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  • Ameann DeJohn

The Anatomy of a Beautiful Claim

Updated: Jan 15




Featured in Happi Magazine


For decades, beauty brands have relied on a common set of clinical testing protocols to create claims which were meant to ensure the best possible outcomes and most impactful data. These protocols were proven; they were easily implemented; and they helped control costs. However, we now understand that this approach, which has served as the foundation for most clinical testing, had unintended limitations: it often accounted for only lighter skin tones.


For decades, beauty brands have relied on a common set of clinical testing protocols to create claims which were meant to ensure the best possible outcomes and most impactful data. These protocols were proven; they were easily implemented; and they helped control costs. However, we now understand that this approach, which has served as the foundation for most clinical testing, had unintended limitations: it often accounted for only lighter skin tones.


Participants typically fell between I-III on the Fitzpatrick scale and only exhibited mild to moderate signs of aging, such as crow’s feet or fine lines. The idea behind this process was to represent a portion of consumers who had just enough signs of aging to show statistically relevant results in the data. However, darker or olive skin tones were rarely included in panels. Questions that addressed the unique aging concerns of these ethnicities weren’t asked. What do these lapses mean for those claims? The ones that have served as the baseline of so many clinical results? The answer is, those claims didn’t necessarily apply to darker skin tones.



How We Must Test

For starters, all brands and labs need to take into account what is already well known about how different ethnicities age when designing trials and choosing panelists. Questions and surveys must reflect these differences and accurately probe concerns of the target consumer specifically, and not just those with paler complexions. Studies must be executed to account for and respect these differences and they need to be filled with a statistically relevant mix of consumers in order to protect the integrity of the data. Moving forward, panels may need to be hyper-targeted, or claims may need to be targeted to specific ethnic groups or skin tones rather than using a “one-test-fits-all” approach.


Clinical testing is expensive and time consuming, so it’s understandable that brands may be reluctant to balloon their testing budgets by jettisoning a protocol that has such a long history of success. However, in 2022, it’s simply not negotiable. Millennials are 40% multicultural and they are engaging on a much deeper level with their favorite brands and products than previous generations, questioning their safety and ingredients; efficacy and testing outcomes. More importantly, they are seeking brands tailored specifically to them, their skin tones, and their unique concerns. Clinical testing must rise to this demand and meet this need. Soon nearly half of the US population will belong to a non-white racial and ethnic group and beauty brands must account for this shift with an expanded commitment to diversity and inclusivity in their claims testing.


References:

  1. Frey, William H. (2020, July 1) Brookings.com. The nation is diversifying even faster than predicted, according to new census data. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/research/new-census-data-shows-the-nation-is-diversifying-even-faster-than-predicted/ on Sept 10, 2022


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About Media Lab Science

 

Inclusivity in the testing phase, especially within the beauty and cosmetics industry must be a priority. At Media Lab Science our models and participants have diverse skin tones to meeting the expectations of a multicultural consumer base and the focus of beauty brands.

 

Media Lab Science plays a significant role in facilitating consumer perception studies and product testing, particularly by focusing on inclusivity, representation, and authenticity. Offering services that not only involve diverse recruitment for testing but also emphasize the use of real testimonials and authentic representations in marketing content.

 

Differentiation at Media Lab Science, part of ALS Global

  1. Diversity in Testing: Emphasizing the importance of testing products on individuals from diverse ethnicities and skin tones to ensure they cater to a broader consumer base.

  2. Authentic Representation: Using real people in marketing content rather than just models, aiming for aspirational representation that consumers can relate to.

  3. Inclusive Recruitment: Being based in Los Angeles allows Media Lab Science to recruit individuals of various ethnicities, skin tones, and languages, catering to a more diverse demographic.

  4. User Generated Content: Assisting participants in articulating their experiences with products authentically while ensuring they comply with regulations.

  5. Consumer Perception Studies: Focusing on understanding how consumers perceive products and brands, which involves more than just numerical data but also visual content and real testimonials.

  6. Before and After Photos: Highlighting the changes in the skin with aspirational models.

 

Media Lab Science is the only clinical beauty testing lab in the world to offer inclusive consumer perception studies with marketing content creation. Media Lab Science provides authentic experiences from participants during the clinical testing process and can test supplements, hair products, skin products and cosmetics.


Based in Los Angeles, Media Lab Science is a one of a kind clinical testing lab at the forefront of executing comprehensive clinical trials, as well as before and after photography and consumer perception videos in order to help brands create rock solid claims that matter to today’s consumer. Our team of acclaimed industry leaders understands how to design a testing protocol that tackles the challenges of today’s online environment to deliver data brands can use immediately.

 

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