Ingredient Lists

AjmcguireAjmcguire Member
edited October 2014 in Cosmetic Industry
So, what is the reality and how far can or do cosmetic companies stretch their ingredient lists to the point of "that is not possible" for those who have formula knowledge?

Comments

  • BelassiBelassi Member
    edited October 2014
    One of the difficulties is the INCI nomenclature. For instance, we see things like linalool at the end of the list, but that doesn't mean the formulator put linalool into it. No, the formulator added an essential oil and that oil contains linalool. So we see perhaps three different INCI names and then have to think, "is this a commercial product"? And different but similar items can have the same INCI name (eg, Comperlan C-850 and Comperlan D-618 both DEA according to my supplier Conjunto Lar.)
    Swift's blog has interesting information about duplicating a product. I have tried myself a few times but usually end up finding a more attractive way of achieving the same result.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • IrinaTudorIrinaTudor Member, PCF student
    Well, here in the EU, an ingredient list must mention if any of the 26 (!) fragrance allergens are present in the cosmetic product above a 0.01% for rinse-off products or 0.001% for leave-on products. 
    Linalool is an example of such a fragrance material that is also considered a fragrance allergen. This doesn't necessarily mean it comes from an essential oil, it may as well be part of a fragrance formula and be of synthetic origin. However most natural fragrance ingredients contain a variety of fragrance allergens. These will all need to be listed separately at the end of the ingredient list.
    Also 'fragrance' as an ingredient will always be kept secret and may contain up to 500 different single molecules, most will remain undisclosed. One of the hardest things to reproduce in a cosmetic product is its fragrance.
    Irina Tudor Consultancy olfactory & fragrance training, formulation, research, EU safety assessment www.irinatudor.nl www.somethingsmelly.com get your daily smelly (science) fix on twitter SomethingSmelly
  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    In the US, the basic obligation is that every chemical that is in the product MUST be on the ingredient list. The FDA regulations that enforce this obligation carve out certain exemptions, and there are one or two "grey" areas. 

    To the best of my knowledge, there are no US cosmetic/personal care companies of any significant size that "stretch" their ingredient lists past what is legally permissible - the risks of getting caught are too high.

    Also, there is no benefit to doing so. Hardly anyone not a chemist believes this, but there is not a single personal care formula anywhere that cannot be analyzed and reverse engineered in a few days time - there is simply no such thing as a "secret formula" anymore. While the ingredient label is helpful for reverse engineering, it is by no means essential, so there is really no formulation reason to distort an ingredient list.
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • As I understand it, ingredients <1% do not even have to be listed in %order.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @Belassi - You're mostly right.  But it's ingredients 1% or less don't have to be listed in order.  So if Ingredient A was in the formula at 1% and Ingredient B was in the formula at 0.5%, it would be perfectly fine to list it a B,A or A,B.  However, if Ingredient A was used at 1.1% then it would have to be A,B
  • MakingSkincareMakingSkincare Member, PCF student
    Yes, definitely agreed Bob.  Most of my clients ask for duplication of an existing product and this can be achieved even without an ingredients list.
    Jane Barber
    www.makingskincare.com
    www.learncosmeticformulation.com (free online course)
    Formulation discussion forum (18,000 members): www.facebook.com/groups/makingskincare/
  • Interesting..
  • AjmcguireAjmcguire Member
    edited October 2014
    @Bob, that is the same with the fragrance industry, reverse engineering. "They" use a machine to read which aroma molecule/chemical is which. Like @Perry said, it's not the formula or, necessarily, the fragrance (yes, slight molecules added or taken out do make a difference to the whole) that well the product. It's branding and marketing and sales and who you know, etc.

  • IrinaTudorIrinaTudor Member, PCF student
    BobzchemistAjmcguire.

    I would like to add that reverse engineering a fragrance is a little bit more complicated and also more costly than your average cosmetic formula. 
    First you will indeed need to run a chemical analysis. But the results can only be interpreted correctly by a fragrance specialized chemist or analyst. Natural aromatics like essential oils, for example, are made up of several single molecules.
    Then you will need a perfumer that is able to identify molecules that are added in trace amounts. Some fragrance molecules have a huge impact on the odor even in quantities as little as 0.00001 %.
    And you will probably stumble across 'captives'. These are aroma molecules or a mixture of aromatics that are patented and cannot be used by other companies than the one that synthesized them. 
    A nice book on the subject is "Scent & chemistry" 
    Irina Tudor Consultancy olfactory & fragrance training, formulation, research, EU safety assessment www.irinatudor.nl www.somethingsmelly.com get your daily smelly (science) fix on twitter SomethingSmelly
  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    @Irina, that is very true, and duplicating a fragrance, or even getting something close, is often the toughest and most expensive part of reverse engineering/duplicating a finished product.

    There is a reason why the large consumer products companies spend so much time and money on fragrances - they are well aware that consumers connect their products, and product quality, with the quality and recognizability of their fragrance. In a great many formulas, the fragrance is by far the most expensive component.

    You can duplicate a formula exactly, and match its performance precisely, but if it doesn't smell right, the vast majority of consumers will refuse to accept that it is the same thing - another reason why there's usually so little distortion in ingredient labeling.
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • What amuses me about all this is that there are factors in my city who provide fakes of pretty much any perfume you might have heard of! Fake Ed Hardy costs around $200/kilo, for instance.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    @Belassi Oh don't be surprised, I know few reputed suppliers who are willing to supply any namesake that a customer is looking for. Times have changed indeed.
  • What worries me, actually, is that the first product I designed is a hand cream, and it is becoming increasingly popular, customers have recently told me they love it because of the smell. Unthinkingly I used one of the fake famous aromas when I first made it. You can see where that's going. 
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • IrinaTudorIrinaTudor Member, PCF student
    Indeed @Bob. I remember an article on the blind evaluation of cosmetics and I believe the 3 main factors were of a sensory nature with the top 3 being fragrance, color & texture.

    And yes, duplication of fragrances is getting better all the time (and very handy and educational), but it will still remain a 'smell alike' and seldom a 'smells the same'. 
    Irina Tudor Consultancy olfactory & fragrance training, formulation, research, EU safety assessment www.irinatudor.nl www.somethingsmelly.com get your daily smelly (science) fix on twitter SomethingSmelly
  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    Interesting, funny, and sad but true story about fragrance and perception - a certain relatively large cosmetic/ consumer products company had a "brilliant" idea to reduce cost - reduce the fragrance by 20% in their product, and then do a consumer evaluation to see if a typical consumer can tell the difference. Well, it turns out that the majority of consumers cannot tell the difference with that small a fragrance reduction, so the change was made.

    Then, they made their first mistake - after some time went by, they reduced the fragrance again. Again, consumers could not tell the difference. BUT...they didn't bother to test against the original 100% fragrance level version (After all, why should they? They weren't ever going back to the 100% version) - they only tested the once-reduced version against the twice-reduced version.

    Long story short, they kept doing this - and now their fragrance level is so low that it doesn't really cover the smell of their base, to the point that some consumers can't detect the fragrance at all. And they can't figure out why they don't get new customers for this product anymore...
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • Interesting story Bob! Thanks!
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    @Bob interesting indeed, though I too have done a little fooling around. But mine was a replacement of one perfume with another in my w/o emulsions, as the shipment of our perfumes got delayed. Thankfully no one could notice the change of fragrance. 


Sign In or Register to comment.