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lenguaje cosmético

How to avoid confusion with cosmetic labelling

When deciding which cosmetic products to buy, you pay close attention to their claims, i.e., their properties and what they promise to do for you. These claims are usually found on product packaging, in catalogues or online.

Having a clear definition of a word in context is key to understanding its meaning and appreciating its value. Sometimes, this definition is not expressed correctly and can cause confusion among consumers.

Today, we want to give a few examples to clear up some of the incorrect words that appear most frequently in cosmetics. Read on, so you can buy your beauty products with full knowledge of what their claims actually mean.

  • The claim “chemical-free” is misused since everything is chemical. In most cases, what manufacturers actually mean is “synthetic”.
  • No toxic compounds” is also misused. Toxins are substances that are poisonous or cause injury due to a chemical effect. As Paracelsus rightly said, “The dose makes the poison”. Therefore, many substances (even water) can be toxic; it all depends on the dose used.
  • Other misleading claims include those relating to animal testing, such as “not tested on animals” or “cruelty free“. Since 2013, any cosmetics tested on animals, including both the final product and raw materials, have been banned. Furthermore, both the claims “free from” and “not tested on animals” are prohibited by the Cosmetic Claims Regulation. Therefore, adding them just confuses consumers, since other products obviously comply with this regulation even if they don’t claim it on their cosmetics.

Therefore, adding them just confuses consumers, since other products obviously comply with this regulation. 

Natural, organic, vegan…

Now we come to other words that have been used a lot lately, and although they might look similar, they’re quite different, as each one involves a number of details. These are: natural, vegan and organic.

To tell them apart, you need to understand what each one means.

  • “Natural” depends on origin and there are two types of products: natural or synthetic. The natural origin is divided into vegetable, mineral or animal.
  • “Organic” refers to the way the ingredients are obtained. In this case, they’re ingredients from organic farming where no pesticides are used.
  • Meanwhile, “vegan” refers to the origin of the ingredients. These products don’t allow ingredients of animal origin, but they may contain natural vegetable or mineral ingredients, or those of synthetic origin.

Ultimately, it’s important that cosmetic laboratories use the right language in their marketing strategies to avoid consumer confusion and prevent their claims from getting lost in translation.

ANA Mª HERNÁNDEZ

SAFETY AND REGULATORY AFFAIRS MANAGER

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