Infomercials – Fool Me No More!

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infomercialsInfomercials suck me in every time! If I’m flipping the TV channels and I come across an informercial for just about anything, I’m riveted. My all time favorites are Bosley Hair Restoration and Hair Club For Men, but I can’t get enough of make money from home schemes, and skin care product infomercials. They promise the “what if” that we are all seeking. What if there really is a way to make $50,000 a month by working just a few hours a week, or what if this product will really cure my acne and wrinkles? It’s the same concept of people that come back to Vegas over and over, after losing thousands of dollars. What if I do win the Megabucks this time around?

If I see an infomercial, I automatically assume the product won’t work
The irony is that I’m always taken in by infomercials, but I feel “smart” now, and assume if I’m watching an infomercial, the product has to be terrible. I didn’t always think this way. When I was at my lowest point with my acne, I couldn’t take the Proactiv commercials anymore, and ordered the products. At the time, the infomercials were so convincing and it seemed inconceivable that the products wouldn’t work. How could they not? Look at the before and after pictures! Look at Jessica Simpson’s blotchy chin, and look at her after using Proactiv!

I dutifully used the Proactiv for two months and it didn’t work. I give Proactiv credit – my face didn’t look worse after using the products. It just didn’t look better. My boyfriend at the time used the system too, with the same results as me.

Infomercials usually come with money-back guarantees
This is great news! You can always get your money back if by some “slim” chance what you buy doesn’t do what it says it does. Did I return the Proactiv? No! I should have, but I didn’t. Since it didn’t make my face worse, and since I was lazy and didn’t want to go to the post office, and since I felt a bit guilty about sending it back, I didn’t. This, of course, is ridiculous, since Proactiv should be feeling guilty for screwing me over at my most vulnerable time.

I don’t know the statistics, but I don’t think very many people send back infomercial products, even if they don’t work. I just read The 4-Hour Workweek, which is about a guy that makes tons of money selling vitamins online. The whole thing sounds a bit infomercial-like (but on the internet) and he offers a money-back guarantee on his site. He claims he hardly has any returns, even though I’d be shocked if the vitamins really do much. He says most people just don’t bother returning the product due to the hassle.

The placebo effect
I also think the placebo effect takes place when you buy from an infomercial. You want to believe the product will work because it says it will work, and you want the promised results. You also don’t want to admit you’ve been duped. With the Proactiv, I kept looking in the mirror thinking, “well maybe I have a few less zits.” Then I would count the pimples, and once I lost track at 50, I concluded my zits were definitely not going away. The only other informercial that enticed me enough to actually pull out my credit card was the Thighmaster! Ha. I used to thighmaster like crazy in college, and I even ended up getting the Buttmaster too! Did I see results? Probably not! This time I blamed it on “user error” and determined I just didn’t use it enough, even though I’d do hundreds of repetitions a day. I held onto those things for years, until they finally ended up at The Goodwill.

Maybe some infomercial products really work?
Yesterday I caught a new infomercial for Freeze 24/7, a cream that is supposed to instantly work like Botox to tighten skin and erase lines. Unlike every other skin care product, this one works instantly!!! I know it’s got to be hogwash, and the next time I go to Sephora, I’m going to sample the product right then and there to prove myself right. Fool me once (Proactiv), shame on you, fool me twice (Thighmaster), shame on me, and I will not let Freeze 24/7 fool me again!

And do you want to know the real reason I haven’t tried the super duper popular Bare Escentuals mineral makeup? It’s because they do infomercials for it! Well that, and the fact that I don’t like loose powders cause they are messy. Yesterday I also caught an infomercial for Thermaclear, which is similar to Zeno – it’s a device you hold to a pimple, and the heat is supposed to zap it and make it go away fast. I know a lot of people think Zeno works well, but I’m now convinced Thermaclear is probably bogus.

Before you get sucked in, research the infomercial product first
I always check out’s Product Reviews before I buy any cosmetics or skin care. For popular items (like Proactiv) you can read hundreds of reviews there. is another great review site where real people review all sorts of popular products (including skin care ones). And then there’s which is all about…infomercials! Yikes, I just looked at that site and remembered how I was sucked into buying a horrible Ionic Pro air purifier that didn’t work, and the ozone it emitted gave me a bout of asthma. Wow I’m a total sucker. That product I actually tried to return, and I was furious about the whole thing since it made me sick, but it took me more than 30 days to realize the air purifier was the culprit (when I read about its hazards in Consumer Reports), so I couldn’t get my money back. Grrr. I feel horrible, but I sold it to some poor sucker on Ebay.

Prove me wrong! What infomercials have you bought from, and wound up with the product of your dreams?

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14 Responses to “Infomercials – Fool Me No More!”

