Cosmetic ingredient philosophy – the compassionate view.
Good morning campers!
I saw this post doing the rounds on Facebook this morning and it instantly spoke to me. I’ve been feeling like a complete misfit myself over the last few weeks here in Australialand as opinion has dominated the news on a few issues, pushing a singular and narrow narrative upon us leading me to conclude that there was very much a right and wrong opinion to have about the events of the day. All I knew was that my exact views were not being catered for at all and if I had to choose I’d have probably been plonked into the wrong bin. It didn’t feel great but I didn’t feel like compromising my less than black-or-white view point either.
The culture of being ‘for’ or ‘against’ something feels like its growing and that worries me because it is over-simplistic and quite often emotionally rather than rationally driven – not that emotions aren’t important, emotions are valuable and should be considered but we should also be able to move beyond them, beyond the id.
But that’s the bigger picture, in terms of the context of cosmetic ingredient philosophy I also see echoes of this mindset. Some people have become forceful or aggressive in pushing their view of what’s right while disrespecting other perspectives and even seeking out or creating literature that supports their pre-conceived view of the world while bashing down or shutting out anything that opposes it. This is conformation bias, humans are good at working this way, at trying to justify our current world view as change is costly emotionally, energetically and spiritually. I know this and I am compassionately accepting of it on a human level but when we take that mind-set and use it to produce news, to push agendas and to support our own rise to ‘internet sensation’ or ‘expert’ or whatever I want to punch someone. Yes, I have emotions too!
There are many different ingredient philosophies that exist in the cosmetics market. Here are some that I work with every day of my life:
- Organically certified philosophy. Ingredients need to be mainly sourced from those with an origin in organic farming.
- Natural cosmetics. Ingredients that are derived mainly or entirely from plant sources rather than synthetics (petrochemical/ silicone etc)
- Palm oil conscious. Either avoiding palm oil derived ingredients or using only those that are from certified sustainable sources.
- Efficacious. Products that are designed using ingredients specifically chosen to create a desired outcome (anti-bacterial/ anti-inflammatory/ wrinkle reduction or whatever). The material origin doesn’t so much matter.
- Hypoallergenic. Ingredients known for their inertness or low potential for irritation.
My philosophy on ingredient philosophies is that everything has its place and serves its purpose. Our products are our advocacy, our voices. When we create a brand and build it with a strong or set ingredient philosophy we are telling people who the detail, the nuts-and-bolts behind our glossy facade matter to us, that we think deeply about these things and consider every step. I have seen how a pretty basic moisturiser based on synthetics can soothe the skin of those severely eczema effected and how an organic anti-ageing cream can bring confidence and radiance back to the faces of stressed-out 40 somethings. I have also seen how a rigid, aggressive and poorly understood ingredient philosophy can check-mate a brand and see its founders fall upon their sword when the realise that everything they thought they knew was not quite as right as they had hoped. It is always sad.
In business it doesn’t matter what I think about your ingredient philosophy, what matters is how that philosophy is thought through, positioned and supported throughout the life of your brand and I can help with that. To be compassionate means to meet the philosophy where it sits, to listen, to hear its concerns and to feel its energy. Every human has a story and every brand philosophy has a reason and who am I to say that reason is invalid or of lesser importance than another? But then again, who are you to make that judgement either?
Like the beardy man says, life is not about right or wrong, or about winning or loosing, it’s about how you play the game.
Play it with compassion.