Do you ever wish the beauty world would quit the marketing hype and dish some straight talk about skin? I still remember how many articles there used to be about coconut oil as the panacea for all that ails us, kinda like the way the dad used Windex on everything from zits to bad moods in the sleeper hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Then later, once we faithfully followed their advice and smeared ourselves in jars of coconut oil, we discovered that it isn’t actually the best option for facial skin—nor is Windex for that matter.
If you’re one of those people (like me!) who is forever intrigued by the latest discovery that the beauty editors are swearing by—then read on. Eventually, I learned that the goal of a beauty editor is not to find you something that will work, but to sell magazines. It’s the same with online beauty sites, except they’re eager for you to click on their links, so they bait us with attention-generating headlines that are rarely followed by solid content.
When these sites recommend a product, it’s likely that it landed on the writers’ desks only a few days earlier with instructions to come up with a promotional piece about it after rubbing it on their hands once or twice. There’s a slim chance they ever really put it to the test before the deadline. It goes back to the quote I used by Adina Grigore here that most of our skincare advice comes from someone trying to sell us something…and I might add, someone who doesn’t really understand how skin works.
Now I make sure to fact check with these questions before buying into their advice. Ultimately, I trust my intuition more than ever, so if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Plus skin is so personal and so condition specific, most generic advice needs to be read with a strong filter. I could have saved myself a pile of money by not buying into their consumer traps!
What’s the one thing you wish the beauty mags would tell us about skincare but don’t?
For this post, I asked six knowledgable skincare experts for the one thing they wish the press would talk about when it comes to skincare—but don’t. I selected this panel of experts based on the type of advice they do give. It’s the stuff the mainstream media don’t want you to know because it would actually stop you from hypnotically clicking the shop button. That’s not to say that you’re going to want to stop shopping (my husband’s dream come true!). Actually, they help you consume intelligently, without throwing away your dollars on the latest fad.
Here’s what these wise skintrepreneurs had to say to my question. I thank each of them for their contribution to this post.
Nadine Artemis, Living Libations: skin type hype
Ava Zhan, Earthwise Beauty: topical treatment fails and what to do next
There is a group of customers whose skin problems do not go away despite trying different products, internal supplements, and even medication. While a highest quality organic skin-care regime can make a huge difference for many types of skin concerns, if the external steps do not work, or do not work permanently, it means that the issues come from an internal health imbalance. Acne, eczema, excessive oil production, extreme skin dryness, deep premature wrinkles can often be corrected with the help of an experienced alternative medicine practitioner.
My favorite modalities that I have seen truly help are:
- Chinese acupuncture in conjunction with practitioner-prescribed Chinese herbs
- Naturopathy (naturopaths can test for heavy metals, fungi, bacteria, and allergies)
- Homeopathy (the stubborn acne I suffered from in my late twenties and early thirties cleared after my first homeopathic treatment)
- Flower essence treatment (this is a relatively unknown, emerging field, but experienced practitioners do exist; particularly helpful if long-standing skin issues may be related to trauma or our emotions).
I am not advocating for self-selecting herbs for a range of reasons. One: it is hard to be objective and select for ourselves. Two: a practitioner can make a diagnosis, and this way save us money in the long run and achieve results faster. And three: there is lots of misinformation regarding herbs. That is why it is best to leave the prescribing to someone who has studied herbalism formally.
Vered Back, Vered Organic Botanicals: chronic conditions
Celestyna Higgins, Moss Skincare: ingredients and results
What I wish magazines talked about: INGREDIENTS and RESULTS. I guess that’s two things. Sorry, I’m bad at following instructions. For ingredients, I still see a huge lack of knowledge, especially with the “unsexy” ingredients like emulsifiers, stabilizers and preservatives. People will write to me confusing cetearyl alcohol with cetyl alcohol (not the same thing). They will also confuse these (since they contain the word “alcohol”) with the alcohol that MOST people think of when they hear the word alcohol: the drying, antiseptic liquid. Cetearyl alcohol is actually a white, waxy, solid material used as an emulsifier and emollient —it is the opposite of drying! There are a TON more examples I can give, but that’s just one. Another area that can be addressed is when people will choose a less safe/less effective/less pleasant “natural” option over a more safe/more effective/more pleasant synthetic option—I don’t care if you do, but know why you’re doing it and what the actual risks/context/environmental impact actually is. I would love magazines to maybe include an ingredient spotlight section every month—the same way they do horoscopes. Just a brief paragraph each for 3-10 ingredients, their uses, etc. But that’s boring, especially if the ingredients are not sexy new actives. Not good magazine fodder.
Jacine Greenwood, Roccoco Skincare: the truth about oil cleansing
Laurel Shaffer, Laurel Whole Plant Organics: sourcing ingredients
What are some other skincare truths you wish the press would start talking about? How about less hype and more substance?
Have you entered this giveaway yet? You’ve got until 11/3 at midnight!