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Permanent Hair Removal Products

The claims of various hair removal products often stretch consumers' credulity. "Leaves skin hair-free for months!" and "prevents the regrowth of unwanted hair!" are two such claims. So how true are statements like these?

Three depilatory products were recently subject to challenge by competitors before the NAD: Roll-It-Off Instant Hair Remover, Hair Block Instant Roll-On Hair Remover, and EpilStop Plus Depilatory System. All three claimed in varying ways to prevent the regrowth of unwanted hair and were challenged on that basis.

Roll-It-Off's claim "neutralizes the papilla to prevent new hair from growing" was challenged as an unlawful drug claim. Pursuant to federal law, a claim that a product affects the structure or function of the body is a drug claim, and if this claim is made for a product that has not been approved as a drug by the Food and Drug Administration, it is unlawful.

The NAD agreed with this challenge by a competing firm, and also with the challengers' assertion that Roll-It-Off's "clinical tests" of just 25 subjects over a six-day period to support its performance claims were wholly insufficient.

Hair Block was challenged to provide proof of its similar performance claims, including "melts away unwanted hairand stops it from growing back!" When the product's makers failed to comply with this request, the NAD issued a default judgment, and subsequently the product was withdrawn from the market pending further testing.

Epil-Stop was challenged by rival Nair on its performance claim that it prevented the regrowth of unwanted hair. Nair presented expert testimony that there is no available material or combination of materials that is effective in blocking or materially inhibiting human hair growth. In the absence of such scientific evidence, any claim to the contrary is by definition false and misleading. The NAD agreed with the challenger's position, and Epil-Stop subsequently withdrew the ads in question.

FromConsumers' Research Incorporated Feb 2000


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