Tuesday, November 22, 2011

how can water be a plant?

Something cropped up recently on a skin care label which made me prick up my antennae.
As a conscientious business owner I like to keep abreast of what my competition are doing and I came across a skin care company in New Zealand claiming to be  be a ‘natural, organic, skincare’.  As I produce a range of skin care which is totally (100%) made from plant based ingredients I checked them out and was surprised to find that they state they contain 99% of plant derived ingredients. Sounds good so far...
They offer a range of products-some gel and some cream. The following is the ingredient list from a cleansing product and it contains:
“aqua (water), aloe barbadensis leaf juice, sodium cocoyl glutamate, sodium lauroylamphoacetate, glycerin, hoheria populnea (lacebark) extract, cucumis sativus (cucumber) extract, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, citrus limon (lemon) fruit extract, zizyphus jujuba fruit extract, carica papaya (paw paw) extract, mel (honey), rubus idaeus (raspberry) seed oil, hibiscus sabdariffa (hibiscus) flower extract, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin, backhousia citriodora (lemon myrtle) oil, geranial*, citral*, citric acid”.
How can this list be derived 99% from plants when the first ingredient is WATER- in any  formulations this will be at least 50 and probably nearer 80% of the formula. Cosmetic labeling in NZ follows international conventions whereby the ingredients must be listed in descending order and anything at less than 1% can be in any order at the end. If this label conforms to the convention then water is the first and most voluminous ingredient.
The second ingredient is aloe juice (this is different to the gel) so probably makes up some of water percentage. however this still doesn’t add up to 99%. 
The preservative ‘phenoxyethanol’ is typically used at 1% so anything below that is definitely at less than 1% per item.  Thus this formula contains the following non plant derived ingredients:
Aqua (water) estimate at 50%
sodium lauroylamphoaceta (a conditioning agent) probably up to 5%
glycerin- may be animal origin as plant not stated usually up to 2%
mel (honey)- produced by bees so not a plant ingredient- usually no more than 1-2% of a formula
Ethylhexylglycerin-Ethylhexylglycerin is a relatively new chemical on the market.  Many companies use it as an alternative to parabens and claim that it's from natural sources.  Yes, it may have started out as a vegetable oil, but it's gone through several chemical processes to become what it is.  This isn't the worst ingredient in the world, but it's also not truly natural, and safety data is highly lacking for this ingredient. “ (Chemical of the Day Website). This could be up to 1%
So...based on the above list this product is at least 54% derived from non plant ingredients- talk about false advertising! 
I am following up this company and their claims with the Advertising Standards Authority in NZ.... why not be honest.