Beauty news you may have missed over the holiday break

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Beauty news you missed, FDA lead, Glansaol, Unilever class action

Related tags Personal care Cosmetics

Several transaction of note took place over the past weeks, including the FDA issuing new guidance on lead in lipstick, Glansaol making its debut by acquiring key beauty brands, and the class action lawsuit against Unilever and its St. Ives brand facial scrub.

Here, Cosmetics Design catches up on the news you may have missed over the recent holidays.

Lead as an impurity

In December, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a recommendation on just how much lead is too much in personal care and cosmetic products, “such as lipsticks, and other cosmetics, such as eye shadows, blushes, compact powders, shampoos, and body lotions,” ​as the agency lists some of the relevant product on its site.

Taking consumption of lead (swallowing lipstick in the course of everyday use) as the primary danger, the agency settled upon the limit as it would for food, at 10 ppm. “We determined that exposure to 10 ppm lead from incidental ingestion of cosmetic lip products is very small and cannot be measured in routine blood testing.”

The agency determined that absorption of lead from beauty products that are not lip color or lip care products is even lower than the amount consumed while wearing lipstick and that therefore 10 ppm is an appropriate top limit for lead in all beauty and personal care products.

Buying up beauty

In partnership with private equity firm Warburg Pincus, Alan T. Ennis (a former CEO of Revlon) has created the prestige beauty and personal care company Glansaol. Last month the new company tripled its executive team to six, by buying up three big brands and bringing their key executives on board.

Besides Ennis, Martine Williamson leads Glansaol as chief marketing officer and executive vice president.

Glansaol acquired Laura Geller New York, adding Elana Drell-Szyfer, that brand’s CEO, to the team as SVP as well as Laura Geller herself as an SVP. Acquiring Julep brought Jane Park, founder and CEO, aboard also as SVP. And, by acquiring Clark’s Botanicals, the company adds Francesco Clark to its roster in the same role.

Ennis started his company with this selection of brands because the three together serve a range of demographics and each has a capable, charismatic leader at the helm. “I am delighted that each of Laura, Elana, Jane, and Francesco will join me and Martine on our Glansaol leadership team,” ​he tells the press. “ I look forward to embarking on this exciting journey with this talented group of seasoned beauty executives.”

Scrubbing dangerously

In a class action suit filed last month in the US District Court of the Central District of California, consumers allege that Unilever’s St. Ives brand facial scrub damages the skin.

The product in question, St. Ives Apricot Scrub, is formulated with walnut shell particles as an exfoliating ingredient. Kaylee Browning and Sarah Basile, the named plaintiffs in the case, claim the product damages skin.

Both say they relied on the defendant’s marketing of the product as suitable for use as a facial scrub when they chose to buy it. They allege they never would have bought St. Ives facial scrub if the defendant had disclosed that it causes skin damage,” ​ according to an item about the case on

Since the suit was filed press coverage from popular outlets like Allure and New York Magazine include commentary from dermatologists agreeing that the scrub is too harsh and that the product can damage and tear the skin.

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