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How do you change someone’s mind about a bad beauty product?

Anonymous asks…My partner both uses and (attempts to) distribute Nu Skin/Pharmanex/Epoch/LifePak products. I don’t know how he started but he says it was related to his contact dermatitis on his hands and needing better moisturizer. The products are 5x the price of high street products, and they make a lot of outlandish claims. I think he’s effectively wasting his money in a huge way and also possibly harming himself. He buys -every- product of theirs, not just ones for hand moisturizing as he originally started with.  How can I convince him he’s not using miracle products like he thinks he is and that they are not worth 5x the price of other products? 

The Beauty Brains respond:

Perry and I have discussed your problem and it’s not an easy one to solve. If your partner is as set in his ways as you make it sound then there’s probably little you can do to change his opinion. But there is one little test you can do to assess his open mindedness and to establish a possible plan of action. Just ask him the following question:

“What would it take to convince you to change your mind about these products?”

His answer will probably fall into one of four categories and then you can respond accordingly. (I’m paraphrasing his potential responses, of course.)

Answer 1: “Nothing will ever change my mind.”

Your action: Now you know that you’re just wasting your breath. If he’s that closed minded then it’s highly unlikely that anything you say or do will get him to change his opinion.

Answer 2: “I need to see scientific research that has tested these products against others.”

Your action: This answer gives something you can sink your teeth into. To start, you two can agree on one or two products to evaluate. Then, based on a review of the ingredients, you can look at the scientific literature to see what is known about this kind of product. (Once you agree on the specifics from him, we’d be glad to help with this part.)

Answer 3: “I need to see for myself that there’s really no difference between these products and others.”

Your action: If he’s open minded in this regard, we can help you set up an experiment where he blindly evaluates one of his products compared to another brand. (It may not be possible to completely blind him to which product is which but you can make it hard for him to know which is which. If he’s true to his word then he’ll have to change his mind if he can’t tell a difference between the two.

Answer 4: “I need to hear from other people who have used these products and decided that they’re not worth it.”

Your action: You may be able to find product reviews or a forum discussion featuring input from former users of his brands. This one may be more of a long shot but if he hears the truth from other people, instead of just you, maybe he’ll be convinced.

I hope this helps. Like I said, this is going to be tough! But depending on this answer to “The Question” we’d be glad to help you take further steps to convince him. Let us know how it turns out!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • BitterAlmonds August 16, 2014, 6:17 pm

    In my experience this advice absolutely doesn’t work. When you ask that question to someone who’s that brand-loyal and they give you any of those answers, they’re not inviting you to prove them wrong; if anything, they want you to prove them right. I doubt your partner particularly wants his mind changed if he’s that evangelical about it.
    That said, that doesn’t mean that you have to resign yourself to letting this slide. I think a much more effective way would be to find stuff with a similar formulation that’s cheaper/has a better scent/also comes in a line so he can say ‘this line of products will solve all your problems’. Tell him that you found this cool new thing that is a lot like the stuff he already loves but it’s cheaper/has a better scent/has cooler packaging/is more readily available. Just keep in mind that whatever you do, there is a non-zero chance that anything you say won’t get through his brand loyalty. He might agree to try something and then decide to switch back because ‘it just doesn’t work as well’ (whether it does or not).
    Best of luck to you, Letter Writer.

  • Pilgrim September 27, 2015, 9:14 pm

    i have seen otherwise very intelligent people get suckered into MLM/pyramid/ponzi schemes. the mlms target an emotional vulnerability and zoom right in.