Are the days of "natural" cosmetics coming to an end?

PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
If this lawsuit succeeds, I think that could kill the "natural" claim on most every beauty product.  According to the natural cosmetic lawsuit, Oars + Alps is being sued for claiming natural despite the fact that they use ingredients like dimethicone. 

But what is more interesting is that they also included common "natural formulating" ingredients like caprylyl glycol, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, propanediol, ethylhexylglycerin, and citric acid in the lawsuit.

Of course, I don't think it would be such a bad thing if companies had to stop with the pretend natural claims. If natural cosmetics could only be made using truly natural ingredients, they wouldn't be nearly as successful in the marketplace. 

What do you think?
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Comments

  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    edited June 27
    "According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture Draft Guidance Decision Tree for the classification of materials as either synthetic or natural, a substance is natural if it is made, produced or extracted from a natural source and has not undergone a chemical change so that it is chemically or structurally different than how it occurs naturally. Likewise, a substance is natural if a chemical change affecting it was created by naturally occurring biological processes, such as composting, fermentation or burning, the suit states"

    If this suit prevails, this may actually a good thing because it provides clarification and a definition of "Natural" ingredients as being essentially minimally-processed extraction or biotechnological manufacturing.  Note most of the ingredients they objected to are preservatives.  It will take a couple of options currently used to preserve natural products, primarily Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzoate, off the table.  No, it won't be the end of Natural, it'll just result in some posers changing their labelling and marketing.  
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Perhaps, but it will knock out a ton of ingredients and make the ones left really expensive. How do you make something like cetyl alcohol using a biological process?  And are they going to count genetically modified yeast or bacteria as "natural"?

    I agree natural won't disappear but it may be relegated to products like a tub of coconut oil or shea butter. I don't see how you can make a natural surfactant-containing cleanser.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    edited June 27
    @Perry:

    I think it will affect the marketing language more than anything else.  With the pandemic, consumer preferences have shifted more to skinminalist performance products ... more to what has been defined as Clean Beauty, although that term is also under pressure.  Yes, you are correct, it may well knock a few product formats out of being marketed as Natural.  Until such time as the FDA adopts the USDA Draft Guidance Decision Tree as a defintion of Natural, if it ever does, it will continue to be an open question as to what exactly is a Natural ingredient.    
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    edited June 28
    "Natural" in  cosmetic context is clearly and most frequently a sham for the suckers.   But most cosmetics are sold on that basis.
    Some care to engage some not.  Ethics are calibrated to economics.
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Perry said:
    ...And are they going to count genetically modified yeast or bacteria as "natural"?
    ...I don't see how you can make a natural surfactant-containing cleanser.
    Sometimes they are genetically modified but more often a slightly different approach is prefered: biotechnology. Not that there would be any ethical or functional difference IMHO but biotech isn't GMO.

    The knowledge is around for about two decades and industry is finally picking up pace with larger scale porduction of sophorolipids and rhamnolipids: EXAPLE 1 and EXAMPLE 2 (both are from Evonik... I think they bought up the original French inventers).
  • ketchitoketchito Member
    Defining a natural ingredient shouldn't be so complicated from the technical point of view. Nevertheless, by using only natural ingredients, not only performance of most products would be drastically impaired, but most suppliers would not be able to sell (almost) anything.

    So, it's again favoring the manufacturers rather than the consumers, to make the natural CLAIM a very profitable and long-lasting one. It seems like an impossible goal to make companies more honest and ethic. 
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @ketchito:

    You actually need two or three ingredient definitions.  (1) Natural (The USDA definition is a good start; (2) Naturally-Derived, meaning ingredients that use precursors that are naturally derived, plant-based, but synthetically modified to yield the final ingredient; (3) Nature-Identical, but synthetically manufactured.  But, I doubt that will ever happen by the FDA.

    In looking at their products, the Oars + Alps natural claims focused on the natural ingredients they did use in their products, but completely ingnored the PEGS and other synthetic ingredients they also used, so it was a pretty blatant case of making false natural claims.  They clearly were not following any natural standards, so they can't use that as a defense of any kind.

