Long time no see.
Ok I have a list so let’s get to it.
- Give and Makeup is absolutely still open and yes, we will be running the shoebox campaign for the 8th year running. The details for Give and Makeup are here on the blog – including the posting address: Give and Makeup
- Retinol usage: there were a couple of items about retinol in the Sunday Times Style last week. They repeated the mantra that you can only use vitamin A at night, and that it must be in airtight packaging. A few of you currently using DCL – among others, immediately tagged me flagging up the misconceptions. In fairness to the paper, that is still the general rule for most of the packaging out there. DCL’s Profoundly Effective Vitamin A Cream is among the new wave of retinol creams changing the way we use products. You use it during the day, it’s in a moisturiser and it’s in an open jar. It’s also clinically trialled and tested. It’s stable and proven. I’m sure it’s the beginning of more to come. We have a lot of active ingredients to get through – vitamin A hogging the limelight at night is annoying. Innovation is here. Watch this space.
- Double Cleansing: I’m not sure what happened in recent months, but every time there is a post about washing your face by anyone in the public eye, I am – to some extent understandably – tagged. The odd thing is that in 99% of the cases, the people claiming to be against double cleansing, are actually using two products or processes to remove their makeup in their posts. That is double cleansing. If you’re using an eye makeup remover before you cleanse, you’re double cleansing. The annoying thing is that it is usually done with the intention of pitting me against another person/big brand – and that person is invariably a woman. Heads up people: I’m not interested in drama. And I am especially not interested in being pitted against friends. Life is too short.
- Kopari Deodorant: Kopari make my favourite lip balm/gloss. This coconut joy I never let out of my handbag, but their recent ‘parody’ ad for their deodorant that ‘doesn’t slowly poison you’ was wrong on so many levels that it’s put me right off using them. I know the deodorant must be good because it’s Stef’s favourite – and she doesn’t tolerate BS, but aren’t we bored of brands promoting their products by scare-mongering and slating others? Do better. Tell us what’s GREAT about your product instead of what’s ‘BAD’ about others. Let your potential customer be swayed by information about your product, not by talking about how ‘toxic’ other products are. Especially when they aren’t ‘toxic’. You know, like arsenic..
- Cocktailing products: this has also been on social a lot in recent weeks, and in all honesty, it makes very little sense if you want to do anything with your skincare than be ‘speedy’. It’s championed by some brands in particular as a way to make a ‘smoothie’ with your skincare, cutting down application time and extending the life of your products because you can drastically cut the amount of product that you are using. The obvious problem with this scenario is when you bring active ingredients into the equation. Vitamin C for example, and retinols to a similar extent, don’t play well with others. If you want the full benefit of a vitamin C, most brands would say that you need to apply it individually, and usually first. In particularly with serums, you will not get the benefit of the product that you are using if you weaken the formula and don’t use enough. If you want the full benefit of a hyaluronic acid with multiple hyaluronic acid molecular weights, unless specified by individual brands, you would usually apply it before a moisturiser. The larger molecules plump the epidermis which in turn allows for better penetration of other products. Basically if you’re using an active serum, don’t mix it with something else before you apply it. If the products you are using can be used in this way, they are potentially not that ‘active’ in the first place. You won’t find a doctor or science-led brand suggesting that you make a stew of their products.
- Sunday Riley fake reviews: talk about timing. I posted my overview of the Good Genes situation last Monday evening and want to bed. I woke up to a ton of messages, both privately and on social regarding the internal company email given to Reddit by a pissed ex-employee showing that Sunday Riley encouraged their staff to post fake reviews on Sephora’s website.
Here’s what I know as facts and can personally clarify/confirm:
My video preceded the leak. In all honestly, yes, if I had seen the email before I put the video live, I probably would have pulled it, purely because I know how the internet works, and I could have predicted what would happen. People would link my video to the leaked email and assume that a: I was ‘endorsing’ their behaviour and that b: I would have to therefore strictly adhere to the internet’s decisions on how I should proceed with my content. Both of these things happened. So yes, I would have pulled it, most probably postponed it indefinitely.
Yes fake reviews can happen in the industry. Everyone is aware of it, and if they say they aren’t, they’re either lying or are new to the industry. I have been asked to write fake reviews in the past ‘to kick off the sales’ when brands were launching products onto websites, but never by the brand. It was always by the retailer. I declined. And not politely. This was a long time ago when I was an employee, it hasn’t happened in my 10+ years as a consultant. It’s obviously beyond unethical. But as with any sales industry, we are all aware it is possible. Hotels, restaurants, Amazon, Trip Advisor – all suffer with fake reviews. To my (personal) knowledge and experience it is much worse in the US than here in the UK.
Make no mistake, brands are frequently pitted against each other by some big retailers. It is encouraged. If you tell a retailer than you are launching a vitamin c product in a sales planning meeting, you run the risk that the information will be relayed to your competition in their next meeting, and low and behold, your competition will swiftly turn around a vitamin c – and possibly using your story/idea. It’s dog eat dog in certain retail circles. I am in no way defending Sunday Riley’s actions, I have never seen a more detailed instruction in how to leave a fake review and avoid detection, but trust me when I say that there are a lot of big brands, particularly in the US, watching what has happened to Sunday Riley over the last couple of weeks and thinking ‘there but for the grace of God…’ and I imagine doing a LOT of internal electronic housekeeping. It would be nice to think that recent events will put an end to it, but I wouldn’t bet on it. The traditional retail model/world is in trouble, every sale counts. And to some factions, that will be taken to mean ‘by all means necessary’.
It works the other way too, it is not uncommon for a brand to launch a product online and have numerous negative reviews the same day/next morning. Those aren’t genuine reviews either, they’re the work of the competition, who are trying to stick the knife in while the brand are in the middle of their PR/promotion campaign.
So where does that leave the customer that uses reviews as a way of ascertaining if a product is for them or not? Personally, I look at the overall picture. Is the product designed for my skin? Is it just massively hyped and I ‘think’ I need it? And what does online have to say? Websites/blogs – get yourself an overall view and be objective.Having said all that, and in direct relation to my Good Genes video, there are literally thousands of reviews of the original GG across multiple websites. With the biggest effort in the world, utilising all their staff and all their friends, Sunday Riley could not have manufactured all of those reviews. It’s good product, and I believe that the reviews are overwhelmingly genuine. (I have checked both Cult Beauty and SpaceNK’s websites and they are only showing current reviews of the new, glycolic Good Genes, as to be expected.)
Again, because it’s the internet, I am not in any way defending/endorsing their actions, merely giving context from my side.
Finally, thank you for all your lovely messages, kind words and flowers over the last week. We’re working our way back to normal scheduling and appreciate your understanding. It just feels a little too soon to film.