By Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, the author of skincare bestseller Beyond Soap, founding director of the Bay Dermatology Centre, and Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, Department of Medicine.
Check out Dr. Sandy Skotnicki’s bestselling book Beyond Soap
The world of skincare is more fragmented and confusing than ever. New brands and products pop up almost every week. Many are hyped up by celebrity endorsements, but are often lacking substance to justify the hype.
Everyone is talking about clean beauty, often without really understanding what it all means. Consumers are led to believe that natural products are always better for them and start shifting their buying trends accordingly. Smart cosmetic brand owners eagerly capitalize on the trend, pushing more and more “clean” products to the store shelves. Consumers fall for the hype, sometimes making their skin issues worse by opting for exotic plant ingredients that often lead to skin irritation and allergies.
Ultimately, most people don’t know what they’re really paying for when they are buying that new cream or serum. It’s a battleground of marketing teams, where those with the punchiest and trendiest message win the largest share of wallet.
In the world where paid influencer reviews drive the buying choices and confusion is at its highest, there is a very clear need for a force that would bring more transparency in the skincare industry. So when I got introduced to a talented team that decided to tackle this challenge and got asked to join as an advisor, I immediately agreed.
The project is called What’s In My Jar and it does exactly that – shows people in a very simple and clear way what is in their skincare “jars.” The team has launched an easy to use website powered by a data algorithm that analyzes skincare product formulas and scientific evidence behind each ingredient. The outcome is a verdict on the product’s effectiveness and irritation potential.
The goal is to help consumers understand what products really work and are worth the money, without having to spend hours digging through scientific literature or waste money on a trial and error path. With What’s In My Jar, users can quickly see whether that $100 cream is worth splurging on, or if maybe there are alternatives with similar (or identical!) ingredients, but ones that won’t break the bank. And people with sensitive skin have an easy way to see which products have irritating ingredients.
The team is just starting and lots of features are still in the works (like the ability to scan ingredient lists or type in specific products for comparison). I personally will continue helping with refining the algorithm and the ingredient review. Already today though we are receiving grateful emails and comments: the early adopters are already getting a lot of value from the website.
Hopefully, with more people getting educated and ultimately voting with their wallets, the good, responsible skincare companies with thrive even more, and brands that rely on exaggerated claims to sell their products will have to start rethinking their strategies and what’s in their jars.