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Cosmetics: A Long Tradition of Ignoring Common Sense

How old is the complicity between cosmetic companies and the press? Very old. Take a look at an excerpt from this article titled “The Poisonous Beauty Advice Columns of Victorian England.”



“Glass and tin bottles hide snug in a case, waiting for a woman’s daily ritual. She reaches for a bottle of ammonia and washes it over her face, careful to replace the delicate glass stopper. Next, she dips her fingertips into the creams and powders of her toilet table, gravitating toward a bright white paint, filled with lead, which she delicately paints over her features. It’s important to avoid smiling; the paint will set, and any emotion will make it unattractively crack.”


YIKES! The article goes on to explain how women would nibble on arsenic wafers to get a very pale skin tone and acheive a “near death” look. This may seem crazy to us now, but it was all the rage less than two centuries ago. Don’t think for a moment that this type of marketing is isolated to the cosmetics industry. Chocolate lovers were tricked in the same way that many skin care buyers have been again and again. Slick marketing from Mast Brothers Chocolate (see articles HERE) set out to trick consumers into thinking the company was providing something rare and costly. They were simply remelting other companies’ chocolate and saying they were “bean-to-bar” chocolatiers. It is true that liars are eventually caught, but in the meantime they make lots of money at the expense of good people, and they leave everyone with the sour taste of feeling cheated.

What to do? How do you protect yourself from these marketing tactics? Simply put, do not trust the magazines or newspapers that depend on advertising for their livelihood! They can’t bite the hand that feeds them…

Who can you trust, then? Skin Actives, for sure.

Beauty brands don’t even bother any more with “genesis stories”. Now they just go for a good name and a photogenic owner. The new brand Pestle & Mortar is selling a Pure Hyaluronic Serum for $69 per ounce (30 ml) with a nice free advertisement in New York Times, the same newspaper that brought you Freeze 24/7.

Instead of falling into the trap, get SAS’ Dermagen at $30 for 4 fluid ounces and you get peptides included in the deal; and feel free to make fun of the people who bought into the gimmick.

-Dr. Hannah Sivak