Cosmetics ads are often misleading

COSMETICS COUNTER

March 17, 1994|By Paula Begoun | Paula Begoun,Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service

Q: Do you know anything about BioMedics cosmetics? They are distributed by plastic surgeons. I am also curious about Zia Wesley's (she also writes beauty books) recommendation to use her Sea Tonic with Aloe Toner. She also recommends wiping diluted aloe vera gel over blemishes to help heal them. I have extremely sensitive skin and am allergic to everything I try.

A: I am unfamiliar with BioMedics products, but the pictures in the brochure you sent are for a facial peel (either AHA or some other acid peel). The pictures are misleading and suggest that the peel alone provided the results; obviously makeup, other medication, and lighting played a part in the results you see. Just because a physician is selling makeup and skin care products doesn't necessarily mean they are good. Many dermatologists know nothing about cosmetic ingredients and formulations.

I am sure Wesley's Sea Tonic with Aloe Toner sounds wonderful (all cosmetic products sound like miracles, don't they?), but your sensitive skin probably would have a reaction, even though it is gentle enough for most skin types. Plants in products can cause allergic reactions, and the citric acid could irritate your skin.

Aloe vera is touted as a cure for everything. But I have seen no studies, except from companies that sell aloe vera products, that suggest it can do anything. Give it a try if you want to, but I have to admit I would be shocked if it changes a thing. Please let me know what happens. It will take some experimenting until you find just the right products that can work on your skin. I regret that I cannot be of more help.

Q: What about specific makeup lines that cater to actresses or people who do TV commercials?

A: There are no cosmetics lines that cater specifically to actresses. Makeup artists use different products depending on their personal preferences. What actresses know is not what products to use, but what makeup artists to use. They also know not to wear shiny eye shadows; orange foundations; heavily penciled eyebrows; bright blue, green, or pink eye shadows; and they do not wear stripes of blush across their cheeks or in a circle up by their eyes. Actually, I can't say that of all actresses; I have seen many who have no idea how to do their makeup and only look good after a makeup artist gets his or her hands on them.

Q: There is a skin care line called J. F. Lazartique. The products include Hydro Cleansing Milk, 8.5 ounces for $35; Hydro Stimulating Lotion, 8.5 ounces for $35; Hydro Protecting Cream, 2.5 ounces for $40; Hydro Intensive Concentrate, 1 ounce for $102; and Hydro Rejuvenating Night Cream, 1.7 ounces for $62. I would love to get your input on each of these.

A: The only way I can review skin care products that are not available in my area is if you send me complete ingredient lists for each product or if the company gives me a list of ingredients over the phone or by FAX. This company would not help me. Budget considerations make it impossible for me to order every skin care product on the market. If you send me a list of ingredients, I will do my best to let you know what I think of them. Right now I can tell you that they seem terribly overpriced, and I would recommend that you look elsewhere.

Paula Begoun has tested 10,000 cosmetics products and publishes the Cosmetics Counter Update, a newsletter that comes out every other month. For an introductory copy of the subscription newsletter, send $1 for shipping and handling to: The Beginning Press, 5418 South Brandon, Seattle, Wash. 98118.

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