Our main role is to provide independent reviews of different skin care products that we come across. These reviews are 100% independent – we have no marketing agenda, we just present the facts as we uncover them.
Our aim is to give you the truth, no matter who gets offended and without all the promotional hype and aggressive sales.
That’s why we understand it can be very difficult for you to find what you’re looking for.
We know what you want: the facts, the truth and real hard evidence to prove the product does what it says it does.
Based on the tough standards we have as well as consumer input, we have come up with a unique and reliable system to rate skincare products.
We give it to you directly. A skin care product is either Approved or Rejected.
This way, you know what you should avoid and what has passed the test to make it a product we recommend.
Avoiding Skin Care Scams
The skin care and anti-aging market has never been stronger now that online shopping is and continues to become more and popular amongst consumers. But with online shopping and skin care products comes the danger of skin care products scams.
A lot of us desire that promised younger looking and radiant skin, but you shouldn’t believe everything you read or see. Numerous people have fallen victim to skin care scams. That is the very reason why Skin Care Watchdog exists
We want to educate and warn people about scams and how to identify them. We want to protect you from these money wasters. We also want to help you work out which skincare products are safe, effective and worth what you pay for.
There are a number of methods that are used by scammers, and we are able to recognize all of them. When you have been studying the skin care industry for as long as we have, you can easily spot the scams.
Common Skin Care Scams
- Free Trials
- Fake Review Sites
- Fake Testimonials
- Undisclosed Ingredients
- No Contact Details
We’ll take a look at these scams one by one. We hope that we can help you avoid being deceived by a skin care scam, so you can save time, trouble and money.
In recent years there has been a flood of free trial scams online, but it appears that the FTC may be getting onto some of the unscrupulous traders responsible. Regardless, there are many of them out there you should watch out for.
So how does a free trial scam work?
Often there’s a single landing page that offers a “free trial” of a skin care product. They promote their products by using ads on legitimate sites, including ones that we trust.
When customers see the ads on legitimate sites, then they make the wrongful assumption that it is recommended by the site. For example, you could be on a very popular and reliable health and beauty site and come across an ad for a skin care product. If it interests you, you will then click on the ad and be relocated to the landing page promoting their “free trial”. Imagine how appealing their offer would be. You think you have nothing to lose by giving this product a go – which, by the way, seems to be the best thing there is for your skin. And before you know it, you’ve subscribed.
Its extremely hard to get out of it. Some of these products need a one week to one month notice for cancellation. Some companies make it tough to cancel by making their contact information difficult to find so that it is pretty much impossible to get in touch with them. That’s why, among other reasons, we also strongly urge you not to purchase anything from a company that doesn’t display their real address.
A current example of a skin care company that uses this scam tactic is Essence of Argan, which offers a 15 day free trial, and once you sign up for it, you’re in for a automatic monthly shipment program charging you the full price. It tells you that if you don’t want to continue you with it, you need to contact them within a certain time period. But its very hard to get in touch with them and many customers have faced a lot of strife making it go away.
So you should avoid companies that claim to offer “free trials”, because with it comes automatic billing that you will get stuck in. It’s better to go with companies that provide a one time purchase and have some sort of money back guarantee.
Bottom line, never subscribe to skin care free trials.
Fake Review Sites
Unfortunately this is quite common, and customers need to discern what can and can’t be trusting when they’re looking at a review of a skincare product.
Basically, what skin care scammers do is put up a lot of fake review sites with their products rated highly. These review sites are controlled by them – they review and rate their own products.
Innocent customers can stumble across one of these fake review sites, after clicking on a paid ad, or going on a site that ranks high in the search engines. They think they are reading an independent review of a skin care product, when there’s a big chance they are actually perusing a review written by the very person who owns the product.
This goes against FTC regulations, because review sites need to demonstrate they are being given a payment with each commission they receive. Fake review sites do not show this. That is one way how you can tell it can’t be trusted, but it’s generally hard to identify by the average customer.
The individuals behind these sites are very shady and do all they can to hide what they are doing, but they can sometimes give away things. Often a big hint is the payment processor they are using – all the review sites that review the same products transfer their traffic to the one payment processor. For this we reason, we do our best to conduct detailed research around this, and it will benefit all of us if the FTC can get on top of this.
Another thing to keep an eye out for is whether the skin care site displays a legitimate address from which they can be contacted. If they don’t, then it usually indicates they are hiding something; and when it comes to their fake review sites, its the connection they have with themselves. Sites that employ such methods are often US based so they can soon be dealt with by the FTC. For the time being, people need to be cautious of these scam sites.
It is not unheard for companies to pay for made up testimonials or to hire actors to make themselves look legitimate and make it seem like their product works on real people. It’s hard to call them out on this one because a lot of the skin care scams just say anything they want about their product. Some use a disclaimer to cover themselves, stating in fine print something along the lines of “results will vary between individuals”. But this doesn’t always happening and there are testimonials out there that are very obviously fabricated that you can’t expect them to be anywhere near real.
Often another indication that your dealing with a scam is when they put up pictures of people along its a disclaimer that says “stock photography”. This is a ploy that tries to get you into thinking that the skin care results of their product can be seen in the youthful, radiant and glowing face in the photo. If you come across a site using deceitful tactics like this, then it’s best to steer clear of them.
Additionally, if they do not provide you with before and after photos showing the improvements in the person’s face, then this is also likely a strong hint that the testimonial is made up.
We have also recently discovered another way scammers falsify testimonials. These are scammers who have websites in different languages. They use the same photos, including before and after shots, and then just change the name and tweak the story depending on the country of their audience. This is not something that you would pick out since you normally don’t check out sites that are in other languages, but we’re starting to look at this more closely now.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you’re looking at a fake testimonial, sometimes it’s obvious. But skin care scammers like to use fake testimonials in a convincing way. It’s an advertising technique, and it’s often successful – that’s why they continue to use them.
Another scam technique to be aware of when purchasing skin care products online is when companies hide or don’t disclose their complete list of ingredients. You should always be looking at the ingredients in skin care products, but it can be hard to tell what they’re not telling you. When we review products, we look at the whole list of ingredients and can tell which ingredients the sites fail to mention.
If a company’s site does not have a full list of their ingredients, or an ingredient list is not accessible, than there’s obviously something that they don’t want you to see. Chances are that it’s a chemical preservative or additive that is a well known harsh ingredient. Numerous skin care companies will use chemical ingredients that are readily available and cheap despite being harmful. The FDA doesn’t have power to regulate cosmetics and skin care companies are free to add whatever they like. That’s why researching into a skin care product’s ingredients are important, which is what we do to help you determine if a product is safe for your skin.
No Contact Details
If a skin care product site does not clearly provide their contact information, then keep well away from them. If you’re not able to see their address on the main page or the contact page, then forget about it.
Why don’t they supply you with their contact details? To make it hard for you to get in touch with them. They do this to skip out on the guarantees and promises they made or to sidestep potential law suits.
There are also a number of sites we have seen that display their fulfilment company’s address. This is the company that ships the product to you, not the scammers themselves. If you attempt to contact the company using this address, you’re just put through to somebody else who won’t have anything to say to you.
Bottom line, never purchase a skin care product from a site that does not reveal their real address.
Skin Care Scams Summary
At Skincare Watchdog we are dedicated to exposing skin care scams anywhere. If you have had a bad experience with a skin care company then tell us about it and we will investigate it for you.
On the other hand, we approve companies that satisfy our tough standards. None of the skincare products we approve use any of the scam strategies we have described to trick you into buying their scam products.