All posts by Allingham Beck Associates

The Impact on Coconut Vs. Palm Oil

Did you know that you can produce 4 metric tonnes (4000kg) of Palm oil from 1 hectare per year and you can only produce 553kg of Coconut oil per hectare per year. This of course means that to replace palm oil with coconut oil you would need to destroy over 7 times more natural habitat.

In addition Palm oil contains 10 times more EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids) than Coconut oil and over 3 times the amount of Omega 6.

There are of course added benefits from growing coconuts as it also yields coconut milk, coconut cream and water. Even charcoal can be produced from the husks. In addition, unlike palm, coconuts will grow well with other plants such as bananas and this is useful for smallholders.

So there is a place for Coconut but due to the high yield of oil, which is higher than any other commercially grown vegetable oil, it appears to be much better for our planet and our environment to use palm oil.

It must however be well managed RSPO palm oil. At present less than 20% of all palm is RSPO but this is changing and with the help of organisations like “Palm Done Right” improvements will come.

Environmental & Sustainability Policy

As a company, since our inception we have always taken the green issues very seriously, as a global company now, we are committed to reducing our environmental impact and keeping this central to our mission statement going forward. We consider this a duty of care for the current generation and those to follow. Outlined below are some of the steps we already take:

  • We have always used camera meetings as opposed to travelling long distances, allowing and in fact encouraging all staff to work from home was the norm long before the changes in practice forced by global pandemic.
  • We ensure they have all the technology to make it possible.
  • This way we minimise the impact on the environment and the members of staff involved caused by excessive travel.
  • We seek to use as many materials as we can with natural origins and that are as close to source as possible, educating our clients on why materials are used and their function or purpose.
  • Helping them to educate their buying public in the changes in performance that this might offer is again a positive contribution.
  • Whilst retaining an innovative edge we seek to enable our clients to make their brand choices as clearly as possible.
  • We are members of the CTPA and keep abreast of Industry changes complying with all applicable legislation, regulation and code of practice and ensuring our clients are kept notified.
  • We try to integrate Environmental and Sustainability considerations into the whole teams daily business decisions.
  • Using packaging that they feel is in line with the customers ethos, raw materials that fit their needs and reducing the need for multi layers of secondary packaging that are not truly necessary.
  • To ensure we are moving towards removing single use plastics with our clients we are using innovation to provide waterless alternatives for the future.
  • In the meantime we try to look at each raw material as we use it, analysing its source and making judgement calls inline with each clients ethos.
  • We respond to client requests to consider what we are using from a green ethics view point.
  • We try to bulk pack avoiding the use of excessive cardboard, we don’t use non recyclable materials when packing.
  • We use no pure Palm oil but many of the materials we need to use are palm derivatives which we try to ensure are from managed plantations (RSPO) having chosen that rather than the trend for alternatives which causes more deforestation.
  • We seek to use natural alternatives to existing materials if they are sustainable, where and when they are available.
  • We walk the narrow tightrope helping our clients make intelligent choices relating to materials, costs, percentages, performance, efficacy and pay off against saleability and efficiency and the environmental effects.
  • Our aim is to continue to reduce our global impact on the environment as a sustainable player suited to this new more educated and informed era.

EU Cosmetic Compliance Simplified

Let’s start at the top and try to demystify Cosmetic Compliance as we go along:

  1. To sell or sample (yes even free samples) legally in the UK/EU you need to be EU or UK Compliantor both and that requires your products be registered onto whichever or both portals…this is not a total waste of time, it’s actually a really good safety measure! The new UK Portal or the SCNP went live at the end of 2020 and all Brands will need  to be on it and their cosmetic products registered by the end of March 2021 or face possible fines. Once registered on either portal it means that should anyone ingest, eat drink or be merry with your product and fall ill, the Poisons agency in whatever country they are in, can access that data on each and every raw material and ascertain from this what best to do.
  2. If you are the Brand Owner responsible for the product being developed you are probably going to be the Responsible Person here in the UK, this can be your company but it can also be another company (as explained we have set up a sister company to offer this service) whoever it is must be able to access the data and be able to respond if Trading Standards for example were to contact them. Your name or Company or the nominated Company name goes on the outer packaging. If you are selling in the EU then you require an EU RP resident in the EU and they must be printed on the outer packaging.
  3. Many clients ask if we can do one or both of these for them, we can certainly undertake this now that we have a separate Company to be able to do so.

