health and wellness

How To Avoid the Writing Errors That Put Gwyneth Paltrow Under Investigation

How To Avoid the Writing Errors That Put Gwyneth Paltrow Under Investigation

Uh-oh. Looks like Gwyneth Paltrow is getting some public flogging over her health and wellness website, Goop, once again. She’s taken flack over the sometimes silly-seeming products she promotes, but this time it’s not coming from consumers and bloggers. Or even Martha Stewart.

It looks like Goop may be in trouble with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Those of us who are beauty bloggers recognize these guys as the ones who make us put up those disclaimers telling our audience things like “this post is sponsored by …” or “there are affiliate links in this post from which I receive a small compensation”. Yep, if you’ve ever wondered why we bother with those obtrusive disclaimers, it’s the FTC.

While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) governs cosmetic labeling, the FTC regulates advertising claims. This includes product descriptions on brand websites.

As a beauty copywriter I am very familiar with FTC regulations. Basically, when marketing a cosmetic product for sale you cannot describe the product as altering or affecting the structure or function of a human body, or curing or preventing disease or health issues. In the eyes of the FDA, drugs do those things, cosmetics do not.

Even if I absolutely swear a client product has done something amazing to my skin, like made it firmer or erased a wrinkle, I can’t say that in the product description I write for them. It has to be all about making the skin look and feel more attractive. That’s the law.

But it looks like the copywriting team at Goop missed the memo. I love to read the health articles at Goop and Jean Godfrey-June has long been my beauty editor idol. The problem isn’t with the articles recommending products or remedies, it’s when health claims are used to market the products, as in product descriptions on sales pages.

For example, one of the products in question is a flower essence blend that can be used on the skin for “trauma repair”. The trouble spot is “this formula helps clear, stabilize and soothe emotional trauma.” They could have said “this formula lends a feeling of clarity, stability, and soothing to emotional trauma.” (I’m also a fan of the Oxford comma 😉) or “designed to offer a clear, stabilized, and soothing feeling to mind and body.” Either of those would have worked with FTC law but making health claims is the no-no.

Another example is a moisturizer on the site that is said to “work throughout the day to firm and rejuvenate the skin.” It can “give the feeling of firmer, rejuvenated skin” or “increase the appearance of firmer, rejuvenated skin” under FTC law, but it cannot claim to physically alter the skin.

If all of this is a bit too word nerd for you, the main issue is this. If you read any cosmetic product advertising that claims to improve your health or the actual structure of your skin, it is in violation of FTC laws. Authentic natural beauty brands know this and product descriptions that follow FTC regulations are proof you are dealing with a pro.

If you are a natural beauty brand or shop owner who would like help coming up with product descriptions that won’t get you in trouble with the FTC, contact me. It can be tricky to work within these guidelines and not repeat the same words and phrases over and over. I’m well versed in FTC laws and would love to help you put together fresh product descriptions that are as creative as they are legal. Let’s talk!

Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash

Holiday Gift Guide (Wishlist) 2016

Holiday Gift Guide 2016

So, I talked with many people over the weekend who have their holiday shopping done.

DONE!

If you are like me, you still have a ways to go in the shopping department. The great thing about shopping online is,you have time to put together some great gifts in a snap. I have many, many beautiful green beauty treats on my list this year. All great for giving or receiving. And if you are reaaaaalllly late on the gift buying, I have one idea that is going to save the season for you.

Read on for…

Your Holiday Gift Guide (Wishlist)

KYPRIS Glow Philtre Mask

Kypris Glow Philtre Mask :: I am all about the glow this year. Ok, every year. But I totally feel you can head off that sulky mid-winter pallor if you start early. And one way to do that is with this gorgeous exfoliator. Kypris knows how to do beauty, so we can trust them. Plus, this slougher is gentle enough for all skin types. A true beauty treat.

