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
8 billion people is a lot of dinners
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
Who wouldn’t want a citrus fruit extract?
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
Lauren Luke’s YouTube Channel is still there
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
Are you more swayed by an organic accreditation or a pretty picture? Like this one. Nice isn’t it.
There are dozens of organic certification schemes. The way most of the big ones work is that they certify a particular supplier and also have a schedule of the actual products covered by that certification. So you’d have them come and certify Melanie Organics and typically a certificate saying so. There would also be a list of all the things that you supply that the certificate covers. This is usually a separate document – it is likely to be changed from time to time. There is nothing stopping you from supplying other things so long as you don’t claim them to be organic.If you want to check that a given ingredient is organic you’d need to look at both the certification of the supplier and the individual ingredients listing. The supplier might well put references to the certification on their own documents, but it is rare for the certification body to issue certificates for individual materials. Continue reading
There is very little rest to be had if you want to keep up in the beauty business. New products come out with a frequency so high it is only audible to dogs. Consumers might well wonder why cosmetic companies are so frenetic in their launch schedules. Well the answer is pretty simple. The beauty world is fiercely competitive. You just can’t afford to rest on your laurels. The media and the blogosphere are most interested in what is new so you had better have something new to give them. Continue reading
I am rather stunned by this news story. Johnson and Johnson has been ordered to pay damages to a woman who claims her ovarian cancer was caused by using the firm’s talcum powder. First off, let’s get the science out of the way. The exact cause of any individual case of cancer simply cannot be determined with the current state of scientific knowledge. Even if there was a link between talc and cancer, it would not be possible to say that this woman was actually killed by it. The evidence that talc causes cancer is in any case not particularly convincing even by the standards of scare stories in general. So when the jury decided that Johnson and Johnson were responsible, they were to say the least being very original in their thinking. Continue reading
There is a concept in the software business called the minimum viable product. This is the barebones of an application that does just enough to enable it to get onto the market so the concept can be tested. This is an interesting idea in the fast moving world of information technology where change is so fast that nobody knows what is going to work until it has been tried out. Continue reading