Beauty Advice - who should you listen to?
- Magazines/Newspapers/Supplements want to sell more magazines, advertising and promotions.
- Bloggers/Vloggers want to gain more followers and some might like to monetise their blog/vlog and/or for it to become their full time career. Some have agencies that negotiate paid endorsements.
- Brands (including me) want to sell their products. Many employ huge numbers of beauty consultants to advise you on their products.
- Retailers advise via emails/store publications/in-store events/YouTube/TV channels to sell more products. Even those with unbranded sales staff, do have biases, commission. targets and incentives.
- Beauty events, hosted by brands, retailers, publications, and events companies, provide beauty advice and entertainment to drive your engagement and purchase
I am not making a judgement on the above though, you may want to consider some of the following, to decide how genuine and relevant the advice being provided, is for you;
- Everyone has to earn their living; that said, can you easily identify editorial (the writers opinion) from advertising? Paid promotions and paid endorsements/posts should be clearly flagged. While most writers wont rave about a product they really do not like, it is also a little difficult to be disparaging about a product you have been paid to endorse/advertise.
- Be aware that one persons love is another persons loathe and vice verse. Just because a writer says they did not like a product, does not mean that you wont get results. Just because one person does not like a particular ingredient or type of product, does not mean that plenty of others will not get desirable results. On the other hand, if a very influential writer says something is the best thing since sliced bread, don't feel obliged to buy it if it is not relevant to your skin or to persevere using it if it does not deliver results for you, for fear of being the only person on the planet, not 'on trend'.
- Look out for consistent tone in each publication/site. Is it personal? Does it sound like a real person? Does it actually explain the rationale behind the advice? Does it sound like the writer actually used the product themselves; for how long; and if not, do they tell you someone else tried it for them? Does the language have personality, appear as though it was researched or a copy of a press release?
- What kind of comments does it get? What proportion commenting, sound like other customers vs. industry people?
- What kind of humour is used? Is it respectful or ranty and critical? Does it overshadow the actual information?
- Is the brand (people like me) making their products sound good by being critical of other brands/products? Or do they spend a lot of effort telling you their products work because of what they did not put in them (nasties) rather than what they did put in them that actually gives the results? Do they over claim? Do they substantiate claims with objective rather than subjective test results or anecdotal evidence only? Do they share ingredient lists on their website and generally are transparent about the formulae?
- Do the Beauty Advisors/Consultants, ask you lots of questions about your skin needs and make product recommendations/demonstrations, relating it back to your answers? Or do they just show you the newest or focus product regardless? If non-branded sales staff, do they guide you towards the most expensive products in the store; do they speak about the product from personal experience or 'lots of customers buy this' (making you feel left out!)
- What is the balance between non advertising vs. advertising brands, that have products featured on the editorial pages/sites.
- Are the price points that the magazine/site/shop tends towards, realistic for your budget and provide you with the value that you need. We have been trained to think that the more you pay, the better something is and after 34 years in the industry, I can promise you, it is simply not true. Might be some of the reason we feel we are in 'rip-off Britain'. More on what dictates the price positioning of products in another post.
Considering all of that in a balanced way, there is a lot of good advice out there in magazines, blogs, vlogs, brands, shops, online titles etc. so don't be put off. In addition, your friends/family and other customer reviews are most likely to provide information, recommendations and advice that is unbiased, based on personal experience and with some knowledge of you, if friends/family. There has been some controversy recently about some company's writing customer reviews themselves. I can only speak for myself and promise you that every customer review on my website is genuine, from a customer or product tester and I have not paid anyone for those reviews. Lastly and most importantly, you have the most insight and knowledge about your skin and how it behaves - the clues are all there. Distill the information provided and apply if relevant, to your own skin concerns, time available, motivation, budget and lifestyle. Ask lots of probing questions. Make sure that what you read does not encourage you to feel less confident about the way you look, or find even more 'problems' with your looks/skin, or feel more pressured to attain a beauty 'ideal' or set unrealistic 'beauty' goals or to spend more than you are comfortable with on any item. At 52 years old I can tell you that each time I look back on photos of me 5-10 years previous, I wonder why I was so critical of my looks then and wish I looked that good now. We've probably all done it and we all need to develop a core of inner self confidence, that encourages us to start appreciating our bodies, faces, emotions and brains more and that, will lead us to more realistic beauty goals, such as 'ageing youthfully' rather than 'anti-ageing.
My hashtag is #beautyhasnoage and I really believe it and if you do, please help me to spread the news.