TRE: Statistics in Cosmetic Ads

Welcome to another week of The Raised Eyebrow! I’ll admit, this week was a tough one for me as I didn’t really come across something that had me channeling Dr. Evil of the Austin Powers series. Until I went drugstore makeup shopping.

If there is one thing that you’ll definitely find when it comes to buying cosmetic products in drugstores, it’s that companies will always throw these numbers at your face, claiming that “X % saw immediate improvement” or ” X % soft, hydrated lips” with the product on display. I remember seeing these types of claims when my cousin and I were checking out the Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter and one of the claims was “In fact, 94% of women’s lips felt were softer, smoother, and instantly hydrated” (directly from Revlon.com).

That got me to buy the product because I wanted a lipstick that didn’t make my lips drier than they already were.

You can tell where I’m going with this week’s entry.

My lips didn’t feel softer (LIES, REVLON!) but they did look hydrated. I kept using it to see if the statistic would be proven over time. Nope. My lips didn’t improve, much to my chagrin. But it wasn’t just Revlon that I had a bone to pick with.

L’Oreal had a product called Voluminous Butterfly mascara. The advertisement for this product claims that you’ll have “every lash extended for a dramatic lash fringe that flutters” (straight from L’Oreal’s US website). I bought it because I thought that it would really fan out my lashes. All I ended up with were spider or clumped lashes. No joke.

I couldn’t even get the baby lashes with with the Voluminous Butterfly. On top of that, the mascara flaked after a few hours of wear – I checked my makeup in the bathroom and that’s when I saw I had been walking around with black flecks on my cheeks.

ಠ_ಠ

Now, some people may disagree with me on my experiences with Revlon and L’Oreal and it’s understandable. But what got me raising an eyebrow is the numbers that these cosmetic companies use to promote their products. 94% of women, Revlon? Really? THAT MANY women agreed with the claim?

I guess I must be part of the 6% that disagreed.

And my eyelashes were far from fluttering, L’Oreal. I even tried the Intenza version and it was worse! The Intenza was even more prone to flaking than the regular Voluminous. The corner lashes were the hardest to fan out, which I was hoping that the Voluminous and the Intenza would do. Nope.

I get that selling is key in the cosmetic industry. But do they really have to spit out these overwhelmingly positive statistics and claims, knowing damn well that it’s not the case? Maybe if they did, people wouldn’t be so inclined to return or pooh-pooh drugstore products.

But drugstore products aren’t the only ones guilty of this tactic (I read a LOT of complaints about Benefit’s They’re Real! Mascara). Yep, even the mid-end and high-end cosmetic products are laden with overwhelmingly positive statistics. And sadly, this tactic, as deceitful as it is, works. How so?

Sales don’t lie. Cosmetics wouldn’t be a big industry if throwing in a bunch of positive numbers with a product didn’t work.

Wonder what will have me raise an eyebrow in the cosmetic scene next? Tune in next Sunday to find out!

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