Today, I’m heading back to my roots for a topic that’s close to my heart. When I first started my blog, I wanted it to focus on beauty for those with allergies. I’ve lived with multiple allergies all my life and these are a massive influence on the beauty products I buy and where I shop for them. I’ve had a few conversations with other beauty bloggers recently, lovely people who were trying to be supportive/helpful. However, I was surprised (to the point of frustration) by the lack of understanding about the difficulties those with allergies face. So I thought I’d share the things I wish people understood about beauty shopping with allergies, to debunk some common and incorrect assumptions.
Beauty Shopping With Allergies: Be Prepared For Disappointment
The latest launch of your favourite high street brand has just reached the shops! Yay! You’re excited and head down, eager to swatch and pick up a few products. Sound familiar? Of cause it does! However, your experience when you reach the shop is likely to be very different to someone with allergies. I suspect, you swatch various products, take the ones you like to the till and buy them. Simple! Not if you have allergies.
Despite it being a legal requirement to provide ingredients to consumers under point no. 46 of the European Cosmetics Regulation 1223/2009, the majority of the time I go into a high street shop to buy makeup I can’t find ingredients lists. This is particularly true for new releases as, if a stand does have an ingredients booklet, it won’t have been updated.
Honestly, the next time you want to buy something from a high street store, see if you can find the ingredients for it. Chances are, your won’t be able to find them. While some of the ingredients you can find, won’t be accessible because they’re underneath the hygiene plastic. Seriously, what is the point of that!?!If you really want to understand my frustration, walk out of the shop if you can’t find the ingredients without buying the product. It’s such a disheartening feeling. Obviously, go straight back in and buy what you want! Just get a feel for what it’s like to have to put back something you were really excited about.
Beauty Shopping With Allergies: You’ll Either End Up Squinting Or Carrying A Magnifying Glass!
Have you ever tried to read ingredients lists on beauty products? Most, particularly makeup are tiny. When I say tiny, I mean REALLY TINY! Tiny to the point where I’ve bought things that I can’t use because I’ve misread/not seen ingredients I’m allergic to. If you haven’t tried it already, check out the size of the text used on those stickers you find on makeup products. That’s if you can find them.
You’ll either end up squinting to read the ingredients on these tiny stickers (not helped by the shop’s fluorescent lights) or you’ll be forced to carry a magnifying glass around with you. I kid you not, my Mum bought me a magnifying glass card that fits in one of the card slots in my purse for the sole reason of making reading ingredients a little easier.
Beauty Shopping With Allergies: Hypoallergenic
I have a post all about what the term hypoallergenic means, so I’m not going to bore you with the specifics. All I’ll say here is that it means absolutely nothing. Unfortunately, staff working in both high street and high end retailers seem to thing that if a product is hypoallergenic, it’s suitable for everyone. Fact: There are a small percentage of people out there who are allergic to water. ANYTHING can be an allergen.
If you have allergies, you’ll get used to knowing more about the ingredients in products than counter makeup artists. I’ve lost count of the times that counter makeup artists have told me that a product is ‘hypoallergenic’ or ‘natural’ when I’ve asked to read the ingredients. I then have to explain that nuts, wheat and sesame seeds are all natural, but also have the potential to kill me. I’ll also have to explain that, although their products are ‘hypoallergenic’, many ‘hypoallergenic’ products contain these common allergens! More often than not when they give me the products to check, there will be some that contain these common allergens that I react to.
Beauty Shopping With Allergies: People Will Try To Kill You
This might sound dramatic, but if your allergies cause you to go into anaphylactic shock (where your throat swells up and you can’t breath), this is a very real hazard. Have you ever had someone so determined to get you to try their product that they’ve put it on you before you can say no? I have. I’ve asked to see the ingredients first, only to be told that the product is ‘hypoallergenic’ or ‘natural’ as the sales assistant grabs my hand and puts their product on me. After a few disastrous reactions, I’ve learnt to move out of reach and put my hands behind my back in this situation.
Beauty Shopping With Allergies: Just Google It!
Goggle is an amazing creature. You can find so much information at the click of a few keys. Unfortunately, ingredients for beauty products are often not one of them. Online only stores seem to be better at including ingredients on their website than those who also have physical stores. Next time you’re browsing the internet for makeup, just take a look a whether the website you’re using makes the ingredients list available. You’ll be shocked by what you find.
Lots of websites have an ‘Ingredients’ tab without any ingredients in. I’ve yet to find the ingredients for Kat Von D’s makeup. None of the Debenhams stores near me have a counter. I either need to find a friend who has one of the liquid lipsticks and is willing to send me a photo of the ingredients, or I need to head down to the Oxford Street store in person. Living in Warwickshire and being a wheelchair user, makes this a logistical nightmare. Not to mention the added cost of the train fare to London.
Whenever I review a product, I try my hardest to include the ingredients at the bottom of my post. This is really helpful for those with allergies. It’s also beneficial to my blog. I’ve had referrals from Google where people have searched for ‘(insert product) ingredient list.’ You can find all my reviewed products with their ingredients lists under the ‘Reviewed Products‘ tab in my Navbar.
Beauty Shopping With Allergies: It’s Expensive
I got into high end makeup because I was struggling to find ingredients for high street products. It’s so frustrating to have to put a product you’re excited about back and then spend a long time trying to locate the ingredients of said product. Remember when Maybelline launched their Colour Sensational Vivid Matte Liquid Lipsticks? They launched almost a year ago and I still haven’t been able to track down a list of ingredients. Now this is partly because of my limited mobility. I can’t get to shops that are outside my town without help. However, at no time during this year have either of my local high street stores had the ingredients for these lipsticks available.And I’ve already spoken about how unhelpful the internet can be.
Most high end makeup comes in a box. Those boxes have the ingredients listed. In addition, high end counters have ingredients books. All you have to do is ask the staff nicely to take a look.
Beauty Shopping With Allergies: You Have To Check Every Time You Buy
Think that once someone with allergies has found a product that suits them they can repurchase without reading the ingredients? Wrong! From time to time, brands change their ingredients. They do this with no warning/identification on their products and often the packaging is either identical or almost identical. My experience of the L’Oreal Skin Perfection Cleansing Wipes is a good example of this. So whenever I want to buy a beauty product, I HAVE to check the ingredients.
Were you aware how difficult beauty shopping with allergies could be?
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