How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XXXIII

Shea Butter and Oatmeal sound great for the skin, but will this product meet your standards?  Remember, I am teaching you Label Poise–how to walk the walk, talk the talk, and buy products that meet YOUR standards, whether natural, organic, or safe enough.  For instructions on Label Poise visit our Label Poise page.

The Label


The Ingredients

Water (Aqua):  Safe!   Water is the ultimate moisturizer and is a key ingredient in many moisturizing products.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate:  Beware!  Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is a surfactant and foaming agent commonly found in shampoos and body washes. It is a known skin and eye irritant. SLES can also be containated with possible carcinogen 1,4-dioxane and known carcinogen ethylene oxide. Ethylene oxide can be toxic to the central nervous system; 1,4-dioxane does not easily degrade in the environment (persistent. This ingredient can be extremely drying to the hair, though it is considered less harsh than sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). (MSDS, MSDS)

Sodium Chloride:  Beware!  This is common table salt. Sodium Chloride can be added to a lotion as a thickener or as a preservative. Salt can dry moisture away from the skin, however, given the likely concentration it should not be a concern.  (MSDS)

Cocamide MEA: Beware! Also known as cocamide monoethanolamine, this ingredient is a mixture of fatty acid amides which are produced by reacting the fatty acids in coconut oil with ethanolamine. Cocamide MEA is used as a foaming agent, nonionic surfactant, and emulsifying agent. There are some contamination concerns with this ingredient, but it is not known to be a carcinogen. It is a skin and eye irritant in pure form with prolonged contact. ( MSDS)

Glycerin:  Safe!  Glycerin is a humectant that attracts moisture in the skin. Glycerine can be derived from fats and oils, or synthetically–which is not indicated here.  (MSDS)

Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter:  Safe!  This ingredient is derived from the nut of the Shea Tree and is used for its moisturizing properties.  (MSDS)

Avena Sativa (Oat) Meal Extract:  Safe!  Oat Meal Extract is used for its anti-fungal, anti-inflammation, and believed beneficial properties for the skin.  It is typically used in concentrations of 1-10% by weight of the formulation.  It is not believed to be toxic.  (MSDS)

Fragrance (Parfum):  Beware!   Fragrances are often synthetic. Though they are low in concentration in the product, there is still a small chance of having an allergic reaction.

Glycol Stearate:  Beware!   Also known as glycol monostearate, glycol stearate is an ester of stearic acid and ethylene glycol, a known human toxin.  It is primarily used as a opacifier (opaque, non transparent) and pearling agent and acts as an emulfisfier.  In 2001, Glycol Stearol was used in hair conditioners in concentrations of 0.0001-3%.  It is presently suggested for use in concentrations between 2-10% by weight of the formula, depending on the purpose in the product.  Given it is an ester of ethylene glycol it may be contaminated with carcinogen 1,4-dioxane.  It is not known to be a skin irritant up to 50%, based on patch tests, though it may be a mild eye irritant in pure form.  It is not listed as a carcinogen, there is no data on mutagenicity. (MSDS;  MSDS)

Tetrasodium EDTA:  Beware!/Avoid!  EDTA is an abbreviation for Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid.  This ingredient is used as a chelating agent to sequester metal ions and causes them to lose the ability of reacting with other ingredients.  It is also used as a preservative.  It can improve lather and decrease incidence of soap scum.  Tetrasodium EDTA is a penetration enhancer and suspected to be toxic to the upper respiratory tract, skin, and eyes. Target organs are the kidneys and bladder.  This ingredient is toxic to the environment and is a suspected persistent organic pollutant (POP) by the EU.  (MSDS; MSDS)

Methylchloroisothiazolinone:  Beware!  This ingredient is a preservative that is a known skin irritant, sensitize and allergen, as well as lung and eye irritant.  It has strong antifungal and antibacterial properties.  It is not known to be a carcinogen, though it is a skin sensitizer that can cause rashes and eczema in certain individuals.  Limited to no greater than 0.0015% in rinse of products in EU and US (in conjuction with Methylisothiazolinone 3:1). No individual MSDS found.

Citric Acid:  Safe!  This ingredient is naturally occurring in citrus fruits, but is typically produced by feeding sucrose or glucose to mold and additional chemical treatment.  It is used in cosmetics as a pH adjuster.  It is generally considered safe, though it is a skin and eye irritant in pure form. (MSDS)

PPG-9:  Beware!  This ingredient is a derivative of propylene glycol, a polymer of propylene oxide. It is used as an emollient and skin conditioning agent, that is typically synthetically derived. Limited information available, no MSDS found.

