Friday, September 2, 2016

The Friday Forum - September 2

It's hard to believe it's September - my birth month - already! The summer flew by, even the month of August that I took as a vacation. I felt I deserved one since I take them so seldom.

There was an interesting article in Tuesday's New York Times about the Kardashians/Jenners and their flouting of the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) guidelines for bloggers, and celebrities who advertise products on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and other online boards. In March of 2013, I told you about the new guidelines that require transparency regarding gratis products and/or payments for product features. Many bloggers immediately and unhappily began to follow the rules requiring that they disclose gratis products (free), sponsored posts, and affiliate links clearly and conspicuously.

Here is what I wrote at the time...
The FTC wants digital sites to make perfectly clear that the product being reviewed was received for free. The agency assumes (as I often do) that a glowing review was provided in trade for the free product. I think it's about time the FTC weighed in and clarified their expectations. My only regret is that they did not extend their guidelines to magazines. If you think Allure purchases what it glowingly features, think again.

The FTC make it clear that it's not adequate to leave a small print statement, such as "This product was provided for editorial consideration," at the bottom of a review. They want it disclosed in the review right away, up-front if possible, and they want it equal in size to the content of the post. I have always tried to disclose early in my features (as long as I could make it flow) and will try even harder going forward. I have never resorted to the "editorial consideration" lingo because I believe the product was sent to me with an implicit expectation of a review. No one sending me free products expects me to enjoy them and "consider" reviewing them. I'm not that naive.

The FTC particularly does not approve of a disclosures section that says something like, "From time to time, companies send me products for free, but I always review them honestly." That was the "solution" of many beauty bloggers and now it's a no-no - as it should be. Additionally, bloggers paid to tweet [or post on Instagram] about a product will be expected to add a hashtag, such as #ad to their tweet.

The Times told us that the FTC had caught up with the Instagram posts of Kim, Khloé, Kourtney, Kylie, and Kendall for their failure to abide by federal guidelines. These women get paid big bucks to advertise products, services, and places on Instagram as if they were their favorites - love or advertisements? The example cited was an Instagram post by Kylie Jenner that originally said, "Thanks for the birthday home, @airbnb," that was changed to"Thanks for the gift of a lovely birthday home, @airbnb" after her lawyer received a letter from I'm not sure that cleared up the gratis stay. The "ladies" also edited the captions on at least a dozen other Instagram photos and deleted others.

Top social media celebrities are paid on the average $187,500 for a post on YouTube, $75,000 for a post on Instagram or Snapchat, and $30,000 for a post on Twitter. The rules state that these posts must be labeled #ad or #sponsored to make it clear that they celebrity was paid for the endorsement.

I found it hilarious that several PR representatives were quoted as saying that audiences have a "visceral" reaction to seeing the #ad hashtags because they don't want to know that people are getting paid for "stuff, even if they are." Bloggers have told L'Oreal Paris and Urban Decay that their engagement on posts that are properly tagged "ad" or "sponsored" get lower engagement than if the tag were not there. I think that's hooey. What do you think?

As you know, many beauty bloggers disclose, either in the text of a feature, or by using buttons at the top of the feature. I sincerely doubt that their readers are turned off by such disclosures. I'm sure you have also noticed that some beauty bloggers do not disclose. Sooner or later, these bloggers, if they have a decent audience, will be caught, and the fines will be painful. I'm glad the government and Truth in Advertising are making an example of the Kardashian crew. They make millions of dollars a year simply by posting Instagram promotions. It's time they added honesty to their shtick.

It's time for the Friday Forum. The Friday Forum has always been an opportunity to share information. Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Tell us about it! Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Tell us why! Do you have questions others might be able to answer? We can help! Want to talk about skin care? I'm game. Just use the comments. We have busy weekends and slow ones on the forum. I hope to see you in the comments.

I may take a few days off over this Labor Day weekend. I've noticed that readership has taken a nosedive in the last week, and I've concluded that many readers are taking advantage of the last official week of summer for a vacation. I think should do that too, but if I get my hands on anything extraordinary, I will put that vacation on hold and feature it. Happy Labor Day!

