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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Tiny issue in comparison to most, but skin care...

29 replies

Kamchatka · 22/09/2013 18:08

I was given some free face cream samples at work yesterday, so this morning I tried some serum or other. First time, so I had to read the instructions.

After wading through some crap about Walchivia extract or hermodiastic skin unification (see I can make up words too!) I found that you smear it on, the smear on your usual face cream.

I thought: if this is actually any use then bunging moisturiser on top of it immediately is going to upset the formula, ruining the carefully 'explained' effects of the serum. can't, surely, be worth anything, from a scientific point of view. Never mind the made up words and long-winded phraseology.

I've felt this for a long while, but it bothers me that women are marketed random 'smeary stuff' so easily and widely, and it bothers me that they buy and/or covet the high end stuff when plainly they are being duped. Is there any sort of publicity or campaigning about this that anyone's aware of?

OP posts:
ElizabetaLuknichnaTomanovskaya · 22/09/2013 19:57

I am not aware of any campaigning specifically in relation to skin cream.

Women are absolutely key in our consumer society, any means even obviously fake or fraudulent are used to discipline us into buying. I think because individualism has become the modern mantra, its about investment into the individual, be it education or face cream. We are constantly in debt to create the very best version of ourselves.

Kamchatka · 23/09/2013 11:39

Yes, I mean it's massive business so it must be worth their while to perpetuate the lie that Snorgellopsia extract will make us look young and available. I find it unsatisfying to label it a feminist issue per se: we are after all free to believe whatever we want and if we can't be bothered researching/thinking, then more fool us.

However I would really like to see some proper publicity about it, in the way that girls' vs boys' toys has been flagged up as an insidious bit of nonsense.

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TheSmallClanger · 23/09/2013 12:11

I think it's worthy of a little thought. Increasingly, skincare is being marketed to men, too, but very differently. Ads for men's skincare don't go into much detail, and tend to emphasise the practical benefits of the product. There is far less pseudo-scientific waffle.

Kamchatka · 23/09/2013 14:11

It's like that Mitchell and Webb sketch: Men, you're already awesome as you are...

I don't really know why there isn't more outraged publicity about being taken for a ride AND manipulated into thinking that beauty equals a sort of flawlessness that only comes with spending untold £££ on whichever brand of silicon smooths out your pores best. It can't be because women don't know it's wishful thinking.

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FloraFox · 23/09/2013 17:17

I think a lot has to do with advertising spend. Cosmetics companies are huge spenders on print media, especially with publications targetted at women. I can't imagine any publication putting their heads above the parapet on this issue, even though I'm sure lots of journos must know it's mostly snake oil. More serious journos probably don't care about this issue.

The place this generally gets dealt with is by the Advertising Standards Authority but only really in the context of individual complaints about claims for products. I don't know who makes these complaints (possibly competitors). The Office for Fair Trading could potentially deal with it on an industry level, I'm not sure if they have done this.

FloraFox · 23/09/2013 17:19

When I say I'm not sure if they have done this, I mean I'm not sure if they have ever carried out a review on this industry sector. It would be interesting if they did because I think lots of people are taken for a ride on these products and the way they are sold.

WhentheRed · 23/09/2013 18:05

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BasilBabyEater · 23/09/2013 18:26

This is actually a really interesting issue isn't it?

I'd love a scientist to go through all the ingredients and analyse the shit the cosmetics company talk about them.

I thought that Channel 4 programme was going to do some of that - you know the one that was on recently, a series where they test out various claims, but when I watched an episode of it, it just looked like they were selling it all.

Bonsoir · 23/09/2013 18:28

My DP sells face creams - masses of them. That's what feeds our family. Women aren't systematically being duped. And actually, men are big buyers of face cream too. Creams make a big difference to the quality of your skin (as do other treatments).

Bonsoir · 23/09/2013 18:29

If you want to get your knickers in a twist about being duped, try food supplements/vitamins... a whole other duplicitous story...

FloraFox · 23/09/2013 19:10

unless someone comes along and tells us their DP sells food supplements/vitamins and it feeds their family? Hmm Then they can tell us to get our knickers in a twist about some other random thing?

WhentheRed · 23/09/2013 19:21

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Kamchatka · 23/09/2013 19:26

It's an error, Bonsoir, to suppose that because the supplement industry is riddled with dishonesty, the face-cream industry is therefore all right. Both can be pretty bloody awful, but if it keeps you well then I can see why you would employ wilful blindness.

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Kamchatka · 23/09/2013 19:28

I googled Paula Begoun, but came up with this as first hit: she sells her own line of face creams here.

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specialsubject · 23/09/2013 19:34

a combination of the perception that knowing basic science makes you a 'geek' (rather than well-informed) and succumbing to the belief that anyone can really look like the anorexic, photoshopped freaks that appear in the magazines.

campaigns to deal with both of these would be great. Starting in schools.

WhentheRed · 23/09/2013 19:34

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

meditrina · 23/09/2013 19:35

I thought that Which? Magazine had done some testing on this.

Using some form of moisturiser is better than using none (so Bonsoir's family finances are safe). But as long as you use something regularly, it doesn't really matter which one. The differences are tiny, and the only one that stood up to scrutiny was a Boots own brand serum.

MrsSlocombe · 23/09/2013 19:40

rather a pricey boots own brand serum as I recall though meditrina. Agree that there is probably surprisingly little difference between the vast majority of moisturiser in terms of effect.

ButterMyArse · 23/09/2013 19:42

I'm always boggled at how otherwise intelligent friends of mine are completely sucked in by the pseudo-science of the marketing surrounding these products.

My eyes were opened a few years ago when reading (it might've been Bill Bryson's Made in America?) how an advertising company invented the concept of 'micro moisturising beads' or whatever and then a skincare company worked to actually make the product. It's a total farce.

NotDead · 23/09/2013 19:48

its interesting how easily journalists who coukd criticise the claims are very easy to buy off witg free samples of the serum they would ordinarily be dissing (financial times especially!!)

Pachacuti · 23/09/2013 19:48

^Walchivia extract
hermodiastic skin unification
Snorgellopsia extract^

Have you considered doing this professionally, OP?

wordfactory · 23/09/2013 20:06

I think much of the beauty industry is built on making women worry and playing on existing anxieties.

The idea that aging is wrong and must be fought is extremely corrosive. That a cream can be armour in this battle is pretty cynical.

That said, some face creams do help some skin conditions. And some creams do help and protect...


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Bonsoir · 23/09/2013 20:07

FloraFox - my DP does sell vitamins and food supplements. That's why I feel qualified to talk about them.

Kamchatka · 23/09/2013 20:19

Oh I absolutely agree that something on the skin is far better than nothing, and the best product will be different for everyone's individual skin "chemistry" - but all the anti-aging, serum/BB/Ojon Oil=coconut oil/rare plant extracts "have been found to improve X normal skin feature" GUFF that litters our lives: it's the brazen guffness of it that offends. And then you layer on top of that the false advertising and the horrible overperfected, emaciated, massive-haired images of womanhood.
It's hateful.

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ElizabetaLuknichnaTomanovskaya · 23/09/2013 21:05

I can't quite get my head around how vegetable or herbal extracts are going to work. we aren't made up of vegetable protein are we? A friend of mine in the 50s with beautiful skin swore by some French stuff with fish oil in it? Bonsoir might know what it is?

Its one of those what if situations for me, what if I don't use it, what if I stop using it, what if I had never started using it. I can't make a comparison or know with any certainty whether my face cream does anything but I'd probably panic if one of you ran off with it!

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