Pick of the month : claim and… reality
Every month, we randomly choose a cosmetic product and look at the ingredient list… in detail.
Under the microscope: FILORGA Optim-Eyes Makeup Remover Serum
Eye Serum Makeup Remover
110 ml, 24,90 €
Filorga presents itself as the “the medi-cosmetic revolution” (=THE MEDI-COSMETIQUE REVOLUTION) highlighting “high performance anti-aging solutions (hyaluronic acid injections, anti-aging mesotherapy, peelings) used by leading aesthetic medical practitioners and surgeons in over 60 countries.”
Filorga, therefore considers itself to be a brand directly “inspired by aesthetic medicine (….) with innovative preparations and high-tech agents developed in its Laboratory.”
So, by interpreting the marketing message and schematizing it slightly, we could imagine that Filorga possesses “formula secrets” which other bands don’t have and therefore their cosmetic treatments could be more “effective”, closer to the results obtained by cosmetic surgery, all this, of course, without having to pass by the operating theatre.
Great! It will save us some money!
So what about if we take a look behind the scenes to see which components Filorga works with?
Here is the manufacturer’s presentation of the product, Filorga Optim Eyes Serum*:
DARK CIRCLES – PUFFINESS – WRINKLES
TRIPLE ACTION EYE CARE TO REDUCE DARK CIRCLES, UNDER-EYE BAGS AND WRINKLES IN A SINGLE STEP.
/ Dark circles: A (matrikines + chrysin) complex fosters the elimination of pigmented residue to reduce the colour of dark circles.
/ Puffiness: Powerful peptides act on microcirculation to decrease the volume of under-eye bags.
Wrinkles: A trio of smoothing active ingredients containing hesperidin to remove creases from the eye area.
Fresh, melting and moisturizing texture – can be refrigerated. 15ml.
Filorga’s product is therefore a make-up remover that acts both as a serum for the eyes, “strengthening the eyelashes” and “revitalising the eyes”, thanks, most especially to the famous “oleo-clean” complex… A complete programme…
Let’s take a moment to check the composition of the product by analysing the list of components, in the INCI list more closely:
AQUA (WATER,), PARAFFINUM LIQUIDUM (MINERAL OIL), DIMETHICONE, ISOHEXADECANE, PENTYLENE GLYCOL, PEG-8 CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC GLYCERIDES,BUTYLENE GLYCOL, SODIUM CHLORIDE, CAPPARIS SPINOSA FRUIT EXTRACT, OCTYLDODECYL MYRISTATE, PERFUME (FRAGRANCE), STYRENE/VP COPOLYMER, DISODIUM EDTA, ACETYL TETRAPEPTIDE-5, DEXTRAN, SORBIC ACID, ACETYL TETRAPEPTIDE-3, TRIFOLIUM PRATENSE (CLOVER) FLOWER EXTRACT, CI60725 (VIOLET 2), CI61565 (GREEN 6)
As always, it is the first 8-10 components that make up the majority of the product’s “profile”. The first component being present in the highest quantity with the following components presented in a descending order.
And the beginning of the list is composed of a series of components derived from petro chemistry (mineral oils) and silicones, Paraffinum Liquidum (2nd), Dimethicone (3rd), (silicone), Isohexadecane (4th) etc. These are the more “basic” moisturizing components, not very interesting in terms of beauty treatment properties, – apart from their moisturising powers (and their cost, which is much lower than vegetable oils, for example).
To this are added some plant extracts and active beauty treatment ingredients.
But in the end, the famous “oleo-clean complex” announced by Filorga, is far from being the basic foundation of the formulation, which consists of water, followed by a majority of components from petro chemistry.
Some controversial substances have slipped into the formula of Filorga’s make-up remover:
- DIMETHICONE, part of the silicones, an environmentally problematic substance (non-biodegradable), polluting.
- Components based on mineral oils Paraffinum Liquidum, Isohexadecane, etc.
- PEG-8 CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC GLYCERIDES. Part of the ethoxylated substances. Obtained from extremely reactive and toxic gases resulting from a chemical process which imposes the most stringent of safety measures. PEGs are also likely to make the skin barrier more permeable to other substances and are not very biodegradable, therefore polluting.
- The complexing agent Disodium EDTA, which is not very biodegradable and polluting.
- There is a question mark regarding the “Perfume”, as it is impossible to ascertain, with the simple INCI designation, whether these are natural fragrances (based on essential oils/fragrances) or conventional fragrances which may contain very controversial substances: phthalates or musk compounds, Lilial, etc.
Regarding Mineral oils
The BFR recently published a reassuring conclusion regarding the application on the skin of cosmetic products based on mineral oils which do not pose health problems.
This does not remove the issue of the occlusive effect in high concentration, nor the “inert” quality of the raw material, making it less interesting than mineral oils, or the environmental problem.
So this famous “Two-phase make-up remover”: enriched with oleo-clean complex” highly praised by Filorga, is in fact an “ultra-classic formulation”, almost dated, whose basic components are derived from mineral oils or silicones, as well as other components which are problematic for the environment. All this distributed below in the list of the few interesting beauty care substances and plant extracts.
Perhaps the “innovative formulas and high-tech ingredients” promoted by the brand are all hidden in other Filorga products?
A simple look at the formulations of creams or sunscreens on the site confirms the presence of many other controversial components (PHENOXYETHANOL, CHLORPHENESIN, SYNTHETIC FLUORPHLOGOPITE, HOMOSALATE, ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCINNAMATE, BHT, etc., etc.…)
“Innovative formulas” or perhaps not as innovative as all that (see product formulation) … boosted by controversial components… Thanks, we’ll come by another time.
And we’ll also try to find other alternatives to cosmetic surgery, by the way.
