Tag Archives: personal care products

Cosmetics, Chemicals and the Truth – SCS/RSC Lecture Burlington House, Piccadilly, London 3rd October 2013

Cosmetics, Chemicals and the Truth

Is it safe to come out from under the pillows and risk some lipstick and shampoo?

A debate about the safety of chemicals in cosmetics chaired by Alice Hart-Davis with Chris Flower  (Director General, CTPA) & Dr Peter Taylor (Pharmacy lecturer, De Montfort University) speaking for them and Jo Fairley (Journalist/Author of the Green Beauty Bible) & Jayney Goddard (President, Complementary Medicine Association) speaking against. Continue reading

Is Liz Earle unravelling?


I’m very grateful to Eric for drawing my attention to a job advertised on the Liz Earle website. It is described as a continuous improvement buyer. I suppose “Purchasing Manager” would sound a bit old fashioned.  But most job adverts have their fair share of trendy verbiage.  This particular one has some interesting features. Continue reading

Pantene Pro V Shampoo

When I first started working on cosmetic formulations back in the eighties, every month a list of the best selling shampoos in the UK market would appear.  Sadly, I cannot remember who used to compile it.  It wasn’t a tremendously exciting list- Head and Shoulders and Vosene were always at numbers one and two.  They sometimes switched places, but it was a pretty stable situation.

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Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish is one of those products that not everybody has heard of, but which has a cult following.  But as cult followings go, it is quite a big one.  I think Liz Earle as a brand is just outside the ‘household name’ category but is well on its way to becoming one.  And this is the product that more than any other has propelled it in that direction. Continue reading

Sodium Laureth Sulfate


Sodium laureth sulfate is in just about every shampoo and foam bath, as avid readers of ingredient lists can confirm.  The name tells you pretty much what it is, if you know about these things.  It is the sodium salt of sulfated lauryl alcohol, which has been ethoxylated.  If you had hadn’t ethoxylated it, it would be sodium lauryl sulfate.  If you hadn’t added the sulfate group it would have been sodium laurate.  And sodium laurate is a form of soap.  So in a sense it is souped up soap.  Soap that has an increased ability to foam at the cost of reducing its ability to cleanse. 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



A carbomer gel

There aren’t a huge number of raw materials developed specifically to fulfill a need in personal care.  Most things that go into your cosmetics and toiletries were originally intended for another purpose altogether and got pressed into service by formulators.  But carbomer was always intended for skin products.  It has subsequently been used by other industries but it was ours to begin with. Continue reading

What you need to know about glycerin, propylene glycol, hyaluronic acid and other humectants


Sadly you can’t moisturise your skin just be getting it wet.


If you put a raisin in a glass of water and leave it for a few hours it will swell up. The concentrated contents of the raisin, full of sugar and other small water soluble molecules pulls water in across the skin of the raisin. Continue reading