MY THOUGHTS: Halo Beauty (in a lot of words...)

by - March 09, 2018

Initially when I heard about the launch of Tati Westbrook's Halo Beauty, I rolled my eyes, declared her the worst and moved on with my day. I actually used to be a huge fan of Tati, but over the past year or so have lost my enjoyment in her videos. Still, I wished her the best, took no issue with her personally, and was pretty curious about what her brand would be all about. If nothing else, I figured she was someone who would probably be pretty intent on making sure her makeup was well formulated. Unfortunately, my faith in her at the helm of a makeup brand does not extend to her being a the helm of a supplement - and I think that my lack of faith is backed up by her lack of evidence supporting her product.

Quite honestly, my biggest problem at the moment is absolutely the deceptive marketing - something that the supplement industry gets away with because of a lack of regulation. As soon as I started looking through the website, my spidey senses started go go going.

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The words "Clinically Proven" are used three times on the Halo Beauty landing page and multiple times in the FAQ, though in place of a link to peer reviewed studies and back up of the evidence, there's just an Order Now link. With the consistent pressing of the term "clinically proven", I don't think it's unfair to expect, as a consumer, that the company has put the finished product through rigorous clinical testing to prove both efficacy and safety. Unfortunately, based on what has been said, it doesn't seem that there has actually been any clinical trials on the Halo Beauty Hair Skin & Nails Booster itself and Tati was very clear about the fact that it doesn't legally need to be. They are able to use this term, which - let's be clear - is a marketing term that doesn't actually have real meaning, because the ingredient Ceramide RX does have clinical trials supporting it, but I personally find it to be really manipulative marketing because it does imply that the formula has been clinically tested. This is important because different formulas can have different results and side effects based on how the ingredients interact with each other and the dosages of ingredients.

This is one of my biggest issues with the supplement industry as a whole and one that I feel Halo Beauty is really pushing the limits of. There is no regulation that requires a supplement company to prove its claims and in fact that supplement industry has lobbied quite hard in the United States to maintain that status quo and avoid regulation. Not because it's unnecessary, let's be clear about that, but because it is damaging to the bottom line. So yes, Ceramide RX is clinically proven, but there have not (as far as has been communicated) been clinical trials on the Halo Beauty Hair Skin & Nails Booster.

You will notice that there is not actual answer to the question in this "answer". There is a specific avoidance of actually answering the question, which I personally find to be absolutely disgusting. We are talking about women's sexual health here - this is NOT something that you should be be playing fast and loose with, particularly when the ingredient in question isn't actually scientifically proven to do what you claim that it does. (There's that lack of regulation again!) Everything that I've found from reliable sources about drug interactions says that Saw Palmetto behaves like a hormone and can decrease the effects of your birth control and recommends using an additional form of birth control when taking it. Is it the responsibility of the consumer to understand what's in their supplements? Yes, absolutely. But when they raise genuine concern and the CEO of the company is dismissive and snarky complete with finger quotes around the words "might" and "may", I think there's something seriously wrong there.

While some people are catastrophizing this and screaming that if you take this you'll get pregnant, which I think most grown adults realize is absurd, the way that this is being completely brushed off and the fact that Tati straight up said that the amount in her supplement isn't enough to cause hormonal activity that will descrease the effectiveness of your birth control is completely irresponsible, in my opinion. There's a reason that drugs have to have clinical testing of drug interactions, because that's just not something that anyone should be saying without actual testing. I think the fact that the Halo website glosses over the possibility of a decreased efficacy of birth control, gives an answer that reads like a no but really isn't (in a way that seems to legally protect them), and then compares the dosage to that used in men who aren't on birth control is deliberately deceptive and unacceptable.

One more thing about Saw Palmetto. While the Halo website claims that it helps with hair growth and acne, there's no solid evidence to that fact. Personally, I believe that more clinical testing is required either way, but for a company whose CEO brushes off words like "might" and "may", I think the might and may of what she claims this ingredient does are notable.

Without clinical testing, I have NO idea how they get away with putting this in big ass letters on their website. I thought that there were laws that required companies to be able to back up those kinds of statements in regards to their products, since this does imply that it has been tested for efficacy against similar products, but I guess that doesn't extend to the supplement industry. I could go into a lot of detail about the supplement industry and my personal issues with the regulation and marketing of it, but I would actually highly recommend researching this yourself and really considering what you find. I'm not saying that this or any other supplement is unsafe or ineffective, all I'm saying is that the marketing of it seems to imply that it is both safe and effective without clinical results to back that up.

Also, in her response video, this quote from Tati stuck out to me, "Also... If this was able to do what it did on a 23 year old's skin and visibly improve hydration and moisture, just think for a moment what it's going to be able to do for a 30 year old skin, a 40 year old skin, a 50 year old skin, a 60 year old skin..." Um. That's just words. They don't actually address the criticism at all. It's basically like "Just think about it! Because that's all you can do because we don't have clinical trial results to back it up!"

So, do I think Tati had bad intentions with this release? No, I actually don't. I think she probably did genuinely think that she was going to be doing something innovative (she's really not) and that people would benefit from it. I have no doubt that this is probably something she feels passionately about. I don't even think that it's a cash grab, even though it is quite a spendy product. And I'm sure she has a lot of fans who are going to eagerly eat these up, literally, and it will likely be commercially successful. And maybe they will work. And maybe they won't. Maybe they won't hurt anyone, but maybe they will. I think that making claims that aren't backed up by evidence, being aggressive in misleading marketing that you're able to get away with because you own a trademark that allows you to legally regardless of ethics, and being dismissive and flippant about genuine concerns regarding one ingredient that could be potentially problematic for a large portion of your audience is unacceptable and 100% deserves criticism. 

We live in a world where people seem to find it really easy to file critics into the same folder as so-called "haters", but when it comes to products that people are putting into their bodies, I think it's important to look deeper into things and shine light on the things that don't hold up. There are a lot of things about the supplement industry that are problematic and I think that rather than standing apart from those things, Tati is feeding into them. 

So obviously I won't be buying this product, in case it wasn't glaringly obvious, and I would highly recommend that anyone who is thinking about taking them consult a doctor first, as you should with all supplements. I'm never going to tell anyone what to put into their bodies, but I do think that this type of product should 100% be required to show evidence and this one absolutely has not - no matter how many times the words "clinically proven" are placed above an "Order Now" button on the website.

Thanks for reading!

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