When choosing your day cream, moisturiser or an anti-ageing product, the terminology used on a product’s label often sways our decision. As consumers, we tend to trust claims that are ‘scientifically proven’ willl be worth the extra money and guaranteed to get results.
However, the latest episode of Channel 4’s Supershoppers revealed that many household brands, including Neal’s Yard and Estée Lauder, use beauty terms that are very misleading.
Supershopper presenters Anna Richardson and Andi Osho were joined by cosmetic scientist Dr Colin Sanders to help sift through some common beauty jargon. One of the most interesting discussions was the difference between ‘dermatologically tested’ and ‘dermatologist tested’.
Neal’s Yard’s Rehydrating Rose Facial Polish costs £16 for a 100g tube and has ‘dermatologically tested’ on the label. Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair serum costs £52 for a 50ml tube and has ‘dermatologist tested’ on the label.
Only products that have been ‘dermatologist tested’ have been supervised by a qualified physician. Dr Sanders said he would find products that are ‘dermatologist tested’ more convincing as an expert has been involved. Products that are ‘dermatologically tested’ could have been tested, but an expert wasn’t necessarily involved.
The Supershoppers asked Neal’s Yard if they thought a ‘dermatologically test’ was sufficient. They replied: “As an ethical company honesty and transparency are our core values. Although our products are labelled ‘dermatologically tested’ they are…tested…to the highest standards…either by a dermatologist or under the strict supervision of a dermatologist.”
The other misleading beauty term myth that the Supershoppers debunked was ‘in-vitro’ testing. This was included on the label of Estée Lauder’s Day Wear Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Cream which costs £42 for a 50ml pot.
The term ‘vitro’ is the latin word for glass so it means that it was tested in a test tube. On Estée Lauder’s website it is clear that the claim the cream diminishes the look of premature ageing is backed up by the use of in-vitro testing.
Dr Colin Sanders revealed: “It’s quite common for something to work in-vitro and not work in real life at all so really using an in-vitro claim on a pack is jumping the gun a bit.”
He added: “I don’t think it really should be something you can use to promote a product.”
Channel 4 reached out to Estee Lauder to ask them whether the claim the cream can diminish the looks of premature aging was based on anything other than the in-vitro testing.
Estée Lauder replied: “Estée Lauder fully stands behind all of its product performance claims, which are supported by testing that includes clinical and consumer testing on real women as well as in vitro laboratory testing.”
Finally, the Supershoppers looked at ‘clinically proven’ products. According to Dr Sanders: “Clinically proven doesn’t necessarily mean that the effect that you have detected is all that spectacular. But it does mean that there is an affect there to talk about.”
The B Skin Care range from Superdrug has 21 products that say ‘clinically proven’ on the outside of the packaging. Dr Sanders revealed the clinical tests had shown a 12 per cent reduction in wrinkles. He said scientifically speaking it is a valid result – but you should think about how much of a difference it is actually making to your skin.