Here we go on the latest round of BBN – I feel like I’m playing catch up as I haven’t done one in a while, but let’s kick off with Deciem.
Whenever anything about Deciem comes up I feel sad about Brandon all over again. One of his strengths was his limitless approach to beauty – the belief that he could do anything and everything at once – which is how Deciem ended up with so many sub-brands. However, it seems that Hylamide, Abnomaly, The Chemistry Brand and HIF are all to disappear with The Ordinary and Niod staying. It’s been clear over a period of time that the latter two brands are the ones receiving the most focus so it’s perhaps not too surprising really and they’re obviously the ones that make the money. There is no commercial sense in holding brands that are niche or underperforming – much more sense in fact than their explanation, ‘9 is the last point of the numbering system, the sunset before a new horizon. As we turn 9, and move towards completing Deciem’s first decade, we are refocusing our attention on science-first functional skincare’. Ok then.
I often feature class actions from the US but the most recent Rodan + Fields settlement of one such action made me sit up and pay attention. Rodan + Fields is a multi-level marketing company focusing on beauty who sold a lash serum that it is alleged has potential to cause harm to users. Lawyers for class action claimants thought that isopropyl cloprostenate, an active ingredient within the serum, should be classed as a drug or medical ingredient because of its side-effect potential. Rodan + Fields have offered $38 million to members of the class action to be split as credit vouchers or cash (about $175) each without the need for proof of purchase. A settlement allows the brand not to admit liability or go to court.
My favourite class action currently proposed is towards L’Oreal Paris for implying by the name that their products are made in France. Using French words on the labelling apparently also causes Americans to think that the products are French. For clarity, the brand is French – it started life as the brainchild of Eugene Schueller who worked as a Lab assistant at the Sorbonne before founding a hair dye company. The name L’Oreal comes from the alternative word for ‘Aureale’ aka the Halo which was the name of a popular hairstyle in the 1900s. Someone was offended, apparently, that her product labelling in French misrepresented their North American ingredient origins. One thing to note however is that the products in question are not sold in France, only in the US so there isn’t necessarily a need for French on the labelling.
It’s always a good idea to check in on product recall sites – Baylis & Harding’s Goodness Hair Detangler was recalled a couple of weeks ago with a fear that certain batches may be contaminated with bacteria. It’s the Watermelon Burst version and you can find more details HERE . I also spotted a Pantene Conditioner recall for incorrect labelling – it’s a rinse out conditioner that’s been labelled as a leave-in.
P&G found themselves at the sharp end of sexism complaints when it ran a campaign on WeChat (a Chinese social media platform a bit like WhatsApp) implying that women’s feet smell worse than men’s. They removed it, with apologies.
L’Occitane has acquired Grown Alchemist for an as yet undisclosed amount. GA is described as a ‘natural cosmeceutical’ brand founded in Melbourne in 2008 by Jeremy and Keston Muijs – think along the lines of Aesop. They’re really ripe for upscaling at this point and also how big can L’Occitane actually grow? They’re still shopping!
Once, when I went to Boots in Nottingham, they measured the bacteria on my skin. I was literally horrified at the er, diversity and enormity of the bugs on my face, but it transpires that it is entirely normal to have a buggy face. Shiseido is to introduce an in-store test the amount and balance of skin bacteria for it’s customers. Yay! What an absolute joy to hear you are infested – which you surely will be – on the shop floor. Next level skin-doom-scrolling.
Back on law suits – Estee Lauder has settled in the suit brought by former employees after using an automated process to fire them. EL used software, made by recruitment company HireVue, to inform the MUAs that their jobs were gone and they’d have to reapply for their posts. The employees alleged that facial recognition technology had scored them negatively which is something that EL categorically denies. But, this is Estee Lauder now – unrecognisable, corporate and algorithm led. They’ve settled out of court.
PZ Cussons (Charles Worthington, Imperial Leather, St Tropez and Sanctuary Spa to name a few) has bought Child’s Farm. PZ Cussons paid £36.8 million for CF but it’s not clear if Farmologie (their grown up bath and body range) is included.
*Lastly – it’s Johnson & Johnson again whose backstory surrounding allegations of asbestos in talc gets more awful. According to the BMJ, court documents in the ongoing saga have revealed that a 1971 study on 10 prisoners in Pennsylvania in which asbestos was injected into their lower backs to compare the effects of baby powder with asbestos was funded by J&J. The people (it’s reported they were mostly black) were paid $10. The studies were conducted by a dermatologist (inventor of tretinoin acne treatment) who injected people with talcum powder and two types of asbestos. The discovery comes as court documents were unsealed and although past studies on prisoners is well known and documented, it is only very recently that J&J’s involvement has come to light.
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