California Toxic Cosmetic Ingredient Database Pleases Nobody

toxic cosmetic chemicals database

I have written before about the California Toxic Cosmetic Ingredient Database of supposedly risky ingredients run by the state government in California.  As part of piece of legislation called Proposition 65 the Californian government has set up a database which keeps track of cosmetic ingredients.  The state has a long list of chemicals which have been linked in some way to health problems.  The list is a long one and mainly consists of chemicals that have no relevance to the cosmetic industry.  (It has other purposes so this isn’t surprising.)  But a handful of them are used fairly widely, so chemists for cosmetic companies have to check the list against their company’s formulations and notify them on a database set up for the purpose. Continue reading

Posted in Beauty News, Scaremongers | Leave a comment

Don’t eat organic? Start. Eat a lot of organic? Eat less.

Organic food just as healthy

sign up to colins beauty pages newsletter

Most news stories are bad news about things we can’t do anything about.  There really isn’t any point in worrying about things outside our control, but most of us do anyway.  But stories about health and the environment sometimes do suggest that there is something we can do in response.  We can’t stop people in the Middle East killing each other but we can choose what kinds of food we eat.  There was just such a news story on the radio this morning with the release of a study that shows that organic food is different to conventional food.  This was the background to a debate on BBC Radio 4 between a nutritionist and a representative of the Soil Association.   Continue reading

Posted in Beauty News | 1 Comment

A Problem With Skin Reactions To Esters

A Problem With Skin Reactions To Esters

My long term Twitter chum Musical Houses raised a problem she has with some cosmetic ingredients with me over Twitter, using no less than 8 tweets to do it.  Such patience clearly deserves an answer. Continue reading

Posted in Ingredients, Problem Pages | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

China Has Banned Animal Testing For Internally Produced Cosmetics

China Modifies Its Position on Animal Testing

China Modifies Its Position on Animal Testing

Hot on the heals of the relaxing of the requirement for animal testing on products imported into China, the Chinese government has now also banned animal testing on products produced in the country itself. Continue reading

Posted in Beauty News | Leave a comment

China Modifies Its Position on Animal Testing

China Modifies Its Position on Animal Testing

China Modifies Its Position on Animal Testing

A lot of companies have run into problems with China.  China’s rules on cosmetics are quite different to those in most other countries.  They require products to be submitted prior to launch to a body called the SFDA, short for the State Food and Drug Agency, which is a bit like the USA’s FDA.  They then either approve or reject them.   Continue reading

Posted in Beauty News | Leave a comment


Bisabolol It is a common observation amongst pharmaceutical scientists that many of the top selling drugs of all time are derived from plants.  The one that is usually quoted is aspirin that was first developed by modifying an ingredient found in the bark of willow trees.  Another example, though not one that has quite the high profile of aspirin,  is a molecule called bisabolol with anti-inflammatory properties found in quite a few plants.  It is particularly abundant in the German Chamomile, and its properties have been recognised for centuries with chamomile being a popular folk remedy for all sorts of things. Continue reading

Posted in Ingredients | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Crowdfunding Your Cosmetic Company Start Up

Crowdfunding Your Cosmetic Company Start Up

Is crowd funding your cosmetic company start up a good idea?  I have somehow ended up on the mailing list of a company that is putting a lot of effort into getting funding via this route.  As I am not interested in investing I am finding it all a bit intrusive and annoying and I have unsubscribed, but I dare say if I was looking to invest some money I would find it more interesting.  But it did make me wonder if this was a viable method of funding new start ups in the cosmetic sector. Continue reading

Posted in Cosmetic Business | 3 Comments

What Are The Risks of Combining Dihydroxyacetone and Dimethyl Isosorbide in Self Tans?

Combining Dihydroxyacetone and Dimethyl Isosorbide

Hi Colin,

I’ve been a loyal reader of your blog for quite some time and enjoy the reliable advice you give as a professional. Therefore I would like your opinion on something that has been bothering me for a while.

I’m an avid user of fake tan (wear it basically all the time) and lately I’ve seen more and more formulas containing DMI (dimethyl isosorbide) as an “accelerator” or skin penetration enhancer. This promotes the absorption of DHA into the skin.

Now my question is whether this DMI also takes the DHA deeper into the skin and possibly even into the bloodstream. The reason I’m asking this is the fact that there have been a few scientific studies that have shown a link between DHA and free radicals or DNA damage. This worries me a bit and makes me wonder whether I should avoid fake tan products containing DMI.

Thanks a lot and keep up the good work!

Hope to hear from you soon,

Charlene Continue reading

Posted in Actives, Beauty News, Ingredients, Problem Pages | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Love Your Products


Most of you won’t know this, but I am a long time development chemist who has become a consultant to pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries about a year ago.  I know most of you don’t know this because I obsessively monitor my traffic to see how I am doing.  While I am at it I generally take a look at all sorts of statistical information that Google serves up, including the fact that the bulk of my readers get here through searches and haven’t visited before. Continue reading

Posted in Beauty Tips | Tagged | 10 Comments

Lysolecithin – Is It The Secret To Rapid Weight Loss?


Somebody who works in the beauty business doing treatments asked me about body wrap procedures involving lysolecithin as a slimming aid.   She was kind enough to explain how it is done.  ‘The body is dry exfoliated, the product is applied, body wrap film is applied, client lies down for 1 hr are unwrapped, remeasured and are told to drink at least 2 litres of water for 72 hrs after the treatment to aid the release of the “liquidized fat”.’  The product in question’s main ingredients are grapeseed oil and lysolecithin, with the lysolecithin being the active.  She reports that this treatment does indeed lead to measurable effects with customers losing an average of 4″ (10 cm) from their waistlines with some as much as 8″ (20cm).  It isn’t surprising that the treatment is popular. Continue reading

Posted in Beauty News | Tagged , | 2 Comments