People often assume that I spend most of my time in the lab formulating products. If only! There are people who can manage to do that but only in very big companies which have big teams. The reality for most formulators, and certainly for me, is that you spend the biggest part of your time troubleshooting. When I started working as a freelancer I did think I might be able to skip doing quite as much. But it turns out that there is more demand for trouble shooting than there is for straight product development.
Oh well. Continue reading
Calling your company ‘The Honest Company’, as Hollywood’s Jessica Alba has done, is asking for trouble. For a start it means you are claiming a very high moral position, so you have a long way to fall if you slip off. It also gets the backs up of people you compete with. If you are going big that you are honest it rather implies that the rest of us are a bunch of scoundrels. It isn’t a way to win friends. Continue reading
We’ve had elections recently in France, the US and the UK. We’ve had quite a lot of them in the UK actually. One of the things that happens a lot in politics is that partisans for one side or the other are keen to make out that their opponents have made a lot of mistakes. Given their terrible track record, you should boot them out and pick someone else instead is the argument. This is a convincing line if, and only if, the people who have got things wrong never learn from their errors. But the reality is that when things go wrong most of us look at the situation and see what we can learn to avoid getting it wrong again next time. I think this is true in every walk of life, and it is definitely true in the world of cosmetic formulation. The best lesson is getting something wrong and having to put it right. Good judgement is the result of experience. But experience is the result of bad judgement. You won’t get much right without first getting a lot of things wrong.
This was a question posed to me by a journalist on the Daily Telegraph. The answer is of course no, but I’ll get onto that later. First this is quite an interesting example of how stories like this originate. Here is the full text of the e-mail I was sent. Continue reading
I have just got off the phone from discussing a citrus fruit extract I have commissioned. I have been disparaging in the past about what are called tip ins – but there are times when you want a particular extract and it is rather splendid that companies exist that have the expertise and capabilities to produce, within reason, any extract that you want. Continue reading
I am not a big fan of Facebook. I find the interface a bit busy and confusing, and I haven’t really worked out who can actually see stuff when I post it. But it is a big platform so I feel obliged to got on it every now and again. I was on it recently and a side bar suggested I should join a group called “Get Methylisothiazolinone Removed From Products!”. It sounded interesting so I clicked on it and thought no more about it. Continue reading
Preservatives in cosmetic products are a problem and will remain so until the way they are made and used changes significantly. I imagine someone somewhere is working on a project to create cosmetics in a small machine which you can programme with your favourite recipes. That would enable people to choose their own preservative option or to not use them at all and just make their personal care products fresh as needed. But until that technology becomes widespread preservatives are a necessity, and some people will have allergic reactions to them. Even the ones with a low propensity to cause allergic reactions, like the parabens and methylisothiazolinone, still cause plenty of people issues.? Continue reading
I recently appeared on Channel 4’s Supershoppers to talk about Alpecin shampoo. I have been amused for some time the way they run adverts for this shampoo on the television that manage to talk about it without actually mentioning that it is intended as a treatment for hair loss. I was quite surprised to discover, literally in front of the camera, that they have no such inhibition on the pack itself. It states in big letters that is what the product is for. I had assumed that if they were following the rules in their on air promotion, they would be just as scrupulous across their whole marketing platform. Continue reading
My interest in blogging and my blog varies. Sometimes I wake up and before I have done anything else I check my stats eagerly to see how I am doing. I then spend the rest of the day either elated or dejected, depending on the numbers. More often I don’t give it a second thought and just get on with the rest of my life allowing whatever happens online to take its course. Continue reading