Ep15: When I stood for what’s right… both, in beauty and IRL!


  • Time 4 min
  • Date September 5, 2020

In a world of instant noodles and instant soup, of course, we are looking for ‘instant beauty’.

The events of the previous day were behind me when I reached work the next morning. However, people couldn’t stop talking about it — felt like everyone wanted to say something to me. Some commented on my ‘bravado’ and when I tried telling them that it wasn’t about courage, they thought I was being modest. I was not.

TBH though, I quite liked the attention. Who wouldn’t?

Mallika! The attention I got made Mallika increasingly restless until finally she spoke, “It’s all because of Richa ma’am, you know.” I suppose what she meant was people were being nice to me only because of my super boss’ support. Whatever… the comment did not dent my good mood.

I was looking through research topics when I came across — misleading claims in your skincare products. After the eye-opening conversation about ‘greenwashing’ the previous day, I strongly felt that consumers should be able to make well-informed purchase decisions.  Perfect topic for the day and I began to delve deeper.

About two hours later, I had found a lot of complex beauty lingo and ingredient lists to simplify, apart from common misleading claims that are aimed at fooling the consumer.

The most popular being ‘hypoallergenic’. Funny that the FDA discovered some 50 years ago that this term had no real meaning! Yet it is a label rampantly used to claim that the product will not cause allergies and is safer and gentler than formulas that are not so stamped.

Another common claim used is ‘dermatologist-approved’. Isn’t it ironic that this label doesn’t require any supporting verified information about who, how, when or for what the approval was obtained? It only creates a false sense of reassurance. A brand can use this claim without going into the details of the dermatologist, the sample size, or what stage testing was conducted.

Unfortunately, this claim works — I have seen Becca buy skincare products only because they said ‘dermatologist-approved’. And there are many Beccas out there getting fooled. But now we know better… don’t we?

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“I looked forward to Zumba. Texts just don’t have the drama of a personal narration, no?”

Another popular one is ‘instant results’! In a world of instant noodles and instant soups, of course we are looking for ‘instant beauty’. Marketers instantly cash in on this as it makes for great advertising with dramatic makeover promises. Instant results do not last, but this bit is never mentioned. Uuughhhh!

And now for the most dangerous claim of them all — ‘special microbeads’ in products like face wash and scrubs. These microbeads are often bigger than skin pores, which means that they could cause microtears.  You know that freshly scrubbed feeling you get after using a formula that contains exfoliating beads? They promise to unclog pores and remove dead skin cells but in reality, they can end up doing more harm than good. What’s worse is that some of these microbeads are made of non-biodegradable plastic making them harmful not just for your skin but also for the planet. And we need to look after both!

I was craving coffee and was just about to break for one when the cops called, asking me to visit the station to identify the culprit and complete some formalities. When I requested Nandini ma’am for permission to leave work, I was met with a cool “do what you think is right”. It was annoying, I had asked for her official permission but got a moral snub. Anyway, I said nothing.

The identification was made from pictures I was shown (you may erase any imagery that you may have had of me looking keenly at a line of scary-looking men). I would have recognised that insolent face anywhere. I finished and realised I had Zumba class that evening. Perfect… I hadn’t met Shams and Becca all week and looked forward to the evening. Texts just don’t have the drama of a personal narration, no?

We chatted non-stop and I gave them all the juicy details, right up to identification. Becca gave me a high-five, while Shams was happy that the worm would be behind bars. So was I. As I moved to the music, it felt like my feet had an extra spring in them. Probably from the adrenaline and satisfaction of having done the right thing.

Little did I know that my feet were going to stumble and falter in the very near future.

Megha’s calling out skincare bluffs:

  • Hypoallergenic is not even a legit word
  • Where’s the dermat in dermatologist-approved?
  • Instant results ≠ long-lasting results
  • Microbeads can easily lead to microtears, just saying!
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