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L’Oréal Elvive

The CHOICE Shonky for Blinding us with dodgy science goes to ... L'Oréal Elvive

LOreal ElviveMagazine ads are littered with terms such as "clinically proven", "dermo-clinical trials" and "in vitro testing", while tantalisingly obscure substances with names such as "Tetrahydroxypropyl Ethylenediamine", "Elemi PFA", "Oli-vityl", "Bioxilift" and "Nutrileum" proliferate.

There are even references to so-called clinical trials, with very precise and impressive-sounding results – "0.7mm wrinkle lift corresponding to a 13.2 year decrease in age". That sort of thing.

It all sounds so credible, they could be advertising a new wonder drug. But these are all just ads for cosmetics, which – if they actually lived up to any clinically meaningful claims – would have to be registered with authorities, which they're not. But you'd figure that out anyway if you read the fine print and followed the numerous asterisks, which mention disclaimers such as "cosmetic lift only" and "consumer perception study".

In other words, shonky science.

Garnier, Chanel, RoC, Nivea, SK-II, Elizabeth Arden, Avon …all the big names do it. But the Shonky goes to L'Oréal – because they're worth it. Its Elvive shampoo, conditioner and serum regime combo comprises three products to give you hairs that's "4x smoother and sleeker". But what do they measure it against for the sake of a scientific comparison? Just one product: plain shampoo. No surprises the trio comes up trumps in the comparison. Shonky? You bet.

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