Category Archives: Legislation

Boring, but sometimes you need to talk about it.

REACH and Animal Testing

REACH and Animal Testing

The most recent version of the cosmetic regulations, which came into force in the summer of 2013, made it illegal to test on animals for the purposes of developing cosmetics. This is something that has pleased most people, who tend to think of cosmetics as not really being worth being cruel to animals for.  It doesn’t bother cosmetic chemists for whom the tests have never really been any help anyway. The only stumbling block has been the people responsible for consumer safety for whom the use of animals to test for toxicity was a useful form of reassurance. Continue reading

Microbeads In Cosmetics

microbeadsAs a keen environmentalist I often find myself face palming when a cosmetic company picks up on a green issue.  They often home in on things that aren’t particularly relevant and propose solutions that are questionable.  But I think the recent interest in the risks posed by microbeads is one where there is a real problem. Continue reading

Latest News on MI


I get a lot of traffic to this blog from people interested in methylisothiazolinone, or as it is now known MI.   For people who haven’t been following the story, here’s a quick recap.  MI has been used for about 40 years in combination with a closely related chemical called methylchloroisothiazolinone.  I’ll call that MCI.   The combination works extremely well at very low levels.  Its Achilles Heel is that it causes a lot of allergic reactions when used at higher levels.  This took formulators a while to work out when it was first introduced.  But the level was scaled down and the reactions went down.  Continue reading


reach regulations

I was at a conference about cosmetic regulations yesterday.  As is often the case, some of the most interesting things I picked up in random conversations with people I might not otherwise ever meet.  For example I was chatting to someone in passing mentioned that the people enforcing the REACH regulations were resorting to automated methods to clear their backlog of unapproved data.

If you are like the vast majority of  people who don’t work with chemicals, you won’t have the first idea what I am talking about. Continue reading

What You Should Know About Licensed Products

licensed versus unlicensed products

I was born right just when the drug thalidomide was being prescribed for morning sickness. This has always made me feel particular empathy towards those people who were born with defects caused by that drug. I have run into a few of them over the years, and of course they are always about my age so it makes it very easy to imagine what my life would have been like had the luck of the draw turned out slightly differently. Continue reading

DMDM Hydantoin

DMDM Hydantoin

Should cosmetics be as safe as what you eat?

I have seen people commenting online that they want cosmetics safe enough to eat.  Well they have pretty much got their wish.  Not many cosmetics would suit the palates of ladies or gentleman of fine and delicate taste, but with the possible exception of underarm deodorants tucking into your personal care products is going to do you no actual harm in either the long term or the short term.

But the idea that what is safe to put on your skin can be inferred from what it is safe to eat isn’t a very good guide to action.  I can think of things I would not want on my skin that I am sure would be harmless to eat. There is one very good example that is quite memorable.  A lot of snake venoms will kill you if they get directly into your blood stream but can be swallowed without any harm at all.  I am pretty sure that I was taught at school that Queen Eleanor sucked the poison from the wound when a snake bit Edward I, saving his life.  Sadly, when I researched it for this post it turned out not to be true.  But the biology is still correct even if the history isn’t. Continue reading

The Apprentice BBC1 15th April 2009 – Making and Marketing Beauty Products

Apprentice making soap

My ears pricked up when I heard that the next episode of the Apprentice would involve developing and marketing a range of beauty products. I am a big fan of this programme anyway, but the subject matter made this one that was not to be missed.

Beauty products aren’t like new cars or operating systems, but nonetheless you can’t develop them in a day so I was intrigued as to how they were going to go about it. In the event they found a friendly cosmetic company, easily identifiable to those in the business, to offer up some bases that could be fragranced with essential oils. This was quite a neat way of making a programme for the telly but does leave the most interesting bit of the whole process out. So all the competitors had to come up with was an essential oil blend to make the product smell nice, a suitable colour, a ‘natural ingredient’ to give it a marketing story and to design a label. It was not too different to the real process really – including the problems that routinely come up in product development.

Continue reading