Tag Archives: INCI

Cosmetics; true claims or publicity?

Though the skin acts as a barrier to the “outside world”, a lot of the stuff we put on it will pass through and enter the bloodstream, influencing every cell of your body. In this day of enlightenment with information and knowledge, literally at your fingertips, more and more people are growing aware of the importance of what you put on, and in, your body. Later years there has been a great wave of new awareness of “the bad stuff”; chemicals, artificial flavorings, synthetic perfumes and manipulated foods. People stay clear of that which they know to be bad and try to make informed choices, especially when it comes to food. BUT when it comes to skin care, only the tip of the ice-berg has been scraped.

Catchy, but is it true?

Catchy, but is it true?

The cosmetic market is one of the largest in the world, turning over more money than we can even imagine and there have been almost no regulations whatsoever. Over the past few years new bodies of regulation have been formed and guide-lines are being set up. This is all good and well, but in reality it means nothing because the only regulations we are seeing are about certain (a very small percent) ingredients which have shown to be harmful to human health. There are still no guidelines in place about what you are allowed to say in terms of publicity. A producer can say anything he likes, even if it is a blatant lie. (see earlier post)

As a producer and manufacturer of botanical organic products, I have spent much time doing research among people and shops; How informed are people and what do they ask for? How informed are the staff in cosmetic sections? I have spent hours browsing cosmetic departments in many different countries and the picture is the same everywhere…The answer is; NOTHING! More people than ever are asking for “clean” cosmetics; no chemicals, no animal-testing, organic and natural. They trust the staff in the shop to know these things and help them, but the staff only knows that which they have been told when trained to sell specific brands. This is no knowledge at all, it is publicity. Staff as well as the common person don’t know how to read inci-list (ingredients) nor do they know what the words mean. On top of that the inci-list is printed on some obscure part of the packaging that you have to search for and in such tiny letters that I need both my glasses and a magnifying glass to read it. (see this post on inci) If you buy cosmetics over the internet, the inci is not always listed on the site, only on the physical product.

Clinically? I doubt it. Spread on that botox, no more shots...Seriously?

Clinically? I doubt it. Spread on that botox, no more shots…Seriously?

Animal testing is a huge arena and the world is beginning to understand the impact such testing has on millions, billions of animals. Most people are horrified and would never want to use any product that has been tested on animals. The majority of products on the market today claim that they have not been tested on animals which is probably true. BUT many of the different ingredients have been tested on animals, even though the finished product hasn’t been tested. Claims on skin care are seldom true, they are publicity.

With this I will leave you to inform yourself; what do you actually need for your personal hygiene and cosmetics? What is acceptable to you? If you want to know more and inform yourself so that you can make better choices, there are loads of sites on the internet where you can find this information very easily, I have put a few links on the right under “information & resources”. When you go shopping, ask questions and demand informed answers.

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LisaLise’s natural skin care

ll220pxI’d like to introduce an interesting lady that I have been following  for some time. Her blog that is, I am not stalking her 🙂

LisaLise makes natural skin care and has her own brand LisaLise Pure Natural Skin Care. Pop over to check out all the yummy products that she makes and sells.  She has lots of information, DIY recipes and little stories around the products she creates. Definitely worth a read if you are interested in natural skin care. She also writes about mistakes made along the way; why and how and what she learned from it, which is valuable for anybody making skin care for themselves.

LisaLise Blog is of interest to everybody interested in Natural skin care, Both for information on INCI, ingredients and some studies as well as for creating your own products. Enjoy the read…And your experiments 🙂

 

INCI revealed

I have a cream in my hand; “regenerating night cream, all skin types“.The cost of it is ca €20 for 50ml. It is ecologically certified by eco cert. The label states:” 99% of the total ingredients are from natural origin / 28% of the total ingredients are from organic farming.” Here is the inci-list: (I will break it down for you)

