iPhone application helps consumer avoid ‘dangerous’ ingredients

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Natural ingredients

A new iPhone application promises to inform the consumer of which products should be avoided using a database of INCI names and the ingredients allotted safety profile.

Cosmetifique can be used with both the iPhone and iPod Touch and claims to have a searchable database of over 5,000 ingredients, in INCI format.

Results for ingredients searches come back highlighted as either red, orange or green, to denote whether the ingredient is good, acceptable or should be avoided.

According to application designer Alfredo Delli Bovi, this can inform the consumer whether the cosmetics they have bought or are planning on purchasing are dangerous to their health or the environment.

Cosmetifique also allows favourite products to be saved with the name, brand and colour, which can then be shared with friends via email, facebook or twitter.

Delli Bovi explained that the ingredients suggested as good are natural and green ingredients.

“We talked to make-up gurus and 90 percent of them preferred natural ingredients, so we don’t suggest chemical ones like dimethicone,”​ he said.

A local scientific agency provided much of the information for the application as did webservices, explained Delli Bovi.

The application is now available to purchase from Apple’s App Store at a price of $1.99.

Cosmetifique answers consumer demand for more information about a product’s ingredients and fits the green and natural trends that have been sweeping through the industry.

However, the industry is unlikely to welcome this addition to the consumer’s handbag.

All products for sale in Europe have to comply with the European Cosmetics Directive which provides a list of ingredients banned from cosmetics and others for which concentration limits apply. If a product complies with the Directive and therefore allowed for sale in the region, then, according to industry, it can be deemed safe.

According to Chris Flower from the UK cosmetics trade association the CTPA, it is for this reason, among others, that the application is 'concerning'.

"The launch of this new i-phone application is concerning for a number of reasons. Firstly, because it suggests that consumers might find ‘dangerous’ substances in their cosmetics. In Europe, all products sold are subject to strict safety legislation so would never pose a safety threat to consumers,"​ he told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.

In addition, he said it 'perpetuated the myth that natural ingredients are not chemicals and are in some way safer than man-made ingredients'.

Getting reliable and accessible information to consumers about what is in cosmetic products and their safety is a challenge but is likely to become more important if applications such as Cosmetifique take off.

Bodies such as the CTPA and its US equivalent the PCPC have consumer orientated websites (www.thefactsabout.co.uk and www.cosmeticsinfo.org, respectively) that contain ingredients glossaries in an attempt to provide information about what is present in cosmetics products and why.

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Say NO to this iPhone app!

Posted by John C. Hill,

Exactly Wayne! Your comments hit the mark spot on!

Isn't it ironic that young people with the intelligence and tech savy ability to use iPhones, would trust such a device to recommend which personal care products to use. Are they afraid of chemistry, but love computer science and electronics?!

....and by the way, exactly what is a "make-up guru" anyway?! What is their experience, schooling, knowledge base, and personal care science history that makes them the be-all and end-all in proposing which ingredients are "safe" and which are "dangerous"?

If anyone knows the "name" of one of these make-up gurus, please post it so that we can have a debate with them on the safety and efficacy of personal care ingredients.

John C. Hill
President and Chief Formulator
Never Over The Hill Cosmetics LLC

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iPhone™ Application

Posted by Wayne Fretz,

You have to be kidding! Consumers are already confused about what ingredients they should avoid, and a high percentage of such information is not based on good science. Soon, consumers will have to stop using cosmetic and personal care products. Why? Because, according to their trusted iPhone™, there is nothing available that does not contain at least one "dangerous" ingredient.

Hey, just wait until a salesperson approaches a Retail Chain buyer with a new personal care product. The buyer's response may well be; "Sorry, I can't list your product because it is not iPhone™ approved.

Over my lifetime, I have developed more than ten thousand new products. Lately, I am losing my creativity - since there are becoming less and less new ingredients to use. Maybe, I'll just stick with Scotch and Water. Wait! I have to see if Scotch is approved by my iPhone™ App.


Wayne Fretz, Wayne Fretz Consulting

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