Body image and beauty products often go hand-in-hand, for society has convinced women that they must uphold particular ideals in order to sustain their physical appeal. Opponents have become more and more outspoken, however, in an effort to defend diversity and promote confidence. But advertisers continue to disseminate messaging that promises to solve everyone's self-esteem issues with one magical miracle product.Makeup companies are the primary culprits, as these brands prey on physical insecurities so they may sell countless items that essentially serve the same purpose. For instance, those who advertise mascara are notorious for making claims they cannot support without the aid of lash inserts.
Despite the fact that most new mascaras claim to add more volume than their previous incarnations, each advertisement features some disclaimer that reveals the added length and fullness comes from the use of lash inserts. Of course, anyone who's ever purchased and applied mascara understands that there's rarely any difference among the dozens on the market. But these promises continue to entice and convert consumers in hope that, perhaps one day, one of these cosmetics brands will actually be telling the truth instead of peddling more lies.
Proactiv and various other acne products also trigger doubt, as the before and after images often portray confusing results. While the majority of the before photos feature the consumer in harsh, bright lights, while wearing little to no makeup, the after shots are typically professional images taken under the guise of soft lighting. (Skin tones often appear shades lighter, as well.) Consumers must also take into account that there's example after example of acne cover-up tutorials floating around YouTube demonstrating precisely how to conceal bumps and scars using simple makeup techniques.
Though one cannot deny that such items must work for many, as these products have existed for years, one must also proceed with caution, as you never know when some brand may sneak that "results not typical" disclaimer under your nose.
Yet, while many health and beauty products spark ire in those they're supposed to intrigue, some brands abandon all logic and consistency, thereby looking silly instead of sensible. For instance, Secret's latest TV commercial features deodorant that promises 48-hour protection. However, at the end of the ad, they advise consumers to apply daily. But if I neglect to shower for two days, shouldn't I be covered? Why must I apply so frequently? It's almost as if the brand has counteracted one gimmick with another, ultimately cancelling out any valid selling point. (Hint: It's hard to trust brands that can't even recognize their own mistakes.
Regardless of intent, however, health and beauty brands must be more transparent and customer-centric, for such customers wish to be dazzled, not duped. Eliminate unreasonable beauty standards and, instead, redirect these demands to support improved trust and advocacy.