Cosmetic Science Talk

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  • Posted by mikethair on January 8, 2017 at 2:05 am

    It seems very common these days for cosmetic products claiming to “cure every ailment know to man” and the list of claims seen in advertising is increasing.

    I have a couple of questions on the text below that I have come across recently:

    The word ether was first documented in use somewhere between 1350 and 1400. It is Middle English derived from the Latin word aethēr, which translates to “upper air, pure air”, and it is the space in which we engage with the sensory world. ?????? Etheric Inhalation Oils are our signature essential oil blends that work with the sensory paths to help break the cycle of stress. By engaging the respiratory system through deep inhalation, we engage with the therapeutic properties of each oil to boost the system, helping restore our inherent ability to cope with life’s daily stressors. Inhaling the powerful molecules of plants, as captured in therapeutic grade essential oil, will gently and quickly divert the mind and move the body from a state of imbalance toward one of wellbeing.

    ???’s extensive collection will lead with four essential oil combinations, each one targeting a specific stressor:

    • Dreaming Oil: essential oils of lavender & clary sage -  a lullaby in a bottle for a deep restful sleep
    • Warming Oil: essential oils of orange, lavender & clove – to impart a feeling of gentle warmth
    • Adrenal Support: essential oils of black spruce, pink grapefruit & pine with hemp oil – to restore depleted energy reserves
    • Pick-me-up: essential oils of pink grapefruit & peppermint – a sunny oil to renew vigor, focus and clarity


    Uses: Add 2 drops to your palms, then slowly rub them together to warm and release the vapors.  Loosely cup over your nose and breathe deeply and slowly for 30 seconds.

    Firstly, would you consider this product to be classified as a cosmetic?

    Secondly, if a cosmetic (or something else), would these claims be an issue?


    David replied 6 years, 2 months ago 6 Members · 9 Replies
  • 9 Replies
  • Belassi

    January 8, 2017 at 2:26 am

    Since this is aromatherapy, I suggest the answers lie with that speciality. I don’t think it is a cosmetic. I’d refine it a bit, eg - to restore depleted energy reserves > helps restore depleted energy reserves

  • Chemist77

    January 8, 2017 at 3:32 am

    Speechless, what audacity. 

  • mikethair

    January 8, 2017 at 7:18 am

    Yes, @Chemist77, I thought so as well, and why I raise the question. With great respect @Belassi, the wording “to restore depleted energy reserves > helps restore depleted energy reserves” sounds like a claim to me, whereas in the text itself the wording is a bit more subtle.

    I’m not sure if the text is ethical, and if it actually breaks and acceptable codes.

  • johnb

    January 8, 2017 at 7:44 am

    I’ve always steered well clear of anything connected with aromatherapy or its peripheral pseudoscience.

    A lot/most/all of it is complete nonsense aimed at the gullible by the unscrupulous.

    As scientists ourselves, I think it would be wise for us all to do likewise - even if you don’t agree with my views, there is always the regulating authorities to consider.

  • OldPerry

    Professional Chemist / Formulator
    January 12, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    The FDA would consider this a cosmetic.  It’s really no different than a perfume.

    As far as the claims go, I would say all the ones listed above would be classified as puffery. It’s filled with undefined terms.

    For example, the phrase “to restore depleted energy reserves > helps restore depleted energy reserves” can mean anything.

    What is this energy that they are talking about? It doesn’t have to be ATP it could just be a metaphorical spiritual energy or just the feeling of being energetic. Since the word energy isn’t specific, it can mean anything.

    The text is filled with qualifying words that make every claim vague, non-specific and easy to substantiate.

  • mikethair

    January 14, 2017 at 8:39 am

    On what basis @Perry would FDA class this as a cosmetic, similar to a perfume. A perfume is usually worn on the skin, so yes, a cosmetic. In this example, it is described as an “Inhalation Oil” and not specifically worn on the skin. Would they be seen as being anything different from essential oils, which I understand are not classed as cosmetics if simply used in a diffuser for example?

    Yes, the non-specific language could mean anything, and in this case, could it be argued that there are no claims?

    I’m not defending the text…..just trying to understand it a bit better from those with more experience.

  • OldPerry

    Professional Chemist / Formulator
    January 14, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    @mikethair - The directions… 

    Uses: Add 2 drops to your palms, then slowly rub them together to warm and release the vapors.  Loosely cup over your nose and breathe deeply and slowly for 30 seconds.”

    You apply this product to your hands so that makes it a cosmetic in my view.  If you don’t put it on your body then it would fall under EPA regulations.

    Yes, I would say that they make no real claims beyond “puffery”

  • mikethair

    January 16, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    The definition of “puffery” :

     In law, puffery is a promotional statement or claim that expresses subjective rather than objective views, which no “reasonable person” would take literally.

    In reality, there appears to be a lot of people that do in fact swallow this nonsense. I wonder who a “reasonable person” is these days.

  • David

    January 16, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    I think it pretty much adds up what cosmetics is about; selling a feeling. :)