It’s hard to believe anything on Instagram is real.
I mean, did that influencer ~really~ just tout American Eagle jeans when we know he only wears Gucci? *Excuse me as I call my optometrist as my eyes are rolling so hard they’re stuck in the back of my head.* Which is why there’s been a surge of popular accounts as of late, like Diet Prada, an IG handle that calls out brands, keeps them honest, all the while snatching wigs in the process. It’s easy to see why the account is so popular – in a world full of fakes, we’re dying to for someone to tell it as it is.
Following in that same vein are beauty handles that are being super transparent, like @chemist.confessions. The IG account is by far the best new beauty handle to follow, assessing beauty brands’ popular products by ingredients, while explaining why certain ones work, why others don’t, all the while providing really good (and free!) skincare tips. Whereas Diet Prada uses a snarky tone and readily drags people or brands, Chemist Confessions does so in a gentle, approachable manner, with cute illustrations included in every post.
Posts include comparisons like La Mer’s The Concentrate’s price to a 49″ Roku Smart TV, and goes on to explain why the latter (yes, the television) is the better pick. Others assess the ingredients and why or why not they’re good/bad, like Mario Badescu’s popular Drying Lotion and the use of calamine, apparently ancient. Then there are informative posts explaining what ingredients, like ceramide, actually are and why it’s suddenly in your favorite products.
We spoke with the two anonymous chemists, who hail from San Francisco, behind the account and got to the bottom of how and why they decided to launch a much needed (and refreshing!) beauty account.
What exactly is Chemist Confessions?
Our instagram is really just a skincare chemist’s viewpoint on skincare. There’s lots of great content out there on general skincare tips and tricks, yet there’s still a lot of mystique around the actual ingredients in skincare. Not to mention the somewhat popular “chemical hating” trends. So we wanted to add our voice to the community.
Who’s behind it?
Well, we’re Gloria and Victoria! We’re two skincare chemists by trade who became good friends working at the same large, international beauty conglomerate. Victoria used to work in anti-aging while Gloria used to be in cosmeceuticals (She deals with a lot of high level actives). We’d like to keep the rest anonymous, it’s a surprisingly small industry.
Totally understandable. What made you guys want to talk frankly about products on Instagram?
After being in the industry for some time, we both were feeling frustrated and disillusioned with the state of the industry. Skincare has become highly marketing driven. It’s gotten way too difficult for the average consumer to navigate through all the fluffly, flowery words and figure out what they need for their skin. We decided to write little science blurbs with the intent to make skincare more transparent, less intimidating, and ultimately help educate and make us all more informed consumers.
There’s SO much good information on there. Can you tell us about what you think consumers just don’t know about? What do you wish they knew more about?
Whatever will help them make a more confident and informed decision. We love to do the #decodetheIL series to break down the ingredient list and show how it’s not all that intimidating reading all those long, confusing names. Ultimately each of us knows our skin best, so we hope everyone can have an awareness and confidence in choosing a product for their skin.
Are you trying to make brands more responsible with their formulations as well?
We don’t think that’s something we can control. It’s actually difficult even for us to know who’s responsibly formulating and who’s not. So we’re mostly consumer focused. At the end of the day, only informed consumers collectively can demand changes to an industry with their purchase power.
What’s the ultimate hope for this account?
When we first started this account, we had a pretty simple mindset — make skin science fun. That’s why we work hard on making the captions digestible (ish) and the pictures fun (all sketch credits go to Victoria, Gloria is severely artistically stunted). We weren’t sure what to expect, or if people would really care. The amount of fellow curious skincare enthusiasts and general love really blew us away! So in a way, this account has already exceeded our hopes.
Going forward, we would like to work hard to create even better content. If we can provide solutions, that would be ideal. But if people can learn to deal with some skin quirks because of our content, we would be very satisfied.
Hmm so we just might be heading to the drawing board to think about what we can do on the product creation side…
We CAN’T wait!