Propylene Glycol:  Beware!  Propylene Glycol aka PPG is used as a penetration enhancer, humectant, and stabilizes the product despite temperature changes. This ingredient is not believed to be carcinogenic or a developmental toxin, though it may be contaminated with impurities such as Ethylene Oxide and 1,4-dioxane which are carcinogens. It is a suspected mutagen and teratogen. It is believed to be a skin irritant. In pure form it can be toxic to the central nervous system and may cause target organ damage (lungs and kidneys) with prolonged or repeated exposure. This ingredient is low on this list and should only be a low-moderate concern.  (MSDS)

Stearamide AMP: Avoid! This ingredient is used as a foam booster and viscosity increasing agent. This ingredient is typically used in a blend with Glycol Stearate and is used as a pearlizing and opacifying agent. No individual MSDS found. (Joint MSDS)

Methylisotiazolinone:  Beware!  This preservative is a known skin irritant, sensitizer, and allergen; lung and eye irritant. Methylisothiazolinone has been linked to allergic contact dermatitis was named Contact Allergen of the Year in 2013. It is also believed to cause burns in pure form. This ingredient is also believed to be cytotoxic (toxic to living cells) and neurotoxic (toxic tot he nervous system) based on various studies, though information has been refuted due to the low exposure based on quantity in cosmetic formulas. It is not known to be carcinogenic. This ingredient is one of many that have been used to replace parabens. Methylisothiazolinone is also very toxic to aquatic organisms in pure form. Limited to no greater than 0.0015% in rinse of products in EU and US (in conjuction with Methylisothiazolinone 3:1). (MSDS)

Blue 1 (CI 42090): Beware!  Also known as Brilliant FCF Blue, this ingredient is used as a colorant. ( MSDS)

Red 33 (CI 17200): Beware!  Also known as Acid Red, this ingredient is used as a colorant. It is synthetically produced from petroleum or coal tar, though it may also be produced from animal sources. (MSDS)

Yellow 5 (CI 19140):  Beware!  This is a synthetic yellow dye (food coloring) also known as Tartrazine and FD&C Yellow 5.  Tartrazine is a known allergen and has various impacts on the immune system from dermal contact or ingestion.  It can be an eye irritant.  There is no data on mutagenicity, teratogenicity, developmental toxicity, or carcinogenicity.  It is not known to be toxic. (MSDS)


Nature’s Pulchritude’s Verdict:  This product has quite a few questionable ingredients.  Though Shea Butter and Oat Meal Extract are 6th and 7th, respectively, on the ingredient list it is highly questionable that they will combat the drying effects of Sodium Laureth Sulfate.  This will get the job done and get you clean, however, if you are more conscious of ingredients, consider an alternative.


Antibiotics Use in Livestock Rising

Antibiotics in Livestock: F.D.A. Finds Use Is Rising


OCT. 2, 2014–The amount of antibiotics sold for use in livestock rose substantially in recent years, according to the Food and Drug Administration, a pattern that experts said was troubling given the efforts to battle antibiotic resistance in humans.

In an annual report posted online on Thursday, the agency said the amount of medically important antibiotics sold to farmers and ranchers for use in animals raised for meat grew by 16 percent from 2009 to 2012.

Most troubling, health advocates say, was a rise in the sale of cephalosporins, a class of drug that is important in human health, despite new restrictions the F.D.A. put into place in early 2012.  The report showed an 8 percent increase in the sale of those drugs in 2012, confirming advocates’ fears that the agency’s efforts may not be having the desired effect.  Sales of those drugs rose by 37 percent from 2009 to 2012.

“We’re concerned that antibiotic sales for food animal production keep increasing,” said Laura Rogers, director of the Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming at the Pew Charitable Trusts, a research and advocacy group.

The National Chicken Council, an industry group, said in a statement that the sale of antibiotics did not necessarily correlate with antibiotic resistance trends.  It said that most antibiotics used in chicken production were not used in human medicine.

The report did not differentiate by species; it included all animals raised for meat.

Antibiotics were the wonder drugs of the 20th century, and their initial use in humans and animals was indiscriminate, experts say. Farmers learned that antibiotics helped animals grow rapidly, and they began to add the drugs to feed and water, with no prescriptions or sign of sickness in the animals. But it is now known that broad use leads to antibiotic resistance, which means that critical antibiotics are no longer as effective in treating infections in people.

