Thursday, September 19, 2013

Another Product Myth Disguised As Fact

Just For Laughs

My gift to you today is laughter, because just when I thought I have seen everything as it relates to the myths surrounding chemicals, natural ingredients and the like, this latest "fun fact" showed up all over facebook this summer, beginning in July.  Of course once I saw this, I just had to share.

This hit me like a clunk on the head, not in a bad way, but with me laughing hysterically.  This has probably got to be the best info-graphic of disinformation I've seen to date.

The Claim Being Made

Supposedly, consumers can tell the chemical makeup of tube contents just by checking the color of a small square at the bottom of the tube crimp. This shared little secret is being propogated by many in social media which include facebook, blogs, twitter, and the promo is "please share right away" as another way to make this go viral.  It is also a prime example of how this disinformation spreads and then is out over the airwaves for all eternity.

This savvy advice (dripping sarcasm) informs one that whatever product in a tube you might be using, such as toothpaste for instance, just by looking at this mark placed on the crimp will reveal all.  Colors that you'll find are a GREEN square which means contents are 'all natural', RED means 'mostly chemicals' with some natural composition, and BLACK means 'only chemicals' are used.

Never mind the fact that this would not pass muster with FDA, but it is pure and utter nonsense.  Let us also remember that the term natural versus chemical are not mutually exclusive as all things are chemical.  I also couldn't help noticing the choice of the color coding identifying the differences.  I admire their imagination because it reminds me of a traffic light;
  • GREEN = good, healthy, safe, warm and fuzzy
  • RED = stop, bad, unsafe, green-washing, harmful
  • BLACK = kiss of death, toxic, skull and crossbones, poison
What The Little Marks On The Crimp Really Mean

These marks or lines on tubes referred to in the message, perform a specific purpose during the packaging process. The marks are called "eye marks" (or sometimes "eye spots").  They do not in any way indicate the chemical content of the formulas within the tubes they are displayed on, regardless of what color they are.  Furthermore, their color coding can include all colors of the rainbow, not just the ones selected here for making what I have determined, is a subtle hint of some kind....but maybe it's just me....don't think so, but maybe.

Eye marks can be identified by electronic eyes as the packaging goes through a sophisticated machine mechanism at high rates of speed.  The marks serve a variety of packaging purposes such as telling the machine where to cut and crimp tubes or indicating the desired color of print on packaging.  Many products have such eye marks, although they may not always be visible to consumers as they are on tubes.

What's Wrong With Spreading This Type Of Urban Myth

The message that is circulating with this info graphic is "did you know squares on tubes mean something" followed by the color identifier you see in the graphic.  These "squares" in fact do mean packaging machines and the people who operate them.  These are marks for them to read, but to us, the average consumer, these should mean nothing to us and are not for us to worry about, at least not in the context that is being conveyed.

This is simply another exploitative ploy to try to convince the unknowing consumer that we in the beauty and personal care industry are again, trying to hide or perpetuate a huge fraud on the consumer.  That we are secretly within our inner circle, including ingredients in a product without having to inform the public. 

REALLY?!  Can we have a cognitive moment here and can you help me bring these myth tellers back from the land of Shangri-la? 

Simply say, "Want to know what the contents are in a product that is on the market?"

"You'll find it right on the side panel, or the back of the tube, or on exterior packaging and it will be in full detail..... That's the law, pure and simple.  Some websites will also add continued detail of the ingredients, as we do for all of our products."

As always, once you peel back the myth, the truth can always be found by those that seek it, and these same people don't always accept things at face value, thankfully.  And I can certainly assure those that are easily mired in this type of rhetoric that the little mark on the tube's base will tell you nothing whatsoever about its chemical makeup or that it is some conspiracy to keep the public in the dark so we can continue to hide the so called "real truth" from the discerning public.

Now after you have a good laugh as I did, please enjoy your weekend and share this tidbit at every opportunity with all of your lovely friends and family.  Just say "NO" to the dupers!

We can stop this ridiculousness about our industry, collectively! 


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