So to recap…two portals, two RP addresses, both can be on the pack if the same product is sold here as in the EU. If your products have been developed by us then all the collating and inputting for Compliance in the UK happens automatically. We gather documents, reports and results obtained through you, put them in the correct format and then pass to our Toxicologist who undertakes the CPSR or Cosmetic Product Safety Report. If you also wish us to set you up on the UK portal we can also do this and also advise on the duties of the Responsible Person.

  1. The list of what we require to do undertake Compliance for you is or should be familiar to any other manufacturers you may be using.We need Safety Data sheets and Certificates of Analysis for each raw material, in fact we have a check list that you can ask them for…having explained what the potential use for them is then this requirement is self-explanatory.
  2. We will need the full formulation…yes it does need to be full not banded in most cases. The toxicologist will need to assess all the percentages to ensure that nothing adds up to more than legally and safely allowed.
  3. We will need Microbiological Challenge Tests…these are required to ensure that whatever level of preservation your formulators have chosen it is robust enough to keep bugs from growing and potentially harming anyone using the product. We can arrange this for you
  4. It will need Stability and Compatibility Test results…again these are very straightforward. It should hold together without falling apart or losing its consistency and going watery, or too thick to get out of the container, and it should ‘work’ in the packaging you have chosen…….So the lid or closure should ensure no leakage or seepage, if it’s a pump the material should come out as is intended and the material of the container should not affect the product and vice versa. Allingham Beck can offer this service
  5. We will need to see the proposed or actual label copy….. there are fairly strict rules for this one. The ingredients need to be in quantity of inclusion …so the most used at the top and the least at the bottom…. These need to be in the approved format and spelling. All allergens must be correctly listed…again a safety aspect since anyone with known allergies will be able to find these before using. The weight needs to be shown in the right sized print and the correct positioning. We can review artwork before printing and advise on any omissions
  6. Container detail…yes we need your supplier of whatever your product goes into to certify what the material is….ok now this seems a bit extreme but since there have been incidences of plastic leeching into product in the past it make sense. Also everyone is now becoming more aware of recyclability of materials so let’s face it, it’s been a long time coming and this industry has to clean its act up.
  1. Marketing Claims …this has to be dealt with on its own since its fairly major… claims can be made until they are substantiated …..say it improves lines and wrinkles and you have to prove it.

Say something is going to cure something and it’s a medicine and not going to be covered by Cosmetic regulations but even more stringent and far-reaching tests are required and not something we undertake.

No no’s….. yes that s right, you can no longer say no to anything so for example ‘no parabens’ or ‘not tested on animals’ …there is so much more to this one that I will need to write a whole blog for it alone to update it before long.

Needless to say, we can help with the whole CPNP Cosmetic Product Notification Portal set up and inputting, collating all the information above in a format suited to our Toxicologist and the CPSR, Cosmetic Product Safety Report that will ensue. We can also help with RP services both here at home in the UK and in the EU

I wrote this in order to try to de mystify the process somewhat and help answer the myriad questions I’m usually asked but if you need any further queries please don’t hesitate to get in touch

Fragrance or Perfume

One of the first questions we usually need to ask of our Brands is ‘will your product be fragranced?’

Fragrance is really important to get right, as we can make a top performing product but if the consumer doesn’t like the fragrance it can affect their judgement of the product itself!

Whatever direction you choose it may behave in a different way depending on the products in which it is used.

For example a cream or lotion tends to smell very different from a water based product such a Shampoo or Body wash.

When choosing a fragrance you really have five main options and each has its positives and negatives.

Fragrance Free is an Option

You may say I don’t want a fragrance…in which case its important you are aware of many ingredients used have strange natural odours that may not be appreciated by the end user.

100% Natural Fragrances

(Please be aware there is no internationally accepted definition of natural in Cosmetics today)

This combines naturally derived fragrant materials with essential oils or is a blend of essential oils themselves.

Nearly all essential oils contain ‘allergens’. Allergens are what cause an allergic response in people …so it may be ‘natural’ but not necessarily safe to use by all. There are 26 allergens that must appear on your product’s ingredient list if they are in your finished product at more than 0.001% for a leave on product and 0.1% for a wash off product blend

Synthetic  Fragrances with some Natural Notes

These commonly appear more natural since descriptions of the ‘notes’ used are usually the natural ones present but the description in the ingredients list or INCI will be parfum.

