When I give a talk I rarely use notes, but I have generally written out what I am going to say in advance and to some extent memorised it. But I am now getting to the stage in my life where I don’t really worry too much about getting up to speak in public. What’s the worst that can happen after all? So when I was invited to speak at the Royal Society of Chemistry’s recent meeting on anti-ageing I decided to risk getting up to speak with very little idea of what I was going to say. I think the technical term for it is ex-temporising.Continue reading
I reviewed the Ordinary as a brand back in early 2017 when they were not that well known. I quite liked the idea, but wasn’t sure it would fly. Well that shows how much I know, because since then they have created quite a stir. I think they have also been generating pretty good sales, in so far as you can tell these things. But they have certainly been generating a lot of attention. One reason for this is the, how can I put it, highly personal social media profile of the founder. But I think the much bigger reason is that they have developed a very distinctive offering which isn’t quite like anything else out there. I thought it would be fun to have a look in detail at one of their products. 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.
Well this is a luxury I never even considered. Veltie is the name for pre-moistened toilet paper packaged as wet wipes. There are some claims on the pack, though not as many as you might expect. The key one is that they are flushable, which is good to know and indeed I think that if they weren’t there might be some practical difficulties in using them. They also have the FSC symbol, which shows a laudable commitment to the environment. If you aren’t aware of it this is a UK based standard that aims to encourage responsible forestry. Continue reading
A question from Lucy
Exciting to find your site… thank you for interesting articles.
Do you know anything about Dermalex Rosacea Cream? It sounds tempting in so far as being antibiotic free and reducing redness but the scary-sounding ingredients are unfamiliar. Is it genuinely safe?
I’d be grateful for your opinion Continue reading
Just about every concept has been tried in cosmetic somewhere by somebody, so I don’t imagine the idea behind new brand The Ordinary is entirely new. But it is new to me and is certainly not one that anyone has tried before on a big scale. Cosmetic products typically have quite high margins when compared to the cost of actually making the product. The reason that cosmetics are not especially profitable compared to other sectors is simply that while they have unusually low manufacturing costs they have unusually high promotional costs. So it balances out. Continue reading
Cosmetics in general are a very personal thing and it is hard to work out why a person would like one product rather than another. It is hard to even work out why you like it yourself. And this is particularly the case with colour cosmetics like foundations. What is it that makes one foundation great and another totally unsuitable for your skin, and why will somebody else come to a completely different opinion? Continue reading
I don’t generally trust the Daily Mail, and in fact usually try to avoid it. But I couldn’t miss a fascinating story about falling shampoo sales. It seems that last year some of the big brands lost as much as 11% of their sales. What is going on? The Mail of course is never short of opinions and is quick to form judgements. The headline was that women who work from home don’t bother to wash their hair. Right. It must be the lazy trollops. What else could it be? Continue reading
The cost of making cosmetics is relatively low compared to what they sell for. They have what business people call a high margin. This makes the sector very attractive to entrepreneurs who scent an opportunity to make a lot of money. And some indeed do. But the high margins don’t always translate into high profits. Overall the return on investment for the cosmetic sector is respectable, but only a little higher than that for manufacturing as a whole. The reason is simple and you’ve probably guessed it already. You have to put a lot of effort into selling them. They all have to have some kind of unique selling point – or USP. Continue reading
I get quite a few e-mails from people wanting me to promote their stuff on this blog. Most of them I politely decline. I don’t mind helping people, but I don’t want to clutter up my output with plugs for stuff of dubious relevance. So my rule is to say no unless it is something that is particularly interesting. Continue reading