WHY TRANSPARENCY IS IMPORTANT
Since Macrene Alexiades, MD, PhD (who became known as the Park Avenue dermatologist with a roster of models, celebrities, and socialites), published a paper on the toxicity of parabens in The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology over ten years ago there has only been escalating concerns about the potential of toxic chemicals in everyday beauty products.
It’s important to note that chemicals across the board are not bad for us. Our body is made up of chemicals, and so is everything else, including food and water. It really comes down to ensuring that ingredients (of natural or synthetic origin) are gentle for skin and earth. Ask any formulator, chemist, or toxicologist - the vitally important consideration for ingredient safety is dosage. Where ingredient labeling becomes important is that according to Dr. Alexiades, "when people are applying five products a day, (they could be) exceeding the minimum allowable amount (of a particular ingredient) by tenfold." This number is a low estimate as according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), "on average, women use 12 personal care products a day, exposing themselves to 168 chemical ingredients. Men use six, exposing themselves to 85 unique chemicals.
Scientific studies investigating the health effects of certain chemicals are conflicting so at ST. ROSE we feel that it comes down to personal choice, as is the answer to most wellness matters. For consumers wishing to make informed choices that are best for themselves and their families they really have to study up, especially considering the current lax and outdated cosmetic safety laws (speaking to the US and Australia specifically). ST. ROSE wants to make that process less daunting by being extremely transparent about what goes into our products.
OUR THOUGHTS ON THE FRAGRANCE LOOPHOLE
Let's quickly touch on trade secrets as, even though we don't exercise this legal right as a transparent brand, we believe that the fragrance industry is far too beautiful a landscape to have anyone be apprehensive about any other credible* brand that we'd be happy to sit in good company beside. In the United States, The Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973 protects fragrance and flavour formulas as a trade secret. What the industry enjoyed for decades as a protection of intellectual property is today being viewed as something potentially scary. At ST. ROSE we feel that while this loophole is entirely unhelpful to today’s inquisitive and well-educated consumer to make informed decisions without full ingredient transparency, there is certainly no nefarious conspiracy by companies to hide anything potentially harmful from consumers.
Until all brands join our transparent journey, here are our suggestions to approach companies that aren't currently listing their fragrance formulas; 1. We encourage consumers who are becoming more savvy on reading their cosmetic labels to reach out to a company if they have a question. Let us not forget how powerful the consumer voice is to change not just the opinion of a company but that of entire industries. 2. Check if the brand, or their manufacturer, is a member of IFRA. If so, you can breathe easy that they are following very strict safety guidelines.
THE IFRA CODE AND FRAGRANCE SAFETY
In fact, the fragrance industry was really proactive to establish safe guidelines and in 1973 The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) was founded. Headquartered in Switzerland, IFRA is the official self-regulatory representative body of the fragrance industry worldwide. Members are legally bound to comply with the IFRA code which lists the substances (both natural and synthetic) that are prohibited or restricted to a percentage threshold in consumer products. IFRA’s guidelines are based on the evaluation of an independent research institute called RIFM (Research Institute for Fragrance Materials) which includes an international group of dermatologists, pathologists, toxicologists, reproduction, respiratory and environmental scientists.
All reputable fragrance houses in the world, including ours at ST. ROSE, are IFRA members and adhere to their safety guidelines.
As a brand we have taken an approach to creation that concentrates on naturals. This places more responsibility on our shoulders to ensure that raw materials are cultivated in harmony with the Earth. Any questionable ingredients** that are suspected to pose harm to people or planet are put on our never list and kept out of our products. We also prefer to allow nature to shine and eliminate any unnecessary elements that are added for mere visual appeal like artificial colorants.
We feel that all members of the beauty industry must be committed to a future that is clean, sustainable, and transparent. Consumers today are highly educated and motivated to learn about all aspects of wellness, beauty included, —we simply need to enable them to make informed decisions. Our hope is to empower and inspire our customers by being an ‘open book’ with transparent ingredient disclosure. We will continue to do our best to share what we do know is healthy, beneficial and effective for both people and planet.
*Credibility - as mentioned above, we believe shopping from fragrance brands that are IFRA compliant ensures that products are formulated against strict safety guidelines.
**At ST. ROSE, we have a stringent vetting process when it comes to ingredients permitted on our perfumers' palette and ensure every ingredient in our products plays a positive role in the health of people and planet. No compromises. We choose to formulate without; BHT, phenoxyethanol, parabens or pthalates, nitro musks, poly or alicyclic musks.
Sources: IFRA, RIFM, EWG, Skin Safe Database, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, MADE SAFE Hazard List™, National Institutes of Health (NIH)