Pick of the month : claim and… reality
Every month, we randomly choose a cosmetic product and look at the ingredient list… in detail.
Fondant Shower Gel
With almond and orange flower petals
Fine soap-free foam
NUXE is one of the brands which offers both certified organic ranges (the “Nuxe Organic Beauty” range) and products which are not certified.
Sometimes this can cause confusion to customers who tend to believe that the entire brand is formulated in the same way.
An analysis of the component list can be useful for products which are not certified.
The Fondant Shower gel selected here is not part of the certified range.
Here is the description of the product on the brand’s website:
“With almond and orange flower petals, this soap free Fondant Shower Gel gently cleanses the skin. An essential part of your daily routine, you’ll love its smooth foam and delicate fragrance.
Ingredients of natural origin almond and orange flower petals … Paraben-free.”
Contains at least 96 % of natural origin ingredients
Ingredients/ INCI: AQUA/WATER, SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE, GLYCERINE, CAPRYLYL/CAPRYL GLUCOSIDE, ACRYLATES/C10-30 ALKYL ACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, PARFUM/FRAGRANCE, PHENOXYETHANOL, GLUCONOLACTONE, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, SODIUM COCOAMPHOACETATE, LAURYL GLUCOSIDE, SODIUM BENZOATE, CITRIC ACID, TETRASODIUM EDTA, 1,2-HEXANEDIOL, CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, SODIUM COCOYL GLUTAMATE, SODIUM LAURYL GLUCOSE CARBOXYLATE, CALCIUM GLUCONATE, CITRUS AURANTIUM DULCIS (ORANGE) FLOWER EXTRACT, PRUNUS AMYGDALUS DULCIS (SWEET ALMOND) FLOWER EXTRACT, TROPOLONE [N2102/A].
As always, it is the first 5-8 components that make up the majority of the product’s “profile”.
Generally speaking, a shampoo is made up of about 70% water, (or more). Then come washing bases (about 20%) and the rest, ancillary components (additives, plant extracts, etc.).
As far as shampoos, (or even shower gels, for example), are concerned, what is essential is the choice of washing bases (also known as surfactants) which can either be very gentle, well tolerated by the skin, or irritating and/or problematic for the environment.
The formulation here consists of a mixture of a irritating surfactant Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (2nd position), present in large quantities, combined and softened by softer surfactants such as Caprylyl/Capryl Glucosideine (4th) and Sodium Cocoamphoacetate and Lauryl Glucoside much lower.
We are still quite far from a « washing base of vegetal origin ».
The advantage of this type of formulation for manufacturers is that the main surfactant, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, considered to be the most irritating surfactant, is also among the cheapest of the surfactants.
The most gentle, skin-friendly sugar-based washing bases, « acylglutamates », are also the most expensive.
This is why there are very few products formulated exclusively with these very gentle washing bases.
But other problematic and controversial substances have also crept into the formula:
- Phenoxyethanol, a controversial synthetic preservative, with a proven toxic potential (harmful to the liver, in particular).
- In addition to environmentally problematic raw materials, the film-forming agent Sodium Acrylates/C10-30 Alkylacrylate Crosspolymer, for ex.
- and Tetrasodium EDTA, polluting substances.
One might think that cosmetic components classified as « pollutants » would generally be « less problematic » than the controversial components classified as toxic to health. Except that everything is connected…
For example, plastic micro beads* that pollute lakes and oceans are ingested by fish. The fish that, later on, we eat.
This video shows a very graphic description of this:
- In France, the marketing of products containing plastic microbeads in rinsed cosmetics, products that are rinsed with water, have been banned as of 1 January 2018. But the oceans and lakes are already heavily polluted by these substances. Plastic microbeads also come from other everyday products: laundry, clothing, etc.
But where have the « ingredients of natural origin » displayed in the description gone?
The « almond and orange flowers » praised in the product description have been relegated to the last three components in 20th and 21st position, so they are present in infinitesimal quantities.
In the category « problematic and controversial substances » we find: irritating surfactants, a dubious synthetic preservative and polluting components. And the percentage of natural ingredients displayed no longer makes much sense either.
Not so great on the whole…. and quite far removed from the « vegetal promises », of the flower petals.
