Friday, July 20th, 2012

Reader Lolaris asked me whether I had heard about an incident with Jack Black, concerning one of my most beloved products, their Lip Balm, in today’s Temptalia Asks You.  I hadn’t, but I was extremely disappointed with what I learned.  Jack Black Lip Balm was sold in tubes with shrink wrap packaging but no box.  On the back of each tube, there are ingredients, both active and “other” ingredients (I suppose that since it didn’t say “Inactive” I should have known it was incomplete…).  The list on the tube matches the list found on retailers like Sephora, SkinStore, etc. that have a breakdown of ingredients under “Ingredients.”

There are times where brands do not give out ingredient lists online about a product, and they may call attention to the most beneficial ingredients, but this is almost always done as a marketing method and as part of the description.  Jack Black, on the other hand, has a list of good-for-you ingredients that looks very much like the ingredient list.  After reading through some of the comments made by Jack Black on their Facebook page (not users’ comments, the brand’s comments addressing this incident), it is a disheartening event.

Jack Black indicated that they recently changed the packaging to comply with FDA regulations and apologized for causing confusion.  Here is their comment:

“The lip balm formula has not changed, what did change is the package labeling. We made a packaging labeling change recently, as required by FDA regulations, and that may have led to the confusion about some of the ingredients. We apologize for the confusion that was created when we made this change and are sending you a private message with more details.”

Not only is it extremely “confusing” to have ingredient lists on your product that look and feel like real ingredient lists (not “and includes good for ya things like shea butter and avocado oil!”) when it’s incomplete, but worsened when the retailers that carry your product are listing that same incomplete list as the seen on the tube.  How can you apologize for creating confusion when the real ingredient list is nowhere to be found–until it starts getting printed on the box? (I imagine it has something to do with the recent FDA regulations regarding SPF labeling.) There is no reference on the tube that for full ingredient list, contact the company, go online, etc. (And their website does not provide any ingredient list for the lip balm.)

Sephora lists it being free of a laundry list of ingredients/types of ingredients, and SkinStore listed it as fragrance-free (but there is “Parfum” in it) — so I don’t know if both retailers are going off of the ingredients’ list that they have posted for all the world to see in order to make these determinations.  The description of the product on Jack Black’s retail website does not make the claims re: ingredients that Sephora/SkinStore do. But even though the lip balm is now packaged with the full list of ingredients, I’d like to see retailers have updated ingredient lists listed online, too.

Ingredient Lists Found on Retailers’ Websites & Back of the Tube

Lemon & Chamomile Flavor

Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Avobenzone 3.0%.

Other Ingredients: Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Persea Gratissima Avocado Oil, Prunus Amgdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Oil, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E).

Actual Ingredients

Lemon & Chamomile Flavor

Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Avobenzone 3.0%.

Inactive Ingredients:  Petrolatum, Laolin Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Ehylhexl Methoxycinnamate, Cera Alba, Ozokerite, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax, Butyl Methoxydibenzoyl-methane, Parfum, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, C18-38 Alkyl Hydroxystearoyl Stearate, Perse Gratissima (Avocado Oil), Tocopheryl Acetate, Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, Microcrystallina Cera, Cyclopentasiloxane, Camellia Sinesis Leaf Extract, Cyclohexasiloxane, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate, Citral, Citronellol, Coumarin, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalol

[This is another ingredient list that is printed on the back of the tubes.]

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (3%), Lanolin (13.5%), Octinoxate (7.5%), Petrolatum (40.2%).

Inactive Ingredients: Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Beeswax, Ozokerite, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Persia Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, C18-38 Alkyl Hydroxystearoyl Stearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Cyclopentasiloxane, Microcrystallina Wax, Camellia Sinesis Leaf Extract, Cyclohexasiloxane


UpdateReader Emi took photos of her tube (you can check out the photos below), but noteworthy is that lanolin (13%) and petrolatum (40.2%) are listed as active ingredients.

As a customer/consumer, I didn’t buy the lip balm for the ingredients, but I am not a consumer who does more than a casual skim over of ingredient lists as I’m not particularly sensitive to ingredients and there is only one ingredient that I look to minimize (silicone). However, there are many people who do read ingredient lists thoroughly for a variety reasons that range from being informed, curious, to more serious ones – like a lifestyle choice that might involve not using certain ingredients for philosophical or health purposes. This is why having access to an ingredient list is important and necessary.

