The Society of Cosmetic Scientists promotes education, research and collaboration to advance the science of cosmetics

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Regional Development Group Wales & West


Tuesday 11 February 2020
Speed dating style event on hot cosmetic topics
[make sure you complete the questionnaire coming out soon to have a say on themes]

Tuesday 16 June 2020
Summer Festival 
Scientific presentations plus summer fun raising money for Look Good Feel Better



We had a record attendance at our RDG Wales & West Summer Festival in Bristol on 11 June, with 56 people attending to hear about ‘Clean Beauty’ from Formula Botanica’s Lorraine Dallmeier as well as get the latest on new claims legislation from CTPA’s Francesca Rapolla.

picture of  Brenntag cheque  for LGFBThis year’s Festival events also raised a record £1,000 for Look Good Feel Better. A huge thank you goes to Brenntag UK & Ireland as £664 of this came from them, half raised by Tamara Durak, Business Manager - Pharmaceutical & Cosmetics, and Cheryl Evans, Commercial Coordinator, which was then matched by the company. 

Welly wanging was rained off but the crazy golf moved indoors, alongside the ‘higher or lower’ card game, hook the duck competition and pinball tournament. Surfachem triumphed on the 'golf course', with Jason Watts taking first place and Elisabeth Dutton, who also happens to be our Best Research Paper winner, coming second. Arthur Edward's Naomi Robinson was the day's pinball wizard.

What is Clean Beauty?

picture of Lorraine DallmeierLorraine Dallmeier Director - Formula Botanica

Formula Botanica provides E-learning in Organic Cosmetic Science and support for start-ups and indie brands. Their courses include the many aspects of formulating skin and hair care and they recently started a course in beauty brand business management.

Lorraine began by asking us not to shoot the messenger. She had no intention of saying the opposite of clean beauty is dirty beauty. She totally understands and agrees with how cosmetic chemists feel about clean beauty claims and, like Natural, Clean Beauty is being widely used without a clear definition. Because of the lack of globally accepted definitions, Formula Botanica use the following definitions for natural: A Natural ingredient has only physical processing; A Naturally Derived ingredient has some chemical processing; and a Nature Identical ingredient includes laboratory synthesized molecules, which are identical to the same compound found in nature. They point out to students how, although Sustainable and Natural seem to go hand in hand, there are situations where insisting on only using the natural source of a material would decimate the world stocks and so not be sustainable. Many of their students insist on using only natural ingredients and are happy to accept the limitations, producing excellent anhydrous products such as facial oils, body butters and balms. When it comes to Clean Beauty, with its host of different meanings, Lorraine pointed out that, unlike global brands, Indi brands are close enough to their consumers for a two-way conversation. They can both educate and listen. In this way they know what their customers understand by Clean Beauty.

Lorraine quickly discussed the other popular beauty claims. By Green Beauty, brands mean Sustainable-Natural so, for example, although using sandalwood essential oil from trees grown in Southern India would be natural, the unsustainable practices that take place there, ie overharvesting and not replanting, would mean the product could not be considered as Green Beauty. With Cruelty-Free Beauty claims, we need to think beyond the highly regulated EU practices, to the practices in global supply chains where concepts of cruelty vary. Brands being sold outside Europe need to be able to say they are Cruelty-Free. Other popular claims such as Vegan Beauty, while although only truly understood by a few, mostly vegan consumers, have increased in popularity well beyond the vegan community. They are conveying a message consumers are looking for. Clean Beauty is similarly growing in popularity and should be thought of as the marriage of beauty and well-being. Clean Beauty products celebrate the exceptional care and good practices used in their production. Lorraine concluded with:

  • The term ‘clean beauty’ continues to grow in the voice of the consumer
  • Some in the wellness and beauty space continue to polarise the debate
  • We need to work with consumers and speak in their terminology but explain what that means to us
  • We’ve done this successfully with 6,500 global students at Formula Botanica 