    I think given the egregious violation, this case will get settled out of court.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @MarkBroussard - The USDA does not regulate cosmetics and what the FDA does defer to the USDA is for the term "organic" not "natural".

    I think Oars + Alps could certainly make a case that their definition of "natural" fits with the legislation that is making its way through congress. According to the Natural Cosmetics Act, ‘natural’ means a product consisting of at least 70% natural substances and ‘naturally-derived ingredient’.  I haven't looked at their ingredient lists but I'm sure the lawyers at SC Johnson have thought of it.

    I agree with you that I doubt we will ever get a definition from the FDA. What I think will happen is the same thing that happened when they tried to define "hypoallergenic".  They'll set some definition, a court will rule against it, and natural will just become an empty, fluff marketing claim.
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    Be aware, the debate re natural and other cynical marketing claims goes on within companies as well.   Amoral folks in marketing too often win.  

    I'll offer as relevant example that very few major companies have converted to "natural" preservatives (so many here pursue) despite their eager marketing folks and careerist managers.  The reason being that they know manufacturing and consumer risks with the contrivances even to Shakespearian eye of newt.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @Perry:

    Yes, but there is nothing preventing the FDA from adopting/using the same definition of Natural that the USDA does.

    Actually, I don't think Oars + Alps would be in compliance with the proposed Natural Cosmetics Act ... they use Ethoxylated ingredients which would be prohibited under the Act.

    It would be nice if the Natural Cosmetics Act became law to put an end to the nonsense surrounding the definition of Natural.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    In looking at this closer, this lawsuit will not change anything.  The lawyers have SC Johnson dead to right on intentionally misleading consumers.  There is no way they can justify that they did not know they were using several synthetic ingredients in their products, including PEGS.  

    And, unfortuantely, the Natural Cosmetics Act is dead ... it did not advance in Congress.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @MarkBroussard - how do you figure? The lawsuit specifically calls out things commonly found in natural formulating like "caprylyl glycol, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, propanediol, ethylhexylglycerin, and citric acid"

    I would agree with you if the lawsuit focused on things like PEGs and Dimethicone, but it is much more expansive. PEGs aren't even mentioned. The lawsuit makes no allowance for "nature identical" or "naturally derived". 

    If you are formulating in the natural space and you want to use something like citric acid, you can't (if this lawsuit succeeds). As I've implied before, practically all useful ingredients in cosmetics are synthetic. Deodorant doesn't grow on trees.

  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @Perry:

    Because no one legitimately formulating in the natural arena would ever include Phenoxyethanol, EHG, Dimethicone, PEG-100 Stearate in a product and call it natural.  Also, note this is a proposed class action lawsuit, so it seems more a law firm fishing for a lawsuit.  You would have to read the entire filing to understand what they are specifically claiming ... the authors of the article could have just cherry-picked some ingredients and it's not a full listing.

    With Propanediol, Sorbate, Benzoate, Citric Acid, SC Johnson could claim they were following a particular natural standard as these are allowed in most standards and that they were either bio-derived or nature identical.

    Here's the heart of the claim "The lawsuit alleges that S.C. Johnson and Oars + Alps are aware that a reasonable consumer would interpret “natural” to mean that a product is without synthetic ingredients"  By including PEGs, Dimethicone, PE9010, SC Johnson clearly knew those were purely synthetic ingredients.

    The lawsuit is between one specific plaintiff and defendant.  As I said, I think it may have an impact on the marketing language companies use, but won't go beyond that.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • Maybe they mentioned caprylyl glycol, propanediol, and citric acid, because they can be of natural origin or synthetic. If Sodium Benzoate or the ingredients above were to be illegal in natural cosmetics, then what about organizations such as Cosmos or Natrue, which for years have been offering certificates according to criteria that accept such ingredients?

