The big brands don't dominate the market because they have the best products. They may have deep pockets, global brand recognition, massive supply chains, and decades of multi-billion dollar sales. But that doesn't make their products superior.
Who Controls the Industry?
When we say "big brands," what companies are we talking about? As it turns out, it's a rather short list: L'Oreal, Shiseido, Unilever, Proctor & Gamble, Estee Lauder, and Coty. Did you know that these seven companies manufacture, sell, or otherwise control almost every single beauty product you use? https://www.thisisinsider.com/companies-beauty-brands-connected-2017-5
These behemoths are successful because they sell mediocre (and, at times, safety-suspect) products at a great profit. Companies that cater to the low-end market must use cheap ingredients and useless fillers to meet their price points. Mid-level brands can use more expensive ingredients but that doesn't mean they do. High-end lines can use top-tier ingredients, but quality varies widely. And it is very difficult, if not impossible, to tell merely by reading the labels.
Shaping Consumer Expectations
Over the past century or so, big brands have trained consumers to expect certain characteristics. Soaps should foam a certain way and moisturizer should feel a certain way. Night creams versus day creams. Mostly, it’s all marketing to get you to part with your dollars. These expectations can be dangerous because these characteristics are often the result of risky ingredients that have been around for a long time. I suggest that you examine your expectations and adjust them towards safety. It pays to educate yourself these days about what you put on your body and what you put in your body!
The Dirty Dozen+
What dangerous ingredients are used by global brands?
Triclosan, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, avobenzones, formaldehyde, hydroquinone, coal tar dyes, propylene glycol, microbeads, toluene, p-phenylenediamine, and artificial fragrance. Did you know that an artificial fragrance, listed as one or two words on the label, can actually contain up to 200 chemicals? And many of them toxic or, at least, suspect.
Fortunately, you can now find quality products that don’t contain these toxins.
The Big Brands Are Responding to The Clean Beauty Trend
Well, partially anyway! In the past few years, the global giants have reformulated some of their products or introduced safer lines. This is because of growing awareness among consumers. We have become less trusting—and for good reason. The ingredients in products we put in and on our bodies are making us sick.
So the big brands appear to be cleaning up their act. I wouldn't ascribe this to a newfound dedication to consumer safety. These mega-corporations have to respond to market demand or anger their shareholders – and of course their customers. But reformulation doesn't always solve the problems. For example, they can take out parabens, which we all know now is a dirty word in skin care, but leave in cheap fillers. They can eliminate sulfates but retain artificial fragrances. They can replace high-profile chemicals with unsafe ones that are still under the radar. Many chemicals go by different names and its easy to disguise ingredients and confuse consumers. Look at the food industry as an example of ingredient disguise!
Isn't the Industry Regulated?
Short answer? No. At least not effectively. In theory, companies that sell personal care products in the U.S. are expected to self-regulate. They aren't supposed to make false claims on their labels. They are supposed to test their products to ensure safety. Most test products to ensure they don't irritate the skin, but this does not address possible long-term effects such as cancer, organ damage, and reproductive problems. The FDA is really only concerned with bacteria counts.
The European Union exercises far more regulatory power. They have banned over 1,300 chemicals. In comparison, the U.S. has only prohibited about 30.
If I Can’t Trust the Big Brands, What Should I Do?
Do you want to protect yourself from dangerous products? These are my recommendations:
Educate yourself on ingredients and processing methods
If you are looking for products that are not only safe but actually do what they say they do, I invite you to try Australiana Botanicals. I started this company with the goal of creating the safest and most effective skin care products found anywhere at any price. Our formulas aren't variations or re-formulations of big brands. We developed our products literally from the ground up.
Our philosophy is to give you glowing healthy skin. Healthy skin looks fabulous and ages slower. We only use ingredients that will be beneficial. Some of these ingredients are super-nutritious Australian plants, fruits, seeds and essential oils. These are among the most nutrient dense plants in the world - jam packed with great things that your skin loves. We use only the best quality ingredients, use no fillers and even use cold-press processing. And mild, safe, natural preservatives guarantee purity and potency. You can feel the difference the moment you rub them on.
Australiana Botanicals is an independent company and not beholden to shareholder profit. Our goal is great product, not great profit. I am also pleased to answer your questions personally. Please email any questions you have. I love to hear from you. [david@AustralianaSkin.com]
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