Cosmetics have been part of human culture for thousands of years but have only recently started to incorporate substances that have been specifically designed to achieve a particular function through rationale design and scientific evidence. Clearly, marketing is a major driver for the development of cosmetic products containing “active” compounds (cosmeceuticals). However, the identification and formulation of such bespoke molecules represents a significant development in cosmetic technology and has a number of parallels with topical therapies such as appropriate formulation, consumer safety and demonstration of “efficacy”. Indeed, there is considerable transfer of knowledge between the cosmetic and pharmaceutical sectors which has both advanced our understanding of the skin and led to many innovative techniques for measuring skin function. However, the development of new cosmeceuticals and products is potentially fraught with difficulty for two main reasons: regulatory interpretation and demonstration of safety/efficacy.