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What is a cosmeceutical?

  • 3 min read

The other day I had a reality check that I am truly a part of Gen X. Supposedly some Nike Air Max shoe styles are only worn by Dad’s and now 7 year olds describe awesome things as ‘Fully Lit’! I thought they said ‘Fully Sick’ but it was just my own flash back to the 90’s.

It spins me out how language shifts with new words and new meanings for words. Easy-breezy, BIPOC, GIF, Lit, Chillax, Chewy, and even Whatevs’ are now official and added to the Oxford Dictionary. Yes I did read the dictionary for fun, just for a little bit.

My mind wonders how these words come to be. One factor I do know of is marketing, as the creative marketers of the beauty industry have developed some words of their own. Like “cosmeceutical”.

The word “cosmeceutical” was introduced by Dr Albert Kligman way back in 1984. It comes from combining the words “cosmetic” and “pharmaceutical” (just like Brad and Angelina became “Brangelina”!).

So essentially, “cosmeceutical” is a made-up word which is used to describe cosmetic products which contain active ingredients that can have a therapeutic effect on your skin. They sit in between “cosmetics” (least active) and “therapeutic” products (most active) in terms of how active they are.

You can expect your typical cosmeceutical skincare products to include active ingredients that pack a punch, like Peptides, Proteins, Vitamins (Vitamin C / Vitamin B3), Retinol, Hydroxy acids (Glycolic Acid, Salicylic acid) and Ceramides.

Enter “Clean Beauty”, the new wave of Cosmeceuticals

We can happily say that cosmeceuticals are no longer only the domain of dermatologists and specialist skin clinics. That’s so 1984. Today, the new wave of Clean Beauty is filling the gap between organic/natural products (cosmetics) and traditional cosmeceuticals, and that’s pretty much where we fit into the picture.

Clean beauty spawned from the need to group products that deliver high performance results using only safe and non toxic ingredients. The ingredients can be synthetic or natural - some brands (like us) will skew towards natural whereas others use safe synthetics.

Now, some marketing guru probably came up with the term, “Clean Beauty”, so it is open to interpretations by brands. Some may have stricter guidelines on what they deem to be safe. And some might vary in how active their products are.

Where you’ll find actives in Woohoo Skincare

We’ve been a clean beauty brand since forever, but we’ve always tended to be a bit quiet on the cosmeceutical credentials of our products (more on this below!).

Apart from a few cleansers, all of our Happy products contain active ingredients at required efficacious levels for better skin. Some of our very favourites are:

  • MSM
  • Vitamins B3, B5 & C
  • CoQ10
  • Moth Bean Extract (a side-effect-free Vitamin A alternative!)
  • Fermented Noni Extract
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • and many Australian Native Botanicals 🌱

The difference between Cosmeceuticals and Therapeutic Products

Since our skincare creations are considered to be cosmetics/cosmeceuticals and not therapeutic products, we can’t use regulated therapeutic doses of some ingredients (however they’re still at effective levels, we made sure of that!).

As makers of non-therapeutic products, we also need to be very careful of what we say to keep within regulations and not make any therapeutic claims.

What you can and can’t say about what a product can do is another whole topic which we could spend hours on. In Australia you are not allowed to claim your products do anything other than improve the appearance of skin. It definitely has honed our creative writing skills.

We always have the option of one day having our products classed as therapeutic goods, but we’re a bit wary of all the red tape (and costs) involved!

A glance into our crystal ball….

It’s very exciting times ahead as there are so many new active ingredients being developed through green chemistry. As you may have already heard we have new formulas in the works to make our products even more effective than ever before.

Very soon we’ll be utilising peptides, AHA/BHA acids, fermented botanicals, antioxidants and the most exciting is a whole host of new native Australian botanicals. We are only just learning how potent Australian botanicals can be so stay tuned!