A Response: J&J Paid Post in The New York Times

Johnson and Johnson, the same corporation sold you talcum rich baby powder (causing countless cancer cases paid over $4.69 billion in lawsuits) would now like to sell you an education on clean beauty chemistry . Last weekend the New York Times ran JJ’s paid piece  that sought to educate consumers on preservatives and other synthetics. Their full page advertorial cited medical doctors in an aggressively defensive fight to keep their cosmetics relevant in the ever growing retail trend toward “Clean Beauty.”

Industry cosmetic giants like Johnson and Johnson (JJ), Procter and Gamble, and Unilever have seen their cosmetic sales drop dramatically in the last few years as consumers, wary of their health, move to natural and organic brands.  This year, natural beauty brands will exceed 13.2 billion in sales, beating out mainstream competitors by trifold.  As large corporations feel the heat, their strategies to combat the trend have grown aggressive.

Lawsuits over adverse health effects caused by JJ products continue to tarnish the brand image. Thus, JJ has been calling upon a plethora of tactics in attempt to compensate for the millions lost in revenue. Their efforts include public outreach via news outlets and revamped marketing infrastructure characterized by aggressive new hires with Alison Lewis at the helm.

Other corporate giants like Unilever, Procter and Gamble and Chlorox have gone in the direction of purchasing natural brands.  Chlorox famously purchased Burts Bees for nearly 1 billion dollars while corporations like Uniliver and Proctor and Gamble have recently acquired numerous indie brands like Schmidts and Native. As acquisition budgets from giant cosmetic corporations continue to increase, prepare to see independent brands scooped up at a quickening pace.

There is much more to be unpacked but one thing is for certain: now more than ever, is a time to be an attentive clean beauty consumer and advocate.  

Stay tuned - as we will continue to parse apart this issue as it evolves in real time - as we are committed to serving you nothing but truths & equipping you with all that you need to navigate the muddied waters of green beauty.

Ashley Prange

Founder & CEO, Au Naturale Cosmetics

 


  1. https://paidpost.nytimes.com/johnson-and-johnson/when-it-comes-to-personal-care-products-is-natural-always-better.html?tbs_nyt=2018--nytnative_morein&cpv_dsm_id=190333863
  2. https://www.transparencymarketresearch.com/organic-personal-care-products.html
  3. https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/inside-story-jjs-revamped-marketing-mission-under-alison-lewis-172013/
  4. https://investors.thecloroxcompany.com/investors/news-and-events/press-releases/press-release-details/2007/Clorox-to-Acquire-Burts-Bees-Expands-Into-Fast-Growing-Natural-Personal-Care/default.aspx
  5. https://www.beautyindependent.com/unilever-schmidts/

 

The Dirty Detes : Supply Chain Responsibility ft. Palm Done Right

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One of the most disputed ingredients of the now is palm oil. So why are we talking the time today to boast about the fact that you can find it in our products? 

As a brand, our appeal is rooted in our ethical values and ingredient purity which is why our initial message on the inclusion of palm oil was confusing to many. Our relationship with palm oil suppliers, Palm Done Right, is the perfect example of why it is so crucial for companies to be mindful at each step in their supply chain.

What's the deal with palm oil?

Palm oil is traditionally linked with problematic farming practices that lead to deforestation, specie endangerment and endless pollution.  This is because it is an incredibly versatile substance with a vast array of uses and benefits and can now be found in "over half of the consumer products found in an average American home.

As the demand for palm oil increased over the past several decades, the producers of the ingredient scaled up their operations to capitalize on the opportunity - but they did so in a way that prioritized profit over any other negative externalities. Today, the vast majority of palm oil is produced on a large plantation with the slash-and-burn agricultural methods that are responsible for rampant CO2 emission and destruction of biodiversity. 

So then how does one do palm oil, correctly?