I do want to remind you that Neiman Marcus' Beauty Event starts next week. You can pre-order now. If you need some help, call (202) 966-9700 and ask for Debbie O'Malley or Michael Reinhardt. They can help you with their own products (Tom Ford and Le Métier de Beauté) or any products in the beauty and fragrance department. The tote that you will receive with a nominal ($125) purchase is nice this time. It's worth a look-see.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest


Pamela said...

Here I am just a few months from turning sixty and for the first time in twenty five years I'm getting breakouts. I'm using my daughter's benzoyl peroxide cream, but it dries my skin out. Any product tips for an older lady with teenage acne?

Anonymous said...

I am trying the "ageless" line of hair are from living proof. I got it last week at Nordstrom had heard it was the living proof's answer to all these anti aging hair care lines coming out.
I am 60 with long highlighted hair. I previously used the LP "Full" line for fine hair. So far I purchased and tried the "Ageless" pre shampoo treatment, shampoo and conditioner. The pre shampoo conditioner I tried two ways:
First night as an overnight leave in treatment, several days later tried as a pre shampoo which I applied and shampooed out 5 minutes later.
I think leaving it in overnight is the best result.
I also think it's a great 2 times a week overnight treatment rather than a 5 minute everytime, didn't get as shiny and bouncy hair as leaving overnight.
The shampoo and conditioner used by itself is really suited for dry hair which is me and I got a lot of shine and bounce to my hair.
My other new product I'm trying is from kate Sommerville in her kateceuticals line, it's an eye serum that does serious lifting.
Been using 3 weeks now and can say I feel the tightening and it's now showing improvement on my upper eye area.
Am now trying it above my mouth and corners to see if it works there.
Kris in Seattle

Charlestongirl said...

Pamela, I would srart using LMdB's Day and Night Creams. If you get dry, use their Nourishing Cream over either.

Charlestongirl said...

Pamela, the products should work because they have retinol in them.

Anonymous said...

Saks and Neimans are the only stores getting the EL Victoria Beckham collection. Nordstrom will not be getting them. I called my local NM and had them put a few pieces on hold for me although the SA did not know when she would be getting them. Happy weekend, everyone.

Charlestongirl said...

Kris, you are using great products! Living Proof and Kate are excellent. Great choices.

Charlestongirl said...

Anonymous, the dates of arrival are in the feature.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pamela - Indie Lee's Blemish Stick is brilliant! Non-drying. Salicylic is much better than peroxide for breakouts on mature skin.

I'm loving Chanel's fall collection - Have been wearing Rouge Brule IdO with Chanel's spring Iridescent IdO. And the Red Radical nail enamel is fabulous! Truly one of the best ever Chanel collections. Can't wait for Holiday!

Eileen said...

Apropos your lead into the FF, I'm always amazed at the number of readers who don't realize that on the monetized, pro blogs (Byrdie, Refinery 29, Pop Sugar, etc.), paid product placement runs rampant. We've all seen those silly articles like "The 5 Best Foundation with SPF", "Editors' Favorites", etc. When we read those posts, what we are getting are paid product placements. In other words, advertising. I think it is pretty obvious, but then I'll read some reader comment along the lines of, "But why wasn't such and such mentioned?" The simple answer is that that brand didn't pay to have their product featured. It's all about the money, honey, and obviously a lot of people don't know that little tidbit. So, yes, I support upfront disclosure when something is a sponsored post, paid product placement, free product, etc. I used to think "Caveat lector!" but with so many people getting their information from blogs rather than magazines, I think they need to be held accountable. As for the blogs that started out as hobbies but are, for all intent and purposes, businesses, they should also be held accountable for free products, sponsored posts, etc. I have absolutely no objection to someone featuring a product they were given. I just want to know that they've established a business relationship with the brand and that they're receiving products gratis. And, as for the vlogers, some of those You Tube "gurus" with a gazillion followers rake in huge amounts of money for featuring products. Impartial, they're not! End of rant!

