Cosmetics: health and transparency go hand in hand

Who reads the ingredient list when buying lipstick, shampoo, or concealer? Does anyone you know review the ingredients included in their face creams, serums, or other beauty products? Probably not many. But this is changing. Transparency regarding ingredients in beauty and personal care products is a trend that has been gaining momentum in recent years.

Consumers now have the power to make fact-based decisions. More and more consumers, especially the youngest, seek to purchase products and services in line with their values, such as organic products, natural and organic ingredients and no experimentation with animals. Studies reveal that 94% of consumers believe that there is a need for greater honesty and transparency on the part of brands regarding the ingredients of their products. About 92% take into account the effect that ingredients can have on their health and 89% want to know if the products are sustainable and ethical.

Additionally, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the way consumers view sustainability, health, and transparency.

With regard to health, special attention should be paid to the category of grooming and beauty products, since they are products that are applied to the skin. Today, there are many sources of information about the ingredients and formulas of beauty products, but not all of them are reliable. Concepts like formula security, transparency, and confidence building are no longer a luxury. They must be part of all products that are applied to the body.

There is a lively discourse around cosmetic safety, and leading companies have a responsibility to lead the discourse and take action to increase consumer confidence. Apparently, a growing number of brands are conducting their own safety tests and relaying their findings directly to the consumer. The general public has the right to transparency, since personal hygiene is a matter of trust in the products we use every day.

In this context, many companies are promoting greater transparency in everything related to the ingredients of their products, they are reducing the amount of ingredients and making them more natural. And, most importantly, they are being more transparent with consumers. An example of this can be found in the L’Oréal Group, which recently announced its vision as the first cosmetics company in the world to commit to full transparency, safety and green science.

(credit: Courtesy of L’Oreal)

What does a commitment to transparency mean?

The main idea of ​​the commitment to transparency is to provide consumers with better and safer products, made with respect for the environment. At L’Oréal, for example, the move includes a significant transformation in its research and innovations, while taking a green scientific approach.

By 2030, around 95% of the ingredients used in the group will be extracted from renewable plant sources, abundant minerals or circular processes; and 100% of the formulas will respect the marine environment.

An important step in the process is a website called Inside Our Products, which uses terms from the world of consumerism. The site answers consumer questions about the materials included in the formulations and the composition of the product. The site has nearly 1,000 registered ingredients and is currently available in 45 countries in eight languages.

The product transparency discourse was not created in a vacuum, of course, but it has intensified at a time when protecting the earth is vital, with the coronavirus pandemic sparking increased demand for products that are good for health. health and health insurance. environment. In this regard, L’Oréal is opening a new chapter in its research and development by turning nature into a driving force by creating renewable alternatives to oil-based components. L’Oréal’s goal is that by 2030, women and men around the world will have more efficient and safe cosmetics that respect the environment.

Transparency is essential to help consumers make informed decisions

The transparency approach is also reflected in L’Oréal with the launch of its consumer app, which informs consumers about the environmental and social impact of cosmetic products. Called PIL (product impact labeling), it will gradually incorporate all the group’s brands. It is, in fact, a method of marking environmental and social impacts, which allows consumers to make purchasing decisions based on other parameters in addition to price, ingredients, etc. These parameters are increasingly valuable among consumers, especially the younger generation. This method allows them to make decisions based on consumer awareness.

A new era in transparency and greater trust

It is important to remember that in the end, the desired change in terms of transparency in cosmetic products, which affects our health, is driven by the companies themselves. Large companies will drive the wheel, but medium and small companies need to jump on the bandwagon and join the revolution. Of course, many more challenges are to be expected along the way, some of which lie in management approaches among decision makers at beauty product manufacturers. The product transparency approach, whether in the field of biotechnology or any other field, is a values-based approach that respects the limits of the earth and requires a perceptual integration of this approach.

Launching a site like Inside Our Products is another step that illustrates L’Oréal’s approach: providing maximum transparency to all stakeholders, especially consumers. On the site, anyone interested in the composition of a product can find the most accessible and clear explanation, allowing them to know the source of the ingredients of the product they are using. The corona pandemic has demonstrated the importance of a product’s safety, quality, and components. Therefore, this movement is doubly important.

Consumers are demanding greater transparency from cosmetic brands. What does that really mean?

94% Honesty and transparency are the main demands of consumers

92% Brands must provide more honesty and transparency about the ingredients of their products

89% I take into account the effect that products have on my health

85% Brands must declare whether their products are sustainable and ethical

75% I take into account the effect that products have on the planet

72% I like to try new or independent brands

47% I have changed my shopping habits in the last two or three years due to ethical and sustainability awareness.

Big brands are more sustainability conscious than small or independent brands

Studies have also revealed that today’s consumers are looking for facts:

53% want information about the effect of a product’s ingredients on their health.

50% want information on the effect of ingredients on the environment.

47% want information about the hazards of the ingredients in the products they buy.

(CGF and Futerra x Savanta, October 2020.)

This article was written in cooperation with L’Oréal

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