New York, NY – April 14, 2014 – The National Advertising Division has determined that B’Iota Botanicals can support certain advertising claims for the company’s “Advanced Shampoo & Serum for Thinning and Damaged Hair,” including claims that the products are proven to help in cases where thinning hair is related to changes in the physiology of hair follicles.
However, NAD has recommended the advertiser discontinue certain challenged claims and testimonials and modify some claims to better assure that consumers understand that the B’Iota products are aimed at reducing hair loss where thinning is related to changes in a consumer’s hair follicles.
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
The claims at issue were challenged by Lifes2Good, Inc., maker of the hair-growth product Viviscal.
Challenged claims included:
- “B’IOTA BOTANICALS Shampoo and Advanced Herbal Serum are herbal-based, dermatologist-tested products that have been clinically tested and shown to reduce hair fall due to damage and help hair to grow faster, thicker and fuller.”
- “An independent clinical trial conducted by The University of Pavia, in Italy, shows that our proprietary combination of ingredients found in herbal complex BIOXSINE is a proven solution that brings new hope to those who have weak, damaged and thinning hair.”
- “[W]ith continued use over the next 3-to-6 months you will begin to see the longer term benefits of our products; stronger, thicker, fuller and faster growing hair!”
- “I never really had a problem with my hair until I was about 18 . . . I noticed it was getting thinner and thinner. [W]hen I was 23 it was so thin I would only wear it slicked back with a head band. I’ve tried just about EVERY thickening formula out there and with limited results. After only a little over a week of using both your shampoo and serum, I have to say [I]’m in love.”
NAD has previously noted many consumers experiencing hair loss are eager for a cure or any amelioration of thinning hair and constitute a particularly vulnerable audience. In this case, the advertiser did not offering a cure to for hair loss or a product to regrow hair. Instead, the products are an herbal shampoo and serum which B’Iota claims can reduce the amount of hair loss (thinning) and help hair to grow faster, thicker and fuller. As support for its claims, the advertiser relied on the results of a single, independently-conducted study – The Pavia Study. NAD concluded that the Pavia Study was reliable and well-conducted and that the results achieved by the study population illustrated the typical product performance for consumers experiencing thinning hair due to changes in hair follicle growth.
NAD determined that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for the claim that its products are “herbal-based,” “dermatologist tested,” and proven to help address issues with hair that is thinning due to changes in hair follicle growth physiology.
However, NAD was concerned about certain claims stating that B’Iota products are clinically shown to help hair grow “thicker” and “fuller” without clearly indicating that those terms relate to hair density, not the thickness of individual hair shafts. NAD recommended that the advertiser modify such claims.
While the challenger took issue with the statement that the products are “unlike anything you’ve ever tried,” NAD determined that this phrase was not misleading. NAD was concerned, however, that the references to “the root of your problem,” implied a mechanism of action involving the roots of a consumer’s hair, a claim unsupported by the evidence in the record.
NAD determined that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for the following claims:
- “At the end of a 6-month study, more than 97% of study participants who used both the serum and the shampoo together said their hair grew faster, thicker, stronger and fuller. And, 92% of study participants using either B’IOTA BOTANICALS Advanced Serum noticed an increase in hair thickness, as well as faster-growing hair.”
- “Additionally, more than 83% of study participants using B’IOTA BOTANICALS Shampoo alone said they noticed that their hair grew faster and more densely than before!”
- “For study participants using B’IOTA BOTANICALS Herbal Shampoo alone, more than 83% of study participants reported that their hair grew faster, as well as thicker, fuller and stronger after 6 months.”
However, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue any claims or testimonials which promote the ability of the B’IOTA products to produce results that are visible to consumers prior to 6 months of usage.
NAD noted the advertiser’s representation that it will revise the claim “It is completely natural for hair to thin over time. B’Iota Botanicals not only addresses this ‘normal thinning,’ but also thinning due to damage from over-treating, sun, age, and so on” to read “It is completely natural for hair to thin over time. B’Iota Botanicals address issues with thinning hair,” a modification which NAD found necessary and proper.
B’Iota, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “will take NAD’s recommendations into account in its advertising moving forward. B’Iota, as a supporter of the self-regulatory process, thanks NAD and appreciates NAD’s careful and thorough review of the record.”