The Cosmetic industry is full of advice and advice givers. If you want to know what skincare is best for you, how best to look after your skin or what the latest miracle ingredient is, there will be someone only too happy to tell you.
However Just because someone stands behind a cosmetics counter, wears a uniform or a lab coat or is the representative of a company doesn’t qualify them to give advice to people.
This might surprise some people as you would expect anyone in this field to have received adequate education and have a deep understanding of the skin and its functions. Sadly in a lot of cases this is not true. A large percentage of consultants only have a rudimentary education about the skin and skincare and this is mostly provided by the companies they are working for.
Therefore you will find them parroting the information they have been given without much background knowledge.
I know this first hand as I have worked in the industry for many years both as a consultant and a MUA and I had to correct many consultants along the way who were giving out incorrect advice to customers, in some cases potentially damaging advice, simply due to lack of correct understanding.
What makes me qualified to correct consultants?
I am a qualified beauty therapist and I spend many hours updating and improving my knowledge not only through industry funded information but also independent and medical research. Therefore I feel that I am somewhat knowledgeable in the field of skin and skincare.
I also spend a lot of time talking to consultants in my research of products and what I hear often shocks me.
At one cosmetics counter I was told that dark circles around the eyes are caused by blood pooling in the area and the new miracle eye cream constricts the blood vessels to stop this flow of blood & pooling effect. What ever!!
This sort of misinformation is just amusing and will not hurt anyone, maybe just your hip pocket after forking out over $100 to find your dark circles still present.
Conversely something that happened to me recently not only made my blood boil but highlighted the need to warn others to be careful what advice they accept even from supposed experts.
I was invited to a home party/demonstration of a skincare range new into Australia however it’s been around for a while overseas. I was interested in learning all about this range as there is a growing interest amongst many women I know.
After the usual hype of why this is the best range on ‘earth’ we got down to the individual products. To say the information was sketchy especially around the ingredients and very sensationalised around results is putting it mildly. However it was at the product demonstration that the trouble started.
As soon as I applied one of the products to my face, it started to burn, throb and swell quite dramatically, much to the shock, horror of the other guests who have never seen anything like it before.
I however knew exactly what was happening and after quickly washing the product off with cold water and calming my skin down I asked to see the ingredient list as I fortunately know the ingredients I react to.
This was not forthcoming, instead I was told that the products are simply ‘too pure’ for my skin to handle. This is absolute rubbish! I had to ask for the ingredient list 3 times before I was given a partial list. I of course spotted the culprit immediately and informed the consultant that indeed it was this ingredient that I reacted to not the ‘Pureness’ of the product.
The consultant at this point told me and my fellow guests that the best way to combat such reactions as they have just witnessed is to ignore it. I was instructed to take the product and use a small amount of it for seven days ignoring the allergic reaction and my skin will just get used to the ‘Pure’ ingredient.
Can You believe that? I sat there momentarily stunned speechless at the idiocy of this instruction.
When I finally recovered from my surprise I politely pointed out that this advice is about the same as telling someone with peanut allergies to just have a few small nuts every day, ignoring the anaphylactic shock until you get used to the nuts!
Not only is this ridiculous advice it is also very dangerous advice that has the potential to cause irreversible damage to the skin.
What shocked me more is the fact that when I mentioned my allergic reaction to an other consultant she repeated the same advice to me almost verbatim.
It is obviously something they have been taught by the company and just repeating without really understanding the implications.
Of course I could go on about all the misleading and wrong information that abounds out there but you get my point. Beware of False Advice!
Even if it comes from an ‘expert’. Always check the person credentials and don’t take advice at face value.
If the advice comes from someone selling the product, than keep in mind that they have a vested interest in convincing you that what they have is the best for you.
If it sounds strange, wrong, bizarre or even untrue to you, it probably is!
Do your own research, talk to many experts and trust your own skin. You are the one who lives with it. If it doesn’t feel right don’t let anyone convince you against your own will and gut feeling. Your skin will tell you whether a product is good for it or not.
And last of all, just because someone is selling a product does not make them qualified to give advice.
NOTE: There are also many consultants who have good qualifications and are very knowledgeable. Seek these out and consult with them.
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