What’s in a Buzzword? Getting to The Bottom of Big Beauty Claims
So you’ve decided you want to make the switch to better beauty products. You’ve already taken a fantastic first step, just by deciding to shop smart. Now, as a conscious consumer, you’re probably wondering if you can trust everything you read on a product label or in a magazine.
You would be wise to wonder. The truth is that many companies want to jump on the clean beauty bandwagon. But while many brands can talk the talk, not all of them are walking the walk. So how do you know which ones are truly committed to a set of standards and which ones are just selling you some marketing hype?
To help you cut through all of the confusion, here is what you need to know:
Not All Products Are What They Claim
Did you know? Loose industry standards around marketing make it easy for companies to exaggerate or make unfounded claims. In fact, one 2015 study found that, out of 289 cosmetic advertisements pulled from women’s magazines, 23% of ads surveyed were said to contain “outright lies” and nearly half of brands reviewed promoted false scientific or subjective information.*
It is also not uncommon for brands to “greenwash” their products for marketing purposes. Greenwashing is when a company emphasizes the clean, natural or organic elements of their product, regardless of how legitimately clean the product actually is. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it just takes a little know-how to become a savvy shopper and avoid falling for misleading marketing.
What to Watch Out For
A good first step to becoming informed about marketing claims is to understand which ones not to fall for. While there are many, we’ve compiled a few common ones to be aware of.
- Anti-Aging - Perhaps the most popular words in all of skincare, anti-aging actually means very little and is impossible to measure. Further, because aging is a natural and irreversible process, no ingredient or product can actually defy nature. Feel free to take this terminology with a grain of salt when you see it used to describe the benefits of a product.
- Chemical Free - While this term sounds well-meaning, it can also be misleading. Not all chemicals found in products are harmful. Water, otherwise known as H2O, is one example of a chemical compound that is completely natural. In other words, it is virtually impossible for a product to be free of all chemicals.
- Clinically or Scientifically Proven - It sounds reassuring, but this is another term that can be open to interpretation. Because there are no standards around clinical studies or test results, the information can be easily manipulated and there’s really no way to know what a brand’s testing process entails. Companies aren’t required to provide details such as how many people the product was tested on and over what period of time.
- Dermatologist Recommended - Beyond the troubling fact that advertisers rarely attribute claims to a specific dermatologist, this term can be even more problematic because there’s no way to know if a doctor has accepted an endorsement fee in exchange for their recommendation. It is not uncommon for practitioners to have close business relationships with specific companies and recommend products accordingly.
- Patented Formula - These days, just about every product boasts a specially-patented formula, but how legitimate are these claims? Experts say, not very legitimate. A product can technically only be patented if it contains a proprietary mixture of ingredients or technology that is unique or new enough to secure a patent. It’s also worth noting that a patented formula doesn’t automatically equal results.
How to Shop Smarter
Beyond being able to spot misleading terminology, there are a few other things you can do to stay one step ahead of advertisers and ensure that you don’t get led astray by the latest beauty marketing trends.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do before shopping for cosmetics is research. When it comes to the products you put on your body, you can never be too informed about where they come from, how they’re made and with what components. You’ll want to always check out the full ingredient list to really understand what’s in your products, rather than trusting just the keywords on the front of the package.
It’s also a great idea to research the companies and brands that you shop with to find products that really align with your beauty values. A trustworthy product line will be transparent about their mission and how they stay accountable to it. Typically, this information can be found on a company’s website or social media, but don’t be afraid to ask if the information isn’t available or up front.
Bellavana Beauty's Values You Can Trust
In case you’re wondering where Bellavana Beauty stands, we’re happy to report that we adhere to our own clearly-defined set of guidelines for our products and standards as a natural beauty brand. Here is a look at our core values and that they mean to us.
- Clean - Our definition of clean beauty is high-quality formulation standards that include ethical and moral business practices, and environmental sustainability to create the highest quality products.
- Plant-Based - To us, plant-based means using ingredients that come from plants rather than animal-derived or synthetic sources. Bellavana Beauty's products are powered by potent botanical extracts and pure nourishing plant oils.
- Natural - Our commitment to natural beauty means we avoid synthetic or harsh ingredients and instead use mostly raw or minimally processed ingredients from plant-based sources.
- Organic - As much as possible, Bellavana Beauty strives to use and transparently label organic ingredients in our products. However, we also acknowledge that no product contains exclusively organic ingredients. Therefore, we never label products as “organic” according to USDA guidelines for organic certified products.
Other Things to Know
In addition to our core values, Bellavana Beauty strives to be a sustainable and eco-friendly brand. What this means to us is that we follow strict guidelines based on scientific research to source the cleanest ingredients, create the most effective formulas and package our products with minimal environmental impact. The result are products that support not only your skin and your self care, but the planet as well.