Gleams & Notions


  • Taking a Closer Look At Weird Cosmetics

    Perusing the internet, I came across the new products and services, detailed below, that I’ll just call weird cosmetics. I list the name of the product, the price and what it is supposed to accomplish. I will not comment further on them, except…
    Harvey Fishman, Consultant 08.29.11

  • There's Nothing Fishy About this Material

    In yet another nod to the power of serendipity, Norwegian salmon hatchery workers noticed that their hands became soft and felt smooth after exposing them to cold hatching fluid from the salmon. Healthy hands are unusual, as swollen, red chapped sk…
    Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant 08.11.11

  • A Wide Array of Ingredients At NYSCC Suppliers' Day

    This year’s New York Chapter of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists’Suppliers’ Day, which was held in May in Edison, NJ, was well attended as usual. Total attendance reached 7,200, an increase of nearly 20% over 2010. The number of exh…
    Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant 07.07.11

  • More than Marketing? A Look at Ingredients

    In recent decades, various ingredients from natural sources have been highly promoted in the cosmetic industry for their unique properties.A discussion follows describing some past and present so-called “marketing ingredients.” Roya…
    Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant 06.16.11

  • In the Thick of It

    Need a new thickener for your personal care formula? Noveon Consumer Specialties, a product line of Lubrizol Advanced Materials Inc. in Cleveland, OH, is promoting a new efficient rheology modifier for hard-to-thicken surfactant systems. Novethix L…
    Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant 05.03.11

  • This Mild Surfactant Is Ideal for Body Care

    Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are the most commonly used surfactants when formulating hair shampoos due to their excellent foaming ability and the ease of viscosity adjustment. However, when formulating a body wash or body shampoo,…
    Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant 04.05.11

  • A Hydroquinone Alternative Is Available from Cognis

    Hydroquinone (dihydroxybenzene) at a 2% concentration is still a common skin lightening agent in the U.S., even though it is banned in Europe and some Asian countries. Other skin lighteners include kojic acid and magnesium ascorbal phosphate. Labor…
    Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant 03.11.11

  • Think Outside the Bottle For Sun Protection

    Think Outside the Bottle For Sun Protection

    The Environmental Working Group, a non-government organization, voiced concern last year about the use of oxybenzone-based sunscreens on children and babies. Even though the FDA approves it for use, the body may still absorb oxybenzone and certain…
    Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant 02.17.11

  • All About Hair... and the Lack Thereof

    All About Hair... and the Lack Thereof

    This month's column could be subtitled, “Everything You Wanted to Know About Hair, But Were Afraid to Ask.” Hair comes in various sizes and shapes: stiff and short on the eyebrows, long and soft on the head, and almost invisible on mo…
    01.07.11

  • Testing a Hair Care Formula Before It Leaves the Lab

    Most hair product manufacturers have a salon with professional hairdressers who compare experimental products created by the formulating chemist to a competitor’s product currently being sold. Both formulas are applied and evaluated on the same…
    Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant 11.23.10

  • Despite Effectiveness, Questions Regarding Nanoparticles Persist

    Despite Effectiveness, Questions Regarding Nanoparticles Persist

    Despite controversy, cosmetic companies have been using nanoparticles in some formulations for the past decade. Nanoparticles are very small and range between one and 100 nanometers which is about 1/5,000th the diameter of a human hair.…
    Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant 11.04.10

  • Cosmetics in the News

    Cosmetics in the News

    It is time once again for my occasional roundup of media articles and cartoons pertaining to our industry. The following is a rare non-political Doonesbury cartoon by Gary Trudeau. Those of us who are consultants may resent the sarcasm, but often the…
    Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant 10.01.10

  • Curl Retention Procedures

    Testing the attributes of hair products can be quite simple. For example, to check the color of a newly formulated hair dye, both gray and brown humanhair swatches are dyed and the results are evaluated. To check foam height of a shampoo, I put 30g o…
    Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant 09.07.10

  • Making Sense of Your Sense of Smell

    Making Sense of Your Sense of Smell

    The sense of smell is said to be 10,000 times more sensitive than your sense of taste, although temperature and humidity affect the odor’s strength by determining the volatility of the odor from its source. A dog’s sense of smell can be m…
    Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant 08.03.10

  • Chelants Show Their Mettle

    Chelants Show Their Mettle

    Although chelating agents are used in small quantities, a little goes a long way in keeping a formula stable. They do this by binding metallic ions in water or other chemicals that might adversely affect the color, quality or appearance of the formul…
    Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant 07.08.10

  • Novel Materials on Display At NYSCC Suppliers' Day

    The 2010 edition of the New York Chapter of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists (NYSCC) Suppliers’ Day was another success. The event included nearly 600 exhibit booths and more than 8,000 attendees. Moreover, attendees took advantage of online pr…
    Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant 05.28.10

  • The Clay’s the Thing: A Look at Bentonite

    Bentonite is a rock composed of clay minerals formed by the alteration of minute glass particles that once were volcanic ash.The name is derived from Fort Benton in Wyoming where it was discovered. American pioneers moistened bentonite and used it to…
    Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant 04.29.10

  • Cosmetic Chemistry in the News

    It is time once again for my periodic media survey to uncover news, both good and bad, relating to cosmetics. First, the good news. A Japanese scientist has identified a gene linked to early hair loss in mice, raising the possibility of an eventual…
    Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant 03.31.10

  • Ensuring the Integrity of Cosmetic Packages

    Cosmetic packages come in many different sizes and shapes because cosmetics are sold in different forms such as solids (powders or gels), semi-solids (creams and lotions), liquids and gases (aerosols). All packages must contain and isolate a specifi…
    Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant 03.09.10

  • The causes and treatments of dermatitis and eczema.

    The causes and treatments of dermatitis and eczema.

    Two month ago ("More on Skin Treatments," December Gleams & Notions), I wrote about acne. Other skin maladies are dermatitis and eczema. Dermatitis is any type of skin inflammation not caused by an infectious agent. Eczema is chronic de…
    Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant 02.04.10