23rd July 2015
What can you expect from your Skin Care?
I doubt that there are many of us who haven’t bought an Anti-Ageing Cream we have seen advertised on a TV Commercial, or read about in a magazine… only to be disappointed when it hasn’t lived up to it’s promises.
In just 30 seconds, these commercials somehow manage to convince otherwise rational and intelligent people that this latest ‘Miracle in a Bottle’ will transform our skin into that of a newborn baby within 30 days. and despite having bought (and been disappointed by) the previous ‘Miracle in a Bottle’ they were peddling a few months ago, we hope that maybe this time………….
Don’t believe everything you want to hear!!
The choice of skincare available today can be overwhelming, with hundreds of different brands all competing with each other for their ‘piece if the pie’ in a multi billion dollar global market.
The fastest growing, and most competitive sector in the skincare market is Anti Ageing products and the average woman (and an increasing number of men). will spend thousands of dollars, often more, on skincare products during their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s in their search for the Elixir of Youth.
Where do You buy your skin care, and what influences your choices?
Not surprisingly, the biggest market share in the skincare industry is held by the Mass Market Consumer Brands, simply because they invest heavily in TV Advertising, which is the most powerful method of growing Brand Awareness. These commercials don’t simply appear ‘at random’. They are strategically timed to air when their target audience are watching their favourite tv programmes. You can almost always guarantee to see a skincare commercial during popular programmes such as Coronation Street and Downton Abbey, because they anticipate that this is when the majority of their female viewers will be watching. They prey on women who buy their personal care items in supermarkets and drug stores, where the average cost of a Moisturiser is between $15-$25, and therefore can easily be absorbed into most weekly household grocery budgets.
Image courtesy of Guardian.com
Since the Advertising Standards Authority have banned Airbrushing in Skincare Adverts, the models used to promote their (alleged) Anti Ageing creams are so young, that the ageing process is not yet even a speck on their most distant horizon. Our intelligence is then insulted even further, by the sugestion that the secret to the flawless, ageless skin of the 20 year old girl on our screen is in the bottle she’s holding aloft, like it’s the Holy Grail…
We’re then assured that 80% of the women who tested this product ‘thought’ they looked noticeably younger in just 30 days. This is called ‘The Placebo Effect’… we are so desperate for these products to work, that often our mind plays tricks on us.
The next time you visit the supermarket, and walk through the Personal Care aisle, you notice “that new Anti Ageing Cream that was advertised on TV last night…” You pause to take a closer look, and as you lift the box from the shelf, you can almost feel the creases softening around your eyes, and your sagging jawline tightening…
The dialogue starts in your head…
The Optimist: “Should I try this? Will this one really work?”
The Realist: “Not if it’s anything like all the others I’ve tried, that promised miracles and did absolutely nothing ”
The Optimist: “But what if this one really does work?… If I don’t try it, I’ll never know”
The Realist: ” Well, alright then… it’s only an extra $20 on my shopping budget… and I could be lucky this time…”
You’re now back in the game… it’s called The Skincare Lottery!!
You have a ‘good feeling’ about this new ‘miracle’ cream, and can’t wait to start using it tonight. Who knows, you might even see a difference by tomorrow morning….
You will be thinking the same thing every night for the next 2 weeks…
Day 14… Surely you should see something by now…
Day 30… The bottle is almost empty, and you’re examining your skin from every angle in the mirror and thinking… “I can’t believe it!!! Why am I in the 20% of people it hasn’t worked for … again???”
FACT.… 100% of the women who have used it are also convinced they are in the unfortunate 20% again. You haven’t been unlucky, because it never really stood a chance of working anyway, not least because, your skin is a protective organ, designed to keep everything out, and the ageing process is taking place in the lower and middle layers of the skin.
There are very few products available that are able to reach the deeper layers of your skin. They are generally Cosmeceutical products and therefore only available for Professional use only by Skincare Specialists.
