My good friend Dene Godfrey wrote an article for personal care truth denouncing the practice of free from the claims on cosmetics. This is very much the kind of thing Dene does, and he did it very well. Normally he beats all oppostion into instant submission, but this time there was a riposte to it from a blog called Skin Matters, which although I wouldn’t call them great friends is a blog I read from time to time and generally appreciate. This response was also very well-written and made some good points. To sum up the debate, Dene asserted that free from claims were not based on scientific evidence and had the effect of alarming consumers about non-existent risks. Skin Matters replied by saying that some people have genuine problems, and there was a need for products to address this. In fact Skin Matters are so convinced of the general goodness of free from claims that they have instigated an award for free from products. Continue reading
Around one 1% of all people on the planet suffer from vitiligo. It affects all races and ages equally, but loss of pigment is obviously more noticeable a the darker your skin is. So it is more noticeable when someone like Michael Jackson suffers from it. Although it doesn’t exhibit any other symptoms, having unusual skin pigmentation is a distressing condition – most of us really want to look as normal as possible. I worked on a project to develop a product that would cure vitiligo some years ago. It was a really exciting time. It is rare that an incurable disease is beaten, and we thought we had. Unfortunately, as is the way of these things, it didn’t get through the clinical stage. Continue reading
This was the question answered by a very interesting article on Cosmetics Design Europe this morning. I have to say I never really thought to ask it before. But it is an interesting question. Continue reading
I think I can claim to be something of an expert about skincare, but the trouble with getting really immersed in a subject is that you begin to forget that not everybody knows what you know. I spend a lot of time talking to people in the beauty industry who know a great deal about cosmetic products. And when I am not talking to them I am often talking to beauty bloggers who know even more. So when I gave a talk the other day to some people with no particular connection to the business I was struck that the questions they asked were ones that I would have thought everybody already knew the answer to. Here’s one interesting one. Continue reading
I don’t suppose many people stop to think about how much shampoo or body lotion they are using. I know I don’t. But it is something that some people need to worry about. When cosmetic products are assessed for their safety the amount that is used is a relevant parameter. Obviously you use a lot more body lotion than face cream for example. So you need to take this into account. Continue reading
Timea Sulenta – an Austrian cosmetic formulator has written a very informative article in the latest edition of the Personal Care magazine about the difficulties of formulating lipsticks. Because formulating lipstick is not easy. For something so every day they are surprisingly complicated. A lot of it is mainly of interest to beakerheads, but I thought lipstick users might be interested in some of the problems people have coming up with them. Continue reading
The Beauty Brains highlighted a list of three useless cosmetic product categories on their Twitter feed a couple of days ago that they had found on a blog. The first two were pretty hard to argue with. Split ends are going to stay split whatever product you put on them. And cellulite creams, while they might work in theory they have yet to be shown to work in practice. But the third one suggested that lip balms damaged your lips barrier function. This means that while the lip balm itself protects your lips while it is there, it dries them out in the long run. Continue reading
As I made clear in my post on cosmetic safety assessments, as a rule cosmetics are safe and there is a good procedure in place to make sure they stay that way. What I didn’t say is that this is basically a scientific approach and one of the things about science is that even things you are really sure about can be changed if new evidence comes to light. The history of science is basically the story of scientists realising what they had got wrong. This means that even the best established scientific judgement can be overturned by a new discovery. We believe that cosmetics are safe based on the best available information, but could new knowledge overthrow this conclusion? There isn’t much on the horizon that suggests this, but the biggest risk to the consensus is the so called endocrine disruptors.
Since the nineties the European Union’s cosmetic legislation has required that all cosmetic and personal care products placed on the market should be assessed for safety by a suitably qualified person. I am not sure what the exact thinking behind this was. As cosmetics had not been particularly unsafe before that, the intention must have been simply to reassure consumers. But as almost nobody outside the industry knows about the existence of these assessments, I have a feeling that the general public has not been particularly reassured. Given how much work and effort goes into them this really is a bit of a shame. So I thought I’d do a blog post to help spread this knowledge a little. Continue reading
Nothing it is totally impossible, but the chances of a harmful ingredient getting into a cosmetic and affecting the health of the people who use it is really really unlikely. Even if the people who formulated them were both stupid and irresponsible, they would kill themselves first. If not, the people making the stuff in the factory would be the ones most at risk and when they started showing symptoms the problem would come to light.
But there is always a chance that a cosmetic ingredient might be harmful to the environment, and it is much harder to safeguard against this risk. A good example is the possible environmental risk of cyclic silicones known as D4 and D5. Continue reading