  1. Carleenp Says:

    I miss my Thigh Master! I don’t think it worked, but I do miss the silly thing!

  2. Susan Says:

    This is actually why I ended up with the mineral makeup brand that I mentioned in the last post. I wanted to try something of the sort, but the brands that I saw advertised seemed… slimy. Not just the infomercials, but also things like that they were very pricey (even though you got a big package of stuff for the money) and they made absolutely ridiculous claims. It seemed to me that the big push was to get someone to lay out big money on the starter set, then they’d use it and hate it but feel stupid for spending so much, so it’d just end up sitting in a cabinet and they’d never try to get a refund.

    The brand I ended up with was a lot less expensive, didn’t require one to purchase everything together, and even had a very inexpensive (as in, $5 shipping and that’s it) sampler of colors that you pick to try out before you make the big price commitment. And the sampler isn’t just enough to wear it once, it’s really enough to try it long enough to see how it does with your skin. (They claim 3 to 6 applications, I got more than that out of it, but it’ll depend on how many of the foundation colors you pick really work with your skin.) That’s a company that trusts that their product will sell itself once you use it, IMO.

    The infomercial that made me distrustful? Nad’s. It turns out that it’s a sugar product that technically one could make at home for next to nothing… but aside from that, I couldn’t get it to actually remove more than a few scattered hairs and made a sticky mess trying.

  3. CrankMama Says:

    Good point – why do infomercials suck us in? I too was wooed by Proactiv back in the day. It didn’t work and I was also too lazy to return it for the refund. They count on that!

  4. Jeni - Savvy Skin Says:

    I think Infomercials are so effective because they have expert marketers write the commercial. Then they make fanciful claims that solve problems you want solved – never have to work again, have the skin or thighs of a 16 year old, etc. Since they do offer money-back guarantees, usually, I think that’s how they can get away with making outrageous claims. In the end they make money because not “that” many people return the products, for a variety of reasons.

  5. Charlotte Says:

    Freeze 24/7 is great! One of the few products that actually does what it promises!

  6. Stacy Says:

    If anyone is interested in the “zit zapper”…ZENO, I would highly recommend it over ThermaClear! It works by applying heat to the “zit” which kills the bacteria that causes 90% of acne. Perfect for those annoying outbreaks that happen at the most inopportune time (like the night before a hot date!)


  7. Jeni - Savvy Skin Says:

    Hi Charlotte,
    I will definitely try Freeze 24/7 the next time I see samples of it. I wonder how it looks under makeup. I was reading it can get dry or flaky, but I will soon find out.

  8. Jean Says:

    I’ve never bought something as a result of watching an infomercial, but I have bought products that are offered in infomercials. My take? I love Proactiv – I use it religiously and it’s the only thing that has EVER worked on my acne. I’m with Susan up there on the Nad’s – total useless garbage. That you can make yourself, to boot. And OxyClean – the original powder that was supposed to clean ANYTHING, even old set-in stains. Didn’t work on anything I used it on. Ever. Because of that, I’ll never use any OxyClean product again.

  9. DivaShop Says:

    I actually love my Bare Escentuals.

  10. MJ Says:

    I used Proactiv too! The first month was great – it really helped to lessen the pimples even though it was a bit drying. But after that… back to square one – acne. It was $ too and I wanted to return it but didn’t.

    I’ve yet to try mineral makeup but I read from Paula Beguon (I too subscribe to her informative newsletter) that mineral makeup is not something new.

    I don’t believe informercials anymore! Every product may/may not work for a person. But it’s sooo easy to believe them – we wish something could cure our skin problems!

  11. Devon Says:

    I have a Zeno and love it. Def. would recommend it.

  12. Renee Says:

    Proactive worked pretty good for me, and I love my Bare Escentuals… yet the best so far has been the ThermaClear! Definitely worth the money!!! I’d recommend it to anyone!

  13. Paul Duncan Says:

    Infomercials use clever psychlogical methods that will appeal to us on an emotional level. The words and images are not just plucked out of thin air, they are researched so that they push our buttons. Exercise equipment is a great example of this. I mean how many of us have purchased products that we only use a few times and then leave in a corner somewhere? The thing is that infomercials imply that results can be reached easily.However you still have to put the work in regardless of what you buy,by using it. I am also pretty sure that money is added on to the postage and packaging so that they can make more money from us.Always think if you really need the product you are thinking of buying from an infomercial, or is there a better and cheaper way of getting the same results

  14. Theresa Says:

    Infomercials, especially the beauty products always try to make it seem so special. Look at Cindy Crawford’s Meaningful Beauty. It’s got a nice little story about how Cindy discovered this Mysterious French Melon while she was in France, so she put it in her skin care line. Give me a break!

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