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Skincare Subterfuge


Are big skincare brands misleading us?

Don't Believe The Hype: What Big Skin Care Brands Are Getting Away With

You buy your skin care products with care because you know that it's important to take care of your most precious natural defense mechanism, your beautiful skin.

Sadly, you can take a lot of care over making your choices and still be misled. That's because big brands can use misleading or distracting labels that don't mean what you'd expect them to mean. Let's take a look at how that works:

They Say "Fragrance Free"

Now, any reasonable person would think that this meant that a company hadn't added any fragrance ingredients to the product formulation.


As Teang Pao, founder of Fresk, tells us:

"Many people think this way but in reality, fragrance free means that the product has no scent. It's all too common for big brands to add chemicals to a product to mask the base smell. That's not fragrance free in the way that consumers understand it but it helps brands sneak things into your skincare regime that don't belong there."

We recommend that you test any brand name product that is labelled "fragrance free". Put a little on your wrist to make sure that you don't have any allergic reactions to their ingredients.

They Say "Natural"

Now, close your eyes and think "natural". What comes to mind? Beautiful outdoor scenarios, right? And if you hone in a little and think about natural in a skincare context – you probably think plants and maybe a few minerals.

That's not how it works either. Teang says:

"There is no standard for the word 'natural' when it's used in makeup and skincare regimes. Seriously. So, it means whatever a brand wants it to mean. If it smells of oranges that might be 'natural' even if the scent is pure chemical. You need to take a close look at 'natural' products to see what a big brand is supplying"

The best thing to do is ask the manufacturer for a list of ingredients. You decide what meets your definition of 'natural', don't leave it to big business.

They Say "Hypoallergenic"

You're going to be shocked about this. Allergies in the modern world are a serious business. People die from being exposed to the things they are allergic to. The word hypoallergenic alludes to a product which has been tested to ensure nobody is allergic to it.

"Far from it. In fact, there's no standard for hypoallergenic in law at all. You can pretty much call anything hypoallergenic, except for a peanut. This doesn't help if you have specific allergies or feel your skin is sensitive to particular ingredients."

The best thing to do if you're worried about this is to get a skin sensitivity test done and then carefully scrutinise the ingredients in products. If you're allergic to something, it's no joke to be exposed to it.

They Say "Firming"

You're convinced that means "makes skin firmer" because that's what the term implies.

Teang disagrees:

"You'd think it meant that but in actual fact, there's no formal measurement system for firming skin. Brands can claim that nearly anything is firming and there's no way of telling."

She shares this little secret with us too:

"If you want firmer skin, you want well hydrated skin because the more 'plump' skin is on the surface, the firmer it looks. So, make sure you buy a top-quality moisturiser to help out with that."

These secrets of the beauty industry ought to ensure that you're never ripped off by a brand again.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Wishing you healthy nourished skin.

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Teang Pao