The United States also uses far more antibiotics in livestock than many other nations, according to Pew.  Animals raised for food in America are given about six times as much antibiotics as are animals in Norway and Denmark, for example.

The most sweeping federal policy aimed at curbing antibiotics use in animals was introduced last year, when the F.D.A. asked companies that make the drugs to change the labels. Those changes meant that food animal producers would no longer be able to use antibiotics to make the animals grow faster.  And if food animal producers wanted to give the drugs to a sick animal, they would need to get a prescription from a veterinarian.

But consumer health advocates said at the time that it was unclear that the changes would have much effect. The rules left open a large loophole: Producers could simply argue that they were using the drugs to keep their animals from getting sick, not to make them grow faster.

It is difficult to tell whether the patterns documented in Thursday’s report, which ended in 2012, are a sign of what might happen under the 2013 rules, said Keeve Nachman, director of the Food Production and Public Health program at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

“This shows that the situation was worsening leading up to the 2013 guidance,” he said.

The report also gave details — some for the first time — of how the antibiotics were used.  About 70 percent were sold as animal feed additives and roughly 22 percent as drinking water additives.  In all, about 97 percent of the drugs were sold over the counter without a prescription, a practice that the 2013 rules are supposed to stop.


Product Review: BetterBody Foods Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

This product was purchased by Nature’s Pulchritude.  All opinions are that of Nature’s Pulchritude and have not be influenced in any way, shape, or form.

Product Details:

Consistency:  Solid (<76 degrees Farenheight) or Liquid (>76 deg. F)
Color:  White
Scent:  Coconut
Organic Ingredients: Coconut Oil
Environmental Friendly?: Yes.  Contents Biodegradable, Recyclable Container (HDPE-2)


Amazing!  This product is very high quality and leaves the skin feeling moisturized and smooth.  Unlike many lotions the moisturized feeling persist for at least an entire day.  For cooking it worked similar to other oils.

1 Globe


The texture depends on the temperature of the oil.  When melted it is typical of most liquid oils, when solid the texture is smooth and almost fluffy.  It melts within seconds when in your hands or a warm skillet.  It is easiest to use too much when the oil is solid as opposed to melted.

1 Globe


This product leaves a very subtle flavor behind when used for cooking.  It is enough to notice it, but light enough that it does not overpower what was being cooked.

When used on skin, the scent is more noticeable but is not strong.  The coconut scent dissipates on skin within a few hours, though it may linger in clothing.

1 Globe


Only one ingredient: Organic Coconut Oil.

1 Globe


4 Globes  Nature’s Pulchritude MVP!


This product is simply amazing!  I used it for the entire summer as my sole moisturizer and my skin has never felt better.  It truly nourishes and moisturizes your skin, as opposed to most lotions on the market.  It most definitely provides skin benefits that other oils do not–I could feel the texture of my skin become smoother with each use.  The oil is best used when applied on freshly cleansed skin that has been towel dried.  Many people love coconut oil for their hair, however, it is not an ideal use for mine as it contains protein.   I have used other brands of coconut oil and they did not seem to perform on par with this product.


**Coconut oil works best when used within 1-2 years.


Do you use Organic Coconut Oil for your skin, hair, or cooking?  

Food Day 2014

Food Day inspires Americans to change their diets and our food policies. Every October 24, thousands of events all around the country bring Americans together to celebrate and enjoy real food and to push for improved food policies.

Food Day Priorities:
  1. Promote safer, healthier diets
  2. Support sustainable and organic farms
  3. Reduce hunger and improve food access
  4. Reform factory farms to protect the environment and farm animals
  5. Support fair working conditions for food and farm workers


For a majority of people, healthy food is a premium they cannot afford.  In some areas fresh vegetables and nourishing foods are not available.  In others, the vegetables have been modified and typically have a lower nutritional value.  Healthy, nutritional food is not solely synonymous with ‘organic.’  Consider starting a garden or supporting quality farmers at a local market.  I encourage you all to educate yourselves about the food system in your country and make any determinations from there.  Food is a personal connection for many, and your connection to this information should be just as personal.

How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XXXII

You’ve been hearing about a new product line from one of your favorite brands that you just had to get your hands on.   You pick up a leave-in conditioner and see a few ingredients you don’t recognize, but you purchase it anyway.  Remember, I am teaching you Label Poise–how to walk the walk, talk the talk, and buy products that meet YOUR standards, whether natural, organic, or safe enough.  For instructions on Label Poise visit our Label Poise page.

