Cosmetic Claims Substantiation – Case Study 02

by Perry on 06/27/2012

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Today, we turn out claims substantiation eye to a skin product, specifically, Peter Thomas Roth Unwrinkle Night Cream.  Why this product?  I don’t know.  It was the first one that looked interesting to me and I wanted to do a skin product.  If you have a suggestion on a product to review claims on, we’ll be happy to take a look.    On to the analysis.

Cosmetic Claim Analysis

When analyzing claims you’ll want to follow a process. Here is a simple procedure that I’ll use and you can too.

Step 1 – Get the label copy and ingredient list
Step 2 – Figure out what claims need to be supported
Step 3 - Figure out how they might be supported

Peter Thomas Roth Unwrinkle Night Cream

Cosmetic Label Copy – Step 1

The label copy comes straight from our good friends at Beauty.com.

Deep wrinkle, facial expression, night creme exclusive (patent pending) blend of eight anti-aging peptides and neuropeptides at a maximum strength of 24% aloe vera, vitamins A,C, E & pro vitamin B5 retinol, and glycolic acid.  For normal to dry skin types.

Exclusive (patent pending) blend of eight powerful, 100% active anti-aging peptides and neuropeptides are combined with SYN®-TACKS (new cutting-edge dual-peptide),  a mega dose of retinol, glycolic acid, vitamins and skin moisturizers to create this cutting-edge nighttime wrinkle fighting moisturizer.  Includes three neuropeptides, SYN®-AKE* at 4%, SNAP-8* at 10% and ARGIRELINE®* (hexapeptide) at 3% and five peptides, SYN®-COLL* at 3% and MATRIXYL™ 3000* (a dual peptide) at 3% and SYN®-TACKS (a dual peptide) at 1% which helps boost collagen and increases skin firmness and tonicity.

Designed to assist in cellular renewal, repair daily environmental damage, minimize pores, restore moisture and revitalize the skin while you sleep.  Visibly reduces the appearance of deep wrinkles and fine lines from the first application while helping to relax and diminish the appearance of facial expressions that may lead to crows feet, brow furrow wrinkling, laugh lines, frown lines, and other skin creases.  Leaves skin looking soft, smooth and years younger.

Animal cruelty free

Made in the USA

And for good measure, the ingredient list the Peter Thomas Roth Unwrinkle Cream

Water (Aqua), Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Juice, Glycerin, C12 15 Alkyl Benzoate, Glyceryl Stearate, Isocetyl Stearate, Panthenol (Pro Vitamin B5), Cetearyl Alcohol, Persea Gratissima Oil (Avacado), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) (Vitamin E), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) (Shea Butter), Propylene Glycol Stearate, Retinal, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide 7, Acetyl Hexapeptide 8, Acetyl Octapeptide 3, Palmitoyl Tripeptide 5, Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate, Palmitoyl Dipeptide 5 Diaminobutyloyl Hydroxythreonine, Palmitoyl Dipeptide 6 Diaminohydroxybutyrate, Retinyl Acetate (Vitamin A) (Vitamin A), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C) (Vitamin C), Phospholipids, Allantoin (Comfrey Root), Dimethicone, Pentylene Glycol, Lecithin, Polysorbate 20, Glycolic Acid, Arginine HCl, Butylene Glycol, PEG 100 Stearate, Capric/Caprylic Stearic Triglyceride, Stearoxytrimethylsilane, Stearyl Alcohol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, EDTA (Ethylenediamine-Tetra-Acetic Acid), Carbomer, Alcohol, Sodium Phytate, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

Cosmetic claims – Step 2

Now that we’ve got the copy, let’s list the claims.
1. Deep wrinkle, facial expression, night creme.

2. …exclusive (patent pending) blend of eight anti-aging peptides and neuropeptides at a maximum strength of 24% aloe vera, vitamins, etc.

3. For normal to dry skin types

4. …blend of eight powerful, 100% active antiaging peptides & neuropeptides…

5. …combined with SYN-TACKS, mega dose of retinol, glycolic acid, vitamins & skin moisturizers.

6. …to create cutting-edge wrinkle fighting moisturizer.

7. includes [ingredients] which helps boost collagen and increases skin firmness & tonicity.

8. Designed to assist in cellular renewal, repair daily environmental damage, minimize pores, restore moisture & revitalize skin while you sleep.

9. Visibly reduces the appearance of deep wrinkles and fine lines from first application

10. …helping to relax and diminish the appearance of facial expressions that lead to crows feet, brow furrow wrinkling, etc.

11. Leaves skin looking soft, smooth and year younger.

12. Animal cruelty free

Ok, next step, how might they support the claims.

Supporting cosmetic claims – Step 3

These are all relatively easy claims to support because they don’t make any incredible claims. They are all fairly standard.

1.  This is just a description of what the product is.  The support is just by definition.

2.  This claim is supported by the fact that a raw material blend they use has a patent application in some country in the world.  This could be supported by the company filing a patent or the raw material supplier filing a patent.  The specific ingredients are supported by inclusion of those ingredients in their formula.  They are listed on LOI.

3.  This is just a description of who the marketer says the product is for.  Another support by definition.

4.  The claim of 100% active antiaging peptides could be supported in a number of ways.  Easiest is to just use a 100% active raw material.  Though you probably don’t even have to do that because you can say each peptide is an “active” molecule.  It doesn’t say what 100% active means.

5.  This is just a description of the ingredients that are in the formula.  What is a mega dose?  Whatever they want it to be.  Supported by just including the ingredients stated.

6.  Another description claim that explains what they made the product for.  Support could be a simple admission that that is why they made it.

7.  The term “helps boost” is significantly vague that it doesn’t require further proof.  With no number attached their isn’t much to support.  The claim of increasing skin firmness can be supported with a standard Kligman regression test, Twistiometer or TWEL study.  Any moisturizer would do this versus a blank control.

8.  The key to this claim is the phrase “designed to…” Notice this doesn’t say that it does these things, just that it is designed to do these things.  Also, the use of the word “assist” helps keep it even more vague and easier to support by definition.

9.  This claim could be supported with a panel test where consumers are asked about the appearance of their wrinkles.  Compared to no treatment any moisturizer will improve the appearance of wrinkles.

10. The term “helping” keeps it vague, but again these claims could be supported with a consumer panel test.

11. These are standard skin moisturizer claims supported with a Kligman regression test, or TEWL study.  Or even a consumer panel test.

12. There is no set definition of what ‘cruelty free’ means so they can make this claim mean whatever they want and support it by definition.

Overall, there are no incredible claims in this product and it is likely to perform as well as any other skin moisturizer.

Extraordinary claims need extraordinary proof

Going through the claims of a competitive product is a helpful exercise that will build up your ability to create and support your own claims. This particular product did not have any extraordinary claims so it wasn’t too hard to support everything they wanted to say.

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"As our licenses are increasingly held up to scrutiny, we need to remember that unless it is under the direction of a physician, our treatments cannot go past the stratum corneum dead layer."
Laura Root, CIDESCO
"Our industry needs to wear gloves"
Susan Warfield, Executive Director of NCEA
"you must wear gloves from beginning to end of the facials you perform"
Janet McCormick, CIDESCO
"When it comes to wearing gloves~ No love without the glove!" 
Denise R. Fuller-Esthetician and Editor of LNE & Spa magazine