Why I killed the bunny logo.

Posted by on Aug 6, 2016 in All Posts | 2 comments

The business guru’s say build your business, the way you want, and do your thing.  To me that means NO restriction on the safe ingredients I use (in terms of the origin of the ingredient or world-view).  I’m not after any certifications.  Maybe I’ll make up my own seal for certified, conventional, and un-organic.

Freedom is why I left the corporate world.  To avoid being dictated to by some organization who boxes me in with their “approved” list of ingredients.  Screw that crap.  With ~10,000 hours of cosmetic formulating under my belt I don’t need those restrictions.  I also don’t value an organization who wants to hold the world to 100 year old agricultural techniques, or won’t accept biotechnology.  Easy to have that frame of mind when you have a full belly, but there are other people in the world that need to eat besides the privileged food elitists.

I’m not gonna “pay to play” to have an organization make me look green/wholesome/eco/cruelty-free for a price.   That brings me to animal testing.   I always have to smile when I see “no animal testing”.  It’s supposed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy, but I find it disingenuous because of the implication that all the makers who haven’t paid for the seal are cruel.

The dirty work has already been done.

The dirty work has already been done.

It’s one of the reasons why I don’t have the leaping bunny on my site.  I think it’s a fine organization and applaud what they do to help outlaw animal testing on cosmetics (according to what I’ve read, animal testing has been pretty much phased out since the 90’s anyway, except for some big conglomerates who want to tap into the China market).  I can’t imagine using animals to test frivolous things like cosmetics.  They aren’t necessary to our survival.  From what I understand, certification only pertains to new testing.  Virtually every ingredient we use has been tested on animals in the past.

On the Leaping Bunny site it says:  “Some companies choose not to join our program because they continue to conduct or commission animal tests for ingredients or formulations, or they wish to reserve the right to test on animals in the future”   This is so NOT applicable  for small companies or solopreneurs!  Hello? ding-dong,  We’re not Avon or L’oreal!

“We don’t test on animals”.  Of course you don’t.  How would you?  It’s like me saying I don’t put plutonium in my cream. (I’ve tried to locate labs that perform animal testing to no avail;  I wanted to find the cost of Draize testing for something small companies weren’t going to do anyway).

Does that mean you didn’t rub Fido’s eyes with shampoo or didn’t spend thousands on testing?  Or you did the legwork to get certs from your suppliers that they don’t currently test on animals.  The dirty work has already been done! There’s no need for suppliers to repeat it.

The unrestricted use of these phrases by cosmetic companies is possible because there are no legal definitions for these terms. A cosmetic manufacturer might only use those raw materials and base their “cruelty-free” claims on the fact that the materials or products are not “currently” tested on animals.  I don’t know of any small company that has the funds or desire or need to do animal testing.  For all practical purposes, everyone is cruelty free.

Anyone can put a statement on their site and claim that they are ‘cruelty free’.   Ya know what would be a better spend of money?  Ditch the seal and donate to your local animal shelter.



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Could you have Cosmedica Nervosa? (Part 2)

Posted by on Aug 5, 2016 in All Posts |

Part 1 was about the excessive fear some people have about chemicals / toxins that they think are out to get them.  There seems to be the increasing rejection of science that everyone benefits from, like the great technological improvements it’s brought to our lives (e.g. chemophobia powered by social media).  Some believe that 20 minutes of googling is equal to 30 years of education and scientific research.  Just today, I got an email from a customer and was dismayed at one of his comments……..what else…..chemikillz!  He mentioned where he used to buy soap in his home town because it -“didn’t have lots of chemicals listed as their ingredients“.

non toxic girl IG

It’s time to talk about what no one else is…..the role of makers propagating crap to get a leg up on their competition with their “it’s bad for ‘ya” claims.  Here’s an example with no citations.  Seems fact checking has gone out of style.

