Plenty of beauty products make claims that sound official but actually hold no legal definition. A recent issue of ShopSmart magazine, from Consumer Reports, looked at common label terms used on beauty products, including five that shoppers should ignore.
“Only a few claims used on cosmetics are regulated and the government doesn’t review labels before products hit store shelves,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. “We’ve given shoppers the straight scoop to help them differentiate between an actual benefit and a marketing term on beauty shelves.”
Just Ignore These Claims
Where it can be seen: Lotions, shampoos, conditioners, hair sprays, and deodorants.
What it sounds like it means: The product won’t cause allergic reactions.
Why it’s bogus: The FDA website lists the definition of this term as “whatever a particular company wants it to mean.”
Where it can be seen: Acne treatments, lip balm, hair products and more.
What it sounds like it means: The product is made of fresh, safe ingredients from nature—not synthetic ones.
Why it’s bogus: “Natural” holds no regulatory definition. And just because something isn’t man-made doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe (consider poison ivy, poisonous mushrooms, or hemlock.)
Where it can be seen: Facial creams, eye gels, makeup, and masks.
What it sounds like it means: It will reverse sagging or drooping.
Why it’s bogus: According to dermatologists, a formal dermatologic treatment such as a heat-generating ultrasound, is usually needed to boost collagen production.
• 100% pure.
Where it can be seen: Facial cleansers, masks, creams and balms.
What it sounds like it means: The product is clean and contaminant-free.
Why it’s bogus: This is a general term that doesn’t necessarily say much about the product’s contents. However, there is one exception—products with just one ingredient, such as 100 percent aloe vera, should be purely that one ingredient.
• For sensitive skin.
Where it can be seen: All kinds of personal-care products.
What it sounds like it means: The product was specially formulated for and tested on sensitive skin.
Why it’s bogus: The manufacturer may have minimized the use of irritating ingredients such as fragrances, but there’s no way to know for sure.