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L’Oreal agrees to settle FTC charges for misleading ads

By Michelle Yeomans+

01-Jul-2014
Last updated on 02-Jul-2014 at 10:11 GMT

Global cosmetics giant L’Oréal has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges for deceptive advertising on its Lancôme Génifique and L’Oréal Paris Youth Code products. 

According to the FTC, L’Oréal made false and unsubstantiated claims that its Génifique and Youth Code products provided anti-aging benefits by targeting users’ genes, but ultimately could not support these claims. 

In national advertising campaigns across print, radio, television, Internet, and social media outlets, L’Oréal claimed that its Génifique products were 'clinically proven' to 'boost genes’ activity and stimulate the production of youth proteins that would cause 'visibly younger skin in just 7 days', and would provide results to specific percentages of users. 

Similarly, for its Youth Code products, the global cosmetics giant claimed in English and Spanish language advertisements, the new era of skin care: gene science,' and that consumers could 'crack the code to younger acting skin.'

Rules under the settlement

Under the proposed administrative settlement, L’Oréal is now prohibited from claiming that any Lancôme brand or L’Oréal Paris brand facial skin care product targets or boosts the activity of genes to make skin look or act younger, or respond five times faster to aggressors like stress, fatigue, and aging, unless the company has competent and reliable scientific evidence substantiating such claims.

The settlement also prohibits claims that certain Lancôme brand and L’Oréal Paris brand products affect genes unless the claims are supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.

Finally, L’Oréal is prohibited from making claims about these products that misrepresent the results of any test or study.   

The Commission vote to accept the consent agreement package containing the proposed consent order for public comment was 4-0-1, with Commissioner McSweeny not participating.

The FTC will publish a description of the consent agreement in the Federal Register shortly.  

The agreement will be subject to public comment for 30 days, continuing through July 30, 2014, after which the Commission will decide whether to make the proposed consent order final.

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