Article by: Perry Romanowski

Interview begins at 13:35

Interview – Alex Westerberg

Alex Westerberg is the Research Director at Cosmarts where he enjoys formulating cosmetics products, and oddly enough, knows the do’s and dont’s of the European cosmetic legislation. He speaks fluently in five different languages, including sign language.  He is a highly academically educated cosmetic chemistry rockstar in the European cosmetic industry. Welcome to the program Alex!

You can connect with Alex at Cosmarts.com

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Cosmetic Industry

How to label a cosmetic product

My first experience with cosmetic labeling came in college when I turned over the bottle of a shampoo and looked at the ingredient list. It was right around the time when I was learning how to name chemicals and I was confused why I couldn’t recognize almost any of the ingredients. It turns out that the cosmetic industry doesn’t follow the IUPAC system which is what they teach you in college. It follows the system set up by the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) as described in the INCI Dictionary. See our previous post on cosmetic labeling and the naming conventions in it.

But the ingredients names in your formula are only part of the labeling process. You also have to follow the labeling rules laid out by the FDA that affect ingredient order, placement on the label, text

6 comments

  1. DebbieB

    Interesting and educational. Would love to learn more about the subject Perry and Alex discussed.

  2. Eliza

    Awesome podcast, Perry & Alex, thank you so much! Very interesting and timely too.

    I have a couple of questions:

    I was looking into the
    http://www.dmu.ac.uk/study/courses/undergraduate-courses/pharmaceutical-and-cosmetic-science.aspx
    but this is a full time degree that you need to attend weekly for at least 17 hrs. So I was wondering how did you manage that, Alex, back and forth from Finland?

    As for the legislation in Europe, including the 2013 changes, I think it all comes down to (toxicological) exposure to certain ingredients. Because of me building a (future) small cosmetic company, I talked with several safety assessors and they assured me that most of the changes on microbiological and challenge testing only applied to aqueous cosmetic products as long as you can provide detailed information on each and every ingredient. Do you know more on this subject Alex?

    I might contact you with more questions, Alex 🙂
    Thanks you both again for a lovely podcast!

    1. Alex Westerberg

      Hi Eliza,

      I have been told that the DMU unfortunately stopped offering the Cosmetic Science as a distance learning after 2011. Most British Councils, over 100 of them globally offer what is called “external examination service.” The exam papers get delivered by the university to the local British Council´(www.britishcouncil.org) who will then supervise/sit you on the exams and courier the exam papers back to the university.

      However if you’re looking for an excellent 360-degrees of the industry, UK Society of Cosmetic Scientists has an excellent Distance Learning Course in Cosmetic Science that is open to participants worldwide that lasts for one year. I’ve taken the course and can testify that the study material (including chemicals packs needed for experiments/practical activity) are made specifically for the course and are of excellent quality.
      http://www.cosmeticlearning.com/

      Actually the new cosmetic cosmetic regulation 1223/2009 does not only revolve around microbiology and challenge testing.

      The big catch is, as you put said, “as long as you can provide detailed information on each and every ingredient”.

      Annex I of the Cosmetic Regulation 1223/2009 available at http://www.cosmarts.com/media/1223_2009_Annex_I.pdf lists the minimum what has to be on file and prepared for every cosmetic product safety-wise.

      The amount of documents needed for each and every product is getting quite monumental as the safety of each product has to be scientifically reasoned in very detailed manner, notifications to poison control centers made, etc.

      The another problem is that many safety assessments done in accordance to the old cosmetic directive often had just a boilerplate statement about the safety and that is not enough with the new regulation. The industry is very busy in updating their documents.

      You can contact me at alex at Cosmarts.com

      1. Eliza

        Thank you so much, Alex, I’ll contact you shortly!

  3. Chrysa

    Whan an interesting interview and podcast on the whole. Helped me clear some issues regarding the legislation in Europe..
    Thank you Perry…

    1. Perry

      Thanks Chrysa

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