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Cosmos and Natrue are simply organizations that just made up their own standard. There is nothing official about them. There is nothing stopping anyone from starting their own competing natural standard and providing certifications.
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    Somebody establishes an organization that defines/certifies as natural chemicals produced synthetically.  Their credibility lies with those who care to share the concept for financial gain.   
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator

    Maybe they mentioned caprylyl glycol, propanediol, and citric acid, because they can be of natural origin or synthetic. If Sodium Benzoate or the ingredients above were to be illegal in natural cosmetics, then what about organizations such as Cosmos or Natrue, which for years have been offering certificates according to criteria that accept such ingredients?

    Can you help me find the reference for caprylyl glycol in nature?
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    edited June 28
    This is exactly why the FDA should define Natural and Naturally-Derived.  Apparently, the Natural Cosmetics Act is now incorporated into the Personal Care Safety Act sponsored by Feinstein & Collins in the Senate.  Everyone in the personal care industry would benefit ... small companies, large companies and consumers.  It would provide clarity for all.   

    The Natural Cosmetics Act is very well written ... it's a good proposed law.  Without it, organizations like NPA, Natrue, Cosmos are the best guidance anyone has, although not legally binding.  It is confounding that it did not make it out of Congress particularly given the size of the market and strong consumer demand. 
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    edited June 28
    Wonder if Feinstein Collins will get any more traction than previous attempts.
    Also wonder if COSMOS Ecocert guidance is "best" or just license to fudge.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    edited June 28
    PhilGeis said:
    Wonder if Feinstein Collins will get any more traction than previous attempts.
    Hope so, Phil.  I have a hard time imagining why anyone would oppose it.  It brings clarity to a market, that at $50 billion annually, I'm sure most companies would want to participate in.  But, they're going to also have to allow Nature-Identical synthetics in the definition to make it work properly. 

    The bill calls on the FDA to establish definitions of natural and naturally-derived.  If it passes, I suspect they will look to COSMOS, Ecocert, NPA, ANSI 305 as starting points.  And, you'll probably have a Natural or Naturally-Derived certification of specific ingredients, just like you do in Organic.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @MarkBroussard - Color me skeptical that anything like this will pass. Clarity to the market is not desired. Once you codify "natural" every company, big and small, can start claiming it. No one will use non-natural any more and natural would cease to be a separate market. Small companies will then have to compete directly with big companies without the benefit of fear marketing. I don't see that going well for them. 

  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @Perry:

    I'm a bit in disagreement with that.  I think lots of companies will continue using Retinol and other ingredients that don't fit into a Natural classification because they are superior in performance.  But, they will hop into the Natural market for select products, so you'll continue to have a Natural market separate from a Non-Natural market with companies offering products in both market segments.  Fear marketing ... that's exactly something you want to get rid of.  Instead of "Does Not Contain" if your product qualifies, it will simply be labeled Natural and you'll have to compete on the merits.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    I'm with you Mark with the potential valuusefulness of that legislation and sure agree the definition shouldn't be left to self-appointed credentialing folks.
    Feinstein Collins Senate bill  has been around for going on a decade.  It's not so much opposition - industry supports it - it's apparently not a priority. In it's current version - it was read and referred to comm. over a year ago with no subsequent movement.

    Natural Cosmetics Act is a House bill - are you sure they've been combined?  It has only a few Dems as sponsors and hasn't moved out of comm. since introduced in late 2021.  

    Who knows what will happen.  The original FD&C Act took about 5 years and multiple versions before it passed.


  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @PhilGeis

    Correct, NCA is a House Bill reintroduced by Mahoney in November 2021.  I read that it had also been incorporated into the Feinsten Collins Senate Bill. 
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    Don't think so.  No amendments to Feinstein Collins and don't see Natural in table of contents.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    Thanks, Phil.  Perhaps I read a bit of bad info about that.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • ketchitoketchito Member
    @ketchito:

    You actually need two or three ingredient definitions.  (1) Natural (The USDA definition is a good start; (2) Naturally-Derived, meaning ingredients that use precursors that are naturally derived, plant-based, but synthetically modified to yield the final ingredient; (3) Nature-Identical, but synthetically manufactured.  But, I doubt that will ever happen by the FDA.

