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A Salute To L'Oreal For Getting Real

By Mike Smiley October 29, 2014 0 comments

We’ve been told that the Baby Boomers have been controlling the economy and cultural direction throughout the world since the 1950’s. We’ve just seen another verification of that with L’Oreal’s naming of a 69 year old Helen Merin as the “new” face of the company.
Helen Mirren: new face of L'Oreal Paris UKSixty is being characterized as the new 40. WHAT-ever. The bottom line is that as we age (at 63 I am one of those baby boomers) we expect everyone else to age but us. At 82 my dad used to be telling us a story about a person and refer to that person as “an old guy”. I guess it’s all relative.

My wife and I stopped paying attention to Victoria’s Secret when they started using teenagers as their models."

That’s another reason why the action by L’Oreal carries much more impact than just stating that it is o.k. to be over 35.

I've spent 41 years in media. Radio, television, newspaper, etc. I’ve been very aware of all the fakery and phoniness in advertising since college. It was just the way it was. I had a 65 year old bank CEO we were photographicing for their annual report ask me if we could get rid of the wrinkles on his face. I assured him we could but when people saw him at the annual stockholders meeting they would be shocked at how much he had aged between the time the annual report was published and the meeting. He decided to leave the photos un-retouched.

When it comes to fashion, skin care, etc. you really cannot believe your eyes

I can tell you from first hand experience nothing is as it appears to be. Our job was to make sure photos were perfect, clothing was styled to the “T” and of course, all blemishes, shadows and lines were magically erased before going to press. It was just standard procedure. No one even gave it a second thought.

Same with copy writing. I’ve written advertising copy for thousands of radio, TV and printed advertising pieces. Copy is always designed to sell the product. At forty, I began to resent that part of my industry. I wondered what would happen if a car dealer came on TV without shouting or having some other carnival like component and just stated, “Our cars are basically the same as the one’s over at the other dealerships but here’s why you should buy from us.” Well, there was one that did that and his dealership did, and continues to do, quite well. I think there is such a thing as B.S. overload. Lord knows all of us must suffer from it.

Weary of Hype

So L’Oreal decided to take a very different stand starting now. According to the article in the U.K. news, the move is designed as a celebration of natural beauty. Although all of us have our own ideas about what constitutes natural beauty, I applaud the move to help dissolve this unreachable goal of flawless perfection that keeps the majority of women and a lot of men in a constant state of “not enough” and steals their joy.

I may not agree with a lot of L’Oreal's cultural beliefs but support this gesture to send the message that humans are beautiful at every age. I salute anyone who embraces who they are versus always striving for a fleeting feeling of biological perfection that, even if achieved, is too soon gone.

My wife and I launched My Skin’s Friend with the goal to offer a really good, really healthy organic line of skin and hair care products. There's nothing buried in the ingredient list that isn’t in the product. No use of the term “organic” just because it has become popular. Good, honest value for the money. That’s our basic mission.

We agree that all of us can benefit from helping each other have better, healthier lives. That is determined in large part by what we eat and put on our bodies. Since the skin is our largest organ, be careful about what you put on it because it is just a matter of minutes before it gets into the body.

To be fair, you can find “organic” lotions, skin tighteners, moisturizers elsewhere (like the car dealer I mentioned earlier) but you won’t find many companies who put quality as an absolute, non-negotioable component. We’re one that does.

Let's all get real

So if you’re ready to get real, you’ve come to the right place. And we hope the move by L’Oreal is the beginning of the end for the hyperbolic advertising that misleads, misinforms and mistreats customers through brain washing and false claims. Kudos L’Oreal. Welcome back to the future.


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