For anyone who has wondered what Unilever has been doing with Kate Somerville which it bought in 2015, you’ll be pleased to know that finally, finally, it’s launching in the UK on 1st February.
BBC Beauty Program
If you’re a beauty fan, you probably tuned into the BBC program, The Truth About Looking Good. Every now and again this type of program pops up and invariably findings are the same. The most interesting point I guess was that after testing three differently priced moisturisers, they found the cheapest was the best (Nivea) when pitted against Clinique and bizarrely, Embyolisse. I don’t doubt their findings because this has been done in many variants so many times before (the media is obsessed with proving Crème de La Mer is a waste of money – when this happens, Crème sales shoot up by the way) but it lost credibility when it claimed that none of the products had anti-ageing effects. They’re all moisturisers, designed to moisturise and nothing else. I would have loved to see more on the emotional connection we have with skin care, the importance of self-care and a consumer-friendly guide to breaking down marketing speak. That would be more helpful than knowing that a cheap moisturiser moisturised skin. The program also claimed that if you never moisturised your (normal) skin would be exactly the same in the long run. I don’t think there is one of us who’s prepared to put that one to the test! It was great to see budget foundations fare better than luxury but the whole thing needed a deeper dive into this murky world.
I’ve been asked by several readers whether I’ll be reviewing Trinny London. A) I’ve never been given any information on the brand and B) I have a slight unease about a product range that is partially funded by Charles Saatchi, because I can’t get that pap captured image of him grabbing Nigella by the throat out of my head. I’m sure that many brand owner’s behaviour wouldn’t stand scrutiny in certain areas but I feel uneasy with this because I’ve seen it (we all have).
Microbeads & Microplastics
Many beauty brands have been phasing out their micro beads because the ban which takes effect now with sales banned from June has been on the cards for a while. However, what’s less known about (and doesn’t fall under the ruling) is microplastics in make-up. It’s in mascara, foundation, lipsticks and eyeshadows. These are the tiniest possible particles – so small they can’t be seen by the human eye, but they’re damaging to the environment nonetheless. Look for ingredients in your make up called Polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP), Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) and Nylon (PA). Perhaps the most obvious is Nylon in mascara to give it a ‘stretch’ ability. It’s also worthwhile considering the ‘Cruelty Free’ claims made by brands who don’t test on animals but do pour microplastics into the oceans. On that basis, they’re not cruelty free in my book.
L’Occitane & Limelight by Alcone
L’Occitane has put more investment into ‘natural’ brand, Limelight by Alcone. The brand is run on an MLM basis (multi-level marketing) in that it allows people to run their own Limelight businesses. Anyone who has seen a Younique detractor’s forum will know that this type of business can be exploitative of women (mainly it attracts women hoping to ‘work from home’) with initial outlays and impossible targets. I just cannot imagine why L’Occitane would want to get involved.
What to make of the US brand LipSlut and their F**K Hollywood lipstick created in the wake of the Weinstein news. 50% of proceeds (not the same as profit) goes to charities supporting sexual assault victims. I’m conflicted about a brand called LipSlut to be honest. I don’t feel it is helpful in empowerment. What do you think – help me out here!
Brand To Watch
Just as Korean brands slowly, slowly made themselves known to us and are now standard on beauty shelves (and many interations thereof), the UAE is emerging as a source to watch for new brands. Obviously, it’s partially down to the Huda effect (which has given Shiffa new life – remember Shiffa?) but it’s not necessarily the luxuriously opulent brands that are the front runners. I like the look of Reine Michi Beauty, a young vegan brand that focuses on natural and basics. Also, founder, Zainab Imichi Alhassan, herself is 100% the face of modern beauty. See more HERE.
All products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.
I think micro plastics in cosmetics is going to be the biggie for me, it’s scary to think all of that going down the drain every single day…
and the same with contraceptive piles aka hormonal contraceptions..
Totally agree with you on the lips…brand name. It’s not necessary. Perhaps they do it to draw attention?
Thank you for this post! I loved reading it! I did not know that there are microbeads in cosmetics (not skinckare) so I need take this into the account next time I am shopping.
Thank you for this post! I loved reading it! I did not know that there are microbeads in cosmetics (not skincare) so I need take this into the account next time I am shopping.
I agree about the claims that moisturiser is pointless: maybe for a day or two but not one’s whole life. I’m absolutely positive that my skin (at 77) looks better than some people I know who’ve never used it — why they’ve never used it is beyond me!! As for the LipSlut, one would think Harvey W had named it! ‘Nuff said!
I think, barring genetic quirks, you get out what you put in, even if it’s just the time spent massaging the moisturiser in.. even that’s beneficial for blood flow.
