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Don’t Be Duped by Beguiling Ingredients, Boasts and Branding say consumer group Which?

September 26, 2016 by Lidia
A report by consumer group Which? reveal deceptive psychological marketing tricks to get us to part with our money when it comes to our skin care

A report by consumer group Which? has this week revealed the many ways in which beauty manufacturers resort to deceptive psychological marketing tricks to get us to part with our money.


We explore some of the more common tactics and outline why they differ so greatly from the Works With Water ethos.


Cod Science

Cloaking products in scientific imagery and text to make them seem effective

Nikki Stopford, Which? director of research describes this as ‘confusion marketing’: ‘Using a scientific-sounding term makes the product seem technically superior to others, and makes the brand seem like it has a scientific basis and is, therefore, effective’.

This is evident in the abundance of complaints about jargon in the beauty industry i.e. “pro-xylane”, “enriched with 3 glycans” or a “breakthrough phyto-complex, combining Boswellia extract and manganese”.

This pseudo-science can be extended to brand image and packaging too; sales assistants donning clinical coats, words such as ‘tech’ and ‘smart’ slapped on the side of products and double packaging – tubes and bottles unnecessarily packed into boxes. Which? outline that boxed tubes are associated with ‘medicinal’ and ‘serious’ products.


Misleading Packaging

On the topic of packaging, another trend Which? discovered is the tendency to shamelessly over package. A box containing half air. Double walled boxes. Thick bottles containing little actual product.

A recurring theme too was the clever use of branding and images. For example, shower gels featuring juicy apples and pomegranates, when the products only featured the chemical scent, and no trace of the actual fruit themselves.


Not In Stock

Many brands build hype around their product by making it seem inaccessible – ‘not in stock’, ‘high demand’, ‘limited run’… There have been occasions, Which? found, where a supposedly out of product item hasn’t really been snapped up as quickly as the brand leads people to believe, as it was still available to purchase in large quantities on their websites.


Luxury ingredients and labelling

Pink diamonds, truffle, caviar – may be synonymous with luxury, but be wary of any products purporting to contain these lavish luxuries, as their main function is simply to push price up. Premium ingredients give only the illusion of status.

Trademarking ingredients may sound impressive or exclusive, however the Which? report references a famous skincare brand’s “miracle broth”, the miracle worker of which is seaweed, a common skincare ingredient.


Green credentials

‘There’s an inherent belief that if something is natural, it’s good for us,’ says skincare brand consultant Emma Kohring. ‘Although it’s not necessarily true, there’s definitely an increase in consumers interested in buying natural and organic. And marketers play on that.’

Don’t be fooled by such misdirection. A product can contain as little as 1% organic ingredients and still be labelled as organic or natural.


At Works with Water, we source the highest quality, clinically-proven natural ingredients. We align our dosages against the clinical trial data and package in the most ethical way. We are dedicated to full transparency regarding our natural ingredients and the skincare benefits they deliver.


help: clear skin contains a high dose of key ingredient lactoferrin. It’s clinically proven to reduce spots, acne and redness in a double-blind placebo – as seen in the clinical trials.

As a food supplement company our use of natural food ingredients and skin benefit claims are dictated by EU legislation. This ensures that you the consumer can have complete confidence in our natural skincare products. This research and dedication to specific skincare needs is reflected in our case studies.

For more information on our patented natural skincare formulations, please read our jargon-free FAQs pages for help: clear skin and help: beautify skin or discover more about what causes acne and acne on our Understanding Acne page.




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