'Not So Pretty' Review

Episode 1 – Makeup

Ology Essentials’ Chief Formulator reviews episode 1 of HBO’s ‘Not So Pretty.’ For an overall review, be sure to read HBO’s ‘Not So Pretty’ Review by a Cosmetic Formulator.

Episode 1 of the  HBO docuseries, Not So Pretty exposes the dangers of asbestos in talc that can be found in makeup, as well as baby powder. This episode made me feel sick to my stomach. I am not in the lab of the companies who use talc in their products, so it is hard for me to understand why any company would choose to use talc instead of cornstarch, sericite, or arrowroot. The controversy is well established in Episode 1 of Not So Pretty. Talc is natural and it grows commingled with asbestos. Why bother using talc? There are a lot of ingredients that are a matter of preference for both the cosmetic chemist and what consumers desire in a finished product, but talc can easily be replaced with perfectly safe ingredients that are void of controversy and safety issues. 

The episode goes on to show that asbestos was found in several samples of makeup sold at Claire’s. From the episode you could view Claire’s as a bad guy, but as an industry insider I think that they probably really did believe that the talc in their product was asbestos free. I don’t know if Claire’s does their own cosmetic manufacturing or if their products are private labeled, but in either case the talc sold to them was being marketed as asbestos free. 

What needs to be addressed is whether the size of the test material per batch for talc is appropriate, or if the level of magnification of the sample is appropriate, whether there is any way to truly remove all the asbestos from any talc products on the market, and whether there is any level of asbestos in a product that can be proven as safe. And if not, then it should be banned to be used in cosmetics. There are many ingredients that are a matter of dose that the difference between whether it is safe to use or not. As a formulator, for me, talc just isn’t worth it when there are so many other safe alternatives. The docuseries is billed as an investigative report, however it just shows one side of the story. It is  always important to look at both sides of any story to come to your own conclusion. Johnson’s & Johnson’s put out a rebuttal website where you can find Facts about Talc and more about the litigation that you can read through to form your own conclusion.

About the Author

Kayla Fioravanti has been a leading expert in the natural cosmetics industry for over 22 years. In 1998, she co-founded Essential Wholesale – one of the first all natural cosmetics/ingredients companies – that started out with $50 in her kitchen and grew to a multimillion dollar company (all while raising her 3 kids). In fact, Kayla raised her own CEO, Keegan Fioravanti. As Ology’s Chief Formulator, Kayla is able to combine her love for natural remedies like aromatherapy, herbal medicine and CBD with her expert knowledge as an organic/natural cosmetic formulator. Kayla is extraordinarily grateful to be on this journey with her family and loves that Ology Essentials is leading the way as a majority woman owned CBD company! Kayla is also an aromatherapist, aromatherapy educator, business consultant and an award winning author.

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