Guerrilla Truth Tactics at IECSC Day 3. |

Guerrilla Truth Tactics at IECSC Day 3.

Your BFT “Beauty Bloggers” were at it again on day 3 at IECSC.   Here is how it went.

We met hordes of estheticians, and a multitude of purveyors of products for spas.  Some of them fall into the category of things facial (creams, gels, goos, masks, cleansers, etc) and many others hawking equipment of all sorts (therapy “machines”, furniture,etc ).  And of bunch of miscellaneous. Literally tens of thousands of products of all sorts. For guys like myself and Dr. George,  we can now better empathize with our wives when they tell us about how they feel in a hardware store, or at a convention for computer gadgets.  We were clearly a left brain presence in a right brain world.

Of course, my “Beauty Blogger”  press badge was a good intro to whomever I wanted to meet, especially to those selling products. “You don’t fit the usual demographic for a beauty blogger” or “You just don’t don’t look like a beauty blogger” was the typical opening comment, to which I tended to reply “what, not beautiful enough?” That would get the conversation rolling.

If we were talking to a purveyor of skin care products, we would focus on ingredients, and would ask about actives.  Ready for the shock ?– they couldn’t answer! Typically the first person would say, let me ask so-and-so (e.g. the regional manager). They would then say “let me grab the (chemist, boss, whatever).  But no matter how far we went up the chain, nobody had any answers to questions like: “does this really work?”  and How do you know? and “is there any evidence? For the most part, they were clueless about their own products.  And were surprised that anyone would ask about the science in the first place.

The second stage tactic was a bit more confrontational.  We might ask a question like “did you know that this active is based on junk science, and that it cannot possibly work because it defies all known physiology.” That usually induced a state of panic, and they frantically looked for someone to help them not look foolish in front of “the press”.  But foolish they did look.  We tried to use these as “teaching moments” .. . to try to get them to agree that telling the truth is a good thing, and that their company would benefit by being careful about the validity of what they put in as actives.  This was successful on a few occasions, but for the most part I would call it “a spit in the ocean”  as we would look around and the sheer volume of commerce being transacted based on a platform of specious ingredients, fairy tale actives, and marketing buzz words being spoken by drones.  I don’t want to insult anyone by calling this right brain.  Brain dead is a better description.  This is not the place to go if you want proof that honest, hard working science triumphs over the PT Barnum School of Selling.  It doesn’t. The sad thing is that the sellers are suckers as much as the end purchasers. They bought the lies from the ingredients people,  and are just passing them on. And earning their buck.

Now, you regular readers know that Dr. George and I are especially peevish when it comes to plant stem cell products. No bigger cesspool of lies in the world than that phonied up science, and we are of the opinion that it actually inhibits real science from getting a platform.  There was a 2-hour educational session scheduled – Stem Cell Ingredients Demystified.  I attended. Now, you might imagine a major kerfuffle as Dr John meets the enemy in battle. But the results actually surprised me!  Tomorrow, I will give you a blow-by-blow account (don’t you just love a cliffhanger?)


  1. Tracy says:

    Hello, I am one of those Estheticians that cares about science. After attending the trade show in San Jose last summer, I felt like I had been to a snake oil infomercial convention. It was fascinating on many levels (none of which inspired me to believe or buy… I did however write a song). While discussing melasma with a doctor at one booth, he declared that he could not only fix my melasma but also my thin upper lip. I was very grateful since I hadn’t considered my upper lip to be lacking and appreciated that he shed light on this issue for me! While dissecting many of the ingredients in the “literature” I was given, my father who is a scientist and I discovered that Drano was a main ingredient in a phony oxygen treatment. .
    So, I thank you you for your amazing work. You make me feel informed and less crazy for thinking 90% of the business I’m in is a crock. I was wondering if you might do a piece on whether (or why) eye cream is b.s.?

  2. Kath says:

    “a spit in the ocean”, indeed..

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