/ Health

Does your moisturiser actually make a difference?


Last week, actress Helen Mirren was quoted saying moisturisers probably do nothing. Do you agree?

The L’Oréal ambassador actually used some slightly more colourful language to express her views on moisturisers, but I don’t think Dame Helen is the only one to think this way.

Moisturisers (in fact, beauty products of all kinds) seem to bandy round a lot of claims. I’m not a dermatologist and so I can’t really determine the validity of these, but I’m certainly suspicious of some…

Moisturising misnomer

Last week, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) challenged the skincare brand, Olay, about its claim that its Regenerist products ‘Re-energise skin’s appearance cell by cell’. The challenge came via a cosmetic doctor who noted that the claim was misleading and Olay was asked to substantiate it.

The brand’s owners, Procter & Gamble, said the ‘cell by cell’ claim referred to the skin’s appearance, rather than any physiological effect. The ASA ruled the claim misleading and called for sufficient evidence to support the ‘cell by cell’ claim.

Our findings

And this wouldn’t be the first time a beauty product has been challenged on its advertised claims. Albeit many moons ago now (2009), Which? carried out its own investigation into anti-wrinkle eye-creams – and the results were really quite rubbish. We found that cheap moisturisers performed no better than pricier ones – leaving you wondering if it’s just a waste of money.

As someone who has suffered with eczema over the years, I need a good moisturiser. I’ve tried all kinds of lotions and potions to help my skin – some seemed to work, others were a total waste of money. I’ve tried cheap ones, NHS-prescribed lotions and higher-end creams, too – all with mixed results.

In fact, I have a collection of barely used creams of all kinds at home – ones that brighten your skin, balance the tone, and even plump your face.

Some have been so terrible that they should’ve really been thrown away by now. Yet, what makes me keep them is knowing that each stupid tiny jar/bottle/tube has cost me at least the best part of a tenner, so I feel reluctant to.

Really, looking at how large that collection has become in my quest for a moisturiser that actually works has left me wondering if I should’ve returned them for being just a bit rubbish…

So yes, Dame Helen Mirren, I think I side with you – moisturiser ’probably does f**k –all’…

Have you found a moisturiser that actually works?


I have a great deal of respect for the Advertising Standards Authority and how effective it is in curbing misrepresentation in marketing, considering that it is not an official regulator. This description is from Wikipedia: “The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the self-regulatory organisation (SRO) of the advertising industry in the United Kingdom. The ASA is a non-statutory organisation and so cannot interpret or enforce legislation. However, its code of advertising practice[1] broadly reflects legislation in many instances. The ASA is not funded by the British government, but by a levy on the advertising industry.”

ASA sometimes responds to a single complaint and in this case we are told that: “The complainant, a cosmetic doctor, challenged whether the claim “Re-energises skin’s appearance cell by cell” was misleading and could be substantiated.”

Although ASA upholds many complaints about advertising, these complaints are made after the advertising has been used and the company may have generated substantial profits from a dishonest campaign.

I would like to see all scientific claims independently verified before companies are allowed to use the claims. The best approach is to approve specific wording for claims, allowing the company to change its advertising but reuse the same wording for claims. That is necessary because slight changes to wording can substantially change the message.

If only a single complaint could result in action on nuisance calls.

bishbut says:
14 August 2017

“Experts” have said you must use things many things that have been shown to be a waste of money . Are these “experts” paid to tell you to buy unnecessary or useless products ?? I always wonder and make my own mind up about everything I buy .I don’t need constant reminders either in the form of adverts


A very good point, bishbut. I tend to go by recommendations with these types of products


‘Moisturisers’ are examples of emollients, which are widely used for treatment of dry skin and eczema. Visit an elderly person and it’s likely that you will see a tub of E45. There is little doubt that they help to relieve itching, irritation and discomfort. I was going to suggest that Dame Helen Mirren might have a look at Which? product tests for moisturisers but I cannot find anything relevant.


Gross income from the US beauty industry – up to -2016 – $14 BILLION . Where is all the original feminists -quote – I don’t wear lipstick /bras /etc that was prevalent in the last 30 years ? While pubs in this country are in decline and car adverts are aimed at female drivers driving “sensible cars ” the “beauty industry goes from strength to strength . I would like a female to reply to me as a male might make all sort of excuses but a female would be more honest in this type of discussion.


I’ll reply to you, Duncan. There is a lot of money in it, I agree. However, I think there’s an interesting swing in the way beauty bloggers are growing on social media platforms – it seems that personal recommendation counts for a lot. I personally need moisturiser as my skin gets very dry (especially in the winter) and I need these creams to control eczema.

Not entirely sure where you’re going with pubs and car ads – I’m a female and I love the pub (especially my local freehouse) and I’m also a bit of petrol head (blame growing up near Silverstone)… 😛


I reckon you are the exception to the rule Lauren ( and I like that ) but the brewing industry has shown a sharp decline in the number of traditional pubs over the whole of England due to competition from places like wine bars . Most of the cars I see advertised in this country are family models but going to say Germany and its adverts you see high power cars being advertised and driven by “sporty ” individuals , here it seems anything masculine is binned . I like “petrol heads ” and take a great interest in engine design but here that is not a selling point only how “nice ” it looks . Dont females feel they are being used by the beauty industry ? women are usually shrewd when it comes to money but its as if a magic spell takes over them when it comes to make-up and even surgical “enhancements ” Some say they do it for their own mental well being but in a lot of cases isn’t just to attract male attention ?


A major reason for decline in pubs is cheap alcohol bought by up-and-outs from supermarkets. 🙁 Micropubs are booming in some parts of the country. 🙂

Vintage engines provide a popular male-dominated hobby, so look out for societies and shows where men obsess about old tractors, stationary engines and traction engines. That can be rough on the hands, so a bit of moisturising cream can help avoid more serious problems.


That may be part of the decline in pubs but another, I believe, is more stringent views on drink driving, and perhaps the smoking ban, on rural pubs. Our “local” is now a restaurant. Those in towns, whether traditional pubs or more trendy bars, are accessible by taxi for the majority of patrons.