Tuesday 16 June 2015

In the news: Cosmethics app.

                                                                        photos curtesy of Cosmethics

I remember when I first read No More Dirty Looks. Every bottle in my house was subjected to re-reading of ingredients, and every time I came across an ingredient I didn't recognise, I would flick through the book to see if it was on the 'offending' list. Admittedly this was never the most prudent of systems, and eventually, after committing most of the worst to memory, I stopped doing that. Whenever I feel like I have a handle on things there is a new ingredient with a strange name that trips me up. Sometimes it is perfectly natural like Pogostemon cablin otherwise known as patchouli oil, but other times it is a man made synthetic that I would rather avoid. The beauty of INCI ingredients is that they provide uniformity, the downside is that even the most familiar common names like avocado become completely alien persea gratissima. While I am more than happy to sit and study every label of a beauty product that comes my way, I realise that it is not everyone's idea of a great time. Sometimes the writing on the packaging can be quiet small and you can easily miss an ingredient that you might like to avoid due to personal sensitivity (this happened to me on more occasions than I care to admit). We do live in a world of wonder and technology, a handy app is most definitely here to help on this occasion.

Cosmethics app is a free tool that helps you weed out products best avoided from your possible new beauty purchases. On the home screen you are presented with a choice of scanning a barcode or searching for a product. If for what ever reason your barcode isn't being picked up, you can type it by hand. This app has been developed in Finland, so the database has quiet a range of products that are available in Europe, however green brands like RMS or Ilia are not currently present. If the products are not in the database they ask for two photos and promise to get back to you within a few hours over email (during the daytime of course, everyone needs sleep). If you don't have a particular product in front of you can search for it by name, or just generally browse different categories like makeup, fragrances, hair care. At this point products that are deemed 'toxic' are the ones that contain parabens, phthalate, formaldehyde, in other words the worst offenders. If you click on any product it gives you a full list of ingredients, and each ingredient is linked to a wiki page. However if a list contains an ingredient with a 'toxic' sign, that particular ingredient will be linked to an article created by the founders of the app, based on data from EU scientific committee on consumer safety and scientific research articles.

At this point still quiet a few products that I personally wouldn't like to use are still considered safe by the app. To get the most from this experience you need to login, and here is where the true magic happens. You can make your on personal lists of ingredients that you would like to avoid or activate premade alerts for plastic derived ingredients,  or non vegan ingredients. Basically you get to choose how green you want to go, you can easily put the whole list from No More Dirty Looks and any other book you can think of and see what options you have, without having to memorise one single ingredient ever. What more you van click the share button and all your friends can get access to your list as well. At this moment the only way to log in is through your Facebook account, but in about a months time google login will be live. As soon as it is live I will be creating my own lists for sure, but in the meantime I am simply browsing.


  1. Hi Tamara,

    Great review, I also recently stumbled upon the CosmEthics app - I've included it in my Top 10 Healthy Living apps list (http://www.curiouslyconscious.com/2015/06/top-10-healthy-living-apps-for-iphone.html ), as it's perfect for shopping and making sure products are up to scratch!

    Besma (Curiously Conscious)

  2. Wow haven't heard of Cosmethics - will have to check out!

  3. Thank you for great review and honest opinion. There is a jungle in cosmetics ingredients.

    Your skin care app - Veleza.com