    In looking at their products, the Oars + Alps natural claims focused on the natural ingredients they did use in their products, but completely ingnored the PEGS and other synthetic ingredients they also used, so it was a pretty blatant case of making false natural claims.  They clearly were not following any natural standards, so they can't use that as a defense of any kind.

    I think given the egregious violation, this case will get settled out of court.
    @MarkBroussard I think that's precisely why things get complicated: different organizations come up with their own definition of natural to favor their own interests (or the ones of their clients). As a chemist, it blows my mind that something can be called natural even though it was made synthetically. And it makes me sad all the shame it's being put onto the synthesis of chemicals. This only reflects on the huge divorce there is between people and science, and the lack of ethics and transparency there is in the industry.
  • Perry said:
    Cosmos and Natrue are simply organizations that just made up their own standard. There is nothing official about them. There is nothing stopping anyone from starting their own competing natural standard and providing certifications.
    The assumptions of such a certificate should not be against the law. If there is a legal definition of a "natural cosmetic", you cannot come up with another conflicting definition and sell the product as natural. Therefore, I think that if such a definition were actually to be made, it would not allow less than Natrue or Cosmos, and ingredients that are natural, of natural origin and identical to natural, would be allowed. Otherwise, these organizations would have to change their rules, and most of the products would lose their certification, because most probably use preservatives like Sodium Benzoate. I don't think this will happen.
    Certification organizations and certified companies would be the most "disadvantaged" if a legal definition were to be established, because why pay for a certificate if you meet the legal definition for free.
    It is difficult to check whether the manufacturer actually uses an ingredient of natural origin in each batch, and that they are much more expensive than synthetic, I see a lot of scope for abuse in the case of ingredients that may be of natural origin or may be synthetic.

    @PhilGeis Not natural, it is of natural origin: https://minasolve.com/news/minasolve-launches-three-antimicrobial-solutions-based-on-biobased-caprylyl-glycol/
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @ketchito

    The reason different organizations have come up with their own definition of natural is to provide some guidance or set a common framework for natural products.  Why?  Because there is strong consumer demand for natural personal care products and governments have failed to address the issue in creating a legal definition.  This applies not just to individual ingredients, but also the processes that are used to manufacture those ingredients and simple chemical reactions like esterification.  The Natural Cosmetics Act solves the problem and its primary proponents are companies within the natural industry who want the goverment to put a legal definition/framework in place.  If you are familiar with the various natural standards, you will find that there are some minor differences between them, but they are basically all the same thing.

    By synthtically made ingredients being called natural, are you referring to Nature-Identical, but synthetically manufactured ingredients, such as Citric Acid?  If so, this is necessary because it is not economically feasible to produce Citric Acid from biomass on a commercial scale.  In many cases, you would do far more damage to the planet if you restricted the production of Nature-Identical compounds to extraction from biomass than if you allowed synthetic production of Nature-Identical compounds.

    And, you will, by necessity, need to allow the use of some select synthetics for use in natural products.  Take Sodium Benzoate & Potassium Sorbate, both of which do not occur in nature, although their precursor acids do, but the salts are more commonly used as preservatives.  But, I am unaware of any purely synthetic compound that is allowed by any of the natural standards unless there simply is no natural or nature-derived alternative and that ingredient is absolutely critical to making safe products.  This is particularly true with preservatives.

    It's all definitional, by necessity.  It confounds me the howling about lack of transparency and ethics, when it is the natural industry itself who are the main proponents of government passing the Natural Cosmetics Act.  It's companies like SC Johnson who are the culprits, but then you find companies engaging in deceptive advertising in all segments of the cosmetics industry and no one would really consider SC Johnson a player in the natural segment of the industry.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @grapefruit22

    What I suspect will most likely happen (in the US, at least) is that to be able to market a product with a Natural seal, is that you will first have to have your product reviewed by an approved certifying body, just like you do in Organics.  There will be one government-sanctioned/approved definition of Natural and the definitions offered by private organizations such as Natrue, Cosmos, etc. won't be recognized or necessary.  But, those organizations are well set up to become the ceritifying bodies, so they won't go away, but their seals will be meaningless in the marketplace.  Frankly, they're kind of meaningless in the present.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    " Natural and the definitions offered by private organizations such as Natrue, Cosmos, etc. won't be recognized or necessary."