You wouldn’t take your car to be fixed by someone who isn’t a qualified mechanic and doesn’t understand an engine, so why would you seek skincare advice from a sales person who isn’t a qualified Skin Specialist and doesn’t understand the physiology of your skin?
So, on your mission to find that elusive ‘Fountain of Youth’, you eventually concede that you’re not going to find it on sale for $15-20 at your local supermarket, and brace yourself to give your credit card a serious workout.
You head off to the Department Store where it can cost you anywhere between $50-$500 for Mid Range, Luxury and Designer Brands (just for one product). These are the products you will have read about and seen advertised in glossy magazines, rather than on the TV.
The (perfectly polished and often slightly intimidating) Beauty Consultants in the Cosmetics Department, will effortlessly charm you out of vast sums of money for the more expensive Luxury Brands. It’s worth noting though, that most Beauty Consultants are not trained in skin physiology, but instead are very well trained sales people with sales targets to reach, and you represent their ‘sales commission’.
Your skin is a protective organ and whether you pay $15 in the Supermarket or $300 on a Luxury Brand, they will both do exactly the exactly the same job, which is to simply form a protective barrier on the surface of your skin and make it feel temporarily smoother.
All Skin care sold through Retail Outlets, directly to Consumers, is subject to stringent formulation guidelines, that safeguard against adverse reactions in the event of misuse. (In the same way that ‘prescription only’ medicines are not sold ‘over the counter’)
The maximum percentage of ‘active’ ingredients permitted in Skin Care formulations sold directly to the consumer, is so small that even if the product were able to reach the deeper layers of your skin (where the ageing process is actually taking place), it would barely be sufficient to make a difference.
Why do some Anti-Ageing products cost more than others?
Raw ingredients and manufacturing costs are the similar for every Skin Care Brand. In fact, many of these brands are formulated side by side in exactly the same laboratories, using exactly the same ingredients. The only difference is the packaging, the name, and of course, the price.
When you buy a product, you are in fact paying for every stage of the process, from the formulation to the final sale. It’s worth noting that packaging costs more than the product itself, and the most expensive thing you are paying for is what it cost the brand to convince you buy it in the first instance … Marketing and Advertising!!
In the case of Mass Market Brands, the biggest percentage of what you pay for the product is used to cover the cost of the TV Commercial that sold it to you. So, even though the product appears reasonably priced, the profit margin is based on the enormously high volume of global sales.
Luxury and ‘Designer’ Brands have a much smaller market share than the Mass Market Brands, and so they need to make a higher profit from fewer sales, to cover their costs, which is why they are more expensive.
Luxury brands spend an enormous amount on magazine advertising and costly PR representation, ensuring that their products are seen in all the ‘right places’ and (seemingly) being used by all the ‘right people’.
Celebrity endorsements cost a fortune, and Skin Care advertising campaigns often feature some of the world’s most recognisable faces.
Consider also, that floor space in the best stores costs far more than ‘shelf space’ in a Supermarket, and all of this is factored into the cost of your product.
Finally, let’s not forget the ‘Multi Level, (or Network) Marketing Brands’, who sell their products directly to their customers through a self employed sales force, rather than through retail outlets. The cost is usually comparable to the Mass Market Brands, and the only difference is that, they spend what would have been their ‘Marketing and Advertising’ budget on sales incentives (such as cars, luxury holidays etc) for their Sales Force, and also on sales commission for the multi management levels in the ‘pyramid’.
If all you’re looking to do is to keep your skin clean and protected, the choice is endless…
However… If you’re still holding out for that elusive Fountain of Youth, and don’t want to waste any more money on ineffective Anti Ageing Creams, you should …
- Seek advice from a Skincare Specialist who understands your skin
- Stop believing everything you read in magazines
- Leave the room during the Commercial break, so that you don’t see the adverts!
MYTH – Expensive Skincare is more effective than cheaper brands!!
So… now you know a few facts about skincare, I hope your expectations will be more realistic, and you won’t be so easily fooled by misleading claims. You can now make informed choices next time you buy Skin Care products…