These are usually pretty powerful and complex fragrances since they employ the best of both worlds. This is common practice in the industry and many “natural” brands take this approach.

Synthetic Fragrances

If you think of your personal fragrance known in the Industry as Fine fragrances it is composed of top notes, middle notes and base notes all of which lift off from the skin at different rates leaving the long term ‘core’ of the scent on the skin longest.

The skins acidity can affect the way a perfume performs on the skin and can smell very different from person to person.

The same applies with our using a synthetic fragrance in a product although since it’s not so concentrated this is less likely.

Allergen Free Synthetic Fragrances

This last one is an option usually chosen if the brand is for babies or for those wishing to make Hypoallegenic Claims.

It is designed specifically to avoid all known allergens.




What is Wrong With Parabens?

Since Dr. Philippa Darbre published her 2004 paper that described the discovery of parabens in breast tumours this preservative has become unacceptable as a preservative for “natural products”. Indeed we have pretty much stopped using it as it is always at the top of our customers “ingredients not to be used” list.

Regrettably Dr. Darbres report was flawed and has been dismissed as, at best, misleading by regulatory and scientific bodies around the globe maintaining that there is no evidence linking parabens to cancer.

The study received extensive press coverage, with few accounts pointing out that there had been no control group. What should be noted is that since parabens are widely used in foods, drugs and cosmetics so they can conceivably be detected in almost everyone.

Although Darbre admitted that the presence of parabens did not prove they caused the tumours, she did alarm women by pointing out that these preservatives have oestrogen-like activity and that such activity has been linked to breast cancer. What she failed to mention was that the estrogenic activity of the various parabens is thousands of times less than that of estrogenic substances found in foods such as soybeans, flax, alfalfa and chickpeas, or indeed of the oestrogen produced naturally in the body.

It really is common sense to realise that applying a skin lotion or cream containing parabens at a low concentration (usually less than 0.8%) cannot possibly be as harmful (if any harm exists) as eating it in everyday foods.

Parabens have been used since the 1950’s. The worry is that all of the replacements we now use have not been tested for as long and may possibly be harmful in ways that are yet to be discovered.

Parabens do occur naturally and can be found in Blueberries for example, but they have to be produced synthetically to meet demand. However chemical safety does not depend on where it is made. Just because a substance occurs in nature it does not mean it is safe, nor is a material produced in a laboratory necessarily harmful. Its chemical and biological properties depend on its molecular structure and the only way to evaluate these is through appropriate experimentation which in the case of parabens has been extensive.

Preservatives are vital to the safety of a product. Without proper preservation bacteria, yeasts and moulds can and will grow in most products and some of these can be detrimental to our health. We will always endeavour to use the safest raw materials to make the best products. Unfortunately due to misleading information we have all but lost one of the safest and best.

SLS, SLES & Sulfates

Nearly 100% of our new customers say “we do not want to use Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) and no to all SULFATES”. We are happy to comply and want to explore the topic a bit further.

There is so much information on the internet about the dangers but regrettably most of it is erroneous due to a basic misinterpretation of scientific data and perhaps a desire to capitalise on what could be seen as a marketing opportunity.

This is particularly true of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). One of the primary issues is that this material, since its inception in the 1940’s, has been used in so many areas, both industrial and cosmetic. This myriad of products means various concentrations have been employed which will all have different effects on the skin and body. It appears that this has not been understood. A shampoo for example will have a much lower level and employ a finer grade than a floor cleaner and a toothpaste will probably have 100 times less and will probably use a pharmaceutical grade.

The main concerns appear to be:-

  • Ocular irritation
  • Dermal irritation
  • Oral toxicity
  • Carcinogenicity
  • Organ toxicity
  • Hair loss
  • Skin sensitization

In addition there are concerns over aquatic toxici and biodegradability.

This is a long list so I will address each individually:

Ocular Irritation (eye irritation)

Like most cleansing agents SLS can be irritating to the eye in high concentrations but there is no evidence that it can cause permanent damage, blindness or cause cataract formation. These claims have been made and were based on the misinterpretation of two reports. The first point to a study by Green et al published in the journal “Lens and eye toxicity research”. Dr Green’s paper does not suggest that SLS causes ocular damage or blindness but a leading cosmetic company promoting its SLS free campaign not understanding and misquoting the information caused a media storm which led to the following response from legal council,

…your citation of his work was not simply a misinterpretation, it was plainly wrong. By citing his research in support of erroneous conclusions, you have libeled Dr. Green. In fact, [you have] even attributed quotations to Dr. Green which he has never written or spoken, and which he would not ever write or speak”

In this case, the dissemination of misconstrued results not only provided a disservice to the general public but also caused serious repercussions for the scientific researchers.