Hi Pamela,

First, make sure that what you are experiencing is actually acne and not an adverse reaction to products, stress, the weather or something like rosacea. Benzoyl peroxide can be extremely harsh even on teenage skin and is really only suitable as a spot treatment. To keep your skin clear and prevent breakouts from happening in the first place, you might want to try a good retinol product in an emollient base. I'm 72 and have used prescription strength retinoic acid for about 25 years. It's my anti-aging weapon of choice :-) but dermatologists also love it for the treatment of acne. For maintenance, I typically use it 3-4 times a week, but if my skin becomes congested (as happens during the summer when I'm wearing more sunscreen than usual), I just up the application to 5 times a week and that quickly eliminates the problem. If the weather is very dry, then I'll reduce the application to 2 times a week. It's all about being flexible and giving your skin what it needs. There are some excellent OTC retinol products like Skinmedica's three which come in various strengths: .25, .50, and 1.0. If your skin is not conditioned to retinoids, you start with the lowest ( .25 ) just 2 nights a week and gradually increase the the number of nights until you hit your personal sweet spot. If the weakest formulation is still a bit too harsh, you can apply a gentle moisturizer first and it will act as a buffer. When you've finished with the .25 retinol in about 3-4 months, then you can bump up to the .50. Many women remain at the intermediate level while others are able to move up to the maximum. Just don't rush it and let the condition of your skin guide you. If you're becoming sensitive, just back off. Even using a retinoid a couple nights a week is beneficial. There's a reason why a retinoic acid is the gold standard for acne (and anti-aging!)--It works! If you already know all this, I'm sorry for the long ramble.

Pamela said...

Thank you all for the suggestions. Retinol and salicylic acid products it is.

Evelyn said...

We should abide by using common sense. I do pay attention when I'm reading a blog post to links, statements about receiving free products, etc. I think they're interesting but I use my own judgement in buying products knowing that even if one person thinks something is great, maybe I won't in the end based on my needs. That's just how makeup and skincare are.

I hope everyone has a very enjoyable holiday weekend. I'll be off to Miami...hopefully...if things settle down from the storm. Great choice for a conference location, during hurricane season. Go figure! lol

Nan P said...

Hi Pamela - others have offered you some good suggestions. I will also suggest a trip to your dermatogist to try to sort out the root cause rather than just treat. As Eileen mentioned, it's quite likely your skin is in a reactive state to some irritant or hormonal stressor. Whatever treatment you do try, go slowly. You probably need to give your skin a chance to calm down and often times the more you try to help it, the more you'll aggravate instead. I'm the same age and though I don't have breakouts, my skin will react with temporary redness or blotches if exposed to a sudden change in the environment or products that irritate it. I'm just starting to use a night regimen by Osmosis with one pump of Stemfactor followed by one pump of Relieve, Level 1 vitamin A serum ( so in other words a mild retinoid). So far, it's going well, but too soon for me to give a positive testimonial. I like several products with rose that are soothing and mineral based sunscreen during the day.

Hope anyone reading this on the East Coast is safe and sound. Hurricane Hermine came through Hilton Head yesterday, and though we never lost power, lots of large oak trees and limbs have come down. Be well y'all!

hytrud said...

I am having issues with Rosacea and know of NO Over-the-counter-products that some of you may be familiar with or used that will help me, other than seeing a Dermatologists. Anyone have a few products that have worked for them would be greatly appreciated.

Gigi48 said...

Hi everyone. So glad the FTC sorted this out and called attention to it. Fines shouldbe levied from this point on. Looking for eye product I can use on my sensitive upper eyelid. I have many eyecreams but don't know if the're safe for my upper lids. Also does your retinol help melasma? I have good skin at 68 except for melasma, sunspots and a little rosacea on one cheek. I have done IPL with success on sunspots and used Retin A for 6 weeks before the lasers to have the best outcome. This was 8 years ago for my daughter's wedding. I forget how it did on the melasma because I was mostly concerned with sunspots. I live and grew up in Santa Monica and fried every summer!

Charlestongirl said...

Pamela, I've been thinking. You may not have acne. Rosacea mimics acne. I got it about 20 years after I had my last blemish. Definitely go to a dermatologist. The doctor can prescribe a cream that should knock it out pretty quickly.

Charlestongirl said...

Trud, the gel that worked for me was Metronidazole 1%.

Charlestongirl said...

Gigi, I use all my eye creams on the top lid and all the way up to my brows. My eye creams are expensive. Perhaps that's why they don't migrate. I just don't put them right on the lash bases.

Charlestongirl said...

Trud, the gel is prescription. I know of no sure-fire treatment that's OTC.

Pamela said...