    This is kind of what happened to the Leaping Bunny seal for products produced in the EU.  Once the EU banned animal testing, Leaping Bunny became mostly irrelevant.
  • ketchitoketchito Member
    @MarkBroussard The stardard I like the most for natural ingredients, is the one set by...nature  😁Isolation, solvent extraction, biotechnological manufacture may all well fit within this scope.

    And of course I like synthetics (I'm a chemist), but there should be NO shame on calling an ingredient synthetic, if that's what it is. And that's what I call transparency....not using some twisted standard made to fit some "consumer need". Consumers don't need "natural" or synthetics, the industry made them believe that. They do need safe and well perfoming products, where ingredients and final products cause the least damage to the environment. Now I can apply to a congress position. My moto would be: I wear synthetics, and I love it! 🤣
  • https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/5017/text?r=4&s=1
    https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/5872?s=1&r=3

    The Natural Cosmetic Act you discussed is the first or second document?
    In Natrue, the required amount of natural substances other than water is quite small (depending on the product), according to Cosmos Natural water is included as a natural ingredient and they don't require minimum amount of other natural ingredients. But in the first document they require 70% of natural substances other than water. It's a lot.
    I thought the citric acid was mostly of natural origin, not from citrus, but from the fermentation of glucose from plants.


  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @ketchito:

    Consumer wants, needs and desires drive a market, not the other way around unless you are intent on failure.  It is perferctly reasonable for a consumer to say "I want personal care products that do not contain any synthetic ingredients".  That creates a stretch goal for industry and has driven an expolsion in the development of new natural and naturally-derived ingredients and products.  Your standard of isolation, solvent extraction, biotechnological manufacture are indeed the basis of defining natural ingredients.  

    Natural was primarily driven by consumers who had sensitive skin issues and those concerned about the safety of putting synthetic chemicals on their skin or just a philosophical want for natural only.  That was the driving force behind the development of the natural segment of the market, not companies try to convince people they needed natural ingredients.  Many of us in the natural market do not use essential oils for instance.  They are natural, but can be harmful to the skin.  There are a variety of natural ingredients that we won't use because, although natural, they may not be safe or have other drawbacks.  So we disciminate equally between some natural ingredients and synthetic ingredients.
        
    Now you get down to the issue of product safety, which is where select synthetics and nature-identical synthetics play a role in the natural market, particularly preservatives.  For the most part consumers understand this, but they are looking for the most benign synthetics available which is why there is a tolerance in the natural market for Sodium Benzoate that has a natural analog in Benzoic Acid, for instance.  For the absolute purists, there's always ethanol.

    These consumers just don't want to use syntetic ingredients that are not absolutely necessary to the safety of the product.  Unfortunately, some companies use "Made Without" marketing claims to easily communicate to consumers that they don't use certain synthetics.  If the Natural Cosmetics Act passes, that type of marketing would not be used nearly as much ... just put your Natural seal on your product is all you would need.  
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/5017/text?r=4&s=1
    https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/5872?s=1&r=3

    The Natural Cosmetic Act you discussed is the first or second document?
    In Natrue, the required amount of natural substances other than water is quite small (depending on the product), according to Cosmos Natural water is included as a natural ingredient and they don't require minimum amount of other natural ingredients. But in the first document they require 70% of natural substances other than water. It's a lot.
    I thought the citric acid was mostly of natural origin, not from citrus, but from the fermentation of glucose from plants.


