our skin. Instead look for products that use the words “organic” and “non-toxic.”
Look Beyond the Hero Ingredient
There are always trends in the marketplace and right now the buzz-worthy ingredients are CoQ10, Antioxidants, Moroccan Argan Oil and Hyaluronic Acid, to name a few. Commercials, print ads, and product packaging call consumer attention to these hero ingredients (and for good reason), but say little about the rest of the product formulations. It’s important that you look beyond the hero ingredient, because the rest of the formula could be doing more harm than good or be keeping the great ingredients from doing their job. Recently saw a product that was simply called Moroccan Argan Oil. However, when I read the label it took quite some time to find argan oil listed in the ingredients. It was WAY down on a LONG list of other not so "natural" ingredients!
Beware of Clinical Testing Claims
Not a skin care commercial goes by without some sort of clinical testing claim. There are numerous reasons for a company to tout claims like “clinically validated” or “clinically proven results,” but their most important job is to instill confidence in the consumer. But what do we really know about clinical tests? The simple answer it not much. Companies are not required to share the documentation or findings of their studies. Nor are there standards in which a trial must be performed. They can use as few or as many people and over any duration of time. It’s most important to remember that our skin is unique to us. What might work for one person, or 100 people studied, may not work for you. Again, it is up to you to be your own expert about your skin.
Not everyone dishing out advice or “facts” is an expert. I like to keep up with other products and how they are marketed so I routinely peruse the aisles of some well known retail stores. When I asked for their natural and organic lines they quickly showed me several, however, when I read the ingredients it was far from it! The salesperson just shrugged off my concerns. The same goes for television interviews, magazine articles, and product reviews. No matter how confidently something is written or said, make sure you do some research before you take it as proven fact.
But how do you determine if a marketing claim or something you read is not the whole truth? Reading ingredient labels is a great place to start to see if you notice a red-flag ingredient. You can also research your product on the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to see how they have rated the product in terms of its toxicity.
Before spending you hard earned $$$$$ make sure you know what you are getting!!