Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Detecting Bullsh**t from active ingredients

  • Detecting Bullsh**t from active ingredients

    Posted by nielrobertlim on March 13, 2024 at 10:08 pm

    Good day to everyone here! Any tips on how you can detect bullsh**t from your active ingredient supplier especially for skincare products? How do you know if someone is really good formulator from supplier side or if they are just making up stuff in brochure to sell with really no perceivable when applied to body? I hope the experienced here can give some valuable tips

    nielrobertlim replied 1 month ago 9 Members · 18 Replies
  • 18 Replies
  • Meemcha

    Member
    March 14, 2024 at 4:47 am

    Look or ask for in-vivo data as that information actually tells you what you can expect from an active. In-vitro and ex-vivo can give you some insight, but in-vivo is what you want. If a material doesn’t have any data supplied, then you either choose to believe the supplier or pick another material. There are some exceptions, usually with common ingredients. For example, no supplier will provide in vivo data for an essential oil, but there are plenty of studies on essential oils for various skin and health concerns, you just need to research.

  • Graillotion

    Member
    March 14, 2024 at 3:24 pm

    I guess I always assumed…if I was reading marketing material….I was already neck deep in Bu!!$i+. I guess I tend to do things backasswards…. I read research first….and then look for a product that is being sold, similar to the researched ingredient. Call me crazy…I know.

    Um….formulas from vendors….those are designed to showcase/feature an ingredient. If the person/intern that wrote those formulas had any skill…they’d be working for a company that made end user products (for 3X the pay)!

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  Graillotion.
    • nielrobertlim

      Member
      March 14, 2024 at 7:30 pm

      Any kinds of credible research to look into? There are so many conflicting information out there that makes my head spin a LOT!

      • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  nielrobertlim.
  • Graillotion

    Member
    March 14, 2024 at 3:27 pm

    Maybe I should add….there aren’t many secrets in the world. If something works….everyone already knows about it. 😉 That being said…..when I got to the bottom of the deo well….I was surprised to find how many stones were yet to be turned over? Maybe it takes too much work….to do that much digging on the commercial level? Or more likely….it is all about being just good enough…and creating mfg efficiencies. 😉

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  Graillotion.
    • nielrobertlim

      Member
      March 14, 2024 at 7:33 pm

      Hi graillotion! Any tips on how to choose which information to dig deep into among the sea of information out there? They are many instances that they are conflicting with one to another. This is my struggle especially in our industry.

      • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  nielrobertlim.
  • Microformulation

    Member
    March 14, 2024 at 4:33 pm

    Generally, if the raw material promises anything past a Cosmetic Claim and isn’t an OTC Active, it’s likely marketing. Remember that the materials marketers are not marketing to a final retail product and have more wiggle room.

    “The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act
    (FD&C Act) defines cosmetics as “articles intended to be rubbed,
    poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied
    to the human body…for cleansing, beautifying, promoting
    attractiveness, or altering the appearance” [FD&C Act, sec. 201(i)].
    Among the products included in this definition are skin moisturizers,
    perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail polishes, makeup, cleansing shampoos,
    permanent waves, hair colors, and deodorants, as well as any substance
    intended for use as a component of a cosmetic product.”

    • nielrobertlim

      Member
      March 14, 2024 at 7:36 pm

      How about the situtation where they still make claims within the boundaries of cosmetic definition? How do I sense the bullsh*t? It is very tedious for formulator to test skincare active ingredients one by one and wait for at least 30 days to see the effect. It becomes harder to choose active ingredients when there are lots of supplier/vendor claiming the same stuff.

      • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  nielrobertlim.
      • PhilGeis

        Member
        March 14, 2024 at 7:57 pm

        Think you should start with BS and look for reasons that being veracity

        • nielrobertlim

          Member
          March 14, 2024 at 9:21 pm

          In P&G, how do you test among the skincare active ingredients when pitched by sea of vendors claiming the same stuff?

          • PhilGeis

            Member
            March 15, 2024 at 6:05 am

            P&G can afford equipment and methods that break out effects - not that these will translate to something a consumer would perceive.

          • ketchito

            Member
            March 15, 2024 at 6:28 am

            Also, having some knowledge on chemistry, physiology and colloids can help you narrow it down to only the ingredients that have a real potential to have an effect (which are very few). Those are the ones to test. Real knowledge and having good sources of information (scientific papers, books, etc) is the best anti BS tool.