Palm Done Right is taking a stand in favor of the environment by being the first to offer accountability and transparency in the palm oil production process. They have done this by finding alternate farming methods that reduce CO2 emission, fuel biodiversity and empower the community involved in the process. Not only have they proven that it is indeed possible to farm palm oil on a large scale while maintaining high ethical standards, but they have also created certifications to encourage other farmers to do the same.  

Supply Chain Responsibility 

As a company - we choose to hand pick suppliers who hold the same values as we do. If we were to include an organic palm oil that was also responsible for a big ugly carbon footprint and the death of an orangutang family - our product wouldn't truly fulfill our company mission. Thus, we choose to support suppliers who are getting it right and changing the norm. Because to support these suppliers means drive change in the industry at large. 

The same can be said for consumers - but rather in the final link of the supply chain.  I.e. when purchasing makeup, it is important to pay attention to the details - and to support the companies who are fighting for a healthier, more ethical, more sustainable norm.  Your purchase is a vote in the direction of that company's practices and beliefs. 

Our Founder's Take: 

“People want to have healthier, cleaner, more ethical alternatives. It is up to us to provide them not only with a product that was creative mindfully and transparently, but also to see to it that they have the information they need to advocate. It’s about making sure that the consumer knows the power they possess to create a demand for ethical options by supporting the people who are getting it right.”

Which Au Naturale products include palm oil from Palm Done Right? 

We first introduced palm oil to the production process when we began formulating the su/Stain, the semi-matte liquid lip stick. At this point, this is the only collection that includes palm oil, but we plan to adjust formulations in months to come with the hopes of including palm oil in many of the creme bases. 

Have more questions on Palm Done Right or palm oil in general?! Ask below, or reach out to us via social media! 

Xx

Team Au Naturale

The Dirty Detes : Packaging Sustainability

As a brand, we spend a lot of our time speaking to the ethics & standards we hold our product to - but just as crucial to note are the ethics & standards we apply to the packaging it comes in.

According to the The Ocean Conservancy, researchers suggest there are as many as 51 trillion pieces of microplastic in our oceans at present. So what does this have to do with cosmetic packaging? And why should you care?!

The plastics in our oceans are problematic for an array of reasons including but not limited to: endangerment of seabird species who confuse plastic for food and wind up malnourished, the health of sea turtles who confuse plastic bags for jelly fish & of course the health of human beings who consume fish that are contaminated with microplastics. 

So how does this plastic land in the ocean?! Poor recycling practices.

As a company we make it a point to avoid plastic - our components are mostly aluminum and the boxes they come in are 100% post consumer waste.  We want to make it easy for consumers to make purchasing decisions that they can feel good about in terms of both their health and the environment. That said, we recognize that avoiding plastic packaging entirely is near impossible in this day and age. 

Thus it boils down to 1) choosing sustainable options when possible & 2) recycling properly - whether your waste is plastic or not. 

So in the spirit of #EarthMonth, check out this fine resource on all things recycling to be sure that you are doing your part to keep waste from winding up in the ocean.

Still have questions?! Comment below or reach out via social media. 

Xx

Team Au Naturale

The Dirty Detes: An Intro to Earth Month + Water Quality

At Au Naturale, we take Earth Day very seriously...which is why we turn it into an entire month! 

If you've made it this far, you've probably already read that this year to celebrate, we are donating 10% of April's profits to The Nature Conservancy. We're also going to be tackling a new Earth Month related topic each week via IG Live + this blog series - so follow @aunaturalelife on Instagram to stay in the know! 

To kick the month off, I wanted to spend this week talking about 1] why The Nature Conservancy and 2] Water Quality. So let's jump in! 

Q: Why did you choose to highlight + support The Nature Conservancy?

A: The Nature Conservancy's mission to preserve lands and waters extends beyond preservation; their scope also takes into consideration the intricacies of the modern world and focuses on multifaceted approaches ensuring nature thrives. We chose to support Nature Conservancy because their positive impact is felt globally, and their mission hits me at a personal level as the lands I love in my home of Door County enjoy the sanctuary of The Nature Conservancy's protection. 

