Cosmetic packaging can be riddled with claims about the performance of the product, but what do these marketing catchphrases actually mean?

The medically sounding term “clinically tested” could be referring to the ingredients or the final product and there is no minimum number of tests required — it could have been only one laboratory test.

A “clinically proven” product has undergone at least two clinical trials.

“Dermatologist approved” could mean only a single doctor expressed support for the product and an item could claim users experienced favorable results even if only a slight margin (say 51%) of users preferred the product.

An “unscented” product seems to imply that no scent has been added, however a scent may have been added to cover the odor of the raw ingredients to make the end product without any smell.

Sunscreen labeling has undergone federal scrutiny resulting in a certain standard of terms aimed at educating consumers about the true performance of the product.

Maybe it is time the terms used for cosmeceuticals adopt a uniform lexicon?

Either that or we’re just going to groom with our groceries.