folly: in praise of the good sort, otherwise ridicule

A recent (anonymized) MUA exchange, on the Green board:

Anne (names have been changed):
I have very sensitive and congested skin. Any products lines or specific products you can recommend?

Bernice (who’s had an account since 2006 but this is the first time they’ve ever posted anything):
Keys Care products are MADE for that kind of skin!

Calypso (who’s been around since 2003, and active, and is sensible):
Hmmm… SLS, coco-betaine, fragrance, etc. irritate the heck out of my sensitive skin.

Gingerama:
2nd: whatever marketing depts may say, this stuff is NOT made for sensitive

Dolores (around for ages, supremely sensible being):
3rd – I love cumin but not in my sunscreen (I gave it a try….re: Keys Solar Care…excellent idea, exceptionally irritating poor execution. As always, YM may/does/could/will V [YMMV = your mileage may vary]

Bernice:
Keys has done wonders for tons of people with sensitive skin. Bob Root, head Keys formulator, created the product line initially for his wife, who was recovering from chemo and had extremely sensitive skin. He has more science backing up his formulas than most others in the industry. It may not work for everyone – nothing will – but i promise you, for most people with sensitive skin, this is an excellent, high-quality, low-cost line of product. Def worth a try. And 100% natural.

Gingerama (alas, a little later… having had other things to do, like work, in the intervening period):
I question these statements’ claims.
1. this is copy-pasted PR bumff from Keys.

2. your only contributions to MUA have been these two comments about the greatness of Keys: that looks to me like shilling (at worst; or, at best, blind faith in a cult).

3. “tons of people with sensitive skin”: please substantiate with figures. “more science backing up his formulas than most others in the industry”: please substantiate this claim…

4. “most people with sensitive skin”: classic get-out clause for companies who have not, in fact, produced sensitive-appropriate stuff. Look to the methodology of specialist companies (Avène, A-Derma, Boots, heaven help us even the evil bunny-torturing La Roche-Posay…): they aim for the highest common denominator of being suitable even for people–however tiny the minority–with the very most sensitive skin.

5. sneaky rhetorical move here: effectively redefining sensitive skin as “skin that tolerates our products.” Skin that doesn’t is therefore not sensitive, but super-hyper-mega-etc-sensitive, off the scale, statistically irrelevant, and lo! once again, marginalised. For all her flaws, Paula Begoun gets it right: all skincare should be made to be tolerable by even the most sensitive skin. For example: all products, not just eye-creams but any face-creams, should be tested to such a standard that they can be used on even the most sensitive skin, around eyes.

6. It may be low-cost compared to rip-off merchants catering to the silly and ignorant, but it’s expensive compared to good basic functional stuff (Desert Essence, Earth Science, own-brands, etc.)

7. saying something is “def worth a try” is some of the worst pseudo-advice it is possible to give someone with sensitive skin.

8. 100% natural is irrelevant. Poison ivy is 100% natural too.

oOo

Tsk.

But there is hope: in that the green board, often the home of ignorance, blissful ignorance, idiocy, the refusal and rejection of facts, truth, and knowledge… and other suchlike things against which I rant and rail regularly … the green board, anyhoo, has been showing more signs than usual of scepticism and intelligent life:

Ariadne: Do you think the Tata Harper trial set is worth splurging for?

Briony:
Nope! I tried a few of their products and was not impressed at all

Cecilia:
Not personally. I think the products are overpriced for the ingredients they contain.

Gingerama:
blinkin’ ‘eck, 2nd that and then square it: contenders for rip-off merchant of the year
(in a very competitive field). See further: HC Andersen, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

Deirdre:
Amen to that! Prices are unreal. I was tempted to try but then I looked at the ingredients…

Emily:
Agreed. It’s like repackaged GOW [= Garden of Wisdom]

Deirdre:
Exactly! We could probably make it ourselves. Hmm….idea?

Emily:
Yeah, I’ve been meaning to look into what is exactly in Tata Harper. I think it’s just a bunch of serums, meaning carrier oil and some essential oils, flower essences. Nothing difficult. I just don’t understand how all these celebs and people are falling for this line, unless they’re being paid loads of money.

Deirdre:
They prob get it for free. Get rich and famous, ppl give you things for free. Crazy world….

Francesca:
I’m going to chime in with the lone opposing opinion…..I like her products a lot! Expensive, but very high quality. I would definitely get the trial set to see how your skin responds before purchasing full size products.
[this is my favourite in the exchange: after a weak “uh-oh d’oh”-alert start, turns around, thinks, and produces a last sentence that is sensible–reasonable and scientifically-methodologically sound.] 

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