In a previous post regarding a discerning green beauty consumer’s expectations I touched upon the importance of brands to disclose their full ingredients lists online. This is definitely one of my pet peeves when we live in a day and age where information is easily accessible. Personally, if I have to write an email then you’ve already managed to make me lose interest. But I recently experienced something that is even worse than this. Having a question deleted. Yes, you read that right. I had left a query on a brand’s Instagram post, asking for more information about the claims they were making for a certain product. An innocent enough question if you ask me. I am no professional skincare formulator myself and apart from doing my own research (and even then not always coming away any wiser), the next best thing I know is being able to ask the brands themselves. Because if they can’t answer my questions, who can? This is also one of the main draws of green indie beauty…the fact that many of us CAN ask questions directly to the formulators because they’re not sitting in some swanky office corner on the 66th floor of a New York skyscraper, not really knowing what goes into a product. And I would hope that even if these niche brands end up in such an office that they would still take the time to reply since they got there thanks to a good beside manner, amongst other things. The fact that we can ask questions, along with the true skincare professionals who encourage us to, is really one of the main things I love about green indie beauty, and I think many would agree. If we didn’t care about what goes into our products, if we didn’t care about the people behind the formulations then we’d just go buy a random pot of cream from L’Oreal or any other mass-producing company.
Which brings me to the actual formulator as well. Maybe it’s a marketing ploy to simply stand behind the brand name and never reveal yourself but I personally want to know who is actually making my products. Behind the name is a person. Does that person have the experience and knowledge to create skincare products? Does the person know the anatomy of the skin? I’m not saying that every brand needs to have the founder be the formulator but what I am asking for is transparency. A brand does not create products. A person does, or a team of people. And I would like to know about these people. I find it strange when brands don’t think this is important. It may not be of paramount importance to everyone but I would say that most of us in the green beauty community read ingredients and claims avidly and many of us do not buy into marketing hype. With so many new brands and products popping up everyday we are becoming ever more discerning and picky. And new brands need to take note and play the game well. I can list numerous established brands who do this well because they are proud of their skills and their creations: Leahlani Skincare, Blissoma, Josh Rosebrook, Osmia Organics, Bodhi & Birch, Yoshimomo are just a few.
What does deleting a comment like this on social media really convey though? Well, for starters it sets off major red flags. Why are they deleting a comment? Do they not know whether the claims they state are actually true? Worrying, in that case. Are they falsely advertising? Also very worrying. In fact, the whole thing just leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. I can understand people deleting rude comments but doing so when a consumer simply wants to understand a product more, is remarkably strange behaviour. But the strangeness doesn’t stop there. I have since been blocked after commenting on the same photo saying that it was strange of them to delete my question. Again, nothing rude, just simply stating a fact. This has in effect completely put me off the brand and as a result this article is being written to highlight that this kind of behaviour is really not acceptable. The green beauty industry is growing but it’s still small…we all know the popular niche brands and I can understand that wanting a piece of the pie must be extremely attractive. But we are also not so gullible as to believe every single thing that is marketed well. We do our homework. We ask other professional skincare formulators instead and when we get the answer that a certain claim seems false (because the brand in question isn’t answering my query) then your mistrust grows even stronger.
Sarita Coren of Edible Facial recently wrote an article regarding the pertinent questions we need to ask ourselves before buying into a brand. A group of well-respected skincare formulators gave their input and it’s been on my mind even more of late due to this latest incident. Honesty, authenticity and integrity are timeless qualities that we all strive for, no matter the industry we are in, no matter the company we hold, no matter which side of the fence we are talking from. Yes, we have some great expectations as discerning green beauty consumers but we also know that the great brands can live up to them. And that is what will separate the wheat from the chaff.
Have you had similar experiences? What are your thoughts on this?