There’s something really compelling about this product from Clarins: the Expertise 3P Screen Mist. Launched in 2006 and claiming to protect against premature ageing caused by electromagnetic waves, the product has generated very intense backlash, not just from bloggers and journalists, but also from the advertising watchdogs. The basic gist of the complaints were that the claims were false and not grounded in serious science. Wired magazine, for one, dubbed it “snake oil” and “a bottle of failure” here. In 2008, the FDA ruled that the product was a “drug” and not a cosmetic “because it is not generally recognized by qualified scientific experts as “effective” for its intended use. The blog truthinagening.com dismisses the product, along with the suggestion that electrosmog might have consequences for health. “The new pollutants are computers and cell phones and never before, since the dawn of the industrial revolution, was working so capable of prematurely aging us.” Advertising watchdogs received numerous complaints, and the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) in the U.K. ruled Clarins was guilty of trading on customers’ fear of the unknown, and asked the company not to make such claims again.
I purchased this product recently, and I must confess that it feels great. The “ultra-sheer mist” is extremely fine, and it smells like a cross between a herbal bath and a forest. Of course I don’t know whether it will protect my skin from premature ageing, but frankly, I don’t care. What I wonder is why there has been so much negative backlash. Claims made on behalf of beauty products get more and more outlandish everyday, notably in the mascara department. Yet citizen bloggers don’t seem terribly concerned about these falsehoods.
Oh cellphone lobby, do I detect your invisible presence here? Or is this simply a collective denial from society which is so much in love with always-on mobile communications that any threat to that lifestyle is perceived as seditious?