Meet The Real Beauty Experts



I’ve been in the industry for almost two decades and now, more than ever, I feel completely overwhelmed by the absolute bullshit (excuse the French) in beauty. Social media is partly to blame, thanks to the endless stream of ‘tips’ and ‘advice’ fed to us by shiny-faced ‘experts’ – that, and the increasingly muddled interpretation of the ingredients on the sides of beauty products.

So when a handful of cosmetic chemists – who develop those very beauty products – started taking to social media to correct some of the more heinous claims, I was very happy to see them. These brainy beauty buffs, many armed with science degrees, are mostly fueled by a desire to help customers navigate “the overstated claims and underwhelming results that is the skincare-industry cyborg machine,” as one team puts it.

The sheer amount of misinformation is what drove many of the cosmetic chemists I spoke with onto social media. Because while anyone with a phone and WiFi connection can call themselves an ‘expert’, it’s these scientists, “who work with skincare ingredients and product formulation day in and day out, that know skincare products more intimately than other experts in the field,” says Californian skincare chemist Gloria Lu.

“We can speak to the ingredients that bring skin benefits and clear the air on controversial ingredients that maybe don’t deserve the bad rap they’re getting.”

– Gloria Lu, Chemist Confessions

These chemists, in turn, have found a public eager to consume the sometimes-nerdy-but-always-fascinating science behind beauty. Australian chemistry PhD and science educator Dr Michelle Wong, who runs Lab Muffin Beauty Science, points to the 2016 launch of The Ordinary brand as a pivotal moment, when the “budget-friendly price points and technical product names really encouraged people to learn about ingredients, and made words like ‘niacinamide’ and ‘retinol’ common knowledge,” she says.

“Beauty products are overwhelmingly safe. If a piece of content makes you feel scared or shocked, pause before sharing it and take the time to check if the source is reliable.”

– Dr Michelle Wong, Lab Muffin Beauty Science

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Read more about the real beauty experts at PRIMER.


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