Author Archives: Colin

Elderberry Extract for Dark Circles Around The Eyes?

Elderberry Extract for Dark Circles Around The Eyes

Do elderberries hold the secret to curing dark circles around the eyes?

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

Lessons For Cosmetic Companies From The Olympics


lessons for the cosmetics industry from the olympics

If you can win a medal, can you create a great cosmetic?

My apologies to all non-British readers, but like many of my fellow countrymen the big news at the moment is that the UK came second in the tally of medals scored at the Rio Olympics. And given that nobody expects Britain to outshine America in this particular contest, this is in effect winning the Olympics. (Particular apologies to American readers there – but when you win something every year it is inevitable that people start taking it for granted.) Continue reading

Lead In Turmeric – Should We Worry?

lead in tumeric

I am signed up to the e-mails the FDA sends out about product recalls in the US.  I am on the lookout for anything that might affect the cosmetic industry, but most of the time cosmetics don’t even get a mention. There really aren’t too many ways you can get cosmetics that wrong.  But I still come across a few interesting stories, including a couple of reports lately of lead cropping up in food.  The latest is a couple of batches of turmeric that have been withdrawn by the supplier because of what they describe as excessive lead levels. Continue reading

Resources For Non-Scientists To Learn Cosmetic Chemistry – Part 1 The Basics

science resources for cosmetic science


“How do I learn more about the science behind cosmetics?”

I get this question asked from time to time – a lot of people are interested in getting to know more about the science of cosmetics but don’t have a strong background in basic science.  What do I recommend by way of learning the foundations?  This is something that is very helpful if you want to do some blogging about beauty products and really really helpful if you want to create your own products.

I certainly think that there is no such thing as having too much knowledge of science when it comes to actually working on cosmetics either as a maker or a commentator.  I have observed that the best formulators are usually the best scientists and it is surprising how often something you learn that doesn’t seem to have any direct applicability later turns out to offer a solution to a problem that you never realised you were going to have.  If I could live my early life again I’d spend even more time learning about basic science than I did.

So where do I suggest you start? Continue reading

The EU and Cosmetics

Well I didn’t see that coming.  The decision that the UK has made to leave the European Union was one that never crossed my mind as one that was even a possibility.  I have been working with the EU cosmetic regulations from shortly after they first came into force.  I simply can’t imagine what life would have been like without them.  On top of that, the cosmetic industry is a very international one and I have worked with many colleagues from other European countries over the years.  These haven’t been in any way a sideshow – they have been central to the work that I do. Continue reading

What Makes A Good Fake Tan?

fake tan accelerator

Can you get a fake tan even quicker?

There are plenty of fake tan products out there. Fake tans are easy to formulate and not too expensive to manufacture. The active ingredient, dihydroxyacetone, is very effective. So the big problem facing the manufacturers of fake tans is how to differentiate their product from the competitors. So they need to find ways to speed up the tanning process or to give a superior end result. Continue reading

Soap Box Time – Why We Should Stay In the EU

soap box time EMA

When I started my consulting business three years ago, even though I had been planning it for some time, it was still quite scary. For the first time in my life I had no monthly cheque to look forward to at the end of the month. Would I get enough work in to cover my expenses? Luckily enough I managed to pull in a big job quite quickly. It was a project on the borderline between pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, which was just the kind of thing that I could offer and which not too many other people could.  Without this bit of luck I might have had to get a job instead.  And with all due humility – it was quite handy for the client that they found me.  They are a start up to and getting some help early on must have been beneficial. Continue reading

Blogging Makes You Healthy

 blogging makes you healthy

I know a lot of people who read my blog are themselves bloggers. If you are, well now is the time to enjoy a brief moment of smugness. As most of us know blogging is not a lucrative thing to do. The monetary rewards barely cover the costs of the coffee to keep you awake late at night looking for spelling errors in your latest opus. So it is quite nice to discover that writing regularly does have some health benefits. Continue reading

Does MI Cause Developmental Problems?

MI development problems

There are an interesting couple of points in the comments thread on my blog post asking for MI not to become a scare story, from Suzanne. She has drawn my attention to a paper from 2012 that details developmental problems in tadpoles exposed to MI. She concludes from this that MI is potentially unsafe for humans as well and asks what the liability is for companies that continue to use it now that this risk has been identified. Continue reading