Cosmetics maker L’Oréal USA, agreed to settle complaints in the United States that advertisements of its skin care products Lancôme Génifique and L’Oréal Paris Youth Code were deceptive and misleading.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the company made “false and unsubstantiated claims” about the skin care products’ ability to provide “anti-aging benefits” and use “gene-science” to keep women looking younger.
“It would be nice if cosmetics could alter our genes and turn back time,” says Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Consumer Protection Bureau, in the statement to BusinessWeek. “But L’Oreal couldn’t support these claims.”
In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration had also criticized the marketing claims of a product that supposedly “boosts the activity of genes and stimulates the production of youth proteins.”
Under the settlement, L’Oreal Paris will not be able to make any claims that Lancome or L’Oreal products boost DNA activity to make skin look younger. The agreement is subject to a 30 day public comment period, but there are no monetary penalties — although some of their facial skin-care products cost as much as $132 per tube.
Black women spend about 80 percent more on skin-care products than the general market.
L’Oreal Paris is one of the largest beauty and personal-care brands on the international market, and the settlement has not affected the cosmetic maker in the stock market, where prices were up slightly.
“The safety, quality and effectiveness of the company’s products were never in question,” said L’Oreal USA spokeswoman Kristina Schake in a statement. “Going forward, L’Oreal USA will continue to serve its customers through industry-leading research, scientific innovation and responsible advertising.”
Until L’Oreal starts using actual science and showing evidence to back up this claim, it may be wise to assume that the only code this pricey tube has cracked is the one to your ATM card.
S.C. Rhyne is a blogger and novelist in New York City. Follow the author on Twitter @ReporterandGirl, http://Facebook.com/TheReporterandTheGirl and visit her website at http://www.SCRhyne.com