A second erroneous ocular health claim made about SLS is its link to cataract formation.  Claims about SLS causing cataract formation appear to cite a 1987 study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

It should be noted that the anatomy of the eye renders direct exposure of the lens to SLS impossible, as it is deep within the eye protected by the cornea, and therefore, not vulnerable to exposure through typical consumer product usage. As such, a causal relationship between SLS in consumer products and cataract formation is not scientifically supported.

Dermal Irritation (skin irritation)

Like most surfactants if left on the skin in sufficiently high concentrations SLS can cause irritation and some peoples skin will react more than others. Indeed Human patch tests (typically a 24-hour exposure) confirm that SLS concentrations of more than 2% are considered irritating to normal skin. However SLS is generally used in wash off products like shampoo so contact with the skin is likely to be minutes not hours and with added water the concentration could easily be less than 2% in any case. So in normal foreseeable use SLS is not a skin irritant

Oral Toxicity (ingestion)

In high concentrations SLS could be toxic if ingested but it is important to note it is not as toxic as common salt which we eat every day so this is not really an issue at all.

Carcinogenicity (causes cancer)

The most egregious claim by far is that SLS is carcinogenic. The origin of this claim is uncertain, but it is likely to have derived from multiple misinterpretations of the scientific literature. There is no scientific evidence supporting that SLS is a carcinogen. SLS is not listed as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC); U.S. National Toxicology Program; California Proposition 65 list of carcinogens; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; or the European Union.

The perception that SLS is carcinogenic is often based on studies that use the ingredient to evaluate the carcinogenicity of other agents. It is apparent that the common use of SLS as a solubilizing agent in toxicology studies has led to the public’s confusion around the chronic toxicity of SLS.

Other claims denouncing SLS as a carcinogen point to a chemical reaction between SLS and formaldehyde that creates nitrosamines as a by-product. However, it is not possible for SLS and formaldehyde to react and form a nitrosamine. Nitrosamines contain two nitrogen atoms, but neither SLS nor formaldehyde contain nitrogen atoms. Therefore, the two cannot react to form a nitrogen-containing nitrosamine. Although nitrosamines have been associated with several types of cancer and many are classified as known, possible, or probable carcinogens they cannot be associated with the presence and use of SLS

Organ Toxicity (damage to liver, kidneys etc.)

It is often claimed that SLS “absorbs into the blood stream, builds up in the heart, liver, lungs and brain, and causes damage”. Claims of this nature often cite the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Final Report on the safety of SLS, which contains an extensive review of the absorption and excretion of SLS in humans and animals. However, the CIR concludes that while SLS can be absorbed through the skin when applied directly, the majority of the material remains in or on the skin surface. If SLS is absorbed into the bloodstream it is quickly metabolized by the liver into more water-soluble metabolites that are rapidly excreted. There is no evidence that supports the accumulation of SLS in vital organs and associates it to systemic toxicity or vital organ damage. As such, accusations that SLS will bioaccumulate in humans and cause organ damage are inaccurate

Hair Loss

The same CIR report  is also cited as supporting the claim that SLS can cause hair loss and baldness as is a study published in 1998 by the European Journal of Dermatology . Whilst both studies identified the deposition of SLS on the root sheath of the hair follicle they did not draw conclusions about the effects of this deposition on the hair. Neither study suggests that SLS is responsible for, or contributes to, chronic hair loss. In general claims that associate the use of SLS-containing products with hair loss are not scientifically supported.

Skin Sensitization

Another unsubstantiated claim about SLS is that it can cause severe dermal sensitization. A sensitizer is a substance that causes hypersensitivity through an allergic or photodynamic process, which becomes evident on reapplication of the same substance on the skin. There is no scientific evidence to support that SLS has sensitization potential. SLS is not included on any lists of known or suspected sensitizers. Therefore, stating that SLS is a sensitizer is inaccurate.

Aquatic Toxicity (water contamination)

Aquatic toxicity refers to the short-term adverse effects that result from the exposure of aquatic life to a chemical or formulation.

