This blog post originally appeared in the September 2021 issue of Personal Care Europe
I started my career in the cosmetic industry in 1983. They let anyone in in those days. A few days in I got my first project, which was to reformulate a shaving stick. It wasn’t the biggest project, but it did lead my manager to make a prediction. He said that unlike him, I’d probably be spending half my time formulating products for men rather than women. He quoted some statistics which I believed, even though he probably made them up on the spot – 95% of cosmetic and personal care products were bought by women. But that was obviously going to change in the gender fluid world of the 1980s. After all, a lot of male pop stars were wearing mascara.
Cannabidiol is being treated by everyone on the business as the next big thing. It is getting media coverage as a treatment for mental health problems, so its connection to personal care isn’t that obvious. But if you think logic has anything to do with this sort of thing, well you haven’t been paying attention. Anything with a bit of a buzz around it is good enough. In fact there is a reasonably good case for cannabidiol being of some use on the skin. If it can affect receptors in the brain there is a pretty good chance that will do the same to receptors in the skin which could be beneficial for pain and itch. We don’t have any data to back this up yet, but that isn’t the kind of detail that troubles the folk who are looking to get ahead in a crowded market.
At time of writing everyone is talking about cannabidiol and there are lots of projects going on. A few pioneering skus have hit the shelves, but it is far from mass market yet. I predict that by this time next year there will be CBD variations of most of the major brands and maybe even a couple of new ones.
There’s no doubt about it, a personal recommendation from somebody you know and trust is the best possible advert. If I am anything to go by, a good recommendation will actually overrule my own personal experience. If someone tells me something is good, if I don’t find it works for me I’ll often blame myself rather than the product or its fan. Continue reading →
I think this is a universal truth, but it is certainly true in labs. The most stressful role is middle management. I enjoyed my time as a bench chemist doing the actual work. I enjoy supervising projects at a higher level. But most of my bad memories of my career are when I was in between – managing a team but reporting to senior management. Continue reading →
Some things are impossible to describe. Smell for example. But fragrance is a huge multinational business worth billions. So with so much at stake it is necessary to try. There have been various schemes put forward over the years but they all rely on the same basic idea. Continue reading →
We now live in a world where information is freely available in quantities much greater than we can possibly need. But information is not knowledge. Knowing facts isn’t much use without the knowledge of how to use them. A story I came across made this clear to me. A gentleman had bought a deodorant specifically because it had a big ‘alcohol free’ splash on the pack, and he reacts to alcohol. But in fact he still had very bad reaction to the product. When he looked at the ingredient list he noticed it contained benzyl alcohol. So, he concluded, the product was not alcohol free at all! Continue reading →
Should food ingredients be used in cosmetics when the planet is already straining to feed nearly 8 billion people? This was the question posed by The Beauty Botanist, aka Jennifer Hirsch at a joint meeting of the Society of Cosmetic Sceintists and the Brisish Society of Perfumers last night. 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 →
Palm is an important source of cosmetic raw materials
Some things I write about seem quite important to me but somehow don’t really resonate with the people who read my blog. For example I wrote a post on palm oil which explained how the palm oil business works. Nobody read it. But I still think it matters so here we go again. Basically palm is grown on plantations and then processed to produce palm oil. This all goes into a big system from where it is moved around to produce a bewildering number of products. Continue reading →
Back in 2009 I blogged about one of the first beauty vloggers to really make a big impact in the UK. (Incidentally, the word vlogger hadn’t come into currency back then. I coined beauty tubees which I thought was a good name, but it never caught on.) At that point it looked like it was possible that home made videos on YouTube would become the norm and that the highly controlled airbrushed/photoshopped coverage in the glossy magazines would be eclipsed. I found Lauren’s down to earth less polished approach much more appealing. When I last wrote about her the world seemed to be her oyster with a column in the Guardian and her own range of cosmetics coming out. Continue reading →