Q: How does The Nature Conservancy tie into this week's topic of Water Quality? 

A: Our waters are a precious resource that must be managed properly to accommodate the world's rapidly growing population. Waters and Oceans are two of the five focus area's of the Nature Conservancy's mission.  Their team researches overwhelming water concerns, and finds solutions to improving water quality and supply, protecting, managing, and offering water security across the globe. For more information on how they are grappling with some of the largest water concerns humanity has ever been faced with, click here

Q: Is it safe to assume water is safe to drink in most areas in the US? 

A:  It is NOT. Our trusted friends at the Environmental Working Group have worked incredibly hard of the years to produce alarming data showcasing drinking water concerns in the United States. I was shocked to learned of contaminates found in my zip code's drinking water. To check out their drinking water database, and learn how your drinking water rates, click here.

Q: What can we do to advocate for water protections? 

A: There is a short term, and long term solution. One way to immediately improve your drinking water is to purchase a filter, and filter the water you consume. I use a Britta water filter system at home.  The real solution is to fight for protections and improvement through the vehicle of policy and advocacy. Teach others of the real issues we are facing with our water ways, and the water we drink. Speak up and make your voice heard through your elected officials; challenge your local and federal elected officials to take on the important health and environmental issues associated with our water. We CAN change policy by using our voice! Speak up and get involved in protecting our water! To stay current with water issues happening on the national stage, click here.

Xx,

Ashley Prange

 

CBR Updates from Ashley Prange: A Letter to the HELP Committee

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) recently took up the Personal Care Product Safety Act (PCPSA) and released draft language for proposed legislation, a pinnacle in cosmetic policy progress as this marks the farthest personal care reform has reaching in congress in 80 years!  The original version of the bill introduced by Senators Diane Feinstein and Susan Collins, consisted of language that evolved over five years to include small and large beauty business interest. The intention for compromise was to get a passable bill that both protects the consumer and brings companies both small and large to the table. 

Compromised language in the original Feinstein/Collins bill was omitted in the initial HELP draft released three weeks ago. The period for public comment ends tomorrow, March 15th 2018 at COB. I encourage business owners, consumers, health advocates, industry tastemakers and influencers to read my comment on the draft below, and compose a simple message reiterating the same points to the HELP committee before the end of tomorrow.

Please reach out to me if you have questions.

This is a very important period of the policy changes we want to see. Should enough comments be submitted, it is our hope HELP leadership will take the points into consideration and reinstate the important protections PCPSA highlighted into the official HELP version of the bill that will be voted on in the Senate. 

Many Thanks, 

Ashley Prange

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ms. Ashley Prange, CEO & Founder

Au Naturale Cosmetics

1263 Main Street

Green Bay,  WI 54302
 

U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

428 Senate Dirksen Office Building

Washington, DC   20510

 

Dear HELP Committee Members and Staff:

Thank You for the opportunity to publicly comment on the committee’s recent draft legislation on cosmetics reform. As a small business owner in the world of natural color cosmetics, I have been dedicated to supporting this government action. I believe the present regulatory landscape needs updating to adequately protect the consumer and the businesses that try to navigate the increasingly confusing regulatory space of the personal care industry.

We at Au Naturale Cosmetics are proud of the HELP Committee for taking on cosmetic regulatory reform and producing the first draft legislation concerning cosmetics in 80 years. However we are equally concerned the the draft omits key language from the original legislation championed by Senators Diane Feinstein and Susan Collins.

The safety of the consumer is a duty and passion of those who work at Au Naturale Cosmetics; thus the consumer protections in the original Personal Care Product Safety Act (PCPSA) were of great importance.  We ask that cosmetic chemicals are safe for consumers, including children, by applying the “reasonable certainty of no harm” safety standard -- the same safety standard that has been applied to food chemicals, color chemicals, and pesticide residues.