I could go on a real rant tangent right now about the general unavailability of ingredient lists online for products on a whole, which is something that I can’t believe isn’t required by law (it’s already on the packaging — why can’t you make it accessible on your website).   I will try to hold that back.  Consumers aren’t stupid, so don’t treat us that way.  Sorry for confusion? When your ingredient list is really double the length of what you have printed and published on the product people buy and in the places that people buy said product in, I think that amounts to more than confusion.

I would have bought and loved the lip balm if I had known the real ingredient list, because I don’t have a problem with what is in it.  But now I’m extremely disappointed because I’ve been recommending this particular product over and over again to readers who may be more concerned with the actual ingredient list.  I’m not ready to boycott, but it is a strike against them; something I will remember and keep an eye on, and I’ll be certainly be far more active about finding the next-best-lip-balm.

At the very least, it was serious and meaningful enough to me for the very fact that I’ve listed it as a holy grail beauty item for sometime, and I wanted to make sure that anybody that I may have recommended this to who also tried and enjoyed it, is aware of what exactly is in it, so they can determine if it’s still the right product for them.

P.S. —  I think all consumers want is a little truth in advertising, more realistic claims, and an apology if a brand has done something wrong–a little acknowledgement and promise to do better would go a long way. Most aren’t going to hold a lifetime grudge, but the more you treat your customer like they’re stupid, the more likely they will.

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Making Money and How to Get Press Samples

These aren’t exactly my favorite topics to talk about, because I think that focusing on them can undermine the genuine passion and effort that a lot of beauty bloggers put into their blogs, but they are certainly important pieces of a larger puzzle.  If it’s something you want to do full-time, it has to be a viable full-time job, which means you do need to earn money.  There are also expenses like products, equipment, hosting, and technical expertise.

Get the Resources and Tools to Become a Beauty Blogger

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Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Setting Up, What You Need, How to Get Readers

If you promise not to share it with anyone else, I’ll give you the magic secret to having a successful beauty blog! Are you ready? Remember, don’t tell anyone — I could get into big trouble for spilling all.  Okay, the secret is high quality content and hard work pay off. Usually. Sometimes you need something called opportunity.  For me, opportunity was coming in like gangbusters during a time when beauty blogging was just gaining its feet; not so early on that brands had no clue what blogs were, but early enough where there were fewer beauty blogs.  Opportunity is often seeing what is needed and meeting that need before anyone else does.

Get the Resources and Tools to Become a Beauty Blogger

It’s a tough nut to crack now. Sometimes, I just want to tell someone not to get into beauty blogging and find another niche that you’re equally passionate about.  It’s completely saturated (and some argue over-saturated), which means that becoming successful takes longer and requires more work than it used to.  It is not impossible, but it’s unlikely you’ll be an overnight sensation, or even an over-year sensation.  If it’s a hobby, just a place for you to periodically share your thoughts, go for it; but if you’re really looking to make something out of it, just be prepared for an uphill battle.  If you stick with it, the outcome is totally worth it! Beauty blogging is rather addictive :)

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Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Introduction: How I Started

The most frequent question I get (seriously!) is, “How do I start my own blog?” followed by a few questions in the same vein.  I’m not always able to answer everyone in detail, so I thought putting together a series of posts would be helpful for those interested, and then I can point future inquiries to a really in-depth answer! :)  I thought the best way to start would be to tell you where and how I started, to give you a better idea of who I am, what level of knowledge I have, and how things have changed.

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Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Consider a Self-Defense Course

When it comes to personal safety, I’m pretty paranoid–neurotically so–and there are a lot of things I don’t do because I worry about some really crazy, off-the-wall worse case scenarios that have a 0.001% chance of happening. Some things are common sense: you don’t really want to be walking in a dark alley by yourself in the middle of the night; you don’t want to hitch a ride with someone you don’t know. But too often, we don’t take enough precautionary measures until something does happen. It’s like installing an alarm system after you’ve been robbed. I didn’t want to be that person. I also didn’t want my fear/paranoia to have so much control over my life–I decided to be proactive and take steps to learn more about what I can do to help myself.