I have had rosacea since my twenties, but when I started menopause it disappeared along with my debilitating migraines. I do use Revissa (retinoids) every other night. I've been thinking about whether there is anything new in my life that may have triggered the acne and realized that I started taking a new supplement suggested by my hair stylist. It is Viviscal and, apparently, one of the side effects caused by the biotin it contains is acne. I do have an appointment with my dermatologist coming up and I will get his opinion. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Charlestongirl said...

Thanks, Nan! In the DC area, we had a lovely day. Fortunately, we were too far west to be in the storm's path. SE Virginia was hit pretty hard.

Eileen said...

Hi Gigi48

Retinoids can suppress the activity of tyrosinase, decrease the quantity of melanosomes and inhibit melanosome transfer into keratinocytes (the skin cells in the epidermis). Retinoids can also significantly boost cell turnover which helps accelerate the lifting of those hyperpigmented cells. Short answer to your question: Yes, retinoic acid can definitely help in the treatment of melasma :-)

To treat melasma, dermatologists often prescribe a preparation like Tri-Luma that is a combination of retinoic acid and hydroquinone. It's pretty powerful stuff and is typically used a few months on, a few months off, and then a few months on again. It's not meant to be used indefinitely as it will thin the skin and cause it to be much more sensitive and reactive to heat and sun--both of which can exacerbate melasma! Also, over time, your skin can become resistant to hydroquinone and, as we all know, it is the hydroquinone that is the gold standard for lightening the discolorations. You can end up irritating your skin with little to no skin lightening benefit. So, if you want to try that route, you really need to be under the care of a good dermatologist. Unfortunately, as we age, our melasma runs deep and is very stubborn. It will frequently recur with little provocation and so it's important to have an on-going regimen to deal with it--one that includes a retinoid :-) There are so many ingredients that claim to lighten skin, it makes my head spin to think of all of them: Vit. C, kojic acid, alpha arbutin, niacinamide, PKEK, oligopeptides 34 and 68, mulberry, glycyrrhiza glabra, etc, etc, etc! And, it seems like that for every person who raves about a preparation, another person will say it did nothing for them. Trail and error!

Alison said...

Do you have any experience with Cellcosmet? They make a lot of anti-aging promises for the UltraCell Intensive. Any idea of that works?

Dev said...

Eileen- Amen to everything in your first paragraph about disclosure. I am still shocked that people can't see that certain youtubers or bloggers (not talking about CG BTW) are nothing more than advertisements. My favorite is when all of the youtubers feature the exact same product within a few weeks of each other. I am sure you all just went out and happened to pick up the same product. The real queation is what happened to Michael Todd skincare? I guess you don't get mentioned anymore when you don't send mass amounts of product to every youtuber.

CG- One of the reasons that I enjoy your blog is that you feature brands that aren't as trendy. Trendy may not be the right word, maybe classier, I don't know but I hope you get what I am trying to say. It really helps those of us out there that don't have a ton of beauty counters nearby.

Charlestongirl said...

Dev, you hit the nail on the head. After seven years of blogging, I can tell you how it works. A brand will develop a campaign and contact bloggers and/or vloggers asking for coverage. They offer to send product. Most of these bloggers (I'll use that term to include the YouTube crowd) are delighted. After all, if it weren't for free products, they would have no blog.

I get these offers every week, but I've figured out that the brands have an expectation that they will get a post within a week or three. So I ask, if it's something that interests me, if the PR rep has a campaign schedule. If they are pushing skin care, I tell them that our skin turns over every 28 days, and that must be the length of my tests (excluding masks, etc.). I tell them I understand that might not work for them.

On the other side of the spectrum of bloggers, hundreds (?) say yes, please send it, and they do their best to write a flattering post so that they will be invited the next time. There you have it...the reason you will see the same product featured on hundreds of blogs in the same week.

I have told PR reps for certain products that I'd love to feature them, but I don't want to be one of the hundreds in a given week. Those who care about long-term recognition are fine with that. Those who have a time-boxed campaign, which reflects on their own effectiveness, aren't.

Charlestongirl said...

Alison, I don't. Maybe someone else here does?

Anonymous said...