DIOR Forever Undercover Foundation under the microscope Cosmetic Truth of the Month:
24 Hour Full-Coverage Foundation
(price per litre: 1 517 €/l)
Product description and features – as presented on the DIOR website:
« Dior Laboratories, experts in both finish and wear, reinvent extreme correction with Diorskin Forever Undercover. This fluid, 24-hour* full coverage foundation combines maximum complexion control with a natural matte finish for a result that is « »Kiss-Proof. Touch-Proof. Life-Proof. All Night. All Day. » » Peter Philips, Creative and Image Director for Dior Makeup, describes his view of this neo-camouflage: “Incorporated in a very fluid texture, the high concentration of pigments ensures perfect blemish correction.
« Diorskin Forever Undercover contains the highest level
of pigments in the range; almost twice as many as in the original Diorskin Forever fluid foundation, for a perfect camouflage. The water-based formula creates an ultra-fine, highly pigmented and weightless mesh on the skin, providing an imperceptible matte finish for 24 hours.*
In a similar previous article and product test (L’ORÉAL Accord Parfait Highlight Iluminateur August 2017) we also noticed that in make-up products the ingredients that play a major role are mineral ingredients, colour pigments, etc., supplemented by “more or less” natural substances for the hydration or texture part of the formula (fluid, matt, coverage etc.…) for example.
Absence of vegetal ingredients
Just as for the L’Oréal product, the presentation of the DIOR product doesn’t mention any natural or vegetal substances… which could imply that natural substances play a major role in this make-up product. For the simple reason that there is ABSOLUTELY NO authentic vegetal substance whatsoever in this product…
Not a drop of plant-based oil, natural wax, plant-based extract, or natural essential oil…
The brand mentions a “water based” fluid, but as we are dealing with a foundation and not a floral water here, it is likely that water plays a minor role in the product’s features.
In any case a “water-based” foundation or make-up product has not been invented yet.
Of course there are also other « moisturising substances” such as glycerine, which can on the other hand, come from different sources: plant-based (vegetal oils), animal or synthetic. It is difficult to identify the exact sources of the glycerine used, by looking at the INCI list.
Natural & certified organic cosmetics on the other hand, basically do not allow plant-based glycerine, for other producers and brands, the question remains open.
Cyclopentasiloxane (D5), Aqua (Water), Alcohol, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Phenyl Trimethicone, PEG -, Glycerine, Silica, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Sodium Myristoyl Glutamate, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Undecyl Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Propylene Carbonate, VP/VA Copolymer, Parfum (Fragrance), Tetrasodium EDTA, Aluminum Hydroxide, Rosa Multiflora Fruit Extract, Linalool, Limonene, Citronellol, BHT
[+/- May contain: CI19140, CI42090, CI77007, CI77163, CI77491, CI77492, CI77499, CI77891)
But what jumps out at us, when we look at the overall formula, is that it is based entirely on synthetic ingredients, mainly silicones, for texture or moisturising, synthetic preservatives for conservation and synthetic solvents, etc.
As always, it’s the first 5-8 components, that make up the majority of the product’s overall “profile”. And the formula does not get off to a very good start, since the very first component, present in very great quantities, is a silicone-based component: Cyclopentasiloxane (D5) a suspected endocrine disruptor.
Other problematic components which have crept into the formula:
- Phenoxyethanol, a controversial synthetic preservative, proven to have toxic potential (particularly harmful for the liver)
- A whole bunch of environmentally problematic silicone-based ingredients, (non-biodegradable) polluting): Trimethylsiloxysilicate (4th), Phenyl Trimethicone (5th), Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, (9th) Glyceryl Undecyl Dimethicone (13th)
- Tetra sodium EDTA, a problematic ingredient for the environment, polluting
- BHT, a chemical antioxidant (classified as an endocrine disruptor)
- PEGs, ethoxylated substances. Obtained from extremely reactive toxic gasses, resulting from a chemical process which imposes the most strict security measures. PEGs are also likely to make the skin barrier more permeable to other substances and are not very biodegradable, therefore polluting.
- CI19140 synthetic yellow dye (azo dye). Azo dyes (synthetic pigments) can trigger allergic reactions. Some azo dyes are classified “possible carcinogens”.