Also……where does the embryo come from? (Seriously)
I have to confess, I dont moisturise my face very often. I have always had an oily skin, but since I hit 40 it got less so. Ive spent money on all the brands and also gone without bothering and I can honestly say there was no difference. The nice thing about skincare, for me, is that’s a nice little ritual that makes me feel like I’m treating myself well and I enjoy it. But yeah, I dont really notice a difference either way. Great read, thanks for another interesting article! Xx
I think if you have oily skin you are – in some ways – blessed that your skin looks after itself in that regard. I know the downsides of course, and absolutely agree about the rituals and the moments – sometimes the ONLY moment in a day that’s truly yours. x
I agree with you, Jane, on several areas (if not all). I don’t like the name Lip Slut because it’s not an empowering word at all and in fact, a little demeaning. I get that people proudly call themselves B**ch these days, meaning you’re a powerful women who doesn’t take any BS, but it’s not something I’d want to be called.
While I have avoided products with microbeads, this is an eyeopener that I need to pay attention to other plastics in my cosmetics. I didn’t even think about the harmful effects of Nylon!
I haven’t watched the BBC program, but based on what you’ve summarized, I don’t agree with everything. I absolutely cannot go a couple of days without moisturizer before my face starts to feel raw, and that’s even when I wash my face with plain old water. My skin is parched when I walk out of the shower! Even though my derm does not encourage me to buy the product, she has said there are solid studies showing La Mer works. I don’t have any problems with drugstore creams, but I’ve never found one that works for me, so I’ll stick to my high end stuff. At the very least, I like the antioxidants. I also don’t use products with mineral oil in it. Yuck, no thanks!
See,I’m not that bothered by mineral oils… Vaseline .. which is basically what’s left when the petrol is taken out has been proven as an asset to wound healing so I don’t see it as a bad thing as such, not that I’d slather my face in it!
I can’t stand cherry healey or Stacey thingy (to me they are the same) always irritating simpleton programmes. So although I’m interested in beauty, I couldn’t bear to watch it. I was considering watching with subtitles (seriously) but I’m grateful for your synopsis – as that’s exactly what I imagined it’d be, a very basic and totally reductive piece of rot.
There needs to be a good, serious documentary, as you say! Hmm wonder if a BBC exec is reading your blog 😉
I think the presenter did a great job – it was the right tone for the audience and educational on a basic level. It’s probably because we’re very immersed in beauty world and interested, and therefore self educated, that it maybe seemed a bit ‘light’ but for the average watcher with only moderate connection with the world of beauty it did raise good points. It wasn’t perfect by any means but educating has to take many forms and if it arms the consumer then that’s a good thing.
When they talked about the lack of ‘anti-ageing effect’ with the moisturisers, it did make it look like they were taking a cheap shot at the market, given that none of them had anti ageing claims & it slightly discredited the programme really. However, I watch with interest & draw my own conclusions. I have super oily skin but purely from a comfort perspective, I couldn’t wash my face then leave it & I know my skin looks better when I take better care of it with products.
The ‘Lipslut’ thing is just charmless & predictable – doesn’t feel powerful to me in any way. What exactly are ‘proceeds’ then, if it’s different from profit?
I hope Kate Somerville goes somewhere with testers & samples. I’ve been curious for a few years but hate the idea of shelling out, getting hit with hideous customs charges, only to find out I don’t like the product.
Love these news posts. Thanks Jane!
I’m with you, Jane, on all your comments.
Both the lip slut and Trinny products leave me with a feeling of unease. And as for the little pots… I too have a stack of them, from Boots, I think.
I often go without moisturiser. And at least once a week, try to leave my skin completely alone. It’s spent millions of years evolving; it really needs as little interference as possible.
That includes avoiding tap water on my face, which is full of chlorine and hard minerals. Hence why I think people feel their skin is parched. A wipe of rose water and I’m good to go.
I do however feel the BBC programme achieved its goal. All of us here are far better informed as to the differences between anti ageing and moisturising, for example. But the majority of the population doesn’t have a clue and just goes with the marketing claims. I think the programme was educational to the masses in that respect.
I was having a conversation with my kids about how I don’t think that showering every day is great for skin (my daughter has very dry skin) and they were horrified. If you’re a manual worker, gym goer, sporty etc, all fine but if you’ve done nothing exerting to require 20 minutes under hard water, then a day off every now and again does no harm.
Even if you’ve just finished a high sweat exercise class (me, never!) you just want to rinse the salts off your body. No need for skin drying, perfumed detergents twice a day.
I was going to say I think hard water is the reason why UK citizens need more skin/hair product. I was in London for a week and my hair and skin feel horrible after one shower.
I come from Hong Kong and we have soft water, I never understood the notion of “cosmetic water”. Why would anyone buy a bottle of evian in a spray bottle? Now I know! I used up a bottle during this trip to London.
I’m so glad you wrote that about Saatchi, Jane. I also can’t get the image of Trinny dining with him outside at the same restaurant (if not the same table) as a staged pap opp. Such a vindictive way of showing her solidarity with a violent abuser, conspiring with him in an attempt to do further harm. Also, LipSlut is hugely problematic to me.
Typo! *as a staged pap opp… out of my head
To be honest, I am sure there are a lot of products on the market that get funded by unpleasant people or even worse, that we don’t know about. So to have that as a guiding light whether or not to review a product is a bit unprofessional.
I agree with you that there are all sorts of behind the scenes actions going on that we’ll never see but the joy of having your own site is that you can make a choice based on anything you like.