Aqua (water), Simmondsia chinensis oil* (jojoba oil), Alcohol, Glycerin* (moisturizer), Persea gratissima oil *(avocado oil), Rosa damascena distillate* (rose-water), Cetearyl alcohol (emulsifier), Theobroma cacao seed* (cocoa butter), Hippophae rhamnoides extract* (seabuckthorn), Lycopersicum esculentum extract* (tomato), Glycine soja oil and Tocopherol (soy bean oil and vitamin E), Hordeum vulgare extract* (barley germ), Algae extract (seaweed), Humulus lupulus extract* (hops), Cetearyl glucoside (emulsifier), Plantago major extract* (plantain), Calendula officinalis extract* (marigold), Chamomilla recutita extract* (chamomile), Stearic acid (emulsifier, stabilizer), Sodium hyaluronate (skin conditioning agent), Xanthan gum (stabilizer, emulsifier), Potassium hydroxide*** (pH-regulator), Aroma**, Citral**, Citronellol**, Geranio**l, Limonene**, Linalool**  (there is no indication if the whole essential oil is used or just isolated chemicals)

*ingredients from organic farming. **natural essential oils. ***inorganic substances.

Remember, water is about 50-60%, and all the other ingredients will make up the rest; 40-50% of the cream. They are listed in percentual order; highest first. I have put the questionable ingredients in bold, these are the ones we are going to look at first. Let’s start at the top:

  • Alcohol: Moisturizers that contain a low molecular weight of alcohol fail to be effective because they quickly evaporate from the skin surface. In a cream alcohol speeds up absorption rate (how fast it goes into the skin.) Considering that this ingredient is in 3rd place, indicates a rather high %.
  • Stearic acid: This ingredient may be derived from animals. From PETA’s Caring Consumer: Fat from cows and sheep and from dogs and cats euthanized in animal shelters, etc. Most often refers to a fatty substance taken from the stomachs of pigs. Can be harsh, irritating. Used in cosmetics, soaps, lubricants, candles, hairspray, conditioners, deodorants, creams, chewing gum, food flavoring.   Stearic acid can be found in many vegetable fats, coconut. (Skin deep)
  • Sodium hyaluronate: Sodium hyaluronate is the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring polysaccharide found in connective tissues such as cartilage. This ingredient is listed in the PETA’s Caring Consumer guide as derived from animal sources. (Skin deep)
  • Potassium hydroxide: Potassium Hydroxide is a caustic inorganic base. Classified as medium human health priority. Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful. Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by industry panel. (Skin deep)
  • Cetearyl alcohol & Cetearyl glucoside are commonly used emulsifiers. Cetearyl Alcohol is a mixture of cetyl and stearyl alcohols that can come from vegetable or synthetic sources. Cetearyl glucoside is a surfactant and emulsifier produced from natural or synthetic ingredients. (Skin deep)

Now, let’s do the math: 28% of the ingredients come from organic farming; that’s the oils, fats, moisturizer and herbal extracts. Leaves 72% of other stuff; 50-60 % is water which leaves us with ca 10-20% for vitamins, some herbals and emulsifiers. 99% of the ingredients come from natural sources; animal or vegetable? And the last 1% is the Potassium hydroxide which is more or less the same thing as caustic soda – a highly corrosive agent. It is even higher in percentage than the perfume.

Another concern I have are the many different herbal extracts; how do they react with each-other? See my earlier post on blending too many ingredients together here. “All natural substances are alive, they react with each-other; sometimes they create a synergy that will do great things. Other times they enhance more negative aspects.

Source: Skin Deep

SKIN CARE revealed

I know I have written about this earlier but I find I need to bring it up again, seeing as there are so many questions around the whole thing. For earlier posts, check under tags: product information and skin-care.

Truths about skin care products:

  • CLAIMS: There are no rules or regulations whatsoever around what you may say about skin care, this is the Wild West. You can claim anything you want as a producer and you don’t even have to prove it. Take the word hypo-allergenic; this means that if your skin is extremely sensitive or you suffer from allergies, this is the product to use. The claim hypo-allergenic makes you believe that it is widely tested and formulated for any sensitivities…WRONG. It is just a product like all others, but it sounds good. So you’re in the shit, or rather your skin is. The only way you can determine if a product will work for you is by reading the INCI-list.
  • INCI-list: This is the only regulation that exists around skin-care, you have to list all the ingredients in order of amount, largest amount is at the top. Great thing, now you can check for the stuff you are sensitive to. The ingredients are listed with chemical and botanical names to be internationally viable. This definitely makes sense, but most people don’t understand what they are reading. Do you know what the botanical name of shea-butter is? If you want to know what is in your creme, google it. There is massive information on the internet.
  • BIO or ORGANIC: Sounds good when it is stamped on a product, now you get the “real” thing, or do you? All it takes is one organic ingredient in the formula and you can get BIO-certification. There are no specific rules around this, each certifying body (and there are quite a few) can decide as they like. Or there might be ingredients chemically derived from botanical or organic sources, this will count for BIO as well.
  • REGISTRATION: Each skin care product must be registered, at a fee of course, before it can be put on the market. Small producers of “clean” skin care most often don’t have the economy for this, so they are effectively shut out from the market-place leaving only the big players such as L’Oreal, Nivea, Dove.
  • €€€: It’s all about the money; by keeping production costs down, there is a big return in money on every sale. Natural & organic substances are expensive and would radically minimize the monetary gain on products, so cheap ingredients are used instead, even in very expensive products. Don’t be fooled…An expensive product in a beautiful package does not mean it is necessarily any good.

…And so on and so forth. Get the picture?

WHAT IS IN YOUR SKIN-CARE?

“The European Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (COLIPA) informed the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association (CTFA) that the Legal Services of the EU Commission has accepted the names in CTFA’s International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary (ICID) without translation. These names, which are now designated as International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient (INCI) names, will be used by EU members to identify ingredients in the EU Inventory of cosmetic ingredients and are expected to be the basis for ingredient labeling on products that will be required in the EU in 1997.”

(taken from a FDA document that you can look closer at here.)

Simplified, this means that until this time there were no regulations regarding the declaring of ingredients in skin-care. You could put anything you liked in there, and nobody would ever know. Because of, or maybe thanks to, increasing allergic reactions, the demand for clarity about ingredients in skin-care pushed the need of this law. To simplify the communication and understanding of ingredients, INCI (International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient) was decided upon: This means that all ingredients by plant extracts are named by their Latin botanical names (according to Linneae) and for other ingredients the chemical names are used. These names are recognized world-wide. Regulations also stipulate that on the label the ingredients should be listed in falling order with the largest ingredient first. To give you an idea of the amounts: A cream consists of about 50-60% water, a lotion of 70-90% water. The ingredients way down on the list are in the proportions of 0,x% or even 0,0x%. So if you buy, for example, a product that is labeled with something special; lavender or Aloe Vera or something, check the list. Chances are that you find this ingredient among the last on the list, and then you know the amounts are around 0.x%. There is no law stipulating WHAT you can say, only that you list it. Following are the INCI-lists of 2 well-known, popular body-lotions. I have highlighted the pure natural ingredients.

This is the INCI-list of a popular body lotion: Aqua, Ethylhexyl Cocoate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Paraffinum liquidum, Glycerin, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Vitis Vinifera Seed Extract, Linoleic Acid, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Cera Microcristallina, Disodium Phosphate, Propylene Glycol, Parfum, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Sorbic Acid, Benzoic acid, BHT, Pentaerythrityl Tetradi-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Alcohol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citronellol, Coumarin, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamat, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Limonene, Linalol.

Several of these chemicals are known toxins.

This is the INCI-list of a natural body-lotion: Water/Aqua, Rose (Rosa Canina) Hip Extract, Rose (Rosa Gallica) Petal Extract, Sweet Almond (Prunus Dulcis) Oil, Alcohol, Glycerin, Quince (Pyrus Cydonia) Seed Extract, Shea (Butyrospermum Parkii) Butter, Carrot (Daucus Carota) Extract, Jojoba (Buxus Chinensis) Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Beeswax/Cera Flava, Rose (Rosa Gallica) Wax, Rose (Rosa Damascena) Essential Oil, Fragrance/Parfum (Essential Oil), Citronellol*, Geraniol*, Limonene*, Linalool*, Citral*, Coumarin*, Eugenol*, Benzyl Benzoate*, Propolis Wax/Propolis Cera, Lecithin, Xanthan Gum


I leave it up to you to make your decision about what kind of stuff you want to put on your skin. Remember though that if molecules are small enough, they go straight through your skin and into your bloodstream from where they can access every cell of your body.

If you want more information on different chemicals or skin-care ingredients, you can check out this website: http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/