Why spending money on expensive beauty brands is stupid

why  “I like to have my money, right where I can see it: in my closet” – and not in my bathroom.

In my life there are only a few occasion, on which I leave the house without Make-up:

a) going for a run

b) getting fever-lowering medicine from the pharmacy/ going to hospital

c) picking up a family member or friend form the air port or train station in a car

I don’t think I am completely ugly without make-up but let’s just say there’s a significant positive effect of mascara, powder and lip gloss on my appearance. I like to use and buy all sorts of cosmetics like body lotion, face cream, toner etc. but my bathroom is probably as brand-abstinent (except for my John Frieda Shampoo & Conditioner) as it can get, unless you count ‘Boots’ as a brand or to say it with a SatC quote “I like to have my money, right where I can see it: in my closet” – and not in my bathroom.

It just seems as if I am pretty lonely out there with this attitude. The worldwide cosmetics industry generates an annual turnover of US$170 billion and especially (Haute) Couture Houses like YSL, Chanel and Dior acquire most of their profit through the so called “cashcows” perfumes, Make-up an High-end cosmetics. In fact, the High-end sector of the Cosmetics industry is doing very well -despite the recession.

As I am not against spending money on expensive clothes and shoes, why would I think it is wrong to splurge on a La-Mer moisturizer à 300 pounds?

I think that the cosmetics industry is, together with diet products an industry with massive misadvertisement and it seems as if most women are not aware of this. But if you question ads a little bit more, it’s quite obvious to see that cosmetics are most effective in terms of marketing and advertisement rather than improving your skin.

Let’s take anti-age products, for example:  independent scientific (not the ones conducted by the companies themselves) research couldn’t prove any significant effect of non-prescription cream on the reduction of wrinkles yet. The maximum that can be achieved is 10% reduction, which is not visible with the bare eye. On top of this, the effect will vanish as soon as the usage of the cream is being stopped and higher-priced products have not proven to be more effective than cheap ones. Yet, we get told, that these cosmetics make us look 10 years younger.

What about mascaras, eyeliners,  nailpolish and the other fun-stuff? Chanel nail polish and the famous Diorshow mascara seem much more desirable with their fancy ads in the glossies than their counterparts in the drug store at a quarter of the High-end price, yet most people don’t realize that there are simply not that many possibilities for mascara formula and brush and it’s very likely that they’re all the same with different marketing-budgets. The truth is, that there are no magic ingredients and secret formulas. A little bit Aloe Vera here and an electric mascara brush won’t really make a visible difference.

The same goes for all kinds of clear-skin wash, toner and lotion on the market. Spots are mainly caused by hormones and diet. It is highly doubtable that sea-weed extracts will work any better compared to just soap or a regular skin cleanser and water. (reducing your sugar, glucose content in your diet might help). This may be a little depressing and frankly it’s just really disappointing how ineffective most products are.

Alright, maybe some products are overpriced and ineffective but at least they’re not harmful, right? Here’s a video of someone, who disagrees:

Although I don’t agree with all the things that are shown and explained in this video I think that she’s right about the lacking  legal definition of “natural”and “herbal” and she’s also right that some of the ingredients are not exactly “good” for you and she also makes a good point about skin brightener and hair relaxants. I disagree with the picture that is given about everything being toxic and giving you cancer: some ingredients might be carcinogenic  in large doses, but it’s unlikely that extracts from it will cause cancer even if you use it every day. Also, the self-regulation in the cosmetics industry doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re approving everything. It might just be an attempt to avoid to not put a harmful product on the market to avoid lawsuits. Still, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that cosmetics ingredients are not accurately labeled and it’s worth checking out the contents before you use it.

So, no lipstick to treat yourself for the latest achievement in your life and  back to the Make-up free-anit-sex-object movement?

No, of course not. Make-up is fun and (if you stick to cheaper products) an inexpensive way to express yourself. No one has to give up on that. I just want to raise awareness towards the “lies” of the make-up and cosmetics industry and I want to make people rethink about the “quality” that they invest in. If your Chanel Nail polish makes you happy keep treating yourself to one from time to time. Just keep in mind that it is probably not better for you than the 1 pound nail-polish from a drug store. I am not an expert on this, but I have a feeling that basic products from small suppliers are healthier than the newest La Prairie super-ingredient. If we’re completely honest with beauty issues it’s the things that we refrain from, that will help us the most:

  • not exposing yourself to sun without SPF
  • not eating to sugary and staying away from trans-fats
  • not being stressed all the time
  • not drinking to much alcohol

along with exercise, veg and fruit  this will probably make your skin glow more than any Make-up Base or Foundation.

What do you think about this?

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2 thoughts on “Why spending money on expensive beauty brands is stupid

  1. The Story of Cosmetics reminds me a bit of the Planet Plastic documentary I saw recently. I think they both also spread FUD while making good points. Like with everything it depends on the dose. But I agree that product claimings such as “organic, natural, herbal, etc.” should be legally defined (if not already done).

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