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Decoding Cosmetic Labels: What 'Clinically Tested,' 'Hypoallergenic,' and 'Cruelty-Free' Really Mean

too much wrong marketing claims in cosmetics
Products are often rather tested demagogically

The phrase "clinically/dermatologically tested" implies that specific testing was performed by a body that supports the product: the dermatologist. This guarantee is intended to boost client confidence in their decision because they believe it is more effective or safe. The HRIPT test, which is widely employed in business to support this assertion, is often not performed. The test conditions (what amounts were used, where they were delivered, etc.) and results are not available to the public. Instead, a basic stability test may suffice, however we as end users would want to have a battery of tests run. A stability test is still something... but it only matches a couple of your main expectations, right?

​You'll never know what it's all about unless it's explicitly mentioned on the package, which might call the manufacturer's honesty into question. And to substantiate the "dermatologically tested" claim, a dermatologist only has to sign off on the findings of a simple...stability test?

Hypoallergenic ?

The claim leads the buyer to believe that a product is free of allergens. Do you have delicate skin? We determine our skin type without taking into account hydration, diet, hormones, and so on.

As a result, we automatically feel that we have a certain skin type and seek for items created exclusively for sensitive skin. What else does a cosmetics firm want from you in order for you to market its products?

different skin types cosmetics
We all have different skin types : different logics then apply in term of cosmetic routine

The rules in Europe were hopefully modified in 2017 and 2019, and now the requisite documentation (backed by strong scientific data) must be presented to the authorities to validate the hypoallergenic potential. It goes without saying that you should be presented with this allegation fewer and less frequently.

The celebration continues for our American friends, and here is the FDA's official definition: "There are no governmental regulations or criteria that regulate the usage of the phrase "hypoallergenic" The phrase may signify anything the firm wants it to mean. Manufacturers of hypoallergenic cosmetics are not obligated to present FDA with data to back this claim.

Not tested on animals / cruelty-free

With this claim put in large letters on the container, the user is supposed to understand that the product has not been tested on animals. This is now only possible since animal experimentation has been severely outlawed in the European Union since 2009. The same is true for the United Kingdom, Norway, India, Colombia, and Israel. Also, keep in mind that practically all of a product's components had already been tested on animals... back when this was still usual practice. In other words, severe animal experimentation has occurred in the background for every product you have bought or will buy in the future. However, because the findings for the majority of common substances are known from previous testing, there is no need to repeat those tests.

The issue of animal testing occurs more frequently in some fields such as pharmacy and the military, where the practice is still prevalent. Combining animal experimentation with cosmetics is no longer acceptable when:

  • you buy the product in the EU, UK, Norway, India, Colombia or Israel

  • if the company selling the product has its HQ and factories in one of these countries

rabbit packaging animal testing cruelty free

So for these countries, the bunny on the packaging is simply here be cute, nothing else :)

On the contrary, whether importing items from the US, China, or other nations from the six areas/countries described above, it makes a lot of sense to seek for cruelty-free products, but bear in mind that this claim is not regulated, so it may be used freely even if animal testing is done. Finally, you must conduct your own research.

cruelty free logos certification
Only these three logos are officially recognized

Special mention should be made of imports to China. While items from China cannot be depended on to be cruelty-free (and compliance/safety is also a genuine danger), importation of goods is now heavily regulated. Animal testing was required for all cosmetics imported into the nation until May 2021. Fortunately, a law has been passed, and the policy against animal cruelty will be considerably tougher than anyplace else in the world.


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