The Label


The Ingredients

Water (Aqua):  Safe!   Water is the ultimate moisturizer and is a key ingredient in many moisturizing products.

Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil:  Safe!  This ingredient is used as an emollient, moisturizer, and skin conditioning agent. The type of Castor Oil in this product is unlike Castor Oil you will find in a drug store, as the castor seeds are roasted and the oil is typically extracted by hand. This ingredient is not known to be toxic or carcinogenic, though it is a suspected penetration enhancer.

Stearyl Alcohol:  Safe!  This is also a fatty alcohol that is often used as an emollient and emulsifier in conditioner. (MSDS)

Cetyl Alcohol:  Safe!  This is a fatty alcohol that is often used as an emollient and emulsifier in conditioners. It is typically derived naturally from coconut or palm oil.  (MSDS)

Behentrimonium Chloride:  Beware!   Also known as Docosyltrimethylammonium chloride, Behentrimonium Chloride Is a “quaternary ammonium compound” made from corn (likely GMO) or canola oil. It is used as an antistatic, detangling aid, conditioning agent, and disinfectant. This product is toxic to aquatic animals, however, the concentrations in the product are likely less than 3% and should not be harmful. This product can cause skin irritation upon prolonged or repeated exposure (via MSDS), though concentrations and exposure length is not likely enough to be harmful. In pure form Behentrimonium Chloride is also an eye irritant that can cause severe and permanent damage with prolonged exposure. In the U.S. it is used in concentrations of 0.2 – 7% by weight of the formula, depending on the product. It is banned by the European Union in concentrations over 0.1% in “ready to use” products. There is no data available regarding mutagenicity and carcinogenicity. (Author’s Note: Avoid if you are averse to GMOs, I don’t recall using this ingredient in a product so err on the side of caution.)  (MSDS)

Butryospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*:  Safe!  This ingredient is derived from the nut of the Shea Tree and is used for its moisturizing properties.  (MSDS)

Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil:  Safe!  Coconut oil is used for is skin conditioning and moisturizing properties. It is high in vitamins E and K.

Panthenol:  Safe!  This ingredient is a provitamin of B5.  Panthenol is an alcohol analog of Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid).  It is used as an anti-static and conditioning agent.  It can be derived from plants or animals therefore it may not be vegan friendly. There is debate about what benefits panthenol can actually provide to hair as a vitamin being that hair is not living.  Panthenol is a mild skin and eye irritant in pure form, though there is no information on carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, mutagenicity, or developmental toxicity.  It is low on the list of ingredients and should not be a concern.  (MSDS; MSDS)

Dicaprylyl Ether:  Safe!/Beware!  This ingredient is an ether of coconut oil (or other plant based oil) derived caprylic acid. It acts primarily as an emollient and solvent. It gives a non-greasy residue on the skin and hair and has been used as an alternative to silicones. Dicapryyl Ether also increases the spreadability of a product. Also known as dioctyl ether, this ingredient is not known to be a skin irritant or sensitizer, though it is a slight eye irritant. It is not known to be a carcinogenic, mutagen or reproductive toxin. This ingredient has not yet been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review. (MSDS)

Hydroxyethylcellulose:  Safe!/Beware!  This ingredient is a modified celluose polymer. Hydroxyethylcellulose is primarily used as a binder, viscosity controlling agent (aqueous), emulsion stabilizer, and film forming agent. It is typically used in concentrations of 0.1 – 3% by weight of the formula. It can be a mild skin or eye irritant in pure form, though it is not known to be carcinogenic. (MSDS;MSDS)

Glycerin (Vegetable):  Safe!  This ingredient is derived from palm, coconut, soy, or other vegetable fats.  It is used as an emollient and has the ability to draw moisture and oxygen to the skin.  There is no information in mutagenicity, carcinogenicity, developmental toxicity, or teratogenic effects.  In pure form is can be a skin, eye, and lung irritant, and may be toxic to the kidneys with prolonged exposure.  It is typically used in concentrations of 2 – 5% of the formula and is a minimal concern.  (MSDS)

Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil:  Safe!  This ‘oil’ is a liquid wax and has a moderate fatty acid content.

Adansonia Digitata Seed Oil:  Safe!  This oil is extracted from the Baobab Tree, which is found exclusively in Africa. This oil contains vitamins A, D, E, and F, and is high in Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9 fatty acids. Baobab is believed to improve skin elasticity, encourage cell regeneration, and proves moisture.

