Monday, March 29, 2010

Why I hate advertising, pt. 4986

Thanks to my chemistry-nerd husband, I now have a better understanding of the chemical makeup of... makeup. Anti-aging creams, in particular. Allow me to attempt paraphrasing this newfound knowledge:

For the most part, products that claim to "erase wrinkles" or "invigorate" the skin for the purpose of decreasing the signs of aging, are creating a temporary illusion of skin tightness. The astringent qualities of the product tighten pores, creating a more even, youthful appearance, and a waxy or oily substance remains on the skin, allowing the effects to remain in the skin until it's worn or washed off, hours later.

I shamefully bought an undereye revitalizer... thing, the other day. I never thought it would happen to me, but since I turned 26, I've been preoccupied with the fear of looking "old." I'm self-conscious about undereye circles and "bags," and I noticed a mouth wrinkle, omg. So I actually bought a product that promised to lessen the appearance of undereye "puffiness" and circles.

I went home and read the instructions. It said to apply to a clean, dry face in the morning (and you can wear it under makeup, it says!) and at night, before bed.

I used the stuff this morning after I showered, before work, keeping in mind my newfound chemistry knowledge. It did, in fact, "burn" a little, in the way that suggests something medicinal, which I guess we're supposed to find reassuring. The instructions said to "pat" the area until it was absorbed. The thing is, after using the recommended amount of product on my "eye area," there was so much that I could pat for 20 minutes without making much of a difference. So I resorted to light rubbing, and then eventually started to just spread the stuff a little outside the prescribed "eye area."

Anyway, my eyes were less puffy, and for the rest of the day, I felt a slight pulling at the corners of my eyes. It was the waxy coating that the eye crap left behind.

What really gets me is not that it's just an illusion, but rather the fact that they instruct the user to apply is in the morning and at night. We've already established that the results are temporary and dependent on the product remaining intact on a person's face. The product does not work like Zoloft; it's not released throughout the bloodstream at intervals and dependent on a regular schedule of consumption. The cream works until it's washed or worn off. If you tell someone to wash their face, and then (quick!) put some more stuff on, the user will only continue to see the results of the product. Even though it's useless to wear while sleeping, as the further instructions are to use morning and night, on a clean face. So, that would require you to wash your face in the morning before reapplying it.

Clearly, they are attempting to simply make you believe that there are benefits to using this product more often than (you know to be) "necessary" so that you will use more of their product, and therefore have to buy it more often. And using it at night, as they needlessly suggest, will cause the user to think that the product is really making a long-term and sustained difference, as promised.

Their clever little advertising tricks drive me up a wall. It's the epitome of manipulation for personal gain, and it's infuriating.