It’s called ‘Think Dirty’ and if the app takes off it could lead to a new generation of formulation savvy consumers who will be telling formulators what ingredients they do and do not want to see in their products.
Launched towards the end of the summer and currently available in app stores, Think Dirty allows consumers to scan the bar code of any participating manufacturer and determine exactly what ingredients are contained in the formulation and what it means.
Founded by Lily Tse last year, the app has been over a year in development and at launch it included more than 11,000 products and over 1,000 different brands in its database, with the aim of growing significantly as it becomes more popular with consumers.
According to the development team, the app assesses products based on what is deemed to be the safety of the ingredients, which is based on references to government lists of prohibited chemicals, studies in peer-reviewed journals and regulatory guidance.
Tse says the inspiration for the launch came about when her own mother developed breast cancer about ten years, something that drove her to do significant research into potentially carcinogenic cosmetic and personal ingredients.
Founder discovered that regulation and labeling has shortfalls
In her quest to discover safer products, Tse said she found that the regulation of the industry is not what she expected, in turn discovering that the labeling of cosmetic products in the US is often confusing and sometimes misleading.
“Finding safer alternatives for myself was a huge challenge. Although many products are labeled “all-natural” or “organic”, there is little transparency in labeling cosmetics and personal care products,” she said.
“There was also no real tool out there for consumers to find information easily. With my background in design and marketing, I wanted to develop and create something not only for myself but for others as well, and that’s how Think Dirty was founded.”
And here's where brand holders and formulators can get involved...
But it’s not just about consumers, the app developers are also looking to get the cosmetics and personal care industry thoroughly involved, with the aim of making the app a benchmark for the industry, as manufacturers with nothing to hide will presumably be eager to get involved.
Indeed, the company invites any cosmetic or personal care company to submit its products to become a part of the Think Dirty database by contacting the team here .