My Pet Peeves in the Skincare & Cosmetics Industry

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I’ve been dabbling in the world of skincare since I was 13 years old but only got into a proper skincare routine when I was 19 years old. Now that I’m 32 years old, I must say that I have used quite a fair bit of skincare products throughout my 13 years in experimenting with my skin and finding out about what my skin needs and likes. Most importantly, I also am familiar with what my skin doesn’t like or even hates!

After so many years as a consumer and around 5 years of selling cosmetics part-time throughout my university years, I realised that what irked me about the beauty and cosmetics industry is changing, albeit quite slowly. That brought me the idea to share with you guys on my pet peeves about some of the practices in the skincare and cosmetic industry.

1) Using some skincare ingredient to market the whole line of products when some of the products in their line doesn’t even contain that particular ingredient

For me personally, I’m used to reading the ingredients list on all of my skincare/ hair care/ body care/ makeup products whenever I consider actually making a purchase. Therefore I would know exactly what ingredients are in that particular product. However, I do know of many people that do not bother reading the actual ingredients list, preferring instead to read the more descriptive excerpt of the product that’s usually printed on its packaging. Hence, when a particular skincare/ hair care/ body care brand presents a whole line of products (from cleansers to serums to moisturisers etc.) claiming that it contains a particular miraculous ingredient, people would normally assume that said ingredient should be present in all of the products in that line. But that is not true at all!

Case in point – the Hada Labo Koi-Gokujyun 3D Perfect Gel. Hada Labo marketed this range of product (all in red packaging) as their anti-aging line which is supposed to not only contain their signature Super Hyaluronic Acid but also Vitamin A to boost the anti-aging effects. However, if you take a look at the ingredients list for their Koi-Gokujyun 3D Perfect Gel which is marketed under that range, you wouldn’t find Vitamin A anywhere in there! Surprise surprise!

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Even Joey looks surprised!

Hada Labo Koi-Gokujyun 3D Perfect Gel Ingredients

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Where is the Vitamin A that was marketed to be in it?!

So how did I find out about it? I was initially using the cream version from that line (which actually does contain Vitamin A btw but this product was somehow pulled from the shelves in Singapore!) and when I ran out of it, I couldn’t find it anywhere in Singapore. They had replaced the cream with the gel version and I bought the gel without checking its ingredients list. Big mistake! I hated the Hada Labo Koi-Gokujyun 3D Perfect Gel because it is extremely sticky, takes an even longer time than the cream to absorb, broke me out and worse, it doesn’t contain the very ingredient that it was marketed to have! Not cool, Hada Labo! I learnt my lesson from then on and now I make sure to always check the ingredients list on the product first before I make my purchase.

2) Using words like “natural”, “organic”, “free from toxic ingredients”, “hypoallergenic” etc. to entice/ misinform customers about the product

The amount of skincare brands claiming to be “all natural” and “made using only 100% natural ingredients” have rose exponentially in the past 5 years or so. And consumers have taken the bait!

Do you know that in Singapore, even though the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) oversees the safety issues linked to cosmetics products, there is no regulation whatsoever which states that cosmetics products require HSA’s approval before they are placed on the market? They are also not assessed or approved by HSA for their effectiveness before being sold.

In fact, the following excerpt is stated very clearly on their website:

  • A “hypoallergenic” product means that the product is less (‘hypo’) likely to cause allergic reactions. It does not mean that it will completely prevent allergies.
  • A “natural”, “organic”, “contains no preservative” or “100% herb” cosmetic may not necessarily be “better” or “safer”. Some plants and herbs are poisonous and others may cause allergies in some people. Natural products also generally have shorter shelf lives. This is because they contain plant ingredients, which are conducive for bacterial growth. As they are usually preservative free, natural products generally have to be discarded sooner as well.

Note that I’m not against actual well-formulated skincare that also happens to be made with organic plant/herb ingredients. It’s just that I need to correct the misconception which some people have that it is “safer” to use “natural” cosmetics for their skincare concerns when those terms do not have any tangible meaning to them and are not regulated in any way. So please, read the ingredients list on the product to check for ingredients you may be allergic to before you consider making that purchase. Not all chemicals are bad just like not all natural ingredients are good for you!

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We are all natural too! Would you put us on your face?

That’s about the most of my pet peeves regarding the current skincare and cosmetics industry. As consumers get more educated and savvy at seeing through the marketing drivel of the cosmetic and skincare industry, I also hope that the industry will do their best in providing transparency and honesty to their customers.

As always, thank you for reading!

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