Saturday, February 20, 2016

A bad book review & product recommendations: My thoughts

The following is an Amazon.com review of my first book, Timeless Skin. I am including it here to help make a point and to further explain my stand on recommending products. This entire post is taken from my second book, Skin Care A to Z, so one or two references are from that time period.

Excerpts of Customer Reviews © Amazon.com, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Reviewer: A reader from Dallas, Texas USA. July 12, 2000

I was looking for products Ms. Ash recommends and I was disappointed. She gave some ideas on what to look for in products, but it requires me to spend a lot of time looking. She even says it’s a difficult process (unless you go to a professional spa). I looked at her website and as I suspected you’ll have to spend a lot of money (at least $30 per product*). I bought this book to try and find a way to spend less money—but I found out I have to spend at least $120 for cleanser, toner, moisturizer and a mask—this doesn’t include the other stuff she recommends! Ugghh...Please someone recommend another book!
*Remember—this was 15 years ago. Obviously prices have gone up!

No one likes a bad review. I remember the day I read this on the Internet. Timeless Skin had just come out, and I was getting so much positive feedback, and then boom! This review hit me like a ton of bricks. That it came from someone in the city I was living in at the time (Dallas) was yet another blow to me. If only I could contact this reader and at least extend an invitation for a complimentary consultation so I might help this person better understand his or her skin and any problems that might be occurring, or at least steer him or her in the right direction.

I included this email to reiterate my stand on product recommendations. Of course if you go to my website, I am recommending the products I know in depth and have been using personally and professionally for over 20 years [at that time; 30+ years currently]. I purposely do not mention in either of my books the product lines I work with. I want to give you, the consumer, information so that you can pick and choose the products you want to use that will benefit your skin.
Certainly, it would be impossible for me to try every single product line available and make my recommendations based on hard and fast research. So instead I am attempting to give you pointers as far as what to look for as well as what to avoid when looking for products so you can make educated decisions. Perhaps the writer of the above review would be better off purchasing a book like Don’t Go to the Cosmetic Counter Without Me (Beginning Press) in order to get specific product recommendations. Based on the many product lines critiqued in Paula Begoun’s book, it would have been impossible for her to do all the research herself—in this lifetime anyway. With any of my writing [here or in my books] you are getting my opinion alone, not someone else’s. That is what I can offer, and I do—frequently!

I make no apologies for the way I disseminate information. No book or skin care product is for everyone, and I certainly hope this reader and any others who were looking for name brand recommendations have found what they are looking for. I only recommend products that either my clients or I have experience with. So for me to recommend an entire book filled with brand name products would take the rest of my natural life to research. I truly believe you can find products out in the marketplace that will work for your skin. And judging from the comments I have received from my readers, I know it is possible.

Following is another Amazon.com reviewer’s response to this critical book review. I did not ask permission, so “Plain Jane,” I hope you don’t mind my including it here:

Sorry you did not find this book helpful. I am a licensed master aesthetician who teaches esthetics for a living and I can tell you [Timeless Skin] is right-on. Professional skin care is not cheap. Drugstore brands are. The reason they are cheaper is that they are diluted and therefore ineffective. If you are on a tight budget, I would recommend a good soap-free cleanser, appropriate toner and moisturizer for your skin type. The best skin care is treating your skin like it is—your body’s largest eliminating organ. Keep your insides clean and don’t look for a magic “product” to save you. 

For more information, see: