It’s nothing new that the big time cosmetics industry is peopled by subjects who found politics and used car sales too ethical a profession to suit their utterly debased characters. Which is why I avoid mainstream cosmetics at all cost with the exception of fragrances (unfortunately, most fragrances by organic cosmetics companies are currently still godawful).
On my last internet splurge, however, I could not resist adding a few ETRO products from the Benetroessere line to my virtual grab bag, reduced as they were from ridiculous 32 Euros for 200 ml of body milk or bath gel, respectively, to a bearable 4,99.
Folly! I should have known ETRO would not fail to thoroughly confirm my conviction that luxury beauty products are about slapping a big name on a crock of excrement, or, in terms of fragrance spin offs, adding a hint of perfume to the excrement so as to turn a 5-cent concoction of chemicals and water into solid gold. Behold the alchemy of consumer capitalism.
“precious natural active ingredients…” (from the Etro website)
Like virtually every product of this sort I have come across, the main ingredient of the bath gel is Sodium Laureth Sulfate, one of the cheapest and most aggressive detergents and surfactants on the market. Mix it with a little salt and a lot of water and it gives you a wonderful thick foaming gel. Luxurious, huh? It also causes skin irritation, eczemas or even allergies because it effectively destroys the skin’s ph-coating and dries it out mercilessly. Additionally it obstructs the production of tear fluid thus permitting other substances to enter and damage the eyes (shampoo!) It is absorbed and stored in major organs. While SLS may not be seriously harmful (though daily use easily could become a problem and certainly is a major factor in the rise of epidermic diseases) my point here is simply that this ingredient is inferior refuse that belongs in 59 cent shower gel, not in a supposedly high end luxury product. There are innumerable gentler alternatives which cost only a fraction more. My day to day shower gel, at a laughable 1,49 Euros, uses Coco Glucoside, for example, and truly high end eco-products by companies such as Lavera, Logona, Weleda or Dr. Hauschka, which are still far cheaper than designer branded detritus, add truly expensive essential oils and quality ingredients such as shea butter, cocoa butter, calendula etc. pp. Which brings us to the ETRO body milk. Octyl Palmitate is acceptable though there is better fare, but then we find: liquid paraffin, i.e. mineral oil, again the cheapest of the cheapest, a pore clodder and possible skin irritant. 32 Euros! And you thought the gas at the station was expensive! If Rolls Royce sold me a Silver Shadow chassis with a lawnmower motor inside I would be rather incensed. Jil Sander, Etro, you name them, do the very thing with impunity day in and day out. The people responsible for these profiteering schemes should be forced to drink their fine luxury products, as the Inkas forced molten gold down the throats of the greedy conquistadors. A plague on all their cosmetics and design houses.
Of course, it only works because consumers accept it. Which is why I would be seriously interested in your views on this and why you, if you do so, accept such inferior products at outrageous prices?