Reasons Why We Believe All the Myths About Cosmetic Products.


Reasons Why We Believe All the Myths About Cosmetic Products.

I’m often asked why we believe all of this foolishness, given the copious amounts of information to the contrary and the endless redundancy.

How many anti-wrinkle products can an industry launch until we realize they just can’t live up to their claims, especially since they keep on creating new ones?

Here we are, thousands upon thousands of products later, and we still wonder which one works.

Even the cosmetics companies themselves don’t believe their own half-truths and party lines, or they wouldn’t keep creating new products with the same old claims if the ones they launched earlier really worked.

Our willingness to believe the ads and celebrities and the infomercials and the cosmetics salespeople, not to mention the aestheticians and the dermatologists, all selling some new miracle product has little to do with being foolish or unintelligent.

It is much more complicated than that, both from emotional and sociological perspectives.

There are extremely compelling reasons why we get taken in by empty, meaningless ads and claims time after time.

For women (and to some degree men) our skin tells the world where we stand in terms of beauty and age, and in nearly every culture around the world being young and attractive is a strong part of a person’s identity and societal status.

Skin displays the ravages of time, via sun damage, gravity, and genetically determined signs of aging, well before any of us want to see it.

For women in cultures around the world, flawless and wrinkle-free skin on the face is considered an obligatory component of beauty.

Thus begins our quest to achieve what women the world over want, to look and feel beautiful.


For the most part, skin-care products and, more specifically, wrinkle creams feel good and take very good care of the skin.

  • We all need to clean our faces, and many of us have to fight dry, oily, or combination skin.
  • Most sunscreens work, many acne products can have benefits, and there are products with elegant, brilliant formulations.
  • One way or another, without skin-care products we would be left with more problems than we started with.
  • So, the reason we buy the stuff in the first place is because a lot of these products take great care of our skin.
  • They don’t perform the miracles they suggest; they aren’t worth the big bucks they frequently cost, but in general, they do help.
  • The fact that lots of skin-care products perform well can lead one to believe that another brand or price range may perform even better and this is where the seduction begins.


Even though many skin-care products do their job, many also fail miserably.

  • Women frequently buy the wrong products for their skin type, and more often than we’d like to think the formulations are so irritating and poorly conceived they cause complications, making matters worse, or, at the very least, they simply do not eliminate the skin problems they were bought for.
  • That’s why so many women are constantly searching for the right products and making constantly changing choices.
  • They believe the right products for their skin type are out there somewhere if only they could find them.
  • Skin problems are recurrent headaches.
  • It is the rare individual who doesn’t have to be concerned about acne, wrinkles, dry skin, oily skin, irritation, or a combination of these.
  • Almost no one has perfect skin, but perfect skin is what we are all after.


Beauty myths die a long, hard death.

  • Once we believe something about our skin (dry skin causes wrinkles, everyone needs a moisturizer, face creams can’t be used on other parts of the face or neck, natural ingredients are better for skin than synthetically derived ones, and on and on), it is very hard to change our minds.
  • I bust many myths throughout this book, but they are endless, and the industry relentlessly and continually hammers them into our heads so that letting go of them is almost impossible.
  • It takes information, and some of that information is boring, technical, and hard to grasp.
  • But once you’ve mastered some of the basics, none of the bogus facts you hear or see will catch you off guard again.


Everything the ads, brochures, and cosmetics salespeople tell us sounds very convincing.

  • Given the amount of money cosmetics companies spend on packaging, promotions, and advertising, it should
  • Just remember that all that glitter is not gold.
  • The glitter and shine at the cosmetics counters sure look like gold, but it rarely (if ever) is.
  • Do not be convinced again and again that because something “sounds” good, it is, or that expensive means better because it isn’t.


It is very difficult to believe cosmetics companies would deceive us, especially when what they are selling is so beguiling and beautifully packaged.

  • This desire to trust in a company’s higher purpose is part of what we all want to presume.
  • It is tiresome to be cautious about everything.
  • And the spokesmodels for these companies look so convincing and sweet; surely, they wouldn’t lie to us yet that is exactly what they are doing to one degree or another.
  • The empirical evidence as well as the vast amount of published research should convince us to be more circumspect.
  • After all, consider a cosmetics company that is selling 30 anti-wrinkle products.
  • They can’t believe their hype, since if even one of those products lived up to the claims why would they need the 29 other versions they sell?
  • Sure, some companies offer the same type of product for different skin types or personal preferences, and that’s fine.
  • It just doesn’t explain or justify dozens of other products making the same anti-wrinkle claims.


We want to believe that what they tell us is true.

