http://www.cosmeticobs.com/news/trends/controversial-cosmetic-ingredients-what-consumers-think-3149
September 2, 2015 Trends

Controversial cosmetic ingredients: what consumers think

In June 2015, CosmeticOBS-L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques conducted a survey of its web users on controversial cosmetic ingredients*. Which ones are best known and identified? What are they reproached for? Lack of information and evaluation of packaging indications, guarantees of organic labels, requests for bans and alternatives… Here are the first results.

Parabens: the most well-known, recognized, and controversial

Parabens are the cosmetic ingredients that have received the most media coverage since 2005, and they are the most well-known among those pointed out as harmful, as 98.5% of survey respondents state they know them, ahead of aluminium salts (95.7%), silicones (93.9%), and UV-filters (86.1%).
They are also part of the best recognized controversial actives, along with methylisothiazolinone and phenoxyethanol, as consumers can spot them in the lists of ingredients: 81.5% of the people surveyed rightly identify them as preservatives, and they are mainly reproached for being endocrine disruptors and carcinogens. If 80% of the participants think there are substitutes available to replace them in beauty products, only 48.6% wish they were completely banned.
In the consumer barometer of the ingredients deemed the most controversial, parabens are ranked 5th, with a score of 80.6%. They are behind formaldehyde and formol releasers (91%), methylisothiazolinone (90.2%), aluminium salts (88.1%), and triclosan (84.1%).

Lack of information on controversial ingredients

Despite the numerous issues covered by the media, mainly on television and the Internet, only 17.6% of the people surveyed declare they think they are informed enough by the press on the controversial ingredients used in beauty products. This score is confirmed by the low percentage of respondents considering they are globally well informed on the actives present in cosmetics (25.6%).

Absence of controversial ingredients: an additional purchase criterion

People are still dreaming of healthy beauty products free from substances harmful for the skin, health, and the environment: for 76.4% of survey participants, the absence of any controversial ingredients in a cosmetic product is an additional purchase criterion.
69.7% consider the indications on the packaging meant to inform of their absence in the product are necessary or sufficient. Nevertheless, 20.4% note that these claims amount to greenwashing, and 9.9% think they are too present or useless.

Organic labels do not guarantee the absence of controversial ingredients

Consumers think organic labels are not reassuring enough regarding the absence of toxic substances in cosmetic formulas: 66.2% of the people surveyed actually question their charters, which do authorize a few controversial ingredients like sulphates or alum.
By contrast, 76.6% of the respondents declare they are favourable to a label or some kind of labelling indicating the toxicity of cosmetics, just like what has been done with the energy labels for electrical appliances, cars, or real estate.


*Method

The results were taken from a survey of CosmeticOBS-L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques web users on controversial cosmetic ingredients (parabens, phenoxyethanol, methylisothiazolinone, aluminium salts, triclosan, formaldehyde and formol releasers, silicones, sulphates, mineral oils, UV-filters…) conducted from June 1 to 30, 2015, via an online questionnaire.
Among the 535 respondents aged 15 and over, 90.1% live in France (and 96.4% in French-speaking European countries) and 92% are women.
57.9% have an average monthly budget for cosmetics of 21 to 50 euros.
61.1% declare they have already experienced a skin reaction following the use of a cosmetic product, and 63.2% consider they are not sensitive/allergic to a particular cosmetic ingredient.

The detailed results of the whole survey are available in the PRO Section (access limited to subscribers)

© CosmeticOBS-L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
Related articles [1]
©Thinkstock/L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
August 29, 2013 Choosing your cosmetics well
25 ingredients to ... watch

Methylisothiazolinone, Phenoxyethanol, Triclosan, BHT … and, obviously, Parabens! There is no lack of "questionable" ingredients in the cosmetic industry. They sometimes (but not always) come with arguments to take into account. Which ingredients shall we be watchful about? For instance,... [Read more ]

Your comments

Please login to see all comments

All articles [135]
February 13, 2018 Trends
2018 new Cosmétagora formulas (4)

Just like every year, the Cosmétagora show organized by the SFC (French Society of Cosmetology) last January9-10, celebrated innovations in cosmetics formulation. Brands could find plenty of inspiration, both in terms of product design and marketing concepts [Read more ]

February 6, 2018 Trends
2018 new Cosmétagora formulas (3)

Just like every year, the Cosmétagora show organized by the SFC (French Society of Cosmetology) last January9-10, celebrated innovations in cosmetics formulation. Brands could find plenty of inspiration, both in terms of product design and marketing concepts [Read more ]

January 30, 2018 Trends
2018 new Cosmétagora formulas (2)

Just like every year, the Cosmétagora show organized by the SFC (French Society of Cosmetology) last January9-10, celebrated innovations in cosmetics formulation. Brands could find plenty of inspiration, both in terms of product design and marketing concepts [Read more ]

January 23, 2018 Trends
2018  new Cosmetagora formulas (1)

Just like every year, the Cosmétagora show organized by the SFC (French Society of Cosmetology) last January10-11 celebrated innovations in cosmetics formulation. Brands could find plenty of inspiration, both in terms of product design and marketing concepts. [Read more ]

© CosmeticOBS-L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
January 2, 2018 Trends
The 10 beauty trends in 2018, by Pinterest

According to Pinterest 100 report for 2018, 10 top beauty trends emerge for this year. 48 million women use this social media to find ideas. Pinners are looking to the experts for the latest products to try and buy, and tips and tutorials for everyday looks and special occasions. The motto for... [Read more ]

© Bertrand GUAY / AFP
October 4, 2017 Trends
Spring beauty: shine on

Dewy, glowing skin has long been a staple catwalk beauty look, but this season elevated the trend, with multiple fashion houses sending their models down the runway with faces that positively shone. There is no doubt that the biggest beauty trend to emerge from the Spring/Summer 2018 fashion... [Read more ]

September 27, 2017 Trends
Cosmetotextile: slipping on beauty

As cosmetics brands vie each other in inventiveness to offer the public new skincare products with ever-more innovative galenics and textures, an alternative branch now provides consumers with a new way to consume beauty: cosmetotextile. As its name suggests, it is an association between textile... [Read more ]

September 18, 2017 Trends
Beauty boxes are getting green

It has been a few years since beauty boxes have invaded cosmetics consumer mail boxes. The offering is massive, there is something for every taste. And those that prefer to invest in organic skincare have not been left behind, since green-labelled boxes have also been launched. Some of them... [Read more ]

© CosmeticOBS-L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
August 24, 2017 Trends
One third of anti-ageing products come from Asia

Asia’s ageing population continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, and the beauty industry has taken notice of this shift in demographics. New research from global market intelligence agency Mintel reveals that, in 2016, over one third (37%) of global beauty and personal care (BPC)... [Read more ]

June 28, 2017 Trends
Sun exposure: 7 solutions to minimize risks

If summer holidays rhyme with seaside, rest, and beaches, they are also synonymous of sunbathing, which can be harmful for health: in addition to accelerating skin aging, UV rays are determining factors in the appearance of skin cancers. So, to help the public better understand what sun exposure... [Read more ]