5 Skincare Product Red Flags That Should Stop You in Your Tracks

by admin

Ever get nostalgic for the days when the only thing you knew about the “beauty industry” was that you loved to swipe on your purple sparkly eyeshadow with the little foam applicator? Same. These days, it can be so hard to sus out which beauty products are legitimate and which ones are scams that it totally zaps the fun out of something that we used to just do because we loved it. How do you know whether a product is actually effective or not? How can you tell if the Vitamin C serum you’re buying was ethically made? Our five-year-old selves who sat in front of our Barbie mirror doing makeup for fun didn’t have to worry about all of that stuff, so why do we?

As it turns out, there are a few red flags in beauty marketing and packaging that can instantly tip you off to whether a product is worth your hard-earned money. On The Everygirl Podcast, we chatted with Dieux skincare founders Charlotte Palermino and Joyce de Lemos about the biggest beauty product red flags that should label a product an instant no-go for your routine. Here’s what you need to watch out for, so you can keep the inner child joy around your beauty routine and ditch the stress.

1. Active ingredients in clear glass packaging

Active ingredients are huge in skincare these days, and chances are that you already have one or two in your routine. From Vitamin C to retinol to alternatives like bakuchiol, active ingredients in skincare are used to treat a specific problem. For example, using retinol to address acne or combat fine lines is a common incorporation of an active ingredient into a skincare routine. However, the packaging of any skincare product that uses a strong active ingredient is actually super important.

When you’re perusing skincare products containing powerful ingredients, check to make sure that it’s bottled in opaque packaging. “If there’s an ingredient that is supposed to be a very active, powerful, potent ingredient, and it comes in a clear glass packaging, it’s a no-no,” said de Lemos on The Everygirl Podcast. “That powerful ingredient is definitely going to degrade as soon as the sun hits it.” To ensure that you’re getting what you paid for with your actives, they need to be in protective packaging that won’t allow sunlight to damage the product. In fact, de Lemos recommends seeking out products that are protected from air as well, without any glass droppers. Opaque packaging with an airless pump is the way to go.

2. Unrealistic claims and fear-mongering marketing

This should go without saying, but one skincare product isn’t going to change your whole life, nor your whole face. There is a whole lot of beauty marketing out there, from billboards to TikTok, that would have you believe otherwise. However, if a product is claiming to completely eradicate your skincare issues, that should set off alarm bells in your head. “The unfortunate reality is that shame and fear are incredible motivators to buy,” said Palermino on The Everygirl Podcast. If you see a beauty brand being heavy-handed with anti-aging rhetoric—we’re all aging anyways, y’all!—or asserting that their product is the holy grail that will fix your lifelong struggle with hormonal acne, that’s a problem. No skincare product should have to scare you into buying it, so always seek out brands that are as honest as possible about what their product can and cannot do. If you have any doubts, consult your dermatologist.

5 Skincare Product Red Flags That Should Stop You in Your Tracks

3. Mineral sunscreens with too much butyl octyl salicylate

This one is specific, but worth knowing about given all of the commotion around chemical versus mineral sunscreens on the internet recently. To sum up the drama, in 2019, the FDA proposed to revise the requirements for sunscreen active ingredients, and the internet ran wild with the assertion that mineral sunscreens are categorically better for you than chemical sunscreens. “​​The FDA asked for more information, and it was a free-for-all on demonizing chemical sunscreens to sell mineral sunscreens,” said Palermino. “I love a mineral sunscreen, but if you look at a lot of these mineral sunscreens, they have an ingredient, butyl octyl salicylate, that’s an analog to a chemical sunscreen filter.”

See also
The Micro French Manicure Is Our Favorite Nail Trend Yet

In other words, if you check your 100% mineral sunscreen and it contains a ton of butyl octyl salicylate, it’s effectively mirroring a chemical sunscreen. While Palermino recognizes that it’s ridiculous that consumers are forced to be their own investigative journalists in cases like these, it is best to be able to at least check for these ingredients. That way, you can make a genuinely informed decision about whether a chemical or mineral sunscreen is right for you.

4. Unregulated testing processes

The beauty industry is massive, so it’s harder than ever to know whether a brand has adequately vetted its products and ingredients. As co-founders of Dieux, Palermino and de Lemos are experts on what it looks like to not only closely check the ingredients in their skincare, but also the ingredients in their packaging before putting a product to market. “We have an entire audit process, not even for the final product that we put on the shelf, but there’s also a toxicology test that all of the different ingredients that go in the products have to pass,” said de Lemos. Ideally, all of the skincare products you buy should go through multiple rounds of testing before they make their way to your bathroom counter.

According to Palermino, further regulations from the FDA on skincare testing are necessary, because it is so easy to sell skincare online with zero trials whatsoever. Of course, it’s one thing for a skincare brand to simply follow the law and another for them to go above and beyond with their testing and transparency—but in an ideal world, every skincare brand would follow as rigorous of an audit process as Dieux does. If you visit the site of the brand you’re shopping for and can’t access detailed information about their testing process, consider that a red flag.

5. Counterfeit products

We’re all familiar with the idea of a beauty industry “dupe,” but what happens when there are actual counterfeit products on sale? There’s a difference between one brand mimicking another’s formula and packaging and full-on fakes parading as the real thing online. When you buy a skincare product directly from the brand or from a store like Sephora or CVS, you can usually trust that you’re not being sold a fake. However, Palermino cautions against ordering skincare from Amazon because of how hard it can be to determine whether it’s legit or not. “Buying skincare on Amazon is usually a no for me because it’s really hard to make sure that you aren’t buying a counterfeit,” she said. “It’s not like you can’t buy anything off of Amazon. It’s more that you are going to have to do that due diligence.”

If there’s a question in your mind about whether or not a product is real, consider going direct-to-consumer for that particular item. Running through the ingredients list on Amazon to save a few extra bucks on a potentially fake product is certainly not worth your time. Though you shouldn’t have to be your own investigative journalist, when there are counterfeits on the market, double-checking should be your default. And who knows? Eventually, if enough brands follow Dieux’s lead, hopefully we’ll be able to get back to the real fun of beauty.

5 Skincare Product Red Flags That Should Stop You in Your Tracks

You may also like