CEO Monthly Letter: the truth about before & after photos 

why we’re not using them anymore

 

Before and after photos are one of the most common ways to express a product’s efficacy in skincare. We’ve used them before for many of our products to demonstrate the impact of using a product over time. However, as we were planning the launch of our new serums, we thought about if this marketing tactic deserves to be challenged. 

We realized that we have a few main issues with before and after photos:

  • “Before” photos imply that your skin was “bad” at one point and “good” now. Our skin is a living and breathing organ that changes every day. We don’t think it’s fair to visually characterize our skin as these 2D adjectives. 
  • The reality is that there are so many factors that go into taking comparable before and after photos. If we were holding every other factor in our life constant, and ONLY using a new skincare product, maybe a before / after photo would be accurate. But, that’s not possible! Even if no photoshop is used, things like lighting in the room, lifestyle, time of month, time of day, etc. all impact the like-for-like comparison of before and after photos. As a result, there are too many ways to “game” a before and after or simply get lucky.
  • We are trained to think that our skin should drastically change if a product is effective. That’s also not realistic. Skincare products can do a lot for your skin, but they are mostly impacting the top layer of your skin. That’s not to say that you won’t see a difference, but that difference is accumulated over time with consistent use. Results from before / after photos oftentimes skew our perception of how quickly or how drastically a product can work. Not to mention, everyone’s skin is different, which will lead to varying levels of visual performance.
  • Sometimes, skin progress can’t be appropriately captured by a camera lens. For instance, if my skin feels drastically more comfortable after using the ceramide serum, that feeling is not visually represented in a photo. It’s how I feel, how my skin feels, and that feeling is very personal to my skin. 

This is only one example of how the cocokind team is constantly challenging “the way things are done” in the beauty industry (including things that we have done ourselves in the past!). In this example, we asked ourselves, “are before and after photos always reliable and responsible marketing to our community?” and the answer was no. 

Let us know what you think about this new internal policy of ours here!

-P

Founder and CEO