I’m betting the person is selling something with essential oils, and knocking fragrance oils.  She’s gonna milk this paranoia.  How did we go from Avon and Tupperware to peddling crap like this?  For people in the cosmetic business- it would be great if they instead defended our industry as safe.  Because it is.  The public is nervous enough thanks to NGO’s et al.

Nothing in life is without risk.  To put it in perspective,  traffic accidents kill 1.24 million people a year worldwide; wars and murders, 0.44 million.  Do we still drive cars?  Pick your battles.  Calm the F down!  None of us are getting out of here alive, so if you like a traditional perfume-enjoy it.

Referring to the part 1 discussion, we makers do have to consider what our customers will think.  A maker can pander to these folks by changing suppliers and labels to words a 7 year old can pronounce (performance be dammed).   Another option is to avoid being a cosmetic apologist, by explaining the origin or function of an ingredient in parentheses e.g., decyl glucoside (from coconut oil) to put the customer at ease, since it’s a “chemically” sounding name.

Stop the fear-mongering

Stop the fear-mongering 

Educating the consumer using science, by referencing the Cosmetic Ingredient Review is is a good way to show the safety of ingredients to customers.  Give weight to ideas that are evidence-based.  With chemophobia and misinformation so rampant,  I don’t see a lot of makers defending the industry.  Some are enablers playing into consumer fears and positioning their products as non-toxic.  (I just sprained my eyes by rolling them).

Skin care should make you soft, and it shouldn’t be a philosophical obsession about ingredients.  Some people need to get a grip.



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Could you have Cosmetica Nervosa? (Part 1)

Posted by on Aug 4, 2016 in All Posts, Soap |

I coined a term; Cosmetica Nervosa.  The idea came from the food industry where some folks are heavily preoccupied with the idea of “clean eating, and now I’m seeing sales copy boasting “clean cosmetics”.  You may have heard the term “orthorexia nervosa,” which means “fixation on righteous eating.” Orthorexia is a term coined by Steven Bratman, MD in 1996. He began to use it with his patients who were overly health-obsessed.  It was not meant as a diagnosis; instead, Dr. Bratman used the term to help his patients entertain the possibility that this “healthy” eating may not be as beneficial as they presumed. Over time, however, he came to understand that the term identifies a genuine eating problem. It is not an officially recognized disorder in the DSM-5, but is similar to other eating disorders – those with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa obsess about calories and weight while orthorexics obsess about healthy eating.  Source

There was a discussion in a group along these lines about a frequently demonized ingredient, propylene glycol, used as a processing aid in soap.  (ooh, scary!)


Soap is nothing to be afraid of.

Soap is nothing to be afraid of.

Yup, soap.  It was a great discussion about the significance of it, and what their customers may think.  (I think PG got the reputation as a “nasty chemical” because it was confused with ethylene glycol- or that it’s a derivative of petroleum).  I couldn’t comment to the discussion without snark so I just stared at it.  Like an accident scene.  Double Face palm.  First world problem at its finest.  Because it shows how consumers can be so afraid of a teensy amount of a safe ingredient for a brief contact time on the skin, followed by a rinse can cause so much angst.

It must be a drag to live with such fear.  (Thanks NGO’s and the makers who hang on their coat tails!)

I plucked out some facts about propylene glycol from wikipedia and personal care truth.  HERE’S A MASHUP:

Because of its low chronic oral toxicity, propylene glycol was classified by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) for use as a direct food additive, including frozen foods such as ice cream and frozen desserts.

Prolonged contact with propylene glycol is essentially non-irritating to the skin. Undiluted propylene glycol is minimally irritating to the eye, producing slight transient conjunctivitis; the eye recovers after the exposure is removed.

Propylene glycol does not cause sensitization, and it shows no evidence of being a carcinogen or of being genotoxic.

CIR Expert Panel and they concluded that Propylene Glycol is safe for use in cosmetic products at concentrations up to 50%.