SLS as with other chemicals/surfactants at full strength is moderately toxic to aquatic life but product formulations contain dilutions of SLS that are not necessarily moderately toxic and, in fact, can be nontoxic to aquatic life.

By the time cleaning product ingredients reach natural waters, they are mostly degraded.


The ability of a chemical to decompose into simple, nontoxic components under ambient environmental conditions within a short period of time (typically 96 hours) means that it is biodegradable. SLS is readily biodegradable under aerobic and anaerobic conditions and, therefore, does not persist in the environment and is therefore environmentally benign.

Sodium laureth sulfate SLES is also used extensively in the cosmetic industry and suffers the same fate as SLS. Many of the issues are the same particularly that this material will cause cancer. In this case it is generally because there is an additional chemical process employed, that of ethoxylation. This means that the material is reacted with ethylene oxide which has the potential to form dioxanes. 1,4-Dioxane is a known carcinogen. Because of this the amount of dioxane in SLES are closely monitored and has been limited to 10ppm (parts per million) with is 0.001%. 10ppm is the level considered safe for all cosmetics by the SCCS (Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety). So there is still likely to be a small amount of a cancer causing agent in this base. But let’s put this in perspective:

  • The allowable level in food stuffs that is considered safe by the WHO (world health organisation) is also 10ppm and SLES is not normally ingested.
  • SLES is diluted during use so the levels are potentially a lot lower.
  • 1,4-Dioxane in the air at 100ppm is considered acceptable.

What is wrong with sulfates?

A sulfate is a salt or ester of sulphuric acid. Probably the most common sulfate is Epsom Salts which chemically is Magnesium sulphate (sulfate). This is a natural material found in sea water, natural springs and mineral deposits. So why are sulfates bad for you? Well basically they are not. Once again it is just a misinterpretation of scientific data. It appears that because sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate have been so misunderstood and the both contain the word sulfate then all sulfates must be bad.

I think it important to remember that if you choose not use these much maligned products you have to find replacements. The question is are the replacements any better as many have the same issues.

One ingredient you may choose to use is betaine. Betaines and Sultanes, which a chemically similar, are often used in baby shampoos. In 2004 Cocoamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) was described by the American Contact Dermatitis Society as “allergen of the year”. It has been linked to all the same issues as SLS/SLES. E.g. Skin and Eye irritation. You could use an Alkyl glucoside (e.g. coco glucoside). These too have been linked to allergic dermatitis etc. The point is that pretty much all surfactants at full strength can be irritating and damage the skin but if used at the right levels and formulated correctly they are perfectly safe.

SLS & SLES are used by most major brands (and this includes major “natural” brands) Examples are Lush, Aesop, L’Occitaine and Aveda to name just a few. They are a commodity so they are very cost effective. They are incredibly efficient so you can use really low levels. Replacements can cost up to 10 times as much and you very often have to use a lot more to achieve the same result.

If you choose to avoid SLS and SLES remember that Ammonium lauryl sulfate , Ammonium laureth sulfate, Sodium myreth sulfate or Sodium coco sulfate have exactly the same properties. Lather is not vital to cleanse the hair but it does help. A rich, creamy lather is not only enjoyable to use, but also helps the cleansing agents to spread easily across your scalp, in-between fibres and down the length of your hair. Something to consider when trying to appeal to the consumer who equate quality cleansing with a high foaming product.





Recycling Considerations for Plastic Cosmetic Containers

Only 5% of plastic waste is recycled globally, 12% is incinerated and the rest goes to landfill or is leaked into the environment.

Consumers are increasingly aware of the impact that plastics have on the environment, however information provided on plastic containers is not always clear and actionable. Many beauty and personal care products are packaged in plastics and consumers often look at the pack for information on the correct way to dispose or recycle the container

A recent study by Consumers International and the UN’s Environment Programme (UNEP) found most labels confusing and inconsistent in their disposal and recycling advice. Of 31 labels assessed only 19% provided consumers with quality information to make informed recycling and purchasing decisions.

Advice on biodegradability and compostability emerged as the most problematic.

The report suggested recommendations on labelling should include:-

  • Global consistency on definitions around packaging content and reusability
  • Restrictions on the use of the “chasing arrows” symbol
  • The adoption of informative and verified recycling labels worldwide


The UK’s Cosmetics Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) has shared guidance on the use of recycled materials in plastic packaging.