EU Regulations and Cosmetic Claims, the July Deadline / How to Turn a Negative into a Positive

picture of Francesca RapollaFrancesca Rapolla, Regulatory Affairs Manager, CTPA

[The RDG Wales & West Meeting was on 11 June and the Technical Document on Cosmetic Claims came into force on 1 July]

The European Commission’s Technical Document on Cosmetic Claims provides best practice guidelines on the use of 'free from’ cosmetic claims. Francesca pointed out that phrases such as 'Free-from', 'No harsh ingredients', 'We avoid using X, Y or Z ….' and 'We do not use chemicals', were all negative statements. She stressed how important it is for brands to send positive messages about the amazing ingredients they use in their products. We live in a chemical universe and as the INCI listings for apples clearly illustrate, we and everything we eat, are composed of chemicals. Brands saying 'We do not use chemicals' are foolishly leaving themselves open to ridicule.

Francesca pointed out how it would be so much better for everyone, if cosmetic brands helped people recognise the truth and so help combat the many myths circulating online. She gave examples, such as parabens falsely claimed to cause breast cancer and be endocrine disruptors. In truth the safety of parabens has been thoroughly reviewed by the SCCS in the EU and CIR in the US and have been shown to be well tolerated by skin and not be carcinogenic etc. 

Cosmetic claims are strictly regulated under article 20 of the EU Cosmetic Products Regulation (CPR), which states; ‘in the labelling, making available on the market and advertising of cosmetic products, text, names, trademarks, pictures and figurative or other signs shall not be used to imply that these products have characteristics or function that they do not have’. Article 20 includes the Common Criteria on Cosmetic Claims. These are law and are as follows: Legal compliance, truthfulness, evidential support, honesty, fairness, informed decision-making. When making cosmetic claims, companies need to consider what the understanding of the averagely well-informed consumer will be vs the message they intend to deliver. Note, it is the Responsible Person, placing the products on the market who is liable for cosmetic claims relating to the product. The Technical Document on cosmetics claims is intended to clarify the situation and provide best practice guidelines on cosmetic claims. It looks at how the six common criteria apply to 'free-from' claims (including claims with a similar meaning, such as 'made without', 'no' or '0%' claims). Interestingly, because 'free-from' claims may offer consumer benefits associated with the claim, it may be allowed. Acceptability therefore depends on the product and the claim. The decision on whether a 'free-from' claim is or is not acceptable will be taken nationally on a case-by-case basis. A good example is a mouthwash claiming 'Alcohol-free'. The consumer knows the product does not contain alcohol and therefore knows it is suitable for the whole family, including children. The claim is informative and not denigrating alcohol, whereas the claim phenoxyethanol-free has no consumer benefit associated with it. A consumer who is allergic to this preservative can check the INCI list to ensure the product is suitable and the claim phenoxyethanol-free encourages the consumer to act on the negative perception of the safety of this ingredient and for this reason, the claim should not be made

[To provide extra help, the CTPA has created a Help Note on 'Free from' claims, which is available on their website.)

The Technical Document also gives guidance on how ‘hypoallergenic’ products should be formulated and how ‘hypoallergenic’ claims should be substantiated. They should not give the impression that the product guarantees the absence of sensitisation or allergic reaction and can only be used where the cosmetic product has been designed to minimise its allergenic potential. The presence of known allergens should be totally avoided. A claim that specifically targets consumers with adverse skin conditions who may therefore expect the products to treat, prevent or at least soothe the symptoms of adverse conditions would be considered a medicinal claim (eg For eczema prone skin). Francesca finished with a short summary of Natural and Organic claims and the various certifying bodies including ISO 16128 ‘Guidelines on definitions and criteria for natural and organic cosmetic ingredients and products’, for a harmonised approach internationally. It is important that these types of claims do not imply that the product is safer or better than another product, which is not natural or organic.

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