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The Reality of Ingredients in the Cosmetic & Beauty Industry

Written by Elizabeth Lynn

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Posted on December 13 2018

Until I personally launched my first product, White Girl Sunscreen I honestly was your average joe smo' when it it came to formulating a product. Before I went to school for Business I went to Cosmetology School. I was very intrigued with the attributes of products aka what ingredients make the product do certain things. I honestly thought creating a sunscreen would be simple, ha! Until I found out that "sunscreen" is technically not a "beauty product", but an OTC (over-the-counter-drug). 

During the development stage of White Girl Sunscreen, my partner at the time, Solongo Erdenekhuyag worked for the government and automatically knew that we would have to go through hurdles to get approved by the FDA. After we developed a formula that was free of parabens, oxybenzone, alcohol, oil, etc.. (aka the perfect sunscreen) then our next step was to get the product approved by the FDA... 

I won't bore you with the entire process of the shit I went through, mentally to get us approved. I rather waste your time by telling you about all the CRAZY things I discovered when launching a beauty product that continue to scare the shit out of me when I go to the store and I'm standing in front of a shelf full of products thinking to myself, "which one do I choose?". 

The unfortunate truth is the FDA has bigger fish to fry at this point. They don't have time for the beauty industry and only have so much control. I mine as well be a certified stalker... I found a letter from the FDA online addressed to, "The Honorable Dianne Feinstein" -- Senator Feinstein. Explaining how the USA cosmetic industry is booming and some OTC products regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission are sold annually in the USA. w

1. Beauty Products aren't pre-approved before they hit the market, which surprises most people. Companies are not even required to substantiate safety of these products before they sell them.

Source Other Than Myself -- Tina Sigurdson, Asst. General Counsel at the Environmental Working Group. 

Sunscreen is an OTC and you have to submit 4 forms to the FDA. In addition, your manufacturer & the lab must be registered with the FDA/US government. The reason I know that there's no crazy submission process to submit a beauty product is that my business partner at the time registered White Girl Sunscreen as a beauty product and the FDA held up the first order of White Girl Sunscreen in a warehouse until I sat in front of a computer for 2 days, called a genius, cried a few times. Anyways, we got approved as an OTC aka the happiest day of my life. After going through this experience I realized why every company doesn't come out with sunscreen -- it's hard.

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It's time to make yourself aware. As a product development specialist, I give the same products that we formulate to our families and friends. We do our best to make them safe. 

The other factor you must be aware of is the ingredient selection process. I develop products, along with many other individuals in the United States. We only have so many options to choose from when developing a product. Other amazing ingredients you find in Korean skin-care products we can't even market in the USA. Why? Most likely the ingredients in that particular formula aren't approved. Next question you will ask me..."How do Other Companies from Different Countries Sell Products in the USA?"  -- Read the letter from the FDA to Senator Feinstein. They have no one to regulate outside sales. 

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