Self-defense is not about getting into fights with others; it’s about doing what you can to avoid or extricate yourself from a bad situation, which ranges from general awareness of who you are, your surroundings, and your own abilities to being assertive (not to be confused with aggressive) and making yourself heard clearly to defending yourself from a violent attack.

The local course I took talked about a crime triangle: opportunity, target, and motive/desire. Our instructor said we can only control two of these: we can avoid situations or be aware of potential situations thereby lessening the opportunity, and we can make ourselves a harder target by being aware, changing body language (appearing more confident), and equipped with knowledge of self-defense. I think this is really what I liked most about the course, because it taught me that it’s about gaining knowledge to be in better control of your life.

The course I took helped me understand more about myself, my fears, and my abilities. We covered things like how to use our voice to be assertive so other people would take us seriously (admittedly, nobody in my life would say I have a problem talking or being assertive), how to escape out of wrist grabs, body grabs, chokes, and even some ground grabs/positions, learned what parts of the body are sensitive, and (as women) where our strength comes from. It’s never about fighting and going one-on-one; it’s always about getting out and getting to a safe place.

I’ll also say that actually having people grab you, choke you (not actually compressing windpipes, but the feelings and sensations of having someone’s hands around your throat), and the like is unnerving–but I know how it feels. I now know how it feels so it will be slightly less startling if happens in a real-life situation, and I know a few techniques that might help me escape from them. I continue to practice those techniques, because you want them to become automatic responses.  It’s no different than being aware of your surroundings: how well lit is the area, what time will I be leaving, will I be alone, etc.  The more second nature the behavior becomes, the quicker you can respond, and the more confident you will be when you do.

I’m not an expert on self-defense, which is why I’m not trying to pass on every last bit I learned in a technical sense, but I wanted to pass on the value I received just from taking a short, simple course on it.  It also inspired me to get in better shape, because if I need to run, I want to be able to run, run, and run.  I recommend searching the web for local organizations or courses to take, and if you aren’t able to find one, check with local support groups for victims of domestic violence and/or rape or local police stations for resources. Self-defense can be valuable to both women and men, from kids to adults to seniors.

Self-Defense Resources

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

LUSH Emotional Brilliance Color Cosmetics Launching in July

Spin the Emotional Brilliance Color Wheel to get a personalized color reading – choose the three colors that stand out the most and they will uncover certain words that reveal a little bit about your current state of mind. Then wear the color to feel the word, you word-up!

Introducing a brand new concept matching psychological needs to which color cosmetics one should wear.

This range – consisting of lip colors, eyeliners and eyeshadows – is less about wearing make-up that’s in-season or on-trend and more about wearing colors that shape your mood. Emotional Brilliance is a way to wear color that’s designed for you. Choose colors, each with a corresponding word such as Confident, Take Control or Glamorous, and they will be significant to your needs at that time – wear those colors and you truly wear the word. It’s the power of suggestion – if one believes enough in something, there will likely be a change in behavior.

Liquid Lips ($22.95)

This patent pending formula uses LUSH’s super softening Ultrabalm as a base, which is a simple blend of organic jojoba oil, candelilla wax and rose wax. All are intensely skin softening and soothing, they also carry pigment incredibly well. Lips will be brilliantly colored and left soft, smooth and deeply moisturised. Or, the effect can be softened by applying with a lip balm.

Liquid Eyeliner ($22.95)

Independent and Fantasy are the two eyeliners in the range that have a no-smudge, stay-put formula. As soon as you apply, the formula sets and is incredibly long-lasting. It’s made with a base of eyebright infusion, an herb with an ancient tradition of use for eye area.
The other eyeliners are made with the same base as the cream eyeshadows, which doesn’t set straight away so there is time to blend. These beautiful colors are easy to use to create a softer, more refined look.

Cream Eyeshadow ($22.95)

The eye creams can be bold and colorful or less dramatic as the base softens easily into the skin. The base is a soothing rose petal infusion and skin-softening almond and jojoba oils, so will really care for this most sensitive area. There’s also glycerine to help carry the color beautifully over the eye. The cupuacu butter helps to set the color pigment nicely, so these eyeshadows and eyeliners offer beautiful color that stay in place and last.

Availability: The Emotional Brilliance launches July 21, 2012 in all LUSH stores worldwide and online at

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