Organic Standards For Personal Care – Are They Relevant In A World That Is Getting Hotter And More Crowded?

organic cosmetic standards

Hydrangea Soap Dish


I am scheduling this post to appear just as I start speaking at the ScanCos conference in Stockholm on the subject of Organic Standards For Personal Care – Are They Relevant In A World That Is Getting Hotter And More Crowded?  I am talking to an audience of cosmetic scientists and other industry professionals so I can assume that they know all about organic accreditation schemes for personal care and cosmetic products.  A lot of consumers on the other hand are not so much confused as totally oblivious to the existence of such standards. Continue reading

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Beware White Bread

Beware White Bread

Multinational companies are soulless entities that exist for no other reason than to benefit their shareholders.  You need to take extreme care when you are looking at the adverts they produce which have no other object than to transfer the contents of your pockets into theirs.  But from time to time they do some good, even though  that is not their intention.  A good example is a recent campaign in the UK for Aquafresh toothpaste.  Aquafresh is owned by GSK and corporations don’t get much bigger than that.  The Federation of Bakers complained that the Aquafresh advert implied that white bread contains sugar. Continue reading

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Alcohol In Skin Products

alcohol in skin products

If you put neat alcohol onto your skin and leave it there for any length of time it will dry your skin out.  This is something that is well known.  The exact details of how it works aren’t that well studied, but basically it disrupts your skin’s barrier function.  Consequently it is not a good idea to put a lot of alcohol into products intended for the skin.   But alcohol is a useful solvent and it often ends up on ingredient lists because there is a small amount in the formulation somewhere.  A small amount of alcohol is quite harmless. Continue reading

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Beyoncé Heat Eau de Parfum Spray

The popular singer Beyoncé is not backward in coming forward and has come up with a striking fragrance offering, Beyoncé Heat Eau de Parfum Spray.  It is described as a rich, sophisticated scent with hints of red vanilla, magnolia,honeysuckle and almond.  It sounds great, and the pack is clearly a work of art in itself with a curvaceous bootyesque bottle with a fiery red colouring.  With an international profile so high it probably needs an oxygen mask, this is a product that will have no trouble getting distribution and attention.  I was not suprised to see that at time of writing it is the biggest seller on Amazon. Continue reading

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Women In Cosmetic Science


There has been a bit of a twitterstorm over the shirt worn by one of the scientists, Matt Taylor, on the team that landed the satellite on the comet.  It wasn’t the kind of shirt I would wear personally, but I have to say it didn’t look all that especially offensive.  If I am honest, my main reaction was to think that it would be nice to achieve something significant enough that people actually care what you are wearing.  I was also struck by a detail of the story.  (Caveat – I read this on Twitter so it could be fantasy.)  Apparently the shirt was custom made for him by the wife of his tattoo artist, who gave it to him as a present.  It was a reflection of how she saw him, and as such was probably rather special.  I am not surprised then that he choose to wear it on the television for his big moment. Continue reading

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Natural Antioxidants


Antioxidants get a lot of interest for the skin benefits, but for a cosmetic chemist they also have a rather more mundane use.  If you are using natural ingredients in your products, and particularly some natural oils, you need to give some thought to the risks of  oxidation of the product over its shelf life.  Left to themselves many oils will go rancid, which gives them an unpleasant odour and often affects the colour.  Consumers love natural products in principle, but aren’t keen on being presented with brown smelly ones.  It is a shame to mess up a natural story by including chemical antioxidants, so what are the natural antioxidant alternatives? Continue reading

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Can Blue Light Reduce Pain?

When you really want something to be true it is sometimes easy to let your normal standards of evidence to drop.  If you have back pain – and most of us do at some time – it would be really great if there was  a simple treatment that could relieve it.  Philips BlueTouch Pain Relief Patch is claimed to do just that.  It is a device that irradiates the back with a particular wavelength of light that triggers the release of nitric oxide which in turn increases blood flow and reduces inflammation.  The price tag is £200 which would be a price well worth paying if it works.  I can imagine a lot of people putting their hands in their pockets for something like this.

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Is Greenwashing What People Want?


The first cosmetic science Twitter chat last Saturday was on the subject of natural products and how they have affected the scientists who develop them.  This is a bit of raw subject for most cosmetic scientists who are skeptical of the claims made for natural products and of the criticisms made of conventional ones.  And this perfectly understandable.  If you apply logic there is no argument.   Given that a scientist formulating a conventional product can use natural ingredients if they are suitable, but can use other ingredients as well it is completely obvious that conventional products are going to be better.   Continue reading

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Biodegradable Scrubs


Rice – not just for puddings

Getting rid of plastic beads from cosmetics is good for the environment, but that doesn’t mean we have to go without scrubs.  There are plenty of very interesting  and highly biodegradable alternatives. Here are a few that are being used. Continue reading

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Are Cosmetic Chemists An Endangered Species?


I was sorting out some slides for a presentation to a company about the future of the cosmetic industry while listening to the Beauty Brains podcast earlier when a thought struck me.  The Brains were discussing a project they had worked on in the nineties, and chance had it that I had worked on a very similar project at about the same time.   But it made me wonder, just how long will there be such a thing as a cosmetic chemist?  Most people who do the job start it fairly early in their working life, typically just after graduating.  And it is very often a job for life.  I have clocked up 30 years and although I now do lots of other things beside, I still get into a lab and do lab work.  But is this how things will be in the future? Continue reading

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