The same article in french over here : https://blog.laveritesurlescosmetiques.com/la-verite-cosmeto-du-mois-analyse-demaquillant-filorga/
As seen in other articles, there is often a gap between the product’s marketing claims… and the reality shown in the ingredient’s list.
50 ml, 3€
Some cosmetic products have no explanations or presentations, as is the case with BRUT Antiperspirant deodorant, where the manufacturer, Unilever, simply presents the composition of the product on its website.
And if we continue along the lines of the brand’s advertising strategy, « Brut » is a raw, no frills, product which cuts to the chase. It’s a deodorant. It’s for guys. And that’s it.
So let’s get down to business: The list of components, BRUT Antiperspirant :
Ingredients/ INCI : Cyclomethicone, Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY, PPG-14 Butyl Ether, Stearyl Alcohol, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Talc, PEG-8 distearate, Parfum, BHT, Amyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Citronellol, Coumarin, Eugenol, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Limonene, Linalool
Ingredient’s list analyzed with the INCI Search tool, to be found here:
And more information concerning fragrances like Citral, Geraniol, Limonene, etc to be found in this article, here :
Component Analysis BRUT Antiperspirant :
The formula starts off powerfully with Cyclopentasiloxane in first position, a silicone based substance, suspected of being an endocrine disruptor. Next is an aluminium salt, Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY, which is particularly problematic.
What’s the problem with aluminium salts in cosmetics?
Aluminum salts are reactive components, partially soluble, that can penetrate the body’s tissues. For some time now aluminium salts have been singled out in various studies, but the two most recent studies have once again revived the debate on the connection between aluminium salts in deodorants and the development of cancer.
A 2016 Swiss study* considered the implications of aluminium in the development of breast cancer. The study, by André-Pascal Sappino and Stefano Mandriota showed that deodorants containing aluminium salts cause tumours in guinea pigs.
« International Journal of Cancer”, Geneva, September 2016
And another study carried out last summer, Innsbruck Austria (July, 2017)*, published in EBioMedicine, particularly linked certain aluminium salts to the risk of developing breast cancer.
The findings of this study: For those who, from an early age, have been using an antiperspirant containing aluminium salts several times a day on shaved underarms, the risk of developing breast cancer is doubled.
As is often the case, the authorities’ response* which is intended to reassure, proposes concentration restrictions (0.6%) which are not always respected.
« The data analysis proposed a restriction of aluminium concentration to 0.6% in antiperspirant or deodorant products.
It should be noted that this restriction doesn’t apply to damaged skin being exposed to it, such as after shaving or micro cuts.
Therefore, the Afssaps (French Health Products Safety Agency) recommends not to use antiperspirants containing aluminium on damaged skin.”
But the restriction recommendation remains only a suggestion.
According to information from the BfR* (German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment) « amounts of 20% are quite common in antiperspirants ». This would correspond to an aluminium content of about 5%.
The German Federation of Cosmetics and Cleaning Products Professionals’ newsletter (Industrieverbandes Körperpflege- und Waschmittel e.V. (IKW) reports concentrations of aluminium hydrochlorides of up to 30%, in antiperspirant creams for example. (IKW, 2012).
And there are other issues:
Aluminium salts block the sweat glands
Aluminum hydrochlorides and sulphates used in many conventional deodorants prevent sweat from beading on the surface of the skin, so they clog pores. This can lead to itching and skin irritation.
A distinction must be made with regard to aluminium-based components:
However, not all components that are called, or whose names begin, in INCI terms with « Aluminum » or « Alumina », are « aluminium salts ».
It is important to distinguish between aluminium hydrochlorides* and aluminium oxides, hydroxides and silicates** (which are also part of the composition of clays, for example, see « bauxite » or « corundum », naturally present in the earth).
*Aluminium chlorohydrates (among others)
- Aliminium Chloride
- Aluminium Chlorhydrate
- Aluminium Chlorhydrex
- Aluminium Chlorhydrex PG
- Aluminium Distearate
- Aluminium Sesquichlorohydrate
- Aluminium Starch Octenylsuccinnate
- Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY
**Aluminium oxides/Hydroxides (among others)
+ Alumina (= aluminiumhydroxyde)
+ Aluminium/Magnesium Hyroxide Stearate
+ Aluminium Starch Otenylsuccinate
+ Aluminium Silicate
Aluminium oxides, silicates and hydroxides are chemically inert aluminas, i.e. they are not chemically reactive as they stand.
Aluminum oxides and hydroxides do not release aluminum, but this may be the case with aluminum hydrochlorides, which are considered soluble.
(By the way, avoid cooking food in foil with lemon… it is a sure way to increase aluminium content in food and therefore to absorb it)
And now back to our product, the BRUT Antiperspirant stick :
Analysis of components BRUT Antiperspirant :
Controversial substances which have crept into the formula:
* Cyclopentasiloxane in first position. A silicone based substance, suspected to be an endocrine disruptor.
- Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY, which is part of the aluminium salts, see issue explained above, restrictions of use (20%) in 2nd position, therefore present in large quantities.
- PEGs in 3rd and 7th position, PPG-14 Butyl Ether/PEG-8 distearate, are ethoxylated substances. Obtained from extremely reactive and toxic gases, resulting from a chemical process which demands the most stringent safety measures. PEGs are also likely to make the skin barrier more permeable to other substances and are not very biodegradable, therefore polluting.
- BHT , studied as an endocrine disruptor and classified as a real problem (possibly carcinogenic) in some countries.
Conclusion BRUT Antiperspirant :
A completely « brute rough and ready » imitation which doesn’t even pretend…. An « impressive amalgam » of controversial and problematic components, not very commendable.
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.