Colin Sanders


Do you know what this symbol means? Have you even noticed it before? You will find it on most, but not all, of the personal care products in your bathroom.

In the EU, it is a legal requirement that all cosmetic products carry a symbol telling the purchaser how long it will last after it has been opened.

In a typical lab you don’t often get much time to just play around. But you snatch the odd moment to indulge yourself from time to time, and I always enjoy spreading the emollient oils on my skin to get to know their individual characters and personalities. One long standing favourite is isopropyl myristate which has a soft silky feeling, a bit reminiscent of velvet.

Preservation is a tricky business. All formulations that contain a large amount of water need to be preserved and all preservatives have some kind of drawback. Potassium sorbate has been used for a long time but has recently been very widely used in products that have some kind of natural story about them. How natural is it?

Well here is a challenge.  Can I write an interesting post about a very basic raw material?  Glyceryl monostearate is one of the names you will see cropping up on ingredient lists pretty often, especially for creams.  Its official name is glyceryl stearate. What is it?

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