Makeup Culture, Or, How To Effectively Market Using Frightening Words
My wife wears makeup. Not always. Not a lot. She looks nice. This post really has nothing to do with that, but I thought I'd just throw it out there. My wife gets the Ulta ad magazine in the mail. Today I decided to read it. It's amazing.
First of all, do you have skin concerns? Of course you do! Read on to find out the horrific ways that a combination of modern chemistry and ancient soil/minerals/plants/bugs/etc will solve them.
The crazy thing about the Ulta magazine, or perhaps just the makeup industry (my experience here is limited), is that it effortlessly rocks back and forth between extremely sterile medical sounding products and vials full of something-the-neighborhood-witch-doctor-whipped-up. For instance, there's Stila. Stila is a line of products, some of which are called "Glowing Reviews," "Coming Clean," and "Undercover." These products are made with
Alpine Rose Stem Cell Technology, Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamins A, C & E.
Stem cells from alpine roses? I didn't know that was a thing. And what's the "technology" part about? Is that just the procurement of alpine rose stem cells, or is there more to it than that? I looked up Hyaluronic Acid on Wikipedia. It seems pretty legit. It's used in all manner of medical and cosmetic products for its skin firming benefits. It's also used in the "equine industry." I found this nugget:
Note that, according to Canadian regulation, hyaluronan in HY-50 preparation should not be administered to animals to be slaughtered for horse meat. In Europe, however, the same preparation is not considered to have any such effect, and edibility of the horse meat is not affected.
Europeans eat horses? How did I not know this? Also, Canadians, did you decide the skin on your horse meat was too firm and needed regulation? Is that actually what happened?
Sometimes the doctor talk and voodoo speak are mixed almost poetically, such as in Glow by Dr. Brandt - Ruby Crystal Retinol Hydracrème. I think I've seen how that's made. There is a giant Nazi base under a volcano somewhere where the retinol gets infused with the light of a ruby laser...or something. Anyway,
The synergistic ingredients of time-release retinol and micronized ruby crystals come together to resurface & instantly illuminate skin.
Does that mean your skin will glow? Will it glow red? How long will that last? The best part is the bottle contains 0.5 oz. I guess you only want to glow on special occasions.
Bliss makes a whole line of "Fat Girl" products. Wow. How's that working for you? Fat Girl Sixpack is a
tummy-toning gel with 6 active ingredients and ab-activating applicator.
This is not a weight or fat loss product.
What are the 6 active ingredients? Are they activated by your abs or do they activate your abs, and if so, what does that mean? If it's not supposed to be a weight loss product, what does it do, and why is it for Fat Girls? Again, how did the guy in your marketing department that came up with that not immediately get fired?
My favorite part about most all of these products is the fine print. Normally on products the fine print is something that the manufacturer has to put out there, but they don't want you to really focus on. I have a jar of peanuts in my cupboard that has "Peanuts" and "Made with Sea Salt" in large letters and "Enlarged To Show Detail" in small letters. The peanuts aren't really giant mutant peanuts, and the manufacturer is afraid you will sue them if they don't explain that to you, but doesn't want to draw a lot of attention to that. I get it.
With the makeup thing though, the fine print is almost always what the product actually does. There is a company called Philosophy. They have 3 products they are selling on one particular page of this magazine. They are "Miracle Worker," "Hope In A Jar," and "Time In A Bottle." This is the large print on the bottle/jar. Below that are phrases like these:
your eyes are the windows to your soul not your age.
to witness a miracle is to know yourself. vital, brilliant, heavenly in body and spirit.
where there is hope there can be faith. where there is faith miracles can occur.
time can be on your side. when you focus on what really matters, time becomes your lifelong friend.
Then at the bottom, in the fine print, is a description of what you are actually buying.
Miraculous anti-aging retinoid eye repair
Miraculous anti-aging moisturizer
Original formula moisturizer for all skin types
Most of them contain the French version of those phrases in italics as well, because you know, French people are beautiful.
So I guess the thing is, ladies, what you really want to know that you have access to is "hope in a jar." Whether or not that is moisturizer or serum, miraculous or age-defying, hydratant anti-âge or formule originale pour tous types de peaux, doesn't really matter much.
I'm sure I'll never really understand this. I guess I'm ok with that. However, one last observation. There are several "Acne Starter Kits" in this magazine. Is that really the best way to market that? Surely they aren't for people that want to start acne, right? It's for getting rid of acne isn't it? Isn't there a thesaurus full of words that could be used to sell this product better that "Acne Starter Kit?" Does it come with a petri dish?