My good friend Dene Godfrey wrote an article for personal care truth denouncing the practice of free from the claims on cosmetics. This is very much the kind of thing Dene does, and he did it very well. Normally he beats all oppostion into instant submission, but this time there was a riposte to it from a blog called Skin Matters, which although I wouldn’t call them great friends is a blog I read from time to time and generally appreciate. This response was also very well-written and made some good points. To sum up the debate, Dene asserted that free from claims were not based on scientific evidence and had the effect of alarming consumers about non-existent risks. Skin Matters replied by saying that some people have genuine problems, and there was a need for products to address this. In fact Skin Matters are so convinced of the general goodness of free from claims that they have instigated an award for free from products. Continue reading →
I subscribe to the FDA’s mailing list where they detail problems with products. There is usually something going wrong somewhere so alerts come through most days, and getting several on the same day is not unusual. It is pretty rare for cosmetics to trigger off the alarm bells. I am sure that people in the cosmetic business are just as error prone as those in any other walk of life, but it just happens that by the standards of consumer products cosmetics are pretty safe. Nobody knowingly uses hazardous ingredients in cosmetics – there is simply no reason to do so. And the skin is a pretty good barrier anyway so you would be unlikely to come to any harm in the unlikely event of anything accidentally ending up in a cosmetic anyway. Continue reading →
Dr Bronner’s Magic soap is a product with a history and a heritage. It goes back to the days of the hippie movement on the West Coast of the US, and it still has that packaging and image to go with it. We remember the hippies as being idealistic and having their hearts in the right place but maybe not having their heads all that much together.
But time has moved on and Dr Bronners is no longer run by hippies. Far from it in fact.
They are now a big company doing very much corporate things. For example they are very keen on calling the lawyers in to get their own way. Continue reading →
Around one 1% of all people on the planet suffer from vitiligo. It affects all races and ages equally, but loss of pigment is obviously more noticeable a the darker your skin is. So it is more noticeable when someone like Michael Jackson suffers from it. Although it doesn’t exhibit any other symptoms, having unusual skin pigmentation is a distressing condition – most of us really want to look as normal as possible. I worked on a project to develop a product that would cure vitiligo some years ago. It was a really exciting time. It is rare that an incurable disease is beaten, and we thought we had. Unfortunately, as is the way of these things, it didn’t get through the clinical stage. Continue reading →
The FDA’ s view on what constitutes the definition of a drug compared to a cosmetic is a longstanding one. A cosmetic is not supposed to either have or to claim physiological effect. This is a reasonable work in definition in so far as it goes. You can pick holes in it if you put your mind to it, but it gets the essence of how most people think of the difference. It has in any case not been something that the FDA gave a lot of attention to. Continue reading →
I subscribe to a newsletter from the Advertising Standards Agency which lists all their recent rulings. It is a good way to keep abreast of what claims you can get away with or not. The place all marketing departments want to be is close the border of what is acceptable, but not actually quite over it. So it is good to regularly look at actual examples to keep in mind just how much you can get away with it. Most of these stories are pretty dull for people who don’t make a living out of this kind of thing. But one comes along that generates a bit more interest from time to time. For example, when a big celebrity is involved. Continue reading →
I have been featured on the Beauty Brains podcast.
They asked me to do a ten minute segment on EU cosmetic regulations, which was fairly easy to do as I have been working with them for 30 odd years. It wasn’t easy to make interesting though, but the Brains guys do a great job of making the rather dull material interesting by interspersing their own commentary into what I said. I almost felt like I was in the room with them.
There is a concept in the software business called the minimum viable product. This is the barebones of an application that does just enough to enable it to get onto the market so the concept can be tested. This is an interesting idea in the fast moving world of information technology where change is so fast that nobody knows what is going to work until it has been tried out. Continue reading →
I was listening to the perky pair of Randy and Perry over on the Beauty Brains the other day. They were answering a question about whether or not lanolin was a good moisturiser. They replied that it was indeed but that mineral oil was better. I knew straight away why they had said that and what they were was true enough in as far as it went, but nonetheless I think they were wrong to suggest that mineral oil is actually better. But it is going to be involved to explain why, so maybe get a sandwich. Continue reading →
When I was reviewing Bomb Cosmetics Chocolate Ballotin Assortment I made a reference to the problem that might potentially face with this product. Cosmetics that look like food risk getting pulled up under legislation that forbids non-food products from being made that might fool someone into thinking that they are food. The motivation behind this seems to be to prevent people passing off stuff that isn’t edible as a foodstuff, but the wording could be interpreted as banning any attempt to mimic food. Continue reading →
I accept paid adverts but not paid for editorial. I rarely accept free review samples - trust me the last thing I need in my life is more personal care products - but will consider them if the product is sufficiently interesting to justify writing about. I retain the right to say exactly what I think about them.
Some product reviews are illustrated with photos from my Amazon affiliate account. If these lead to a sale I receive a truly pathetic, indeed almost insulting, percentage of the sale price.
I'd have to be pretty desperate for this derisory source of income to have any impact on the opinions expressed about the product. Indeed you only have to read what I say in my reviews to see that they are not remotely motivated by a desire to earn a commission. Certainly not by the the miserly crumbs that Amazon dishes out. I wouldn't bother but it is a quick and easy way to get hold of a product image that has no intellectual property issues.