Current regulations and technical restraints mean that it is often impossible to incorporate recycled materials into many types of plastic packaging due to the rigorous safety requirements in place to protect human health. Whilst including recycled material in packaging can obviously have environmental benefits of resource efficiency and carbon savings the safety of the consumer must be paramount.

EU Cosmetic regulation 1223/2009 does not have specific regulations governing the use of recycled material it does however demand that packaging purity and stability have to exist to ensure the safety of the finished product

In 2022 the government has planned to impose a tax on all plastic packaging that does not contain a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled content.

We need new solutions, new technical innovations to help tackle the plastic waste problem.

Some work has been done on creating wood and plant-based binders for containers that biodegrade rapidly but we have a long way to go as these are not suitable for water based products.

Bioplastics are plastic materials produced from renewable biomass sources, such as vegetable fats and oilscorn starchstrawwoodchipssawdust, recycled food waste, etc. Bioplastic can be made from agricultural by-products and also from used plastic bottles and other containers using microorganisms. Not all bioplastics are biodegradable nor biodegrade more readily than commodity fossil-fuel derived plastics. Bioplastics are usually derived from sugar derivatives, including starchcellulose, and lactic acid. The problem here is that, at the end of the day, you still have plastic.

Most plastics can only be recycled once, at which point they are normally converted into clothing or some other commodity which can’t be recycled again. This means that once the second item reaches the end of its lifespan, so too does the original plastic – and it ends up in a landfill.

Recyclable plastic usually comes with a little recycling symbol printed on the bottom and depending on the product, there might be a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 stamped in the centre of the “chasing arrows” symbol. It’s easy to miss, but this tiny digit is actually pretty important, because it’s an ID.

Plastic No. 1

Even if you don’t know the term “polyethylene terephthalate” (PET or PETE), you’ve probably encountered this type of plastic before. It’s the most frequently recycled plastic. Often used for cosmetic/personal care packaging

Plastic No. 2

This coding refers to high density polyethylene, or HDPE. It’s a little tougher than PET, but nearly as common.

Plastic No. 3

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is best known for its use in pipes, but that’s not the only product that relies on plastic no. 3. PVC also appears in cooking oil and shampoo bottles, and window cleaner spray bottles.

Plastic No. 4

We’ve already covered HDPE, so now meet LDPE: low density polyethylene. LDPE can be found in squeezable condiment bottles and toys as well as personal care products. It is often found in combination with HDPE in cosmetic tubes.

Plastic No. 5

Polypropylene, or PP, has a high melting point that makes it great for containing hot liquids. Syrup, ketchup, and medicine bottles all rely on PP, but you’ll also find it in bottle caps and printed labels

Plastic No. 6

Polystyrene (PS) is an incredibly versatile plastic. It can be manipulated into a soft foam, like packing peanuts, or hardened into a sturdy CD case. PS is further used in take-out containers, disposable plates and cutlery, aspirin bottles, and egg cartons and some cosmetic jars.

Plastic No. 7

There’s no long or fancy name for this plastic, because plastic no. 7 is more of a miscellaneous category for everything that didn’t fit into the last six slots.

You can safely assume that you can recycle PET and HDPE (plastics 1-2) but after that, it becomes a bit of a guessing game as different authorities will offer different services



We believe that as things stand at the moment the best we can do is to use a product that can be used over and over again. PET can be recovered and recycled again and again by thorough washing and re-melting for use in new PET products, or by chemically breaking down the PET into its constituent raw materials, which are then purified and converted into new PET.

We at Allingham Beck have also been working hard on alternatives to water based product and have been developing powders for many uses such as facial cleansing and shampooing, as well as shampoo bars, conditioner bars, moisturising bars and deodorants in fact all cosmetic products in alternative formats so that we can look seriously at our clients requests for removing single use plastics

Animal Testing of Cosmetic Products is Banned in Europe

Cosmetic product may NOT be tested on animals anywhere in the EU.

The ban on animal testing of cosmetic products in the EU came into effect in September 2004. It has been illegal to test cosmetic product on animals in Europe since that time.

Animal testing of cosmetic ingredients is banned in Europe

Ingredients used in cosmetics may NOT be tested for that reason anywhere in the EU.

The ban on animal testing of cosmetic ingredients in the EU came into effect in March 2009. It has been illegal to test cosmetic ingredients for that purpose on animals in Europe since that time. However, many cosmetic ingredients are also used by other industries such as PHARMACUETICALS some of which still require animal testing. Therefore, MOST if not all cosmetics contain one or more ingredients tested on animals by someone at some time.