Hydrolyzed Keratin:  Safe!  Hydrolyzed Keratin is a hydrolysate (produced via hydrolysis [water breakdown]) of keratin derived by an acid or enzyme. Keratin is a key building block of hair and is used to fortify hair as a protein. It is typically used as a skin conditioning agent and humectant. This ingredient can be derived from animals sources (sheep’s wool), therefore Avoid! if you are vegan. This ingredient is not known to be a skin or lung irritant, though it can be an eye irritant. Hydrolyzed Keratin is not known to be carcinogenic or mutagenic. (MSDS; MSDS)

Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil:  Safe!  This ingredient is made from the fruit of the Buruti or Moriche palm tree, which is native to Brazil. The oil is very high in oleic acid, tocopherols, carotenoids, and has a higher concentration of betacarotene than carrots. It is used as an emollient and conditioning agent for skin and hair, and can protect from damage caused by UV rays.

Tocopherol:  Safe!  Also known as Vitamin E, Tocopherol is a is a fat soluble alcohol with antioxidant properties.  This ingredient is not known to have carcinogenic or toxic effects.  It can also be used as a preservative for oils. (MSDS)

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice:  Safe!  This ingredient is used for its nutrient content and moisturizing properties.

Yeast Extract:  Safe!/Beware!  There is limited information about the benefits of the ingredient for hair, though it is though to be a skin conditioning agent. It can be an eye, skin, and lung irritant in pure form, though it is not known to be carcinogenic. (MSDS; MSDS: Yeast Extract, Selenium)

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol:  Avoid!  This ingredient is a mixture of hydrolyzed vegetable protein and silicone. It is used as a surfactant, and hair and skin conditioning agent. No MSDS found.

Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract:  Safe!  Peppermint leaf extract is made by extracting the essential oils of the leaves using alcohol distillation. It creates a cooling and soothing effect on the skin and scalp due to its high menthol content. It can be a skin and eye irritant in pure form, though it is not known to be toxic. (MSDS)

Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend):  Safe!/Beware!  This is a blend of various essential oils that likely acts as a fragrance and may also have other beneficial properties for the hair.  It is listed generically, similar to parfum or fragrance, because the blend is likely considered a “trade secret.”  If you have sensitive skin or are known to be allergic to some essential oils Beware!

Hydrolyzed Rice Protein:  Beware!  This ingredient is a hydrolysate (produced via hydrolysis [water breakdown]) of rice protein derived by an acid or enzyme. It is used as a hair and skin conditioning agent, as well as an antistatic agent. Hydrolyzed Rice Protein is not known to be a skin irritant, though it is an eye and lung irritant in pure form. It is not believed to be a carcinogen, though there is no toxicological information available. (MSDS)

Butylene Glycol:  Beware!  Also known as 1,3-Butanediol, this ingredient is an organic alcohol that is typically used as a solvent. Butylene Glycol is typically synthetically produced via the catalytic hydrogenation (combine with Hydrogen) of acetaldehyde. It is commonly used in concentrations of 1-10% and can be used as a skin conditioning agent, humectant, and viscosity controlling (decreasing) agent. Butylene Glycol is typically derived from petroleum sources and can contain potentially carcinogenic impurities such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Very limited research does not indicate Butylene Glycol as a carcinogen, though it can be a skin, eye, and lung irritant in pure form. (MSDS; MSDS)

Niacin:  Safe!  Also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid, this ingredient is a heterocyclic aromatic compound. It is used as a hair and skin conditioning agent, antistatic agent, and smoothing agent. It is not known to be toxic, though it is very hazardous to skin, eyes, and lungs in pure form. (MSDS)

Dextran: Safe! This ingredient is a glucan (a polysaccharide [a carbohydrate] made of multiple glucose molecules) that is synthesized from lactid acid bacteria. Dextran is typically used as a binder and viscosity building agent. This ingredient is a slight skin and eye irritant in pure form. Dextran is not known to be carcinogenic, though additional research on toxicity is not available. It is water soluble. (MSDS; MSDS; MSDS)

Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3:   Avoid!  This ingredient is considered a skin protector and is formed by adding an acetyl group (-C(O)CH3) to Tetrapeptide-3.  It is used in an anti-hair loss/growth complex called Capixyl, which also includes Butylene Glycol, Dextran, and Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract.  No MSDS Found.

Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract:   Beware!  This ingredient is an extract of Red Clover flower, which is native to Europe, west Asia, and northern Africa. It is believe to prevent hair loss and improve the elasticity and strength of hair. It is also used as an astringent and masking agent. Red Clover is a phytoestrogen and is believed to have estrogen-like effects and has been used as a treatment for menopause symptoms.  (MSDS; NIH Research)

Vinegar:  Safe!  The vinegar in this product is apple cider vinegar, which is created by the fermentation of cider or apple must. The fermentation process utilizes bacteria and yeast to produce alcohol which is then converted to vinegar by acetic acid forming bacteria. It is used in this produce to balance pH of the product and the hair.

Caprylhydroxomic Acid:  Beware!  Also known as octanohydroxamic acid, this ingredient is an amino acid that can be derived from coconut oil. Caprylhydroxomic Acid functions as a chelating agent and preservative at a neutral pH. There is very limited toxicological information available about this ingredient. (MSDS; MSDS)

Caprylyl Glycol:  Beware!  Caprylyl Glycol is used as a humectant, emollient, and wetting agent that also has anti-microbial properties. This ingredient can be synthetic or naturally derived though that information is not indicated on the bottle. It is not believed to be a skin or eye irritant, nor is it considered a mutagen. (MSDS)

Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil:  Safe!  This ingredient is made by pressing macadamia nuts and is used for its moisturizing and emollient properties.  If you are allergic to tree nuts or macadamia nuts, Beware!



Nature’s Pulchritude’s Verdict:  One of the first things I noticed looking at this ingredient list is “What is the preservative”?  I have become pretty familiar with this brand and more or less all of their products. Said preservative is a natural paraben.  Perhaps some of the ‘backlash’ against those ingredients has this company to another alternative.  Only caveat is the replacement for the ‘parabens’ has very limited information available about its safety.  Not surprising.  The first 5 ingredients of this product are pretty good and should not be a cause of concern.

Something else to take note of is the amount of proteins (3 different types) in the product.  As well as the presence of 2 ingredients that are essentially silicone replacements.  One of those ingredients, Butylene Glycol, is a bit of a surprise on the ingredient list, though it is included because it is an ingredient in an anti-hair loss complex.  This product is formulated for women with chemically treated (relaxers, color, etc) or heat damaged hair as indicated on the jar.  This product is worth considering if you are looking for a product to help repair damaged hair.

Commentary: Major Cosmetics Brand to Acquire Former Natural Beauty Brand

Time and time again we have seen what happens to once coveted natural brands when they are purchased by major corporations.  The company continues to be branded as ‘natural’ despite having lost all of its integrity as a natural product just before or after it was acquired by a major corporation.  Supporters of the brand are left feeling conflicted.  One on hand they are happy that their favorite brand has gained the notoriety to be acquired by a major corporation. On the other hand, reality sets in that the products will likely change–and not for the better.  This same story applies to the brand featured in the article, as well as various others over the years.


Carol’s Daughter was once a well known and respected brand heralded for its high quality products and natural ingredients.  It was particularly unique because it was a small business that catered to an audience of African-American women that had not been specifically marketed natural products before.  Over time as the brands’ notoriety grew and it attracted well known investors the integrity of the product began to change.  The changes got worse over time.  Over the last four years some of the brands marquee products have become unrecognizable due to ingredient changes.  The company has had its share of woes including bankruptcy, losing its core customers (after the brand abandoned them), changing ownership, etc.  Their story is a cautionary tale to companies and consumers alike.


Pay attention to the ingredients in your products.  Mainstream companies often change the formulas and/or ingredients of their products without notice.  Thus when smaller brands get acquired by large corporations the formulas and ingredients change, meanwhile the packaging typically does not.  This has likely happened to most of you at least once.  If you do notice a change in your products be prepared to complain, and if that does not work, do not continue to buy the product!

Another company listed in the article, Kiehl’s, also has a reputation for being ‘natural,’ with ‘quality’ ingredients.  The packaging has not changed much, nor the price, so most consumers don’t notice the changes in ingredients.  The irony is some of their long term users have noticed a change in how the products work, even if they don’t make the connection to the ingredients.

Many people do not realize that several of their favorite natural brands are not what they think they are or used to be.  Be an educated consumer!   Pay attention to your products!  Company logos on the bottle may be a key indicator of a change even if you do not notice a change in the ingredients right away.


Thank you for reading!  Please share any similar experiences you’ve had in the comments!

