While researching for this month's newsletter topic, I couldn't help but become more and more disturbed by the amount of sneaky advertising I came across. In reading about skin tightening, cellulite treatments and acne causes, I began to notice many (some even quite reputable) sites that had misinformed clients or used before and after pics that were misleading. As I dove deeper into my research, I began to uncover a much bigger, crazier scam. This will be an important read for you - especially if you like to try the "latest & greatest" skin care products that "all the celebs" are using.
Let's start with the Before and After Scams I found, and how to spot them yourself.
1. Client positioning
Sometimes the client or their clothing is positioned a certain way. For example, in a recent Women's Health Beauty Editor article (which I love to read), "How to Stop your Neck from looking Saggy", the before and after that was used was ridiculous! The woman in the before pic has her head pulled back in order to crease her neck and in the after pic she extends it to smooth out the lines. It was likely the doc being interviewed who supplied the B & A or it could be from the manufacturer.
2. Lighting & Make Up
Many before pics are done in regular lighting while the after pics are taken with a brighter light, which will reduce or even remove lines and wrinkles completely. It is also common to blur the after pic, which you will see as you scroll down to the first photo in this link - it uses different lighting and is also a little blurry. The second photo is an example of an after with more intense lighting. Here is another example.
Then, my favourite - just slap a ton of make up on them - check out this link.
3. Photo Shopped Pics
Here you should look for a before and after pic that is EXACTLY the same. The pose is perfectly the same in the after. Check out these examples. Scroll down to see half the face with wrinkles and the other half 10 years younger (with essential oils)!
Look at this incredible photo shopped pic (notice every little hair in exactly the same places?) - . Who wouldn't purchase a package of treatments that could do that?
4. Taking an After Pic Before the Before pic
Sound confusing? Check out this video that explains it best -
Crazy, isn't it?
And now the piece de resistance - the BIG BIG scam that YOU may fall for if you aren't "in the know"…
Look out for skin care products online that sound too good to be true - BECAUSE THEY ARE! Clients, friends and even family members have sent me numerous links to "miracle skin care" products that I "need" to check out. Please be careful - DO NOT FALL FOR THE FREE TRIAL SCAM. These ads include stars - usually Dr. Oz and other celebrities and they offer a free trial. However, in the teeny, tiny print it usually says you have 12 days to sample it and then your credit card will be charged the full amount - which usually runs approx $90 per product. The best part is that the product will continue to automatically be shipped to you on a monthly basis - charging your credit card each time of course. The topper is that it is extremely difficult to cancel the order and out of frustration you finally have to replace your credit card in order to stop the charges.
Most of these companies are based in countries without an extradition policy - so they are able to run these scams without recourse. If they receive enough bad publicity, they simply rename their product and slap a new label on it and they are off and running again.
This is an awesome scam - they really do a great job. The page is usually set up like a news feed or a magazine page. It looks quite believable until you try to click on the links. Check this one out - link. Notice the reviews listed at the very bottom. You will see those same fake comments on multiple sites.
The list of bogus sites and products is ENDLESS! I searched "wrinkle creams" and the Consumer Wrinkle Reviews site popped up at the top of the list - and yes - it too is BOGUS! It shows the Top 9 Wrinkle Creams for 2015 - which are all products that are a part of this awesome scam. If you click on the "reviews" tab at the top of the page, it will list hundreds of creams. Any cream or brand that you click on has a brief description, followed by why they do not recommend it. They are positioning themselves as a well-respected company that reviews products, but they only seem to favour the Top 9. BRILLIANT!
To take this a step further - I also found Rachel Vrabel of Women's Blog Talk, who exposes these scams in this article . Rachel provides a great explanation of the scam - however, she is selling LifeCell on her site! She answers a slew of questions to eager buyers (which seem fake to me), and the product is far from wonderful - read these reviews on Amazon and here it's on the Complaints Board website touted as a scam.
In a nutshell,
- do not fall for the free trial
- research customer reviews on reputable sites - such as Amazon
- research any company you plan to give your credit card number to
- remember NO skin care product is legally allowed to promise changes in the deeper tissue layers - only surface. Anything that promotes a deeper more permanent result is considered a drug and must meet the requirements of one.
- once again - IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT PROBABLY IS!