Beauty Product Claims Exposed

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Find out what the selling points on your favorite shampoo and cosmetics really mean.

ShopSmart magazine’s November issue highlights 15 widely abused terms on beauty product labels. These words don’t mean what they sound like they should mean. They graciously shared five, but you’ll have to get the mag for the rest…

  1. Hypoallergenic
    • Where it can be seen: Lotions, shampoos, conditioners, hair sprays, and deodorants.
    • What it sounds like it means: Won’t cause allergic reactions.
    • Why it’s bogus: The FDA website lists the definition as “whatever a particular company wants it to mean.”
  1. Natural
    • Where it can be seen: Acne treatments, lip balm, hair products and more.
    • What it sounds like it means: Made of fresh, safe ingredients from nature – not synthetic ones.
    • Why it’s bogus: “Natural” holds no regulatory definition and keep in mind, just because something isn’t man-made doesn’t mean it’s safe (consider poison ivy, poisonous mushrooms, or hemlock).
  1. Lifting
    • 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: A formal dermatologic treatment such as a heat-generating ultrasound is usually needed to boost collagen production.
  1. 100% Pure
    • Where it can be seen: Facial cleansers, masks, creams and balms.
    • What it sounds like it means: Clean and contaminant-free.
    • Why it’s bogus: This general term that doesn’t necessarily say much about the product contents, however there is one exception – products that have just one ingredient, such as 100 percent aloe vera, should be purely that one ingredient.
  1. For Sensitive Skin
    • Where it can be seen: All kinds of personal care products.
    • What it sounds like it means: 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.

Check out the links below for more on how to shop these products smartly.

Stacy Johnson

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