Podcast 160: The beauty industry’s 10 most ridiculous claims

Ridiculous beauty claims

In this opinion podcast, Formula Botanica CEO and podcast host Lorraine Dallmeier asks us to look back and laugh – or else we’ll cry with despair – at her chart-topping ten most ridiculous claims that the beauty industry has made. In the previous episode, Lorraine and colleague Ana Green unpacked the facts behind one of the latest claims in cosmetics’ marketing – fossil fuel-free beauty. It proved to be yet another misleading term designed to confuse consumers and one that overlooks the complexity of how the industry operates.

As a follow-up, Lorraine takes us through her choice of the most ridiculous claims, starting over a hundred years ago at the beginning of the modern cosmetics industry. While today, most of those historic claims could not be made thanks to stricter advertising and cosmetics’ standards laws – nor made in all seriousness, as we are all less gullible these days – Lorraine notes that we still find similar, if subtler, messaging circulating in the beauty industry.

Look back and laugh, or look back and be angry about what many global beauty firms are communicating today. We leave it to you to decide. Listen in to an astounding round-up of ridiculous claims. You won’t believe what makes Lorraine’s top three.

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@FormulaBotanica podcast host Lorraine Dallmeier gives her top 10 of the beauty industry's most ridiculous claims in its history. Sadly, some live on today. #beautyindustry #beautymyths #beautyadvertising Click To Tweet

So as not to spoil your listening, we’ll do a very brief overview of Lorraine’s choice of the beauty industry’s most ridiculous claims over the past 100 years. Suffice to say that nearly all the historic claims are all about beauty product X,Y,Z helping you turn back the clock and regain your radiant, blemish-free skin of youth – even that of childhood – with the aim of helping you either find the man of your dreams or keep your man.

Key evils that we must banish forever and that the claims and marketing slogans tackle are grey hair, eye bags, wrinkles, fine lines, chapped dishpan hands and lost youth. In fact, far from making cosmetic claims, the wording almost implies that using the various beauty products will help these issues vanish, not just temporarily but permanently. Of course, cosmetics could never legally claim this today.

However, the underlying messaging lives on. Don’t we still see beauty brands marketing the benefits of their product by using the tactics of fear-mongering? They imply that we aren’t good enough in our own skin and therefore need their products to ‘feel confident’. Lorraine quotes some current-day marketing and beauty product names that echo the slogans of the past and show that, in many ways, little has changed. Big beauty, as Lorraine has noted before, is arrogant in deciding a vision of “ideal beauty” in order to encourage us to buy even more beauty products in an unsustainable cycle of consumption.

While we may find the historic claims ridiculous, the key takeout is, sadly, that myths, greenwashing and underhand marketing tactics are as alive today in the beauty industry as in yesteryear.

Thank you for joining us for this episode of the Formula Botanica Green Beauty Conversations podcast. If you enjoyed listening, please share, subscribe and review this episode on iTunes, Spotify or Youtube so that more people can enjoy the show. Don’t forget to follow and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Lorraine Dallmeier

Lorraine Dallmeier is a Biologist, Chartered Environmentalist and the CEO of Formula Botanica, the award-winning online organic cosmetic science school. Read more about Lorraine and the Formula Botanica Team.

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