  • It is reassuring to assume that the $10 $50 or $150 you just spent is somehow going to take care of your skin-care or makeup problems.
  • Surely all those scientists and dermatologists must have invented something that works by now.
  • We also want to believe that there are wrinkle creams that get rid of wrinkles astringents that close pores and lipsticks that last all day, but be skeptical.
  • If wrinkle creams can work, why do any of us have wrinkles?
  • If astringents or toners can close pores, why do any of us have open pores?
  • If lipstick really can last all day, why must we constantly reapply it?
  • It is OK to accept reality because being realistic will not make you any less beautiful or prevent you from taking good care of your skin.


Most cosmetics companies aren’t out and outlying to us but they aren’t telling the truth either.

  • Even the most extreme ads hedge their promises and claims with vague language that doesn’t say anything specific.
  • When you see an ad for a wrinkle cream that reduces fine lines, restores suppleness, and rejuvenates the skin, you must remember that any moisturizer can make that claim and not be lying.
  • The company may have a study showing that their skin-care product performed well, even though the study is paid for by the company selling the product, or was poorly controlled or designed, didn’t compare the product against a placebo or a competing brand, tested the products on ten or fewer women, and is little more than a publicity stunt.


Cosmetics salespeople are trained and paid to sell you their products and many do this very well.

  • By far the best tactic in cosmetics sales is to reinforce a woman’s
  • This emotional battleground is the salesperson’s best weapon and one that the consumer is least equipped to avoid or See if these routines sound familiar:
  • The salesperson reminds the consumer that she could look as good as some well-known celebrity or model.
  • The salesperson offers a lipstick and says, “This product is used by [insert name of a well-known celebrity or model].”
  • What Oprah or Jennifer Aniston uses is something we pay attention to, as is evidenced in fashion magazine after fashion magazine.
  • The salesperson helps the consumer notice all the problems her skin is having (after all, she’s the expert—she’s supposed to notice these problems).
  • She may ask, “Aren’t you concerned about how dry your skin is, particularly around your eyes?”
  • or “You aren’t using a special serum [shocked reaction]?
  • Everyone needs a special serum to protect their skin from the environment, stress, hormones, or ”
  • The salesperson suggests that if a woman continues to make the same skin-care mistakes over and over, she will pay for it down the road:
  • You can’t start too soon using this product because it can only get worse if you wait, and then it may be too late to do anything about it.
  • Time is of the essence, so act now is the pitch we’ve all run into if we’ve spent any time at a cosmetics counter or listening to a cosmetics sales spiel on television.
  • It is essential to know that cosmetics salespeople are not necessarily trained in skincare or makeup; they are trained to sell products.
  • To assume these people, have scientific or basic skin knowledge is a serious mistake.
  • A 1992 study by the city of New York’s Department of Consumer Affairs assessed the statements and claims made by cosmetics salespeople and stated that “more than one in three [cosmetics salespeople] stretched the truth beyond recognition, making claims the company attorneys would never ”
  • Another one-third gave ambiguous or cryptic responses to skin-care questions, and the rest just recommended products.


It’s hard to question the advice you receive from a cosmetics representative of any kind.

  • For one thing, it isn’t customary for women to refute or challenge what they hear, either directly or indirectly.
  • Asserting your doubts and scrutinizing what you are told when dealing with cosmetics salespeople (or any salesperson) is difficult, but once you do, you will start noticing that the information being doled out is baseless and mostly unbelievable.
  • As you start questioning what you hear, the salesperson inevitably gets caught in the pretense and fumbles about, trying to find a plausible explanation.
  • For example, next time a cosmetics salesperson or aesthetician tells you the product they want you to buy gets rid of wrinkles ask them what all the other “anti-wrinkle” products they sell are for.
  • Once you’ve finished reading this book, you will know more than most of the women and men selling makeup and skin-care products.


Fashion magazines make everything sold by the cosmetics industry look and sound amazing.

  • Articles in fashion magazines almost without exception glorify cosmetics, with only occasional, buried hints of objectivity.
  • Cosmetics companies have a stranglehold on the way fashion magazines present information on skincare and makeup.
  • What makes this so pathetic is that reading fashion magazines is the primary way women get advice, news, and reports on their beauty needs.
  • Gloria Steinem, in an article in magazine, once explained why she would no longer accept advertisements for cosmetics.
  • She said her advertisers demanded that their ads be placed near compatible and positive editorial stories, that they must not be near material that challenged the nature of the product, and that stories in the entire magazine must not contain anything the advertiser found objectionable or displeasing.
  • That concisely explains why you never see a negative article about the cosmetics or fashion industry on the pages of fashion magazines.


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