How do cosmetic companies choose to brand themselves? When I was flipping through a catalogue with beauty products, I couldn’t help but notice that the ads were divided into two camps. About half of the advertisements were showing off their new groundbreaking technology, and the other half were talking about their closeness to mother nature. Even without reading any of the texts, it was very easy to divide all of the ads into two groups.
In this post, I’m going to take a closer look at the ads that I found in the catalogue, to see how the brands are trying to appear. To make things simple, I call the two groups science ads and natural ads.
I have focused on ads for skin and hair care products in the tax free catalogue. I considered including the makeup ads, but they were not as clearly divided as the skin care products so I simply left them out this time. So I took every ad for skin and hair care ad from the catalogue – 15 in total – and I separated the ads into those that focus on nature and those that focus on research. I was quite surprised to see that each and every one of the 15 advertisements fit either category remarkably well. I put 7 advertisements in the ”science” category – Clarins, Kanebo, Clinique, Estée Lauder, Biotherm, Dr Brandt and Lóreal. The following 8 brands fit the natural category: Lumene, Body Shop, Ren, L’occitane, Weleda, Trind, XL and Boreas. These are all the advertisements from the catalogue:
Sometimes when I’m bored, I like to look at the keywords that people google to find this website. And sometimes, I notice that people have found their way here, but have searched for something that I haven’t answered in a blog post. That’s why I decided to take some of the most common search queries and answer them in this post. So I present to you some of the most interesting, tricky and downright odd things that people want to know.
When you first look at Ole Henriksen‘s skin care products, natural is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. The labelling is minimalistic and graphic, in very bright colors from the whole rainbow spectrum. The products are typically found in the more expensive department stores and in tax free shops in airports. On their website, they don’t boast about how natural their products are, there’s a lot more info about Ole Henriksen as a person and his experience with working with celebrities in Hollywood.
Nonetheless, even though they skipped the whole unbleached paper with brown and green colors and pictures of earth and flowers-look, Ole Henriksen does market themselves as a natural skin care brand. When I contacted the company with some questions, I was surprised to see that my reply actually came from Ole Henriksen himself. See what he wrote below. Continue reading “Company checkup: Ole Henriksen”
Okay, so you’ve taken the decision to change your cosmetic habits. You’ve read a little bit about the cosmetic industry and realized that a lot of the ingredients they put in their products are just cheap filling agents that even might be harmful for your skin and body in the long run.
So you narrow your shopping down and start looking in the sections labelled ”natural”. Here you are likely to find zillions of products that scream FROM NATURE WITH LOVE and 95% ORGANIC INGREDIENTS. Some products tell you NO ADDED PARABENS/TALCUM/SILICONE/[enter any ”bad” ingredient here], others WITH ADDED OLIVE OIL/ARGAN OIL/VITAMIN E/[enter any ”good” ingredient here].
So where to start, which ones to choose? Are all natural products equally natural just because they are in the natural section of your local shopping mall? This is what I want to find out in my new post series, which I have named Company Checkup. One by one, I will go through several companies who name themselves natural, organic or anything like that.
Before starting to look at the actual companies and their claims, I wanted to find out what if there is any legal regulation or requirements that a brand or product needs to fulfill to be called ”natural”. Based on what I have seen of so called ”natural” products, my hypothesis was that there aren’t any regulations, and that a company decides themselves if they want to call their product natural or not.
So I started looking around for a pro who could answer my questions. This turned out more difficult that I had imagined. Apparently somebody should know this, but nobody really knows who does. First I contacted the Swedish Consumer’s Agency, where they said “the answer isn’t as obvious as you might think…” and forwarded my emails to the Swedish environmental department, who gave me several other tips including one person in their own department – none of which could answer my questions. After many emails back and forth, I finally got in touch with a person at the Medical Products Agency (more or less the equivalent of the FDA in USA), where I finally got some answers to my questions. This is what Tomas Byström at the Medical Products Agency had to say (freely translated from Swedish). For those of you who understand written Swedish, you can read read the original interview in Swedish in this PDF.
