Beauty products promise us the world — fewer wrinkles, brighter skin, a more even complexion, and freedom from acne. Few of these beauty products actually deliver on their promises. How many wrinkle creams have you used in your quest to have fewer fine lines on your face? How many of them actually made your fine lines go away? We’re guessing not too many of them (and likely none).

You’ll read a lot of claims on the boxes of beauty products and in their ads. How do you know if you can trust these statements? Here’s a look at how these statements are produced and some information about how you can verify those claims:

Consumer Testing

Some firms offer beauty claim substantiation through consumer testing of the products. Firms like the Benchmarking Company offer this product testing to give companies reliable data for their marketing. However, consumers can also use this information to better understand how well a beauty product actually works.

Claims testing involves having a variety of people try out products and reporting back on their results. Some tests may focus on a particular aspect of how a product works, such as a face cream’s ability to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Other tests may be more general to find out what benefits the product offers, such as whether the same cream makes the skin softer or smoother. The end result is that you know that whatever claims are backed by that testing have been confirmed by people who have actually used the product and experienced what it can do.

FDA Regulations

The Food and Drug Administration must approve medications and other products before they go to on the market for sale, but the FDA does not have to approve cosmetics. Some beauty products may fall under the authority of the FDA, but most will not. However, the FDA does regulate beauty products, which means that it has the power to recall hazardous products or to fine companies that make dishonest claims. The agency operates under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act.

The FDA may not pre-approve the statements that are on the packages of beauty products, but it does have the authority to enforce those statements. Therefore, you can be reasonably sure that if the product has been on the market for awhile, it has been shown to be effective. If you are ever unsure about a product, you can contact the FDA to see if any claims have been filed about it.

Customer Reviews

Really, the best way to know if a beauty product does what it claims to do is to hear from the people who have used it. People will be happy to tell you if they spent money on a product that did nothing for them. They will be annoyed at having been duped and being out of the money, and they will want to warn others not to make the same mistake.

Similarly, people who have found something that really works will want to spread the good word. You will find plenty of positive customer reviews on sale sites, and you should be able to find blog posts and videos on YouTube. In fact, YouTube videos are perhaps the best resource for learning about beauty products. Not only will you be able to hear the person’s unfiltered opinion about the product at length, but you’ll also be able to see how the product is used and see for yourself what kind of results it produced.

You don’t have to play roulette when buying beauty products, spending money and hoping for the best until you find a product that works. You can research the brands, check out online reviews, look at the results of product testing, and much more to find out if the claims that the product is making are accurate and ensuring that you will get what you need from it. Never spend another dollar on a beauty product that doesn’t do what it says. Follow these tips and get the results you need.