Therefore, to sum up, apart from water, alcohol and some covering pigments, the product is mainly based on synthetic ingredients, silicones, synthetic solvents and other controversial substances (synthetic preservatives classified as endocrine disruptors or other environmentally problematic substances)…
Forever Undercover… The name is just perfect, with a formulation of this kind, the brand’s foundation, considered very high-end, has every reason to remain undercover and keep a low profile…
Product Test : Baby wipes
Biolane wipes closely scrutinized
Face & Hands
Cosmetic wipes are, -as such-, not considered as cosmetics, but belong to the category called «frontier» cosmetic products (including for instance : lice treatments, mouthwash, dental floss, etc). These products can sometimes be classified in different legal definitions : the European Commission therefore defines them as cosmetic « frontier » products.
But as cosmetic wipes, -especially those for babies and children-, are common products, present in most of our bathrooms today, this product test made sense.
Over the last couple of years, consumer reports and test magazines have also picked up the subject of cosmetic wipes and revealed that they contained a number of problematic and potentially toxic ingredients.
It’s always interesting to first check the brand’s product presentation, in order to then compare the description with the actual ingredient list.
Product description, taken from the Biolane* website :
•Their formula, with high skin and ocular tolerance, is used to clean and refresh baby’s hands and face at any time and provide long-lasting moisturization*.
•The ultra-soft and resistant texture respects the fragility of baby’s skin and guarantees very delicate cleansing.
•Mildly scented, they leaves your baby’s skin soft, supple and perfectly protected
Tested under dermatological control.
Fibres 100% biodegradable.
Formulated at Physiological pH.
Alcohol-free, soap-free, paraben-free, phenoxyethanol-free and phthalate-free.
– Can be used at any time of day on baby’s hands and face.
– Does not require rinsing.
– Can also be used for nappy changing.
As this product is meant for babies and children, the brands is highlighting the «formulation’s security aspect» which makes perfect sense.
But let’s now have a closer look at the exact ingredients lists.
AQUA, PARFUM, METHYLPROPANEDIOL, TETRASODIUM GLUTAMATE DIACETATE, SODIUM BENZOATE, CITRIC ACID, CETRIMONIUM CHLORIDE, CHLORHEXIDINE DIGLUCONATE, SODIUM HYDROXIDE
And here comes a bit of a surprise….!
We can confirm the absence of parabens, alcohol and phenoxyethanol, but the entire ingredient list is far from «irreproachable» :
Instead of using artificial preservatives like parabens, or phenoxyethanol, for instance, the ingredient list contains another artificial preservative CHLORHEXIDINE DIGLUCONATE, just as problematic, but with a trickier name to remember.
Other problematic ingredients can be found in the product:
- CHLORHEXIDINE DIGLUCONATE : an artificial preservative, part of organohalogen compounds. These organohalogen compounds have a strong allergic potential, and are reactive elements, which can be accumulated in the tissues as, when penetrating. They also represent an environmental problem, as they are polluting.
- The preservative/emulsifier CETRIMONIUM CHLORIDE, belongs to the category of quaternary ammonium compounds, irritating allergens, that are also not very biodegradable.
- The «Perfume» or Fragrance indication in the ingredient list can sometimes also be considered as problematic : as this is not a certified product (in the sense of certified organic), chances are high that we are dealing here with a synthetic perfume, that can be problematic if this fragrance included for instance phthalates (=endocrine disruptors). Diethyl phthalate can often be found in fragrances as a «fixing agent» (enabling fragrances to last longer and and remain less volatils). Meaning also that this ingredient could be added to fragrances in this case without disclosure to consumers.
- In order to systematically avoid phthalates in your products, choosing natural and organic cosmetic products that are certified would be the best option. Artificial, synthetic perfumes and fragrances are simply not allowed by the different labels of natural and organic certified cosmetics.
On one side the brand claims the absence of certain artificial preservatives, insists on «high skin tolerance», states that the fibers are «100% biodegradable» and on the other side we can identify another controversial synthetic preservative, and some problematic, controversial and polluting ingredients.
Just as the product test of baby products from last year (link below, article in french), this exemple, -randomly chosen-, leaves us with a number of questions.
Baby and children products should be presenting themselves with «exemplary» formulations and ingredient lists, without any controversial, potentially allergen, toxic, polluting or problematic ingredient in any other respect.