Propylene glycol is listed in the United States Pharmacopoeia and is included in New and Non-Official Remedies as a proper ingredient for pharmaceutical products.

The above guidelines were determined by dermatologists, toxicologists, MD’s, not fearmongering bloggers, the EWG, or armchair toxicologists.

What can we do to combat chemophobia?




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I’m giving organic the finger (Part 3)

Posted by on Aug 3, 2016 in All Posts, Myths and Misinformation |

Part 2 was about organic products that have this ‘one weird trick’ to make people think they’re pesticide-free.  In terms of how this relates to cosmetic ingredients, it’s ironic the way petroleum products are demonized, as seen on the (natural /organic crowd) websites who proudly state they’re “petroleum-free”.  Yet mineral oil is used as an organic pesticide!

“We found the mineral oil organic pesticide had the most impact on the environment because it works by smothering the aphids and therefore requires large amounts to be applied to the plants.”  “Compared with the synthetic pesticides, the mineral oil-based and fungal products were less effective because they also killed ladybugs and flower bugs, which are important regulators of aphid population and growth”  “Ultimately, the organic products were much less effective than the novel and conventional pesticides at killing the aphids, and they have a potentially higher environmental impact. In terms of making pest-management decisions and trying to do what is best for the environment, it’s important to look at every compound and make a selection based on the environmental impact quotient rather than if it’s simply natural or synthetic. It’s a simplification that just doesn’t work when it comes to minimizing environmental impact.”  http://www.uoguelph.ca/news/2010/06/organic_pestici_1.html

As a side note- potassium salts of fatty acids (the liquid soaps some makers sell as body wash) are used as insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and algecides on organic farms.

Another claim is organic farming is sold as good for the environment.

This is correct for a single farm field: organic farming uses less energy, emits less greenhouse gasses, nitrous oxide and ammonia and causes less nitrogen leeching than a conventional field. But each organic field yields much, much less. So, to grow the same amount of wheat, spinach or strawberries, you need much more land. That means that average organic produce results in the emission of about as many greenhouse gasses as conventional produce; and about 10 per cent more nitrous oxide, ammonia and acidification. Worse, to produce equivalent quantities, organic farms need to occupy 84 per cent more land – land which can’t be used for forests and genuine nature reserves”.


organic farming methods

Old farming methods won’t feed the world’s hungry population of 9 billion.

A few takeaways:

All pesticides and fertilizers are chemicals.

All farmers protect the ecosystem and conserve natural resources. Otherwise they’d go out of business.  They use only the smallest amount of pesticides-they’re expensive!

Today’s synthetic pesticides are safer than the old ones, have the ability to kill only the target insect- not the beneficial ones.  They are highly regulated and food is monitored for residues.

Modern conventional agriculture maximizes yields and thus reduces the amount of land needed to produce food.  It has evolved from organic farming more than a century ago- 19th century farming methods don’t make food healthier or better for the environment.

Organic produce yields are frequently very low requiring greater land usage and there is evidence that organic farming is causing rapid deforestation, which does not protect the ecosystem.

GMO’s are not ingredients, it’s a breeding method.  The science is solid on the safety of GMO’s.  The report is 388 pages, took two years to conduct, involved over 50 researchers, looked at 900 studies, and analyzed 20 years of data.  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/nothing-threatens-emotional-movement-like-facts-damian-mason.

The bottom line is GMO produce and organic produce are equally safe.  But I gotta say, if you hold out 2 apples in front of me, and one is $1.00, and the other is $2.00, you better have some science-based, measurable, peer-reviewed, hard evidence as to why I should pay double.

I see ads & sales hype featuring organic ingredients stating “organic skin care products work better and are better for you” (In what way?).  AND THEY STOP RIGHT THERE.  It’s just an opinion.  There’s no science to back it up.  That’s why I’m done buying organic ingredients.  There’s no benefits over conventional ingredients- and I’m not about deceiving my customers.

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