The cost of making cosmetics is relatively low compared to what they sell for. They have what business people call a high margin. This makes the sector very attractive to entrepreneurs who scent an opportunity to make a lot of money. And some indeed do. But the high margins don’t always translate into high profits. Overall the return on investment for the cosmetic sector is respectable, but only a little higher than that for manufacturing as a whole. The reason is simple and you’ve probably guessed it already. You have to put a lot of effort into selling them. They all have to have some kind of unique selling point – or USP. Continue reading
There’s a new paper out with some numbers from dermatology clinics about reactions to methylisothiazolinone (MI). Dermatologists regularly patch test people to discover what they are allergic to. This involves applying a set of common materials that tend to provoke allergic reactions to the skin, and seeing which ones the individual reacts to. Continue reading
I get quite a few e-mails from people wanting me to promote their stuff on this blog. Most of them I politely decline. I don’t mind helping people, but I don’t want to clutter up my output with plugs for other stuff of dubious relevance. So my rule is to say no unless it is something that is particularly interesting. Continue reading
If you are interested in making your own cosmetics you probably don’t need me to tell you about Lisa Anderson’s Lisa Lise blog where she shares her knowledge and experiences making cosmetics on a small scale. Continue reading
Christmas 2016 is over, and like a lot of people for me the next item on the agenda is getting rid of all the rubbish. I am particularly aware of it this year having read an article in the Biologist over the holiday by freelance naturalist Rajith Dissanayake. Despite the popularity of naturalness and general greenery we still produce one heck of a lot of plastic. I can certainly vouch for that as I have tried to squeeze of lot of it into my bin. Rajith quotes the figure that the average American produces around 2.5Kg of plastic waste per day, and us Europeans can’t be far behind.
Among the many things I try to cram into my schedule is a newsletter for people with sensitive skin. I am not very successful at doing this I am afraid, and I don’t get the newsletters out very frequently. But despite this I get a steady stream of people talking to me about their issues with reactions to cosmetics. In particular, to preservatives. And particularly in particular to methylisothiazolinone. Continue reading
In recent years a lot of people have started making their own cosmetics. There are quite a few places online where they discuss their progress, and it makes interesting reading from my perspective. Having done it for a living for several decades it is interesting seeing what people find interesting and what they find difficult. Continue reading
I spend a lot of my time looking at claims made for various cosmetic products. People selling products are easily convinced of the benefits of those products, and are eager to share those benefits with potential purchasers. But it’s very often the case that the claims they make are based on the flimsiest of evidence. That is how the world works. The more you spend time looking at cosmetic claims, the more cynical you get about all claims across the board. So when someone tells me that exercise is good for you my first reaction is to be suspicious, even though this claim is often made, seems reasonable and doesn’t seem to be especially controversial. And it is one that I think most people assume is backed up by solid science. Continue reading
Caffeine has been a cosmetic ingredient for a long time, and you’ll find a jar of it on the shelves of most cosmetic development laboratories. There are three things it gets used for. There are the so called body sculpting products. The idea behind these is that you apply them to parts of your body that have more fat than you’d like. The caffeine stimulates fat burning, so you can get rid of the fat in the areas you don’t like it. Keep it up and you can change the shape of your body to something you like the look of. It is also used to improve the tone of the skin. It is supposed to stimulate energy production in the upper layers of the skin. This again uses the breakdown of fat, but in this case to release energy to improve the look of the skin. And finally it is used in shampoos to stimulate hair growth.
We’ve all seen and may well have actually experienced the dark marks that you sometimes get around the eyes. They are known as dark marks, dark circles and spider veins. They vary in colour – they can be black, blue or purple. The cause of them is that the skin is particularly thin on this part of the face. This makes the blood capillaries there particularly prone to damage, both as a result of rubbing them and to things that affect the size and permeability of the blood vessels. The result is that blood cells can get out of the blood stream and accumulate into this dark coloured structures. The spidery appearance is due to them following the lines of the capillaries. Having got there they can trigger an inflammatory response making the skin puffy as well. Continue reading