In 2012 I wrote this blog post about the lack of information and transparency re listing ingredients on websites. At the time, brands – big brands in particular – were worse than retailers. I don’t know if it was arrogance or blind ignorance of their importance, but either way, if you wanted to order a serum from a big cosmetic house, but wanted to check the ingredients for info/allergens/or you know, just to know what you were spending your money on… you were out of luck.
Fast forward nearly 6 years and very little has changed.
If you want to order hero products such as Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair, Clarins Double Serum, Chanel Hydra Serum, Bobbi Brown’s Vitamin Enriched Face Base or Jo Malone’s Vitamin E Gel from their own websites, but you want to see the ingredients first, you’re going to have to guess.
Of course, it’s highly likely that you already use said products, know what’s inside them and therefore don’t mind.
What if you see an advertisement for the new La Prairie ‘Platinum Rare Cellular Night Elixir’, currently on their homepage retailing for an eye-watering £894 for 20ml? Yes you read that correctly. Nearly a thousand pounds. No ingredient list.
Say La Mer’s Genaissance The Serum Essence took your fancy when you saw it in a magazine. You go online to buy it. It’s £440.00 for 30ml, but you don’t get to know what’s in it because La Mer think you’re psychic.
Sadly for an obsessive fan like me, even Darphin fall short in this area. Most of the Estee Lauder Companies follow the same in-house template. The websites are extremely similar in format and column titles etc, and only a handful list full ingredients. Aveda is one, Origins is the other. MAC, Clinique, and all the others listed above still do not list their ingredients.
It’s not just Lauder Group. L’Oreal don’t fare much better. Armani, YSL and even Kiehl’s (REALLY?) don’t. Lancome DO. Bravo Lancome!
If you’re considering spending £105 on Sisley’s Black Rose Cream Mask but need to check if you’re allergic to the ingredients? Tough. Go to a store.
This is what you are given when you click on ‘See Full List’ on the page for Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream – their best selling product. Three ingredients.
Retailers typically take around 50% of the RRP (less VAT) on products they sell. A brand’s self-hosted website makes them 100% of the selling price.
Surely that 50%+ extra margin is worth the hassle?
The internet has changed the way we shop. We are much more savvy than ever and much more knowledgeable than ever. And now it’s 2018. We’ve been shopping online a long time. The internet is not going anywhere.
Why would you tell your customers to ‘Discover more!’, lead them to a page pontificating about the ‘key ingredients’ and then leave them hanging for the full list?
Being stuck with a department store mentality in an internet age leads to previously huge retailers like Toys R Us filing for bankruptcy. Yes, most of beauty is still purchased in stores, but for how long? If you have time to instruct your tech team to make an entire ‘Leave A Review’ section, you have time to get them to list your ingredients. It’s not rocket science. Well I mean, it might be, but if you never tell us what’s in your products, how will we know?