Selling cosmetic products tested on animals is banned in Europe

NO cosmetic product tested on animals anywhere in the world to comply with European cosmetics law may be sold in Europe.

Selling cosmetic products containing ingredients tested on animals is banned in Europe

NO cosmetic product containing ingredients tested on animals anywhere in the world to comply with European cosmetic laws may be sold in Europe.

However, many cosmetic ingredients are used by many other industries and may be tested on animals to comply with the laws of those countries. Therefore, most if not all cosmetics contain one or more ingredients tested on animals by someone at some time.

The UK’s exit from the EU will not change the animal testing ban

The UK’s decision to leave the EU does not alter these strict safety laws that govern our cosmetic products, including the current ban on animal testing.

Consumers may have concerns about the ban on animal testing, but we would like to stress that the UK cosmetics industry voluntarily abandoned animal testing seven years ahead of the EU-wide ban, so you can be assured this is not going to change.

‘Not tested on animals’ claims

All cosmetics sold in Europe could make the same claim now.

The common criteria for cosmetic claims, which are now part of European cosmetics law, prohibit claims that are no more than claiming compliance with legal requirements.  Since the ban on animal testing applies equally to all cosmetic products on the EU market, it would appear that claims relating to avoidance of animal testing would not be permitted.

That law covers claims in the form of text, illustrations, logos or pictorial forms and similar depictions according to the CTPA.

The European Commission prohibited this when it recently reviewed its guidance.

However, explicit statements relating to a company’s philosophy regarding animal testing should be acceptable.



Silicones in Personal Care Products

It is a fact that silicones are used in the majority of modern skin moisturisers that are on the market today. They are also used in a good many hair products so what are they, why do we use them and most importantly are they safe.

What Are They?

Silicones themselves do not occur naturally and the silicones supplied to the cosmetic industry are synthetically produced. However the process of production starts with a natural element: Sand (Silica SiO2). It is true to say therefore that silicones are derived from a natural occurring material just as it is true to say that most surfactants used in shampoos and body washes are derived from coconut or palm oil, or to put it in another context, that cheese is derived from milk.

So Silicones are chemicals but remember the air that we breath is made up of chemicals just as the water that we drink and need to survive is a chemical. Silicones contain a combination of Silicon and Oxygen atoms. Water is made up of Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms. In addition to Silica the silicones we use in cosmetics also contain varying combinations of hydrogen and carbon atoms. Carbon is the central element to all living organisms on earth. The human body is made up of approximately 18% carbon atoms. Carbohydrates, an important food group, contain only Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen.

Silicones are a class or group of chemicals (no ingredient has the name silicone).

Common INCI names for these are materials when they appear in cosmetics are:-

  • Dimethicone
  • Trisiloxane
  • Dimethiconol
  • Amodimethicone
  • Dimethicone crosspolymer
  • Trimethysiloxysilicate
  • Polymethylsilsesquioxane
  • Polypropylsilsesquioxane

Why Do We Use Them?

They are used extensively in cosmetics because very low levels can substantially improve the performance of a product. Here is a list of some of the properties and benefits.

From the chemists point of view they offer:-

  • Quick Spreading
  • Low Surface Friction
  • Low Surface Energy
  • Flexibility/ Elasticity
  • Permeability
  • Low Conductivity
  • UV Stable
  • Breathability

From the consumers point of view they provide:-

  • Smooth/ Soft Feel/ Sensory Enhancement
  • Ease of Use
  • Efficacy at Low Use Levels
  • Soft Focus
  • Heat Protection
  • Hair Repair
  • Hair Frizz Reduction
  • Improved Manageability
  • Add Texture to Formulation
  • Improved Resistance to Water and Sebum

 Are they safe?



Although silicones are not biodegradable, they are degradable either in the soil, for non volatiles polydimethylsiloxanes, or in the air for the volatiles types such as Cyclopentasiloxane.

It is important to understand the meaning of “biodegradable”.

The dictionary definition of Biodegradation is the chemical dissolution of materials by bacteria, fungi, or other biological means. Because silicones are inert under normal conditions they will not react with bacteria or fungi just as sand will not react with biological material and is not biodegradable.

It should be noted though that these materials do stay around for a long time and the use of some volatile silicones has been limited in cosmetics in the EU as they have been shown to accumulate in the environment.

