August 19, 2020

At times I will have a look at other brands and products, mostly to see what their products contain and I am often shocked. Mostly because of the retail price and the 'false' marketing of such products. What commonly is known as 'Greenwashing'. Recently I came across a cruelty free skincare brand that seemingly sells an ‘85% Natural’, ‘Palm Oil Free’ Body Lotion. It was a fair size bottle and was very ‘reasonably’ priced. I had a look at the ingredients (as below) and I could immediately ascertain why.

Aqua (Water), Parrafinum Liquid, Gylcerine, Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerl Stearate, Triethananolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum, Carbomer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Benzyl Benzoate.

I will break down the highlighted ingredients:

Paraffinum liquid, also known as mineral oilis a substance derived from Petroleum. Used widely in cosmetics, it is a cheap way of hydrating skin but can also block pores. 

Glycerine. This is a plant derived liquid that is also very versatile and indeed, even edi...

June 30, 2019

I haven't written a post in a while. Been having a whale (more like wail) of a time sorting out new packaging which has all been finalised! Phew. On the topic of packaging and design though, I would like to muse upon the issue of if a specific moisturiser is for men or, if it is for women. 

FACT: Men have 25% thicker skin than women (not metaphorically).

FACT: Men’s skin have larger pores and more of them.

FACT: Men have more collagen.

FACT: Men produce more sebum.

FACT: Men need the same antioxidants, hydrating ingredients and essential fatty acids as women. 

QUESTION: Why is men’s skincare sold differently to women? 

ANSWER: Marketing. 

Historically speaking, skincare brands have made skincare for women. The packaging and marketing was (and still is) targeted at women, unless of course it is a brand that is 'FOR MEN'. The packaging will never say ‘FOR WOMEN’ in the same way an apple at the supermarket does not have two sections of apples- one for men and one for women. But alas, if it...

March 11, 2019

photo: Bjorn Vaughn 

Transparency has become an important part of any modern business that desires to let their customers know more about how they operate and what is in and entailed in their products. Regarding skincare, it occurs to me that there are some companies that are either complacent or worst, liars. I’m not speaking about companies that make promises that their products will age backwards, I am referring to claims of cruelty free and more specifically, regarding palm oil*.

Recently, I read on one website of a skin and haircare brand, ‘…we promise to never test on animals, nor use derivatives that cause them distress’. Although much of their range seems animal friendly, their skincare range, like many other companies, include the use of Cetearyl Alcohol which is in part, made from palm oil and thus is, by definition- a derivative. Cetearyl Alcohol is cheap, easy to use and has many applications, much like palm oil itself. It is widely used as an emulsifier or thickener for...

January 26, 2019

                                                                                                                photo: JC

In 2007, I went to Palestine to shoot a documentary project for a charity. Admittedly, I did not know much about the middle east conflict until then. There’s nothing like being in a location and bearing witness to news events that make one realise the gravity and seriousness of what most of us see as headlines and digital images on our phones, tablets and desktops. Seeing really is as they say, believing. I had been to so called ‘developing’ countries before where children wore no shoes and whole families lived on carts and begged on the street. Perhaps it did somewhat prepare me to visit refugee camps...

January 22, 2019

photo: zoosnow@pixabay

Late last year, Iceland (the frozen goods supermarket brand) announced that they will not be using any palm oil in their own range products any more. I never gave Iceland much thought before that but their Rang- Tan's campaign and commercial* (which was unfairly banned**) actually brought tears to me eyes. And I’m one tough dude. 

It’s a difficult one to get away from and, why do we need to? Palm oil production, a majority in Indonesia, involves deforestation, sometimes illegal, which drives indigenous people from their homes. Orangutans are also driven away and can die in the process. Deforestation also creates climate change. Why is it difficult to get away from? It’s in cream crackers. It’s in the vegetable oil you cook with. It’s in peanut butter. Basically it's in half of what you buy at a supermarket and, it’s in most skincare products, organic, vegan, natural or otherwise. It's in all the most well known brands out there. 

Creams and lotions by and...

December 22, 2018

I'm sitting at my desk updating the website and listening to Allo Darlin (who are a small band that I love and had shot a music video for a number of years ago). Queenie Organics is my first venture as a small business, run by myself, and have been trading now for nearly 4 months. In that short time, I have traded at 4 different markets, one pop up shop and partnered with the London Film Festival with in-kind sponsorship. In between all that, we have had issues with suppliers of both ingredients and packaging that we have been managing. It's a good learning curve and the resolution of these issues, coincidently, are coming to a head as the New Year approaches. As for our own resolutions, I have already begun to develop new products with the intention of releasing them throughout 2019. The first of which is a completely new moisturiser for those with oily/combination skin. I have been formulating on and off for a while now but now are fully in the flow of getting it down. We have also b...

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