    @grapefruit22

    It's both.  The bill failed to advance out of committee on it's first submission and was reintroduced when a new Congress was seated.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    edited June 29
    @ketchito:
    Now you get down to the issue of product safety, which is where select synthetics and nature-identical synthetics play a role in the natural market, particularly preservatives.  For the most part consumers understand this, but they are looking for the most benign synthetics available which is why there is a tolerance in the natural market for Sodium Benzoate that has a natural analog in Benzoic Acid, for instance.  For the absolute purists, there's always ethanol.
    Not with you on this Mark.
    The preservative aspects is the worst.  So-called naturals are more hype than effect and consumers and too many formulators understand none of it.  Don't think they looking for "benign" per se - they're sold these synthetics claimed to be natural on undefined/ill defined natural hype with a some chemophobia.  But I'm unaware of relevant consumer understanding of this group's motivation.  What they do not know is the much greater risk they assume with such preservatives.

    Don't understand Sodium benzoate as "natural analog" esp. in the current discussion.   
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    But to Perry's original question - I'd say unlikely.  Prob. a headwind vs. the Natural Cosmetics Act from  folks using the term now including the credentialing org's.  Haven't heard that the big guys push it.  
    And as Barnum said "........


    @grapefruit22
    the second, 117th congress. 
  • So they really want as much as 70% of the extracts in the product? It is surprising and not in line with other standards.
    Is it possible to preserve a product properly by using only preservatives of natural origin? I know this is a fairly general question, but maybe quite relevant. Preservatives of natural origin (not nature-identical) I found: Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Benzoic Acid, Phenethyl Alcohol, Sodium Phytate (as chelating agent), Pentylene Glycol (as a booster).
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    edited June 29
    @PhilGeis

    Let me clarify for you ... what I am saying is that select synthetic preservatives are necessary to develop a safe product because that is where the natural options mostly fail or are simply not available.  That is why Sodium Benzoate is allowed in most natural standards, even though it is synthetic.  You could always use Benzoic Acid or Sorbic Acid as nature-identical synthetics, but the drawback is the limited solubility, so they will work in some product formats, but not in others. 

    I don't advocate labeling a synthetic preservative as natural, but you're going to have to allow certain synthetic preservatives in natural products, yet still call the product Natural.  Most natural consumer resistence is on parabens and formaldehyde releasers and some retailers have put a target on phenoxyethanol.  But, generally, people don't have an issue with the organic acids, for instance.

    The proposed Natural Cosmetics Act does accomodate the use of synthetics where no natural option is available.  I suspect as this moves through the process, that there will be a defined list of allowed synthetics and this will mostly be in the area of preservatives. 
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    So they really want as much as 70% of the extracts in the product? It is surprising and not in line with other standards.
    Is it possible to preserve a product properly by using only preservatives of natural origin? I know this is a fairly general question, but maybe quite relevant. Preservatives of natural origin (not nature-identical) I found: Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Benzoic Acid, Phenethyl Alcohol, Sodium Phytate (as chelating agent), Pentylene Glycol (as a booster).
    Not surprising at all ... 70% is in line with the "Made With Organic Ingredients" criteria.  The standards organizations are private enterprises, so you can follow their criteria, but it has no effect in law, it's just a private organization saying you comply with their criteria.

    Yes, you can use Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Phenethyl Alcohol, Phytic Acid and Pentylene Glycol at pH 4.8 and you will have an effective preservation system.  But, using natural Phenethyl Alcohol would be prohibitively expensive.  Most used is Nature-Identical.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    Mark - I'm not with you on effective preservation. 
    Benzoate is hardly the synthetic answer to an effective preservative system.
    The system you describe is not one that I've evaluated so I can't address its risk.  What I do know from P&G work and have seen with multiple clients subsequently is that the great majority of the natural systems are not adequately effective.   They do pass USP 51 but that is not a validated risk assessment benchmark.    
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @PhilGeis

    I'm just being realistic about what preservatives will most likely make the cut into being allowed in Natual products as defined under NCA should it move forward
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @MarkBroussard" It is perfectly reasonable for a consumer to say "I want personal care products that do not contain any synthetic ingredients""

    I don't really think it is a reasonable request from a consumer. Because you can't make a good functioning personal care product without synthetic ingredients. You've even said yourself that synthetic preservatives are needed. 