Silicones in Skin Care

Typically silicones do not irritate skin/scalp. There is no evidence on negative impact to the scalp. Silicones are also typically used in antidandruff shampoos as part of scalp care where they help to counteract the negative impact of the anti-dandruff actives on conditioning.

Silicones are used in products positioned in the market for sensitive skin, where there are claims for treatments like rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, post-surgery, diaper rash and skin ulcers.

Most silicone molecules used in beauty care are either too large to enter the skin or they are volatile and therefore evaporate. They are often used in barrier creams designed to prevent skin sensitization to allergens.

When looking at other markets, such as healthcare, silicones can replace latex, a common allergen, in adhesives, gloves and a wide array of other items.

Silicone and organic/silicone combinations are also used to treat wounds, facilitate healing, reduce discomfort and do not promote bacterial growth.

Most silicones are invisible when they are resting on the skin, and some can absorb sebum and mattify the skin, minimizing visual appearance of pores in the process.

Any greasiness which is felt can often be attributed to the formulation design and not the silicone in itself.

Silicones are typically non-occlusive or “breathable” due to their chemical structure: They allow oxygen, nitrogen and water vapour to pass through them on the way to, or out of, the skin.

Silicones are non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic (will not give you blackheads or spots) and mostly non irritating. They also do not promote bacterial or other microbial growth.

However, they can aid the penetration of other ingredients for example actives.

Each formulation needs to be tested and evaluated for its specific properties, there are a wide range of ingredients and it will depend on their type, usage level and the skin type if the product can be considered non-comedogenic/acnegenic

Safety Overview in Beauty Care

Silicones used in personal care are stable and inert under conditions for the intended applications.

Silicones are among the most extensively studied materials used in consumer and industrial applications today.

More than 1,000 studies have been conducted by silicone manufacturers to assess the safety of silicones relative to workers, consumers, the environment and manufacturing processes. The results of this continued research and testing demonstrate the safety of silicones in their diverse and important applications.

These materials will continue to be used by the majority of mainstream cosmetic companies but there is a slow move towards silicone replacement materials with a more natural biodegradable starting point.







The Palm Oil Debate

Palm Oil – a vegetable oil obtained from the fruit of the Oil Palm Tree and one of the
world’s most widely produced oils. Though most popular in foods, around 1% of
global production goes into the beauty and personal care industry.

Palm Oil’s popularity is due to several reasons; its smooth, creamy, unfragranced
texture, its natural preservative effect, its ultra-high yield (requiring less than half
the land needed by other crops to yield the same volume of oil) and its stability at
high temperatures. However, as global demand across all sectors has increased, the
resulting environmental and social impact – deforestation, habitat destruction and
biodiversity loss – has understandably caused considerable controversy.

You may be familiar with sustainable Palm Oil and the Roundtable on Sustainable
Palm Oil (RSPO). Established in 2004, this not-for-profit organisation unites oil palm
producers, processors, traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks,
investors plus environmental and social NGOs to develop and implement global
standards for sustainable palm oil production and apply a certification system for
sustainable Palm Oil. Those wishing certification must adhere to a strict criteria list,
including commitment to transparency, conservation of natural resources and
biodiversity, responsible development of new plantings, and use of appropriate best
practices by growers and millers.

Being transparent with our customers about the use of Palm Oil is important and,
while no Allingham Beck formulations contains pure Palm Oil, the plant-based
surfactants in our shampoos and body washes and many emulsifiers – derived from
ingredients such as Coconut, Corn and fruit sugars – do often include a Palm Oil

We are, of course, sensitive to the many issues surrounding Palm Oil’s use,
sustainability and traceability. We endeavour to ensure that the Palm Oil derived
ingredients we use are responsibly sourced from RSPO certified suppliers.
It must be noted that Palm Oil is such a high-yielding oil, that the decision by
beauty or personal care brands to boycott all Palm would hike demand for
alternative oils. However, any oil replacing Palm would require the use of larger
amounts of land to produce equal amounts of yield – which would only further
exacerbate the issue of deforestation and associated land use change. What’s more,
millions of farmers (and their families) based in Palm Oil-producing countries like
Indonesia and Malaysia depend on this work.

We believe it’s more important to work with suppliers, ensuring demand for certified
sustainable Palm Oil far outweighs that of other Palm Oil sources.