Major Cosmetics Brand to Acquire Former Natural Beauty Brand

Check back tomorrow for a full commentary on this article.



New York, NY – October 20, 2014 – L’Oréal USA announced today the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire Carol’s Daughter. Headquartered in New York City, Carol’s Daughter is a premier American multi-cultural beauty brand with a pioneering heritage in the natural beauty movement.  Created by Lisa Price in 1993, the brand caters to a diverse, rapidly growing market and has established a loyal consumer following across the country.

Following a multi-channel distribution model, Carol’s Daughter offers a comprehensive range of products that are available at specialty beauty stores, mass retailers, on HSN, through e-commerce and at Carol’s Daughter branded stores in New York City.For the 12 months ending September 30, 2014, Carol’s Daughter had net sales of US $27 million.

“Carol’s Daughter possesses an expertise in the multi-cultural consumer segment, a rapidly expanding market that represents an important growth opportunity in the beauty industry,” said Frédéric Rozé, President and CEO of L’Oréal USA. “This acquisition will enable L’Oreal USA to build a new dedicated multi-cultural beauty division as part of our Consumer Products business, and strengthen the company’s position in this dynamic market.”

Carol’s Daughter will continue to operate out of their New York City headquarters under the brand’s current leadership team. This acquisition further enhances L’Oréal USA’s roster of American brands which includes Maybelline NY, Kiehl’s, Essie, Urban Decay, Clarisonic and NYX.

“I have worked hard for the past 21 years nurturing my brand and am thrilled that we will have a new home with L’Oréal USA,” said Lisa Price, Founder and President of Carol’s Daughter. “L’Oréal has a proven track record of helping established companies achieve their full potential while staying true to the core of the brand and they have an understanding of the future of multi-cultural beauty.  I could not be more proud to begin this next chapter of the Carol’s Daughter brand with them. I know that my mother (Carol) is smiling as well.”

The closing is subject to the standard regulatory approvals and other customary conditions.

Press Release via L’Oreal.

How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XXXI

Healthy nails are the foundation to a fabulous manicure! You have noticed that your nails are not as healthy as you would like and are looking for a product that will correct this issue. You see a product that sounds just up your alley, but aren’t sure if it will improve your nails and meet your standards. Remember, I am teaching you Label Poise–how to walk the walk, talk the talk, and buy products that meet YOUR standards, whether natural, organic, or safe enough.  For instructions on Label Poise visit our Label Poise page.

The Label


The Ingredients

Prunus Amygdalus (Sweet Almond) Oil:  Safe! Sweet Almond oil is high in oleic acid and is primarily used as an emollient.

Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil:  Safe! This ‘oil’ is a liquid wax and has a moderate fatty acid content.

Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil: Safe! This oil is extracted from the bran, grain husk, of rice. It is used as an emollient and skin conditioning agent. Rice Bran Oil is high in linoleic, oleic, palmetic and stearic fatty acids.

Parfum (Fragrance):  Beware! Fragrances are often synthetic. Though they are low in concentration in the product, there is still a small chance of having an allergic reaction.

Tocopheryl Acetate:  Safe!/Beware!  Tocpheryl Acetate is has antioxidant properties and can penetrate skin cells. It is generally regarded as safe, however, there is limited information (not on a MSDS) linking it to cancer so use your best discretion. (MSDS)




Nature’s Pulchritude’s Verdict: This product is a blend of natural oils, fragrance, and an antioxidant to extend the shelf life of the oil. While you could apply Sweet Almond or Jojoba Oil to your nails if you happen to have them on hand (as well as Olive, Grapeseed, Avocado, etc.), this is also worth a try as an alternative.

Senate Passes Bill for Better Sunscreen

This is potentially good news for many who are concerned about the reportedly toxic and even carcinogenic ingredients contained in sunscreen.  A past Label Poise focused on conventional sunscreen and the ingredient list was quite long.  The Sunscreen Innovation Act seeks “[t]o amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide an alternative process for review of safety and effectiveness of nonprescription sunscreen active ingredients and for other purposes.”  How helpful this bill will be will be seen if a final version is agreed upon and signed into law.   The full text of the Sunscreen Innovation Act can be read here.

A highly anticipated bill that could bring more sunscreen ingredients to market has passed

Alexandra Sifferlin, September 17, 2014–The Senate passed a bill Wednesday that requires the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to respond to current pending sunscreen ingredients within a shorter period of time — an important factor in ensuring that people have the most up-to-date ways to protect their skin from cancer-causing UVA rays, proponents of the legislation have argued.

While skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in the U.S., eight sunscreen ingredients have been pending in FDA backlog for years — some for over a decade — even while several of the pending ingredients have already been used in Europe and Asia for years.

As TIME reported in May, proponents for sunscreen modernization were optimistic that a bipartisan bill, the Sunscreen Innovation Act, would pass over the summer. The bill, which also requires the FDA to respond to all potential sunscreen ingredients in the future within a year and a half at maximum, moved along quickly through the summer months.  A version of the bill was passed by the House in July. Now, the House and Senate will meet to agree on a final legislation of the bill. Once they reach consensus, it will go to President Obama to sign.

“The two bills are pretty darn similar, so we don’t anticipate the negotiation will be contentious,” says Michael Werner, policy adviser of the Public Access to SunScreens Coalition.

One of the reasons it takes so long for sunscreen ingredients to get approval in the U.S. is because of the regulation process that the FDA currently has in place. In Europe, ingredients are regulated as cosmetics, but in the U.S. sunscreens are go through a process similar to drug approval, which takes longer and has more safety requirements.

However, many ingredients had not received any feedback from the FDA, not even negative feedback, which prompted skin-care advocates and policymakers to question why the FDA had taken so long to respond, even given the excuse of a stringent system.

As the bill began to move through the voting process, the FDA started responding to some of the pending applications.

(via TIME)


Friend or Foe: Stevia

Stevia is one of the better known ‘natural’ alternatives to refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Stevia emerged in America in the mid 1980’s as a natural sweetener, but truly gained notoriety in 2007 when it was used by a leading soft drink company. It has once again been brought to the forefront of the sugar alternative discussion as it is being used as a replacement for high fructose corn syrup in new products by the two leading soft drink companies. Though stevia is marketed as being ‘naturally derived,’ is it a legitimate, safe alternative to refined sugar?

Stevia is an extract of the steviol glycosides of Stevia rebaudiana. A glycoside is a compound comprised of a simple sugar and another compound of which the hydroxyl (-OH) group has been replaced. Stevia rebaudiana has been used as a natural sweetener for over a thousand years by the Guaraní of modern day Brazil and Paraguay, which they called “ka’a he’ê” or sweet herb. Stevia is 150 times sweeter than sugar, though it has a slower onset and longer duration of sweetness. Stevia has a very low effect on blood sugar levels and has no calories. There are various derivatives that are generically marketed as stevia. The two primary steviol glycosides are stevioside (5-10% abundance), rebaudioside A (2-4%), rebaudioside C (1-2%), and dulcoside A (0.5 – 1%). Most commercial stevias a made of rebaudioside A. The human body metabolizes rebaudioside A by breaking it down into glucose and steviol, the steviol is then excreted from the body and the glucose is used by bacteria in the colon. Though stevia seems to be a viable alternative to refined sugar, is it safe? Just how natural is it?

Chemical Structure of Steviol

Though ‘stevia’ is naturally derived from a plant, the process of how it is extracted from said plant is extremely important in determining how ‘natural’ it is.   Also, the exact composition of the ‘stevia’ should be considered, being that there are multiple stevia derived products on the market simply branded as ‘Stevia.’  One of the popular ‘Stevia’ products on the market lists ‘stevia leaf extract’ as the second of three ingredients.  Not only is this questionable marketing, it also makes it difficult to state that ‘stevia’ products are not hazardous or toxic, as stevia extract has been deemed, if it is blended with other ingredients and the specific chemical composition of the stevia are trade secrets.

Results for mutagencity and carcinogenicity on human and rodent subjects were negative, though there were low instances of genotoxicity and lowered testosterone levels in males (Saad et al. 2014).  It should also be noted that Stevia (whole leaf or crude stevia extract) is not listed as ‘generally considered as safe’ by the FDA, which is likely why it is found with other ingredients as a sweetener. Steviol glycosides were approved for use in the European Union in November 2011.  Though there is little evidence that true stevia extract is toxic, the same cannot be said for ‘stevia’ marketed products.  The fact that ‘Stevia’ was only so recently approved for use in both the United States and European Union is reason enough to err on the side of caution, as there are various alternatives with clear safety records that can be used in place of refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Stevia based products are neither ‘friend’ or ‘foe’, but ‘distant associate.’


Are there any ingredients (food or cosmetics) you would like to see featured in Friend or Foe? Leave a comment below or send us an e-mail!

Thank you for reading!