The Beauty Industry: Universally Crazy

Why a New Edition

As is true with every edition of the books I’ve written on the cosmetics industry starting in 1984 with Blue Eyeshadow Should Be Illegal and then Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, and Don’t Go Shopping for Hair Care Products Without Me, much has changed in the world of makeup and skin. Serious research has increased exponentially on all fronts—from antioxidants, anti-irritants, cell-communicating ingredients, skin-identical ingredients, aquaporins, MMPs, sun protection, and on and on.

We know more about why skin wrinkles, how skin heals, what the effects of hormones are on skin function, and how to treat blackheads and acne, not to mention having a better understanding of how sun and oxygen destroy the skin. Cosmetic dermatology and plastic surgery procedures have greatly improved, though the array of options has become more extensive and the risks or benefits more difficult to evaluate.

As I compiled the research and began rewriting this book, I was amazed at how far the cosmetics world has advanced as well as dismayed at how much has remained the same. Regrettably, there are still infinite misleading claims, poor formulations, the all-natural farce, the abundance of skin-care myths, and the never-ending fiction that expensive means better. It was an amazing process to assemble all this information. At first, I thought it was going to be a fairly simple update. It turns out that almost 60% of this book was completely rewritten and reorganized.

I hope you find it helpful as you try to decipher and decode the complicated world of beauty. I know it can be done, but it isn’t easy. What is certain is that the story must start with information supported by peer-reviewed, published studies—and that’s what you’ll find in this book

The Best Ingredients for Skin?

The question women and reporters worldwide always ask me is: Which ingredient or ingredients are the best for skin? The good news is the same as the bad news because there isn’t just one or even a few—there are hundreds of brilliant ingredients for skin. While that means there are great options to choose from, it also makes the selection process exceedingly difficult.

Everyone wants a magic bullet, and the world of cosmetics has nothing even vaguely resembling a single-ingredient miracle. A cosmetics company may showcase an ingredient and make it sound sensational, but the truth is there are lots and lots of sensational ingredients. The next time a salesperson, infomercial, or advertisement wants to convince you of some miracle ingredient, ignore it, they are lying through their teeth.


A cosmetics chemist has access to thousands of ingredients that can go into a formula, and trying to translate them all into a format a consumer can understand is impossible. I have included over 3,000 ingredients, yet that is only the tip of a rather big and continually growing ingredient database. I spend endless time analyzing what the research says about the formulations and contents of each product I consider.

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