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Featured CEP Course: Cosmetic Claims Substantiation

Course Summary

In this course, we will review relevant U.S. laws governing the advertising of cosmetic products, analyze examples of claims typically used to advertise such products and recommend best practices and procedures to ensure they are properly substantiated.  Puffery, establishment, and other types of claims will be compared.  The distinction between express and implied claims will be discussed. 

Advertising claims about a product, whether explicit or implicit, are used to communicate a benefit or “reason to believe” in order to influence a consumer’s purchasing decision. Claims are the backbone of all consumer and professional communication and a compelling part of a product’s selling proposition. They help build brand equity and contribute significantly to a stronger business results.

Under the Federal Trade Commission Act, which the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is charged with enforcing, advertisers must have a “reasonable basis’ for their of claims before they advertise their products to consumers. Claims can be supported by ingredient characteristics, objective measures of products and humans, and subjective or consumer evaluations.  Ingredients are often evaluated by their suppliers, and study reports often accompany the ingredient purchase.  Objective measurements of skin or hair products may include instruments or expert evaluators.  Subjective measurements include consumer studies and sensory panels.  The development of a claims package should be the result of collaboration between marketing, regulatory, clinical, and consumer research, and legal teams.

Fortifying your products’ claims portfolio also helps companies withstand potential challenges from their competitors and consumers. We will discuss challenges before the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau and recent consumer class actions.  Real world examples will be used for participants to dissect actual claims challenges and decisions.

Who Should Attend

This course will be useful for scientists, marketing professionals, salespeople, and legal and regulatory professionals.  Additionally, small business owners and developers of personal care products will gain valuable insights concerning cosmetic claims and their substantiation.

Instructors: Martha Tate, PhD, & Ronie M. Schmelz, Esq.

Format: SCC In-Person CEP Course

Tuesday, October 8, 2024 
(8:30am - 4:30pm ET)

Course Outline

What is this product for?  Developing consumer compelling claims

How to get from the voice of the consumer to compelling product claims.


What are different types of claims (with examples)

  • OTC monograph claims
  • Product properties
  • Sensory
  • Endorsement/Authority or preference
  • Puffery
  • Comparative claims

Hot Industry Claims

  • Ingredient based claims such as organic, clean, natural, free-of claims
  • Feminine care
  • Environmental and sustainability claims
  • Microbiome 
  • CBD

Prove it!  Supporting your claim

Claims need to be supported by evidence; the process of “proving a claim” is known as substantiation. 

  • Clinical studies and lab testing 
  • Consumer perception and preference studies
  • Surveys conducted with professionals (“#1 Dermatologist recommended”)
  • Literature evidence (“There are over 20,000 pores on your face”)
  • Formula composition, ingredients studies, and patents.

Standing up to the Challenge: Defense of claims

  • Regulatory Challenges
  • Lanham Act lawsuits
  • NAD challenges
  • Consumer Class Actions

How would you rule?  Real world example workshop

Advertising examples will be used. Teams will discuss the challenged claims and present their rulings.  The actual decisions will be compared and contrasted. 


About the Instructors

Martha Tate, PhD

Tate Science, LLC

Martha Tate, PhD is a consultant for Tate Science, LLC. and has 30 years of experience in cosmetics claims, and skin and hair research. Martha represented the US Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC) on the Executive Committee of the Praesidium of the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists. During Martha’s two terms on the SCC’s Committee on Scientific Affairs, she served as Chair of that committee. She also served as Associate Editor of the Journal of Cosmetic Science. She is active on the Board of Directors of the International Society of Biophysics and Skin Imaging (ISBS). 

At Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Martha’s research supported claims for a wide variety of products (infant diapered skin, adult care, elder skin, feminine care, work wear, facial and bath tissue). She was Manager of Claims Substantiation for skin and hair care products at L’Oréal. She is known for hair research done while a scientist at TRI/Princeton. Her education includes a Ph.D. in Textile Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, M.S. from the University of Georgia, and B.S. from Mercer University. She had a postdoctoral fellowship in ethnic hair at Textile Research Institute at Princeton University.

Ronie M. Schmelz

K&L Gates

Ronie Schmelz is a partner in the Los Angeles office of K&L Gates, an international law firm. Ronie spent the first part of her career at an international law firm defending clients in complex litigation, including consumer class actions. She now spends a significant amount of her time counseling clients on litigation-avoidance strategies designed to reduce the risk of regulatory oversight and competitor and consumer challenges. These strategies include implementing best practices for complying with regulations and standards enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), other Federal and State regulatory agencies, as well as the National Advertising Division (NAD), and ways to reduce exposure to consumer class actions. Ronie advises clients on a myriad of issues –including contract and intellectual property matters, privacy, automatic renewal and loyalty programs, implementation of recall procedures, Prop 65, responding to FDA Warning Letters, Notices of Action, and MedWatch Adverse Event Reports – and she continues to defend clients in nationwide consumer class actions and complex commercial litigation matters. 

Ronie has deep industry knowledge and extensive experience advising clients in the consumer product industry, particularly those that manufacture cosmetics, skin and hair care products, dietary supplements, and household goods. Ronie counsels companies on compliance with the Federal Packaging and Labeling Act, California Proposition 65, and other Federal and State consumer protection, advertising, and unfair business practices laws. A leader in the cosmetics industry, serves on the Boards of Directors for the Independent Beauty Association (IBA) and Beauty Industry West (BIW). She has been a featured speaker at numerous industry conferences, including Cosmoprof North America and Bologna, IBA, BIW, Beauty Connect, MakeUp LA, and California and New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists Suppliers' Day conferences. Ronie also co-taught a course on Advertising Law at Loyola Marymount University Law School and has lectured at UCLA Extension and the Fashion Institute of Design & Management (FIDM). Ronie also provides added value to client relationships by conducting educational in-house regulatory training sessions.