Doesn’t it seem like there’s a new markety makeup catchphrase every week? — a new cosmetic hybrid we’re told will give us the best of two or more different worlds?
And you thought werewolves were bad…
The three classes of cosmetic hybrids most often seen in the wild may have silly names, but each of these is being aggressively promoted by the big cosmetics brands. Here’s a quick primer to help you keep your hybrids straight.
Merriam-Webster defines a cosmeceutical as “A preparation having both cosmetic and pharmaceutical properties.” Sounds like the backstory for a new superhero, LOL! But we should be so lucky.
According to the guy (big surprise) responsible for coining the term, Dr. Albert Kligman, professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, the term applies to any topical preparation sold as a cosmetic but able to benefit the skin like a pharmaceutical. They’re cosmetic products with drug-like benefits, like anti-aging creams and moisturizers, and the “cosmeceutical” label applies only to products applied topically — aka creams, lotions and ointments.
Nutraceuticals weren’t initially conceived of as cosmetic hybrids, but they’ve become increasingly tied to the cosmetic industry since Dr. Stephen DeFelice (another dude… I’m just sayin’) coined the phrase in 1989. “A nutraceutical is any substance that is a food or a part of a food and provides medical or health benefits,” he described, “including the prevention and treatment of disease.” These are often extracts of foods claimed to have medicinal effects on human health, and they’re often packaged in capsule, tablet or powder form and marketed as if they’re drugs with a prescribed dose (in milligrams). The definition also covers bio-engineered vegetables and so-called SUPER FOODS!
Nutricosmetics, also known as skingestibles, have been showing up everywhere lately as products marketed to aid weight loss, to combat sun exposure or to reverse the effects of aging. They’re taken orally as pills or beverages, unlike cosmeceuticals (which are used topically), and are usually jam packed with antioxidants.
Can we expect to see even sillier names for cosmetic hybrid products in the future? I think so, especially as the economy prompts companies to think outside the box.
Hmm… What do you think of veggie-ceuticals? Or cosmetifoodicals?
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,