Back in 1992, when I started formulating, consumers were not as concerned about the chemicals used to make their cosmetics. They wanted cosmetic products that gave that gave them the benefits they were looking for and they didn’t think much about the ingredients used to get there. In fact, one of the first formulations I worked on, VO5 Conditioner, contained Formaldehyde as the primary preservative! I quickly changed that but this was a product that sold millions of units every year. Beauty product consumers didn’t really care.
But a lot has changed since those days. The rise of environmentally conscious movement, consumer activists groups and the Internet have all combined to create ingredient sensitive consumers who still want effective cosmetics but are looking for ones that contain ingredients that are more sustainable and feel more safe. A large majority of consumers won’t buy cosmetics that contain scary sounding ingredients.
Today’s cosmetic formulator has to be aware of the taboo ingredients and learn to formulate with more environmentally friendly alternatives that haven’t been derived from petroleum products.
Sadly consumers don’t know about the many organic and natural standards available and cosmetic formulators are left to wonder whether the ingredients they use will be acceptable to the people who they are trying to sell products to.
Being a cosmetic formulator is much more difficult today than it was even 5 years ago.