The Rise of Ethical Sourcing + Minimal Ingredients


Imagine enjoying a fresh smoothie after a walk or workout, only to find out that only 5% of the smoothie was actual fruit.

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Hoping to get all the nutrient dense foods into your body, this is disappointing. You find out that 85% of the smoothie is juice concentrate made up of water, flavor additives (could be 5-10 different flavors), artificial (or natural) coloring, preservatives, 5% is synthetic nutrients like fake fiber added back in since it was stripped in the juicing process, 5% added sweetener and minerals (again lost in the process), and finally 5% is your fruit. 95% of your smoothie was that bit of pre-made liquid they poured into the blender with all your fruit.

Would you still have drank the smoothie if you knew this ahead of time? 

Or would you have preferred to choose the what you mixed the fruit with yourself?

1. Understanding the percentage of ingredient is important.

Each ingredient is listed on the label in descending order of predominance. This means that the first ingredient is typically most of the formulation and the following ingredients decrease in percentage as you travel down the list. There are a few exceptions

  • All ingredients less than 1% can be listed in any order after the last ingredient. For example, look at the ingredients list below, all of the ingredients in blue are typically less than 1% and can be in any order at the end of this list.
  • Color additives can be listed in any order after the non-color additives.
  • And if you ever see “and other ingredients”, this usually means that there are other trade secret ingredients included which have been accepted by the FDA. [source]

2. The amount of ingredients in your products matter too!

The number of ingredients in a skincare product can range from 1 to more than 20! Think about that!

Why does a product need more than 20 ingredients? What is being added to the formulation, and why? Are they necessary for the improvement of your skin, or are they only stacked in there to prevent other brands from stealing the formula? There could also be 15+ ingredients to make sure that the consistency is “just right”, but the result is a super smooth formula with the aroma of an assembly line of latex and plastic funnels.

3. Quality of materials and where they’re sourced.

Cruelty-free certifications, such as Leaping Bunny and PETA, can help narrow down brands who are taking the steps towards ethically sourcing their materials. For example, Leaping Bunny has strict standards for the brands and their ingredient suppliers.

4. Ethical ingredient sourcing stems from ethical business practices.

Ethical sourcing of ingredients requires brands to be present and aware of their entire supply chain. Ethical sourcing, however, is only one key feature of an ethical and sustainable business. This has been a growing importance for new generation. According to a study performed by Nielson in 2015, 66% of global respondents say they were willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies that are.

This also leads us to one of our pillars: Minimalism 

We have synergy with dual-use products and multi-functional skin products.

Truth: Some of us here have red, reactive skin that can flare due to environment, season, stress and even what we eat +/- touch.

Solution: So we set out to create products we can depend on and use for multiple things.

We've all heard of selfcare products on the market that can do more than one thing, this is not an entirely new concept:

  • Shampoo + conditioner
  • Conditioner + shave balm
  • Skin salve + makeup highlighter
  • Lipstick + blush
  • Makeup remover + lip balm

And while these moonlighters may speak volumes to our minimalism, we have yet to truly find a multi-functional, minimal ingredient(s) product that even the most temperamental skin type can depend on. 

 We created COSM to research a very specific subset of dermatology. And we’ve discovered, if this can be done, if we can serve this small niche, those outside the niche can benefit as well.

When you approach product creation for a very specific set of people, those with red, reactive skin with a desire for flexible and minimal ingredients, you’re actually changing the game for all products. If 1 person can benefit, someone with normal or oily skin can too. If we get this just right and we really, really try, we just may be able to get this to every person who needs it.

At COSM we truly believe brands/producers today have chosen to be the ones who locate, source, and deliver the useful things that consumers can’t easily/cheaply do. So, this was a big reason we imagineered COSM Research.

How this effects the brand...

Minimal Ingredients

For a few years now, we’ve all been aware of fillers and unnecessary ingredients in our daily products. The trend towards clean is something we fully agree with.

What we’ve seen also transpire is the switch from synthetic fillers to organic fillers. While organic can be (not always) better than synthetic, we believe less can be better than more. So a product that is organic can still have 25+ ingredients, and we just don’t believe that is necessary either.

*If you can find the (few) specific ingredients that have the multi-faceted properties, they can compose your multi-purpose product.*

 Why are there products with 25+ ingredients anyway?

Well, it could be all their advantageous properties, it could be a pre-made formulation, or it could even be formulation protection. (the less ingredients you have, the easier to copy the formulation than if you have 25+ ingredients with different concentrations).

Stat: According to EWG survey of 2300 people, on average, respondents use nine products daily. These contain 126 unique ingredients. That’s not even repeat ingredients, I'm getting overwhelmed already. 😳

So that's what we strive for: no fillers, synthetic or organic, minimal ingredients with the most potent and efficacy as possible.

COSM Research was birthed from ethics, minimalism and designed to advocate for the ethical consumer. 

You can follow us on instagram or pinterest @cosmresearch


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