What’s so bad about internet advice? It could be worse than you think.
When it comes to social media, following someone on good faith may be misplaced trust. It’s not that a popular blogger, YouTuber, or Instagrammer intends to hurt anyone. They probably don’t even know they’re making a mistake—and that’s a huge problem.Irresponsible info on the web can often be dangerous to follow. Click To Tweet
“I’ve bitten my tongue more times than I’ve corrected misinformation I see out there,” Kristen Arnett, founder of the Green Beauty Team and celebrity makeup artist, said. “Women are relying on these real people to give them real advice, only to see how very flawed (and sometimes downright unsafe) it actually is. It’s getting to the point where too many bloggers are basically employing the same unethical marketing practices that are what their followers were trying to avoid in the first place.”
A dangerous DIY
Here’s a prime example. My sister-in-law (who is a nurse, by the way) found this video tutorial that teaches how to make a DIY gel eyeliner with burnt almond ashes, coconut oil, and aloe vera gel. It sounds interesting, right? The recipe is definitely “all natural,” so what could be bad? Evidently a lot. When I posted it to the Green Beauty Insiders group, the authentic ingredients experts sounded the alarm.
Jessica Lee, founder of Stark Skincare, immediately chimed in: “Hmm…no preservative with an oil/water (the aloe gel) is a very bad idea… and that close to the eye is very dangerous!”
Lorraine Dallmeier, founder of Formula Botanica, cautioned similarly: “It looks pretty but unfortunately so many of these DIY recipes should not be put out on the Internet without serious warning labels. Particularly around the eye area this could cause serious infection. Let’s not forget that unpreserved cosmetics have even been known to blind people.”
Um…yeah. Not a good idea. The video claims that the recipe can be stored for six months safely. I wonder if the 8.5 million viewers took the above cautions into consideration before following instructions. Unfortunately, it is only one example of irresponsible information that’s packaged prettily but could cause harm.
What to do instead?
So how do people like us protect ourselves from bad advice?
- Follow the 6 rules for a safe DIY.
- As I mentioned in a previous post, double check facts. Don’t assume that a blogger or pretty Instagrammer knows skin—or even knows how to properly use a beauty product. And certainly don’t jump on those enticing roundups in the magazines. Research them and ask these questions.
- Seek professional guidance for beauty and skin. Check out these three talented, gracious, and eco-conscious MUA’s that are trustworthy and work both in-person and online, so it doesn’t matter where you’re located. Check out this list!
- Join discussion groups like the one led by Cindy Bokma of The Green Beauty & Wellness Blog and me called the Green Beauty Insiders and All Things Organic, started by the knowledgeable founder of Bubble & Bee, Stephanie Greenwood. Raise topics that are on your mind and ask specific questions.
- Contact brands you’re interested in and ask pointed questions about sourcing and ingredients. If they’ve got nothing to hide, they will get back to you with a clear and non-evasive answer. If they don’t, red flag them. Learn from Nic’s experience here.
- Follow DIY recipes from reliable sources like DIY Beauty Diva and download the BeautyCraft app.
A double dose of healthy skepticism is completely warranted and can protect you from a flawed DIY. This week, I’ll be sharing how a consultation with a makeup pro differs from a YouTube tutorial. It can actually save you money!
How do you protect yourself from flawed internet advice? Let us know in the comments.