The Grass is Greener

Don’t panic; Rachel has not left. Rather, she has taken a brief hiatus to start her family with what is sure to be a beautiful baby boy—name yet to be announced. While I could never attempt to fill her shoes, I will try to maintain your attention during the next few months through a series of riveting “Compass” pages.

Like my colleague Rachel, I have grown to love personal care R&D, an industry I did not know existed until I started at Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine more than five years ago. Unfortunately, my affinity for personal care products resulted in the demise of space in my medicine cabinet, on my shower ledge and basically anywhere else I could stash them. More products eventually led to longer showers, and after a number of concerning water bills, my now husband demanded that I find a way to cut the time of my “Hollywood showers” in half.

While I have always recycled and pride myself on a relatively low carbon footprint, I never considered the environmental impact of my sometimes lengthy shower regimen, but a recent trip to In-Cosmetics in Milan taught me otherwise. Most personal care suppliers I talked to at the show, whether or not they marketed themselves as green, natural or sustainable, incorporated environmentally responsible and sustainable practices into their everyday chemistry.

In this issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine, the relevance of this topic is illustrated through a number of articles. Bendejacq et al. discuss ingredient alternatives to sustainable shampoo formulation, while Rigano introduces two vegetal-derived emulsifiers to serve as alternatives to their ethylene-oxide counterparts. Sustainable sourcing of ingredients is addressed by Dayan et al. who speak to responsibly harvesting Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae, a species of coral used in personal care. To aid formulators tasked with creating organic or natural formulations, the “Naturals/Botanicals Formulary” is offered. Finally, sustainable production of extracts is covered in this month’s “In Sight” column, with an interview involving the solvent-free production of plant extracts.

Former US President Jimmy Carter once said, “We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles.” This is a lesson I’m learning both in my life as a newlywed and in my life as an eco-responsible human being.

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