I have NEVER commented here (though have greatly enjoyed reading BTiB for years). However, I frequently get asked about rosacea-related products so I can mentions some products for Trud McD. Let me stress I do not work for the subsequent brands mentioned. Avene Extremely Gentle Cleanser, Avene Skin Recovery Cream, Avene Eau Thermale spray, and an Elta MD sunscreen. If Avene doesn't work for you, La Roche Posay (the Toleriane line and/or Rosaliac line, I believe?) or Ducray may work--just check to make sure you avoid any products with fragrance from any of the French pharmacy brands mentioned; they do have plenty of fragrance-free options, but you have to double-check. For initial makeup removal before cleansing, Bioderma and Simple micellar waters are fragrance-free (not so with Avene's and La Roche Posay's micellars), and if mineral oil doesn't bother you, Albolene (with the blue lid) is fragrance-free as well. If you live in Canada or have a friend who visits there, Complex 15 is a nice, lightweight moisturizer as well. I haven't personally tried it, but Aquanil is supposed to be a very mild facial cleanser if you ever spot it. Bland, boring, and consistent is the name of the game with rosacea. Dermstore and Violet Gray both carry Avene (alas, does, but they're leaving). Amazon does carry plenty of French pharmacy stuff, but if you're not sure about Amazon sellers, there's always Dermstore. Hope this of some help. Good luck, SC

Gigi48 said...

Hi Anonymous and Everyone gigi here
I do use Avene products. I use the Gentle Milk Cleaser and the Spray Water. The cleanser is good for simple cleansing. All their products are for dry and sensitive skin. I happen to like them. I have not tried Bioderma but I use Simple Micellar Watet because it has so fewingredients and is inexpensive. I like Violet Gray. I don't read Beautypeadia any more except for the new reviews from the new couple. The author was so biased against certain brands that, although I'm happy for her success, I don't think she should have been so harsh on certain brands. How was LM going to come out of a tube??

Charlestongirl said...

Related to this post and a hoot to read:

Charlestongirl said...

SC, thanks for your comment! I've used those brands, and they are all fabulous and gentle. Dermatologists recommend gentle products to those suffering with rosacea. They were excellent suggestions.

My CVS has a special alcove for them. Pricey at drugstore comparisons, but not compared to department stores.

LadyJicky said...

Well ... finally got my hands on the new "improved" Rouge Dior lipsticks . Disappointed - they are not has thick as the old ones and so ... they do not last that well.Sort of "slippery" if you know what I mean. Not sure about the matte as I did not buy one of those.
So .... if any reader loves the old formula Dior Rouge - buy back-ups.Still in the navy case but that is a bit smaller too.
I am a lipstickalcholic .... my term LOL .... so the Dior is now second on my list and Lauder's lipsticks are now No.1 !!! Love the original Envy and the Envy Lustre!! I have not tried her matte yet :)

I do love Avene products as they do not mess with my sensitive skin :)

Happy Birthday for this month Charleston Girl !

Maureen said...

I have used Avene skin care for 25 years and it's the one product line that doesn't irritate my very sensitive rosacea complexion. Dior Rouge was a favourite before the last formula change, which was too scented (instant headache).

I bought the new Shiseido Rouge Rouge lipstick in Sweet Desire. It is a cool-toned mauve that will be a perfect fall lipstick. This new formula has a satin finish compared to the more emollient Perfect Rouge lipstick. It is unscented, long-wearing and is not drying. There are 16 shades of red in this collection with soft tones to deep reds. They are a worth a look.

Eileen said...

Hi Alison,

I saw you also asked the question about Cellcosmet on Linda's blog (SilverKiss). I have never used the product but was curious and so I spent some quality time (lol) with Google researching it. In a nutshell, the advertising campaign is loaded with puffery (exaggerated claims) without mention of any scientific research or clinical trials to support the claims. Also, complete ingredient lists for products are not made available on their website or anywhere else online (they are, of course, available on the actual package if you go to a retailer). In fact, while searching for the ingredients, I came across several complaints from people saying that they had contacted the company directly and we're still unable to get the ingredient list. That's a bad sign---very, very, bad. Allergies and sensitivities aside, people are being asked to put their faith and $$$ in some mysterious "active" ingredient. Cellcosmet calls this mystery ingredient "active stabilized bio-integral cells" but no where can you find out what that actually is or how it is supposed to act upon the skin. Since it is the star of the product, that's a glaring omission and a huge red flag to me. If the FDA considers something an active, you better beleive I want to know exactly what it is I'm putting on my skin. Of course, maybe this mystery star isn't an active at all and is just false/misleading advertising on the part of Cellcosmet. Either way, it's enough to make me stay away. Many brands will coin a term (La Mer's "Miracle Broth" is a famous one), but it's easy to find out exactly what that is because the company is forth-coming about ingredients.