Moon Juice Beauty Dust

Moon Juice Beauty Dust :: If you follow me you know I’ve been singing the praises of this beauty supplement far and wide. You know how you buy something and hope with all your heart it will actually give the gorgeous skin benefits it boasts? Only to be let down time and again? Well, this baby will not leave you out in the cold, girl. It really does make your skin look magnificent. I drink the stuff every day and would love to see it peeking out of my stocking.

Vapour + Shiva Rose Lip Gloss

Vapour + Shiva Rose Lip Gloss :: Want a lip color any woman on your list will fall in love with? I am head over heels for the new lip gloss from Vapour Organics. It’s a collab with green beauty guru, Shiva Rose, and it has a way of livening up your face in an instant.

Josh Rosebrook Ethereal Botanical Fragrance

Josh Rosebrook Ethereal Botanical Fragrance :: Maker of the incredibly satisfying organic skincare line has gone and designed a fragrance. It is said to conform to every person who wears it and has a warm airy scent. Plus the name is just so divine. Can’t wait to try.

Dr. Hauschka Rose Nurturing Body Oil

Dr. Hauschka Rose Nurturing Body Oil :: Nothing fancy, but feels so luxe. I promise this stuff delivers on soft skin big time. It is nourishing and my dry wintery legs are still smooth and silky at the end of the day after I use this delish body oil. No small feat. And it has the perfect, soft rose scent.

de Mamiel Winter Facial Oil

de Mamiel Winter Facial Oil :: I am obsessed with facial oils. I like several different brands and even mix up my own custom blends depending on my skin’s needs. The fact that de Mamiel has facial oils for every season is so utterly exciting. Who could resist?

Mullein & Sparrow Hydrating Face Mist Toner

Mullein & Sparrow Hydrating Face Mist Toner :: So love this product! It is a lovely scented mist that hydrates and soothes the skin, perfect for the dry days of winter. Made with rose water, which actually helps to soften and plump up the complexion. I spritz on my face, body, hair, sheets, coat, handbag…

The Universe Has Your Back

For the readers in your life :: I have a few suggestions. First off, if you have yet to read Gabby Bernstein’s latest The Universe Has Your Back do yourself a giant favor and buy it now. Get one for anyone in your life who could use some soul love. This book seriously changed my life, not even kidding.

The Little Book of Healthy Beauty

Next, for the green beauty lover or wannabe, Dr. Pina LoGiudice’s short but super sweet The Little Book of Healthy Beauty. This tiny tome offers up sound healthy beauty advice with info I’d never read anywhere else. So cool.

Hello Glow

And for the DIYer, give them a book that will keep them beautifully busy with Hello Glow.

Now, let’s say you have absolutely no idea what to get your sis, bestie, mom, boss, girlfriend, or other female in your life. I have the perfect idea and you can even do it last minute. A beauty box! Luckily, I had the chance to sample a few this season and here are the juicy details…

Credo Clean Beauty Discover Kit

Credo Clean Beauty Discover Kit :: Full of top brand name natural beauty samples. The online store’s debut kit featured de Mamiel, Tata Harper, Evolvh, Pai, Lovefresh, and Skin Owl. All stashed in a cute canvas bag that is easily tote-able. This kit is not available by subscription but any gal would be happy to know it’s heading her way.

Goodbeing Box

Goodbeing Box :: Another sweet surprise of green beauty swag. This is where my relationship with Dr. Hauschka Body Oil began. The box also contained Annemarie Gianni Rosemary Peppermint Body Wash, Osea Ocean Cleanser (which I’ve been using and love), and a pretty little Pure Ananda Loose Mineral Shadow. They also included a fun textured scrubber body mit by Daily Concepts that my daughter quickly confiscated. This box comes in several varieties and shipping options, including a month-to-month subscription.

Good Earth Beauty Box

Good Earth Beauty Box :: A fun and out of the ordinary beauty box. The theme for the box I tried was chocolate and it was exciting to open it up and have the yummy scent waft out. All items in the box are chocolate scented, including a bar of soap, lip scrub, personal fragrance, skin oil, and lip balm, all by Good Earth Beauty. This one also comes in a variety of box and subscription options.