Apply caution when buying beauty products via social sites

Many women complain rashes and other skin problems after buying them through Instagram –

Rawaa Said –
Muscat, July 25
Technology has transformed the way we shop. While online shopping has made our lives easier, social media has made it more personalised, with many catering to individual tastes through the medium.
Instagram trading, for instance, falls in this category. Many individuals are using the popular social networking site to sell beauty products, including skincare and haircare products. But there is one problem: trust.
The reason being that no information is publicly available to consumers on the products sold through the medium. A buyer only needs to take the seller’s word.
Yet, women have faith in the products. Few, however, complain about the “difference between expectations and the outcome (when the product arrives at their doorstep)”.
Um Yazeed, for instance, was pleased she had got a “good deal” — five products, including a body moisturiser that she had never used before. When she sprayed it on the skin, she developed some mild rashes.
Women prefer natural products, a fact confirmed by a recent survey which says 60 per cent of women swear by natural products.
Many sellers on social media try to woo customers by claiming their products are all naturally made. But there is no way of ascertaining these claims.
Noora, a customer, said she purchased a facial scrub but after using it, spots appeared on her face. But she did not return the product to the seller. “I do not want to harm their livelihood.”
Ten per cent of women felt the need to return such “faulty” products, were faced with another problem. Since many purchases were made informally, there were no bills and details of transactions were not available.
Some traders claimed their products were not suitable for everyone.
Muna al Balushia, founder of ‘The Beauty Factory’, a store for natural products for body, hair and skin, said she had secured the permission from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for selling her products from home.
She was selling products for different skin types. Recalling a complaint from a customer who wanted to return a product, Al Balushia said the customer had got “carried away by positive comments” about the product which wasn’t suitable for her skin type.
Saif al Rishaidi, Adviser for Media Affairs and Responsible for Overseeing Media and Awareness in Muscat Municipality, said the municipality “confiscates invalid and unknown products, and those that have no details”.
Admitting “it is difficult to control trading through social media because it is an extended world”, he said the municipality “does not authorise women traders who use Instagram to market products”.
The municipality, he said, is only responsible for assuring products in beauty salons are valid for use.