A Little Perspective, Please

As you can probably tell from this graphic, I'm letting off a little steam today. Welcome to a one-post-series of mini-rants – all inspired by comments, discussions, and 'tudes I've witnessed on a few online forums over the past several weeks.

Engaging in a discussion rife with sardonic comments, condescending attitudes, and personal insults is not my cup of tea. My usual MO is to step back and observe quietly or simply exit.

Bad behavior seems to have become some sort of acceptable norm in some online gathering places.

Well, I don't approve.

So today, I shall rant and lecture a little bit.

Experiment at Your Own Risk 

The first headline: it is not a manufacturers job to guarantee your safety regardless of how you may decide to use any given product.

If you think it's a brilliant idea to save money on lipstick by melting childrens coloring crayons and using them to paint your lips, then you are not allowed to yell at the company for using colorants that are not lip safe.

Because they are not obligated to use lip-safe colors in CRAYONS.

Because they are making CRAYONS.

There's a difference between using and misusing a product. Sheesh!

No wonder there are scads of warnings on labels these days.

Check For Poison in Toothpaste

And speaking of warning labels on personal care products: they are there for your safety, but that doesn't mean you should stop using common sense.

If a toothpaste tube warning says to 'call the poison center if ingested', it does NOT mean they put poison in the toothpaste!

I've checked, and there is NO poison in toothpaste!

That warning is in all likelihood placed on the label so parents will know what to do in case a child gets hold of a tube and swallows some.

Just as crayons are not created to be used as cheap DIY lipstick ingredients, toothpaste is not meant to be ingested, but then - I'm pretty darn sure you already know that!

Opinion is Not Fact

It's not at all cool to preach about the dangers of ingredient X (and scare the crap out of others) because you personally find it unacceptable when ingredient X has been tested and approved as safe for use in cosmetics and food for DECADES – even under the strictest guidelines on the planet (Europe).

Opinion is opinion. It is not fact.

If you are looking for alternative options because you prefer to avoid ingredient X, then by all means look for alternatives, but be honest about it!

What works for you may not work for everyone. If it did, the world would only need ONE kind of cosmetic product.

For me: petrochemical ingredients are a no-no because MY skin does better with plant-based ingredients.

My personal opinion about petrochemical ingredients does not change the fact that they are not dangerous or bad.

If they were as toxic as everyone keeps claiming, people would have been dropping dead right and left for decades from using personal care products.

Perspective, please!

Consider the Source

And if you are looking for alternative options to ingredient X  because you've come across something that causes you concern and worry, then check the sources – before you get yourself into a tizzy and start spreading misinformation!

There are scads of cosmetics ingredients that are being vilified on 'consumer-friendly' watchdog databases. Most of these so-called databases claim they will help you easily spot 'the nasties', but take a closer look.

How are they arriving at their conclusions?

It is grossly misleading to give ingredient X a dubious 'rating' because mice died from inhaling it at 100% when ingredient X is intended for topical application at 0.5%.


When facts are twisted, even water becomes a toxic ingredient.

Unreliable sources don't deserve to be cited and they definitely don't deserve your time.

If you're interested in reading more on this subject from me, check this post about how some of these 'watchdog' ingredients databases are deliberately scaring the crap out of innocent, well meaning consumers.

Check Who You Cite

A lot of people in discussion forums will refer to experts as sources. Understandable, but – again – check the sources!

One recent discussion involved a rather rude person (let's call her 'Rudy') who claimed to personally know a 'master formulator'.  She was not only condescending, but diligent about repeating this term in her comments as she served up one dubious 'fact' after another.

I have been formulating for many years and met a lot of folks in the industry, but have never heard of a 'master formulator' of cosmetics.

Nevertheless, I don't know everything. Maybe it's a new term or title. As 'Rudy' chose to first answer me with a snide remark and then ignore my second polite query, I spent a bit of time trying to find out more. I searched the net, dug around, and asked colleagues.

Nobody I asked (all cosmetics formulators) had ever heard of such a title.

Google pointed me to a master perfumer, and a 'master formulator' selling 'unique and amazing herbal supplements', but nothing in the cosmetics industry.

My conclusion: 'Rudy' was citing 'information' from a con.

There are cons everywhere – and the cosmetics industry is unfortunately no exception.

Cons always have an agenda –and it's never in your favor.

Look deeper.

Question (without attacking).

Not everyone is who they claim to be.

All Natural isn't Always All Safe

This argument is really getting old, yet continues to circulate:  'if you can't pronounce it, it's probably dangerous'.


Well, then, try and pronounce this one: Guar Hydroxypropyl Trimonium Chloride.

That scary-sounding, almost unpronounceable ingredient is guar gum. It's all natural and quite safe to use (although if you swallow a kilo of it, you will probably not be feeling well at all).

Hogweed is one of the most all natural poisonous plants you can come across.

Henna has its downsides as well.

Perspective, people.

Check Your 'tude, Dude

Use your head – check your sources, and show others a little respect – even folks you disagree with.

Even if you do happen to know a whole lot more than someone else on a given subject, nobody appreciates a sarcastic, sardonic, or condescending tone. 

No, go forth and check your facts and sources.

Everyone thrives in a positive atmosphere - so be nice!

Thanks for reading.


Jody Atkins said…
this post made my day, you made me nod in agreement, snigger, and just love the way you manage to rant, but in a way that is readable and enjoyable!

you've also made me realise I'm not the only one who gets in a tizzy about the "factual inaccuracies" (ok and sometimes downright lies) that some either spread or believe.

The amount of people who find something online and think that if its on google it must be true, and jump to conclusions without checking their facts makes me SOOOOOOO frustrated and makes my blood boil (now before anyone worries, that is not an actual medical fact, just a statement of how i feel!!!!)

What is a FACT however - I use too many exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!!!!
Carol Lewis said…
In my opinion a well written rant. I enjoyed the read, and completely know where you’re coming from. Had to giggle when you mentioned henna. I’m extremely allergic to it having spent many years as an apprentice hairdresser applying it to clients hair in the early 80’s my system decided it had had enough. And people always say ”but isn’t it natural”. We can only breathe and educate as best we can.
Genna said…
I agree! It's frustrating trying to have a conversation with someone who is sarcastic and a know it all. I certainly don't know everything. Check the 'tude dude is great! Great advice for everyone online, it seems that purple have forget how to have conversations or act as a decent person online. Spot on post!
Unknown said…
I always enjoy receiving your emails. Very well written & always full of valuble information. Sadly misinformation will spread. The truth is harder to prove. The cosmetic world is full of nonsense sadly. Trying to get through it all is like swimming with sharks.
Unknown said…
First of all I want to tell you that you are awesome!!! Haha! I really do love your perspective on this crazy industry and the people who consider themselves experts and tout their “expertise” everywhere they go! I personally deleted a comment from a facebook forum as I felt humilitated when I simply trying to offer up some encouragement to an inquiry and an “expert” put me down. I have been reluctant to open myself up like that again as I am, like you, one who steps out of the situation. Perspective and common courtesy are best in ANY realm of life and this is certainly one incidence! I appreciate your candor and your insight, it definitely validates how many of us “start from scratch” formulators feel. Thank you again for being so open and honest!
Duncan said…
When I worked for a branded company that made products around the world whenever anyone referred to themselves as an expert it sounded warning bells. Everyone has something to learn
We referred to self proclaimed experts as ex as in has been and spurt as in a drip under pressure

And as for a Master formulator? What the hell is that ? Sounds like putting lipstick on a pig?
softshell said…
THANK YOU for this! I teach classes and private lessons and sell product as well, and I have a heck of a time calming people down over some of the apps like think dirty. They always ask about them, and about some of the ingredients listed in these apps. I try to explain how some of the names are scientifically put together and I always hope that when they leave the class, they will be at least a little more confident in reading labels and looking things up in a fair way. And yes, there are a lot of people out there talking about a subject they really do not know much about, and their attitudes are just horrible. That is how you know they are a con, or at least a narcissist that thinks they know it all when in reality, we never stop learning. I have seen so much of this in the past twenty years as a handcrafter of bath and body products.
Tanya said…
Well said! I cannot agree with you more about this.
I have lost count of the number of times I have yelled at the screen 'check your facts!' when coming across a misleading review of an ingredient.
Thank you for such a refreshing and much-needed post :)
LisaLise said…
@Jody Atkins - Aww shucks thanks for your kind comment! (and you made me giggle at your exclamantion marks!!!!!) :D

@Carol Lewis - Thank you kindly and THANK YOU for commenting about the henna. People look at me like I was from another planet when I talk about the unfortunate downsides of henna

@Genna - Thanks so much. I do try to politely remind people of courtesy as often as I run across meanies... sometimes it works better than others.

@Unkown - I totally agree about the swimming with sharks!

@LuluBeans Naturals - Well that was an awfully kind thing to say! And I agree about 'experts' opening their mouths where they should be listening. In my experience, people who behave that way are most often not experts at all.

@Duncan - TOTALLY had me chuckling about the lipstick on a pig! Bahhahahaha!!

@Softshell - Oh my goodness you and I both on some of these 'helpful apps'. It makes it all the harder for everyone else when misinformation spreads like wildfire!

@Tanya - Teehee -- I yell at the screen a whole lot sometimes too. Thanks so much for your kind comment. :)
Suhela said…
Ohw I soooo recognize this. Hadn't had bad much bad experiences on cosmetic-fora, but i am also a foody and it's the same when talking about "what is healthy food". I was on a facebookgroup and kept on explaining "but this is your opinion, but this is what works for YOU" etc, like you say: perspective... In the end it irritated my to much and wasn't a nutritious enviroment for me (so NOT healthy food)so I left. I find it kinda depends on the type of people.
I think we are all so overwhelmed with the many many many choices and aaaaaaall the contradicting information, it's pretty logical we want to find control and think WE KNOW IT ALL. I know I do, lol, but i learn to deal with all these grey areas of life. ;)

Also I think we don't really REALLY LISTEN to eachother or ourselves enough and that it feels saver to vent the frustration about this anonimous, like online or in traffic. It's just scary to show your vulnerability to the world, we are thought we need to be though and know it all, right?
To me it is a symptom of the illness of our society, the absent of the real community; the lack of real contact and support, especially to our feminin side.
For me personaly definately a struggle 37, just single again and living alone. Im off of work these weeks and because of a change of plans, ive been on my own for 4 days now. Feeling alone and vulnerable definately makes me feel like shouting to someone online, so i can feel different... ;)

But this rant of my side also helped. :D And was hopefully more connected. :P For now im healing and healing and learning to be soft and to connect from softness. I wish us, especially women, this journey, so we can form the supporting community we are all looking for. In my opinion.

Thanks for your kindness and sharing your information, creating this little loving community, Lise!
LisaLise said…
Thanks you Suhela for sharing - I know about the lost connection. Everyone seems to find it easy to hide behind their online profile sometimes... I wish you well and good positive connections!