    I wonder, what natural brand on the market today would qualify as "natural" as in "doesn't contain any synthetic ingredients"? 

    Burts Bees makes a body wash they claim is 97.8% natural origin. And they have this ingredient list?

    "water, lauryl glucoside, decyl glucoside, fragrance, sucrose laurate, coco-betaine, betaine, citric acid, coco-glucoside, glyceryl oleate, glycerin, sodium chloride, tocopherol, hydrogenated palm glycerides citrate, lecithin, xanthan gum, ascorbyl palmitate, potassium sorbate, phenoxyethanol, citral, limonene, linalool"

    Without synthetic chemistry you aren't going to create Lauryl Glucoside or Decyl Glucoside which are the main functioning ingredients. How does this jive with a consumer expectation the the product "doesn't contain any synthetic ingredients"? 

    As my UK colleagues would say, this is some jiggery pokery. 
  • Yes, I agree that we should eliminate the use of the term natural. Science is a difficult concept for scientists much less the average person. People who are sensitive or allergic are desperate for natural products. They don't understand that in order to not die, most ingredients are lab made. There's no description for nature identicals and synthetic products that work better than nature. So I also don't think demonizing a natural claim is scientific either. We need a better approach to educating consumers. For example, when the social distancing came out 6 feet was not scientific. Lab studies confirm that viruses can travel in the air over 20 feet if someone sneezes or coughs. But it would be near impossible for the average person to calculate 20. It would have made the pandemic worse to suggest that people maintain that distance. So hopefully y'all can feel me on this.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    Perry said:
    @MarkBroussard" It is perfectly reasonable for a consumer to say "I want personal care products that do not contain any synthetic ingredients""

    I don't really think it is a reasonable request from a consumer. Because you can't make a good functioning personal care product without synthetic ingredients. You've even said yourself that synthetic preservatives are needed. 

    Actually, yes, you can, but not in all product formats.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    Yes, I agree that we should eliminate the use of the term natural. Science is a difficult concept for scientists much less the average person. People who are sensitive or allergic are desperate for natural products. They don't understand that in order to not die, most ingredients are lab made. There's no description for nature identicals and synthetic products that work better than nature. So I also don't think demonizing a natural claim is scientific either. We need a better approach to educating consumers. For example, when the social distancing came out 6 feet was not scientific. Lab studies confirm that viruses can travel in the air over 20 feet if someone sneezes or coughs. But it would be near impossible for the average person to calculate 20. It would have made the pandemic worse to suggest that people maintain that distance. So hopefully y'all can feel me on this.
    @ProfessorHerb

    I don't think there's any putting that genie back in the bottle.  Better for goverments to legally define Natural.  Educating consumers is very difficult particularly as it relates to cosmetic ingredients.  With a governement-approved Natural seal, consumers would be given confidence in the products bearing that seal.  You already have the Organic seal ... just use the same model.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    what natural brand on the market today would qualify as "natural" as in "doesn't contain any synthetic ingredients"? 
  • One issue is that the term natural can't be defined in a way that scientists agree on. But the GRAS is still a great alternative. But I agree that natural should be defined as best as possible for the scientific community since every scientist is using their own definition of the word and causing confusion. Practical for consumers and scientific for chemists. Also, natural isn't a scientific term to begin with, its a social term. So there's a lot of issues to sort out.
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    Cosmetic marketing has been and is driven by garbage claims - from marginally functional antiaging, hypoallergenic, reef safe, animal testing to the fantasies of natural, endocrine disruption, no whatever, sustainable, causes cancer, microplastics, formaldehyde.  Credentialing organizations parasitize each of em - EWG, COSMOS Ecocert, animal testing bunch, etc. 
    At corporate or individual level - ethics   are calibrated to the perception that  success requires some degree of buying in.

    The major industry org's for the last 2 decades tried to educate consumers on preservatives - no luck there.


    @grapefruit22 - what ingredient isn't "naturally derived"?
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