We would like to empower the FDA with the tools and financial resources needed to assess and, if warranted, restrict a cosmetic chemical (or class of chemicals) to ensure safety.  The coalition of businesses supporting PCPSA upholds the user fee structure to assist with funding the FDA in their efforts to protect consumers.  I understand that some members of the Senate do not believe in user fees, but I want to highlight that cosmetic companies both large and small have widely agreed to the user fee system, and ask that it be reinstated in future HELP committee drafts of this proposed legislation.

In order to properly protect the consumer,  I believe it is essential to provide FDA with data about chemical use so they can estimate chemical exposure.  Not only is the data essential to the FDA for complete understanding of health risks, but the scientific body that reviews the chemicals in question should remain independent and autonomous from private industry, working for the safety of the consumer and remaining outside of the realm of manipulation.

Compliance in upholding new FDA cosmetics standards is necessary to achieve measurable results. I I I would like to see the FDA initiate at least ten chemical safety reviews within the next five years, and associate specific benchmarks to each review so that the consumer understands that their government is working stringently to protect them in a space that is widely unregulated.   

Compliance for cosmetic manufacturers is also of great importance to both protect the consumer and give FDA a complete understanding of process. Requirements I would like to see cosmetics manufacturers responsible for include: submitting ingredients statements including chemical use data, affirm the safety of their products through registration,  adopt mandatory Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) to reduce the risk of compromised product, report (in a timely fashion) both serious and non serious adverse events, and FDA access to safety records.

I look forward to working with the HELP committee in realizing these goals in future draft legislation, and congratulate the committee in their efforts to bring the cosmetic industry into modernity.  

With Great Thanks,

Ashley Prange

Founder & CEO, Au Naturale Cosmetics

CBR Updates: Q&A with Ashley Prange

Q: First of all, why is now such a pivotal time to get behind the Clean Beauty Revolution? 

A: Because the bill, the Personal Care Product Safety Act (PCPSA), has made it closer to a vote in the Senate.  After 6 years of work we are elated to see this progress & enthusiastic to be a step closer to a cleaner cosmetic industry. It's been recently announced that the PCPSA made it past the HELP committee, the farthest cosmetic legislation has gone in 80 years. We need continued support for a bill in the Senate. 

Q: Ok, so some back story - what is the Clean Beauty Revolution? 

A: We've been on the hill for 6 years asking congress for legislation to protect consumers. Since 2015, we've been behind Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) & Susan Collins (R-ME) who introduced the PCPSA. The bill proposes requirements for cosmetic companies to ensure consumer safety by requiring questionable ingredients to be reviewed each year.  

Q: Why should consumers support the PCPSA? 

A: In a perfect world we could assume that if a product is for sale, it must be safe. Most assume this is common practice now, it is not.  However, in the US only 11 chemicals have been banned from use in cosmetic products, while the EU has banned over 1,300.  The purpose of this bill is to create safeguards that would require the beauty industry to be more transparent about the ingredients they are using, and to protect the consumer.  

Q: Why does the PCPSA need revision?

A: After the HELP committee reviewed the PCPSA, they have issued their own version for Senate approval. This version needs to include the parameters that Feinstein and Collins put forward. Here are the issues that I'm discussing with Senators and HELP today: 

  1. Be sure FDA is measuring long term health effects of ingredients
  2. The FDA must have the authority to recall bad products
  3. The FDA must maintain authority to review bad ingredients rather than companies reviewing their own 
  4. The industry is subject to specific compliance, like having GNP's 

Q: So what can you do? 

A: Submit comments addressing the concerns above to the HELP Committee by March 15th…they are in charge of prepping the bill before it is voted on by Congress members. Send said concerns to cosmeticsdraft@help.senate.gov by Mach 15th! 

If you have any questions regarding the movement or what you can do to join forces as a #CleanBeautyRevolutionary , email us at info@aunaturaleglow.com!