By: Sangeeta Dwarka – beauty enthusiast and PR student
What makes you purchase that skincare items you’ve heard so much about, or seen on TV ads several times during your favourite show? Is it multi-million dollar ad campaigns? Your favourite beauty “guru” said it was good? Or did you just pick it up because it was the first one you saw on the shelf that claimed to solve what you think you have. Many companies use catchy lines on their labels to entice consumers to buy their products, however, little do we know is that there is actually a list of claims that are acceptable by Health Canada which companies need to follow in order to be an acceptable claim. For starters one should know whether the product is a cosmetic or a drug. To differentiate whether a product is a drug, there will be a DIN number, which means that this item has a short shelf live.
Cosmetic – Includes any substance or mixture of substances manufactured, sold or represented for use in cleansing, improving or altering the complexion, skin, hair or teeth, and includes deodorants and perfumes.
Drug – Includes any substance or mixture of substances manufactured, sold or represented for use in:
(a) the diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or prevention of a disease, disorder, abnormal physical state, or its symptoms, in human beings or animals.
(b) restoring, correcting or modifying organic functions in human beings or animals.
(c) disinfection in premises in which food is manufactured, prepared or kept.
Below are several items that I found in my beauty cabinet; I have decided to put these items to the test. To see whether the claims on these items were in fact accepted by Heath Canada.
- Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser
Ingredient One: Imperata Cylindrica Root – conditions skin
Ingredient Two: Lemon Fruit Extracts – refreshes skin
Packaging Claims: “Lightweight formula to remove excess oil and impurities” – both claims are acceptable by Health Canada. Acceptable claims by Health Canada are to remove oil and purify skin by removing dirt.
Cosmetic or Drug: This cleanser is a cosmetic.
- Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Toner
Ingredient One: Glycerin – conditions skin
Ingredient Two: Propanediol – viscosity controlling
Packaging Claims: “Hydrating formula to balance and freshen skin.” Both claims are accepted by Health Canada. Acceptable claim by Health Canada is refreshes skin.
Cosmetic or Drug: This toner is a cosmetic.
- L’Occitane Immortelle Precious Eye Balm
Ingredient One: Immortelle Flower – anti-aging solution for the face
Ingredient Two: Ruscus and Holly extracts – eye area looks younger
Packaging Claims: “The Immortelle Precious Eye Balm offers triple action benefits for firmer skin and reduced appearance of wrinkles.” These claims are accepted by Health Canada, firms skin and smoothes wrinkles (from an appearance perspective) are accepted by Health Canada.
Cosmetic or Drug: This eye cream is a cosmetic.
- L’Occitane Red Rice Ultra-Matte Face Fluid
Ingredient One: Red Rice – healthy benefits for the skin
Ingredient Two: Rebalancing Zinc – mattifies skin
Packaging Claims: “Leaves skin pure and mattified.” These claims are accepted by Health Canada. Cools skin and oil control (from an appearance perspective) are acceptable by Health Canada.
Cosmetic or Drug: This moisturizer is a cosmetic.
- Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50
Ingredient Two: Octocrylene – water-resistant and has a broadband absorbent range.
Packaging Claims: “Provides long lasting protection against damaging UVA and UVB rays, which can cause again, dark spots, freckles and skin darkening.” This claim is not accepted by Health Canada. UVA and UVB references are not acceptable.
Cosmetic or Drug: This sunscreen is a drug.
After reviewing these products I have found that most of them did past the Health Canada test, that being said, one did not. The sunscreen I looked at had false claims. As a strong believer in sun protection, I did not realize that many of them I kept repurchasing have false claims to entice consumers to continue to purchase.
The next time you are in your local drug store or beauty retailer, take a look at the labels and compare whether the claims on that item is an acceptable claim. If it is not, then that item is most likely not going to do what it’s supposed to and you will be wasting your money on false advertising and claims. Don’t buy into the hype, I would suggest that you do your research and choose your beauty products wisely.