The science behind innovative cosmetics, such as anti-ageing moisturisers, is carried out by highly qualified scientists from many different specialist fields. To put just one new product on the shelves can take up to five years or more, with a dozen senior scientists working on it, each supported by their own team of scientists.
The rules surrounding cosmetic products are very stringent and cover the manufacture, labelling, claims and safety assessment of all cosmetic products supplied to the UK and EU markets. It is a legal requirement that all claims made on-pack must be substantiated. This information is open to review by the regulating authorities, in the UK this is Trading Standards.
While a product is being developed, many trials will be carried out on an appropriate number of people to make sure the product does exactly what it says on the pack - but you don't just have to take the industry's word for it. All advertised claims made about products on the television must be pre-approved by Clearcast, who ask for a robust body of scientific evidence before they'll give the green light. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) can also challenge any advertisement (broadcast, print or online) and will respond to consumer complaints by reviewing the scientific evidence before passing judgment on whether further advertising is permitted.
When reviewing products and their claims, it has been alleged that some journalists may feel under pressure to be complimentary about products that advertise in their publications. Journalists are able to say exactly which products they believe work for them and which ones do not and why - that's how they add value for readers. With many products to review, only those which are being recommended to the readers are likely to reach the pages of the magazine.