A preservative used in foods and cosmetics. Synthetic in origin but permitted in natural and organic formulations due to its nature-identical structure.
We've all been there, created a beautiful bubble bath, body wash or shampoo only to have it fall apart the moment we pop in our Essential oils. While this sort of thing doesn't exactly come as a huge surprise - essential oils are volatile mixtures and are prone to wreaking havoc in a formula - we thought it was time to take a closer look at the situation and so we did.
There were 28,000 tonnes of essential oils grown globally in 2012 - TWENTY EIGHT THOUSAND TONNES!Wow.Breaking that down by region we get the following and as you can see, the bulk of production volume is concentrated in a very small number of essential oils - the usual 80/20 rule (80% of volume from 20% of oils)...
The words 'natural' and 'cosmetics' just go together don't they? As a manufacturer that operates in the Essential and Vegetable Oils market it is not surprising that the vast majority of our customers come to us with very clear ideas about what they want IN their formulations, having read up on the benefits of all manor of lovely things - Argan Oil, Sandalwood Powder, Kakadu Plumb or Virgin Coconut oil. Clients are also very good at knowing what they want OUT of their formula - parabens, SLS/ SLES, Mineral Oil, Silicones, Fragrances and sometimes more. The only problem is that many clients don't fully understand WHY any of these ingredients are on the must avoid list and have little understanding of the full implications of these 'easy-to-say-but-harder-to-achieve' positions. The motivation behind the vast majority of clients is safety which begs the question "What do we mean by 'safe'?"
You know that old saying 'the devil is in the detaiel'; well I've been wondering what that means and more specifically how that saying might relate to the success of a cosmetic brand. Despite well over twenty years of cosmetic industry experience spanning manufacturing, testing, material supply and management, brand development and customer service you will not find any of the staff here at New Directions singing out about how easy it is to become the next Body Shop or L'Oreal. That said, people do come through the NDA doors, month after month, year after year fired up and willing to give it a go, some of them succeeding in the most delightful ways. So why is that and more importantly how can we help YOU become one of the success stories?
The thinking cosmetic chemists dilemma...
You want your products to work but can't afford to test them so what do you do? The only thing you can do is look at what has been done before, look at what you have got and do a bit of calculating.
With our palm oil free soap bars launching this month we've been doing a bit of thinking about all things foamy and found out some interesting facts and background information on nature's own offering - Saponin.
With so many preservatives to choose from how do you work out which one is going to give you the protection and label claims that you require? The answer is that it is actually quite complex.
According to the Danish Asthma and Allergy Association as many as 10% of the Danish population suffer from contact allergies attributed at least in part to cosmetic exposure. That is a huge number and one that I have some sympathy for being a contact allergy sufferer myself (although I take responsibility for that having chosen a career as a chemist in spite of my dermatologist telling me that it was a crazy idea being an eczema suffering, hay fever blubbering wreck of a human without too much extra encouragement).Anyway, suffice to say that contact allergies are no fun at all and by the look of it lots of people are suffering.
A closer look at speciality carrier oils available from New Directions.What makes an oil so special?
Around 17 years ago when I first started in the cosmetics industry the oil that we most frequently used was mineral.These days mineral oil is discounted not just for the fact that it is from non-renewable resources but also because it does nothing good for the skin.But is that fair? Chemically speaking the mineral oil that is used in skin care is often pure, clean and pretty good at locking moisture into the skin.It is rare for people to be allergic to the oil and it contains nothing complex or surprising which makes it an excellent choice for people like me who suffer from eczema, dry skin and impaired barrier function.However, the distaste for supporting fossil fuels has led us to greener pastures and with that has come some surprising and often helpful additional features!