The 3 biggest lies cosmetic companies tell you

Kris’ question… I’m testing out Arbonne right now, but am thinking I can’t afford it. My mother-in-law is a “beauty consultant” for BeautiControl and they seem to have a pretty extensive line of skin care products. Do you know anything about the quality of their line (I’m looking mainly at cleansers, toners, anti-aging products and moisturizers) and/or can you recommend any of their products?

The Left Brain Lashes Out:

I’m surprised anyone can afford Arbonne! Just kidding. Based on what I’ve seen, the Beauticontrol products seem to be of reasonable quality. They’re also very pricey, but if you afford them, that’s your decision.

What bugs me, and the reason that I would not recommend them, is the way the company hypes their products. I understand the need for creative marketing, but when a company makes statements that border on untrue, that disturbs me. I just hate being lied to and I REALLY hate being lied to under the guise of science. To me there’s at least 3 tip offs when a company is stretching the truth about their products. Let me give you some examples using Beauticontrol:

Lie #1: Claims of Exclusivity

What’s the lie – they tell that “only” their products can give you a certain benefit.

What’s the truth – the truth is, unless they have a patent or a documented trade secret, they’re using the same technology as everyone else in the industry.

What’s the example -Beauticontrol says “only BeautiControl offers comprehensive, customized skin care that addresses what your skin needs¦when it needs it.” Based on their product catalog they appear to have typical cleansers, toners, lotions, etc. that are offered by many, many other companies. Why do they say “only” Beauticontrol offers this kind of treatment?

Lie #2: Implying Superior Performance without Substantiation

What’s the lie – they tell you their product works better than anyone else’s.

What’s the truth – if they make claims like that they’d better have some kind of proof.

What’s the example – Beauticontrol says “Far beyond traditional dry, combination and oily skin care, BeautiControl takes an innovative, personal approach, to provide total skin wellness through.” Blah, blah blah. Again, with conventional products there is no way they can convince me that their products are far beyond traditional ones. Yes, they may be applying a different marketing spin, but there is no technology muscle behind their mouth.

Lie #3: “Magic” Ingredient Claims

What’s the lie – they say that some sexy sounding ingredient makes the product work.

What’s the truth – in reality, most of the time it’s the formula as a whole and not any single ingredient that makes the product work.

What’s the example – Beauticontrol says one of their products is “formulated with the rejuvenating minerals of the Dead Sea.” Minerals don’t rejuvenate skin, moisturizing agents do.

Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, maybe Beauticontrol isn’t “lying” to us (I’m going to catch hell from the Right Brain for this post!) but they certainly are overstating the uniqueness of their line. And as a scientist, that kind of hype turns me off.

For more about Arbonne products see this post.