  • ozgirl

    Member
    March 14, 2024 at 5:14 pm

    I always assume that marketing information is overly exaggerated. The skill of the formulator is often deciding if that marketing BS will work with your brand/marketing story within the limit of cosmetic claims.

    For example - A natural brand will prefer a plant extract over a functional silicone even if the product doesn’t perform as well. Whereas a high end brand will add the functional (but not natural) ingredient.

  • Perry44

    Administrator
    March 15, 2024 at 8:41 am

    If someone is trying to sell you something, you should begin with the assumption that they are not telling you the whole truth. This isn’t to say they are lying to you but all facts are dressed up to tell the best story. And sometimes, they are lying.

    But to your question more specifically.

    This is a slightly controversial opinion, but I do not believe any actives that are not proven drug actives are effective at doing anything noticeable for a consumer’s skin. The one exception are Alpha Hydroxy Acids which pretty clearly cause a reaction on skin.

    But things like Peptides, vitamins, extracts, flavonoids, retinoids, niacinamide, or whatever anti aging ingredient is being sold, they just don’t have consumer perceptible effects. Sure, there may be some lab data but when these things get put into moisturizing formulas, any effect they might have had is overshadowed by the obvious effects of just using a moisturizer.

    And honestly, the research that is published even in peer reviewed literature is mostly terrible. They rig the studies to ensure they show some significant effect. They never answer the questions that people really want to know. They answer questions that will best help them sell their ingredients.

    I’ve participated in running these studies. You don’t pay good money for research just to publish negative results. That means only positive results are published & anything negative is just not submitted.

    Now, I don’t wish to come off sounding so cynical as I do believe there certainly is potential for active ingredients in skin care. I just don’t think the stuff out there right now provides consumer noticeable effects for the vast majority of consumers. Good moisturizers is about all we’ve got.

    • nielrobertlim

      Member
      March 15, 2024 at 10:53 pm

      Hi perry! How about the scientific articles written in well-known scientific books? Are they credible source regarding the efficacy of active ingredients? Sample books are Harry’s Cosmeticology 9th edition, Cosmetic Formulation of Skin Care Products by Zoe Draelos etc. I am overloaded by sea of information overload. I hope you guide me in the direction where I can find credible source regarding the efficacy of skin care ingredients

      • mikethair

        Member
        March 16, 2024 at 1:41 am

        As a scientist, I believe that articles written in well-known scientific books and journals are credible at the time of publishing. But having said that, we must remain open to new data which may change your mind. So, for a scientist, the mindset is that no conclusion is 100% definitive. Later articles in journals may shed new light on an issue.

        There are no definitives or absolute truths in ongoing research.

        For example, in my younger years, I did a lot of research on marine algae (seaweed). What I read last week completely contradicted what I had concluded so many years ago. And the focus these days includes the use of seaweed in producing skincare ingredients.

      • Perry44

        Administrator
        March 16, 2024 at 3:28 pm

        I actually have a chapter in the Harry’s book & the Draelos books are good sources. But these books, and other industry standard books, tend to just report on research that gets published. It’s helpful to learn about what is out there and how things may theoretically work. However, these books and the journals that publish the research they are based on, suffer from a positivity bias. They need something new to publish. They can’t publish negative studies that tell people what I believe is generally true: nothing that isn’t a drug active provides any consumer noticeable effect better than a good moisturizer.

        The industry is filled with motivated research. It’s not like basic research where scientists are trying to find out what is true. Rather it is research designed to demonstrate what might be true. And that is because most of it is funded by companies that financially benefit from finding good marketing stories to help sell their products.

        But if you’re looking to learn the basics of what is believed in the industry and by consumers, those books are good places to start.

        I’ll add that AI isn’t going to help much with this problem either. It’s been trained on weak research & just parrots back those results.

        • nielrobertlim

          Member
          March 19, 2024 at 8:55 pm

          Thanks for your frank assesment of situation. If that is the case, are there any credible sources of ” basic research ” ? Please recommend me if there are any specific ones you can recommend

        • nielrobertlim

          Member
          March 19, 2024 at 8:58 pm

          Also, can you recommend me sources of information that is very frank in assesment like yours? Any books, influencial chemist etc will do. I highly appreciate your input

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