By the way, I was able to track down ingredients for the eye cream by scanning reviews, and was not overly impressed. It's basically water, oil, glycerin with a few other goodies tossed in--not bad, but not innovative. If the Ultra Cell Intensive follows suit, it is probably also pretty much run-of-the-mill. If you do decide to take the plunge, just be sure there is a no questions asked return policy. Good luck!

Charlestongirl said...

Eileen, that was very nice of you to do that research. I should have, but I've been feeling crummy. My back is ready for next Friday's epidural, I'm getting a migraine almost every day, and I think I have sleeping sickness. :)

Thank you.

Nan P said...

Happy Birthday month to you CG! I'm so sorry that it doesn't seem as if it's off to a good start health-wise :(. Hope you'll be feeling better soon. Do you ever do acupuncture? My daughter does it frequently for back pains and migraines - seems to help a lot! I've only tried it once to speed my way through viral crud, and that also worked out well for me.

I've enjoyed all the posts this weekend! I haven't tried Avene products myself, but probably will sometime. I have used the Toleriane range from LaRoche Posay which is pretty good for me. Love their mineral sunscreen which is expensive but excellent. Biggest disappointment and waste of money was Darphins Intral range for rosacea or redness - at least for me... CG has it right if rosacea is your problem, a prescription for Metro-gel (metronidazole) is the ticket to keep it under control, more effective and probably also the least expensive solution.

Eileen said...

Oh, Charlestongirl! As soon as you said daily migraines, my heart went out to you. Been there, seen that, done that :-( It's bad enough that you have to contend with on-going back problems without having a debilitating migraine situation brewing. I hope you have something like Maxalt or Imitrex to give you some relief and possibly break the migraine cycle. Stay hydrated, eat small light meals, and try to get plenty of rest. I've also found that an ice pack at the base of my skull helps. Take care!

Charlestongirl said...

Thank you, Lady Jicky!

Charlestongirl said...

Nan, I tried acupuncture, but it was an expensive one-day cure. It won't help the fact that L3 and L4 are sitting on each other, squishing the L3 nerve. Bummer!

The last small tube of Metrogel I bought was $100! All insurance companies differ. Mine screwed me for a generic. It does work, though.

Charlestongirl said...

Eileen, I take Imitrex. It works, but my Part D company rations it.

Anonymous said...

I have a beauty concern that I'd like your recommendations. Neck cream! Oh my goodness I do regular microcurrent and photo facials regularly and my neck is slightly better but still have the rings and somewhat saggy skin under the chin.
The microcurrent therapy has helped with muscle tone but it's a slow improvement.
What neck creams have serious lift effects as well as repairing those stubborn lines?
I use kate sommerville, her retinol, dermal quench and age arrest cream and she really doesn't have a neck cream.
Help! My neck looks older than my face.
I'm 60.
Kris in Seattle

Charlestongirl said...

Kris, my favorite neck cream is LMdB. That doesn't mean others aren't just as good. I just gravitate to it. Here is a link to it.

Anonymous said...

Dear CG
So I went back to Nordstrom today intending to get samples of neck cream and ran into my Kate Sommerville gal. I asked her why Kate doesn't have a neck cream. Their philosophy is to not sell separate creams but rather have lines that offer increasing levels of correction in the ingredients. Kate believes once the damage gets corrected or eradicated the neck will improve just as well as the face with these ingredients, she only offers for instance separate eye treatments but that's it.
So for instance I use age arrest since I like the richness but it's not as loaded with peptides.
She recommended I upgrade to kateceuticals for serum and cream for more peptides. It's her big guns line. Everything is in it.
I tried some at the counter and it made a noticeable difference on the neck. I had already started a month ago with the kate ceutical eye serum and loved it
Will let you know how this works for my neck and face
I appreciate your input
Kris in Seattle