Readers of a certain age (or those watching TV in the wake of the great Michael Jackson’s untimely death) can remember watching the video for “Say, Say, Say,” MJ’s classic duet with Paul McCartney. In the video, Michael and Paul play turn-of-the-century snake-oil salesmen, peddling useless potions and calling them “wonder cures” and “miracle tonics,” even planting fellow actors in the crowd to help convince the public that their “medicines” work, after all.
Well, that trend continues to this day. Like the medical field, the beauty industry has always been vulnerable to scam artists making big promises they can’t deliver. Take for example these top six beauty-buy duds, all products that claim to offer fantastic results, but seldom do your body - or your wallet - any justice:
- Super-Grow Hair Greases: These are the number-one culprit simply because they waste your money with outright lies. Rubbing your scalp with Dr. Unbelievable’s Fantasy-Gro hair grease does not make hair longer, no matter how many exotic or organic ingredients the product contains. Hair grows at its own rate, no matter what, and clogging the scalp with unneeded oils and waxes can actually hinder hair growth. The only hair-growth benefit of these products is that they instruct you to massage your scalp at least three times a week, which increases blood flow and can help aid new growth – but you can massage your scalp with plain-old olive oil, or just your bare fingers, for free!
- Cellulite/Stretch-Mark Removal Creams: Every woman who has stretch marks or cellulite wishes she could have smoother thighs, but the truth is that very few of the creams and treatments on the market can successfully remove either type of mark. Cellulite and stretch marks are both associated with weight gain, inactivity, and poor diet, and a simple cream does little to address any of those problems. Prevention – ie, exercising, eating right, and using cocoa butter or a natural moisturizer on the skin before and during periods of weight gain or pregnancy - is the best prescription for either condition. Getting healthy can also help whip those legs back into shape, if you already have either problem.
- Weight-Loss Pills: Seriously beware diet pills that promise weight loss without exercise or lifestyle changes. These are not only false claims, but dangerous ones! The only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you take in. So-called “fat burning” supplements that seem to be effective are only burning calories by flooding your bloodstream with caffeine, guarana, ephedrine (which has been banned by the government) and other stimulants that speed up your heart rate. Ever wonder why all those diet drugs keep getting recalled a few months later, with the commercial’s calm-voiced announcer asking if you or a loved one has suffered a heart attack, stroke, or even death? It’s because no-exercise weight-loss pills can cause all those things.
- Anti-Aging Potions: Most of these products give you short-term results, but don’t stop wrinkles or fine lines in the long run. Why not? Well, many anti-wrinkle creams, especially those meant for under-eye use, simply use stimulants like caffeine to “jolt” the skin and make it look puffier, stretching out those tiny lines. Yet the same stimulants usually dry out the skin, which is the main cause of wrinkling in the first place – keeping you coming back for more of those short-term results, while the long-term problem actually gets worse. Try getting a good night’s rest, drinking plenty of water, and using a good moisturizer for your skin type instead.
- Split-End Mending Conditioners: Split ends cannot be magically “fixed;” they split because they were dry, unhealthy, or damaged. Heavy styling products or conditioners can “glue” ends together, but this will not address the underlying problem. The temporarily-fused tips will come apart as soon as the product is rinsed or shampooed out, and then the hair will continue to split up the hair shaft, spreading the damage. Your best bet is to chop off the dead ends before this point, then figure out what is causing your split ends (maybe drying products, overhandling, or too much heat use) and remedy the problem.
- Cheap Hair Extensions: Obviously the bane of our existence, and not just for business reasons. Cheap human or synthetic hair extensions are on of the biggest rip-offs on the market. Synthetic hair does not fall naturally, style well, or last long; buying it is like throwing your money down a well, over and over, because you’ll never get a complimentary look that you can wear over and over again. And low-quality human hair extensions can be even worse! If buying synthetic hair pieces is like throwing money down a well, purchasing questionable human hair is like buying magic beans and planting them – who knows what giant problems you may encounter. Low-grade human hair extensions not only tangle, mat, and damage easily, but can be uneven in length or even harbor bugs or parasites! Play it safe and do yourself a favor. Buy full-cuticle, high-quality virgin Indian hair and Remy hair extensions. You’ll have beautiful hair to toss, play with, and love for months, instead of bad-hair regrets. Beware the song and dance!
Take care of yourselves,