In his new special issue entitled The cream of cosmetics (January-February 2021), the magazine 60 Million Consumers invites us to take advantage of the end of year holidays to sort our bathroom and better choose our cosmetics. Because although consumers are more and more alert and warned about the danger to health and the environment of certain ingredients, manufacturers still have some efforts to make.
The consumer magazine sifted through the ingredient list, packaging, and marketing claims of a few 160 cosmetic products, belonging to 14 cosmetic families and around a hundred brands – from supermarket classics to products from specialized brands (Sephora, Yves Rocher), including private label, luxury or organic brands. The magazine thus distinguished three ratings: green for preferred products, orange for products containing some substances that are problematic for health and/or the environment, and red, for products to be banned. It emerges thata third of the cosmetics analyzed are classified as “preferred” (green color) because they contain no or very few ingredients that are problematic for health.
Foundations, shower gels, toothpastes and lip sticks often in the red
Other references, on the other hand, pose serious problems, estimates 60 million consumers.
- This is particularly the case of fcomplexion waves : out of twelve references analyzed, seven are classified as red, in particular, because they contain UV filters and silicones.
- Many gels and shower creams are also poorly rated, due to “too frequent use of sodium lauryl sulphate and ammonium lauryl sulphate, surfactants irritating to the eyes and the skin, toxic to aquatic life”, Notes the magazine. This one specifies however that “some manufacturers replace them with so-called ethoxylated agents, which are gentler … but hardly degradable once released into the environment”, And that a“however, an alternative exists, such as coco-glucoside, a derivative of plant sugars that are gentle on the skin and the planet”.
- Can also do better on the side of toothpaste, since some contain sodium lauryl sulfate, aggressive for mucous membranes, where others, often organic, ignore fluoride, which is essential to fight against cavities. The alternatives more “natural”Used in place of fluorine“have no health claim” or “are not approved as anti-caries”, Explain Sylvie Metzelard, editor-in-chief of the magazine, and Marie-France Corre, responsible consumer and marketing consultant.
- The magazine also deplores the presence of potentially harmful ingredients, derived from petroleum chemistry, and BHT, suspected of being an endocrine disruptor in certain sticks and lip balms.
Solid cosmetics, an asset for the environment but not necessarily for health
New in this new special issue compared to the previous one published in July 2017, the analysis of solid cosmetics, which have been on the rise for some time. While they represent an undeniable asset for the environment, due to less important packaging if not absent, and for the wallet, because of their often more economical nature, they are not necessarily perfect. 60 million consumers deplore indeed the presence of potentially harmful ingredients in certain references.
“Some products do have endocrine disruptors suspected or aggressive surfactants and allergens”, Notes the magazine, which notably awarded the orange rating to“Normal hair shampoo flower”From Sweet Nature, the red note to the solid shampoo “Seanik”From Lush (which contains in particular sodium lauryl sulphate, irritant), and the orange note to the solid shampoo “Organic hemp & Organic nettle”From Logona. The latter contains in particular essential oils, which can be irritating for sensitive skin and are allergenic.
Note that the magazine reportsa “boom”Consumer interest in cosmetics homemade (or DIY for “do it yourself”), Especially during the first national confinement in 2020. A trend that seems to be maintained over time. The magazine warns, however: beware of the “galore” use of essential oils, and be careful to respect the hygiene instructions (sterile equipment).
What about applications that rate cosmetics?
Asked by Santé Magazine about smartphone applications for scanning cosmetics and to know the score (Yuka, QuelCosmetic, INCI Beauty, Clean Beauty…), the team of 60 million consumers is qualified. Of course, these applications have the merit of existing, and allow consumers to put pressure on manufacturers so that they improve.
But they still have limitations and faults: some penalize products whatever the place of the undesirable ingredient (s) in the formula and therefore whatever the concentration in the product; others do not mention the environmental risk. Some also end up with the same product to which several ratings have been attributed due to a change made by the manufacturer in the list of ingredients. Difficult then for the consumer to navigate. The best is still to get down to reading the list of ingredients on the packaging yourself, by memorizing the ingredients to avoid. tedious, but ultimately paying off. Note that 60 million consumers like its competitor Que Choose provide a list of ingredients to avoid on their website.
Sources: press conference; 60millions-mag.com