Communicating beauty science effectively is very important, and many scientists don’t appreciate or understand how difficult it is to combat misinformation online. “I think in science there has always been a sense that if the science is right, the job is done,” explains Dr. Wong. “But that’s not going to help in this social media landscape where people are spreading misinformation and using every tool at their disposal, really, to make an impact.”
Fighting disinformation requires specific skills
In fact, the popular hunger for a better understanding of beauty products somewhat invites misinformation. Bad advice abounds on social media and online forums. For many people, Dr. Wong is the go-to expert (whether they meet her in person, online, or parasocially) to deconstruct these myths. “A lot of times I get tagged in reels or people send me reels with misinformation,” she says.
Even just a few years ago, Dr. Wong would have been the only one who would have corrected this information. Now? “Nowadays, half the time I go, there is already someone correcting the reel in the credits. “It’s really nice to see, compared to, I don’t know, five years ago, when I felt very alone.”
The good news is that there are more and more science communicators on social networks. Instead of seeing them as competition, Dr. Wong wants to help them succeed. It’s part of why she started scicomm beauty along with beauty scientist Jen Novakovich. Of course, the goal is to communicate the science of beauty effectively, but they also want to educate other creators. “We want to create a kind of community so we can help other beauty science communicators get started and establish themselves more easily,” she explains.
Really, the key to Dr. Wong’s success, and the reason so many people come to her with their beauty science questions, is that she asks intelligent questions and provides answers in a way that is never condescending. The science of beauty is difficult, with many structural barriers that make it difficult to discuss authoritatively. But Dr. Wong overcame these challenges and built a successful business around science communication, while inspiring a new generation to go to school and become beauty scientists themselves.