Social Brands, like SugarBearHair, have revolutionized the way companies connect with their audiences, but that isn’t necessarily a positive thing.
It’s nearly impossible to scroll through Instagram without seeing a brightly colored gummy vitamin between the teeth of a popular Instagram personality.
If you push past the proclamations of brighter, shinier hair or clear unblemished skin you’ll find #ad or #sp hashtagged. This, of course, is an indication that the brand has worked out an agreement with the influencer in order for them to promote their product.
According to this article from CNBC, Kylie Jenner makes an estimated $1,000,000 per sponsored Instagram post as of 2018. Additionally, her sister, Kim Kardashian, was said to make nearly $750,000 per post.
It’s because of major paydays like these ones that widely known influencers, like the Kardashians, have access to an array of dermatologists, stylist, and other treatments that provide them with top-notch skin and hair care.
The average person obviously has a much smaller pool of resources. Without knowing better these people, especially younger girls, could fall into the trap assuming that these vitamins are actually bottled up miracles. After all, that’s how the influencers market them.
Take this paid Instagram ad from another popular Kardashian sister, Khloe, for instance, “Obsessed with @SugarBearHair for over a year! This is more than just an #Ad because I truly love these delicious, soft, chew vitamins. I’ve loved keeping my natural hair short because of the fun versatility it gives me, so I take SugarBear vitamins for stronger, healthier hair. These vitamins are amazing! #sugarbearhair #ad.”
The Science Behind SugarBearHair
The SugarBearHair site boasts the company philosophy of “maximum safety and maximum results.” It also proudly informs potential buyers that there are only 13 vitamins and ingredients all of which are natural and vegan.
The first and second of those featured ingredients are glucose syrup and sugar. As far as vitamins go, the gummies are jam-packed with Biotin providing 1667% of a person’s daily recommended value.
However, an article from Popular Science claims that “Biotin, a B vitamin, is also a supplement that’s extremely popular among women looking to get healthier nails and hair, but research shows that it doesn’t do anything beneficial unless someone has a true deficiency in it.” Furthermore, Doctors and dietitians have agreed that simply eating a balanced diet with biotin-rich foods would aid against a biotin deficiency.
At this time, SugarBearHair has not released any published study illustrating or explaining the science behind their vitamins or signifying any results. In doing so, they’ve left the floor open for Instagram influencers and YouTubers to control the narrative around their product.
Soft shiny hair comes with quite the price tag. A one month supply of SugarBearHair, 60 vitamins, is priced at $29.98 on Amazon. This means that a daily serving will cost you roughly one dollar per day.
To put things in perspective, you can purchase more than triple the amount of an alternative top-rated biotin supplement on Amazon for half the price. Be advised though, it likely will not come with an endorsement from your favorite celebrity.
A report from consumer lab deemed SugarBearHair “very expensive based on its ingredients.”
From the outside looking in, it seems as if the company has marked up prices in order to compensate the social media superstars serving as ambassadors to the brand that uses them along with contemporary beauty standards to exploit customers.
The Real Cost of SugarBearHair
Even if SugarBearHair were to fall from the face of Instagram tomorrow, another brand operating under the same marketing method would soon rise to its place.
The Kardashians alone promote a number of gimmicky ‘fix all’ beauty products from ultra bright teeth whitening systems to detox teas that promise you’ll shed inches off of your waist.
In fact, with no storefronts in sight many companies are becoming widely known as Social Brands. As an Instagram page with a link to purchase in the bio becomes a more profitable way to connect with target markets, it’s important to keep an eye on establishments who pay celebrities large sums to make even larger claims about novel products.
These products are marketed to a younger, more vulnerable group of women who frantically aim to keep pace with their Instagram favorites. While on such a wild goose chase it may slip the minds of participants that these celebrities have personal trainers, plastic surgeons, professional dentists, photoshop, and so on at their disposal.
The truth is that there’s a large chance these products won’t even yield positive results, let alone transform one into their favorite celebrity.