I HAVE A CONFESSION to make: I hardly ever buy cosmetic products anymore. Every time I go out looking for something new (and each time I think: this time I’m going to buy something and not just browse), I end up dividing the products I look at into two categories. The first category consists of products with only a few ingredients, all of which I recognize and probably already have at home, and I find it totally unnecessary to pay heaps of money for something that I could just as well make myself. The other category are products with a long ingredient list, and a lot of ingredients that I don’t recognize, and I don’t want to buy it because I don’t know what these ingredients are going to do on my skin. They might be beneficial for the skin (or at least not harmful), but since I don’t know, I figure it’s better to be safe than sorry and just go home and make something similar instead.
THERE ARE SO MANY cosmetic companies out there, all making all kinds of claims of being organic and natural. As you can see, my starting point is to be skeptical of all of them, until proven otherwise. But since I never actually end up buying and trying anything, I never am proven wrong. This is one of the reasons to why I decided to start a new post series. In this vast series of blog posts that I’ve decided to call Company Checkup, I’m going to go through a whole bunch of cosmetic companies who, in one way or another, claim to be “natural”, have a look at them and some of the ingredients they use, and try to make my own verdict of whether they are a go or a no. This includes everything from using words such as “earth” or “nature” in their brand names to being certified organic products. My aim here is to see if the brand actually lives up to their promises of being “natural”, which by no means is an assesment of the product in itself – only of their claims and of how well they live up to it. Continue reading “Introducing: Company Checkup”
Smartphones and tablets have really become a widespread phenomenon, and there are no limits to the kinds of apps you can get to your phone. But when I was going to look up some good no ‘poo apps I noticed that there were really few of them. I still managed to get myself a few, and by thinking a bit creatively I found no ‘poo-uses for apps actually meant for cooking.
Here are my five favorite apps that come in handy when you’re either making your own skin care products, or when you’re shopping for good products. All of them, except for one, are free. Enjoy!
The reason why I started making my own cosmetics is simple. It’s because I’m a control freak.
I suppose it’s no revolutionary in saying that I want to be in control of my own body. In fact, I’m pretty sure almost everyone of you would agree. But when you start thinking about it, this is easier said than done. Without starting to discuss feminist politics, let’s just focus on some more tangible issues. The food we eat, the hormonal contraceptives we use, even the clothes we wear affect us in ways that we often can not control ourselves. Not to mention the skin and hair care products we use. Lotions, perfumes, shampoos, sunscreens, lipsticks, antiperspirants, night cream, day cream, eye cream, hand cream, foot cream, cuticle cream… The list goes on forever and ever. The average person uses literally hundreds of different chemicals every day. And even though these are “safe” (other wise they wouldn’t be allowed to be sold) it doesn’t mean they are good for us. Continue reading “Take Control Of Your Skin”
While I am extremely busy again, with writing exams and working (and enjoying the wonderful sunshine, shh! don’t tell anyone), I have not had time to blog much lately. While waiting for me to get my act together (which should be by the end of this week, hopefully), please take the time to sign this petition about the EU banning of traditional herbal medicines that … Continue reading Help Stop the Banning of Herbal Remedies in the EU!
I have never been a big fan of Nuxe. I find that they charge you heaps for stuff that they call natural, that really contain mostly silicones and alcohol and maybe just a small percentage of what they boast about on the cover.
Also I have a memory that it was they who sold this “multi purpose oil”, a miracle oil that could be used for anything – hair, face and body! But when looking at the ingredient list, it was 100% apricot oil, that you can buy from the internet for probably literally a hundredth of their price (and still get it cold-pressed and ecological, which theirs weren’t). But, I’m not sure about this and if they did, they don’t seem to sell it anymore, luckily. Continue reading “New Nuxe experience”