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At the end of last month, Cosmetics Europe announced the launch of the COSMILE Europe app, an innovative initiative to put information about the science behind ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products into people’s pockets. We caught up with CTPA’s Scientific Project Manager, Natascha Kilts, who supported the app’s development, to get the inside track on what it offers - and where it might go next…
What’s the thinking behind the launch of the COSMILE Europe app?
The COSMILE Europe app aims to get consumers closer to the science behind their products. It builds on similar apps that have been developed for specific countries, including Germany and France, but now offers one, joined-up resource for all European consumers, available in eight languages already, with more to come.
At the heart of the app is an aim to make unbiased, scientific information about the ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products readily accessible to everyone. There’s no ‘sell’, no judgements - just searchable science explaining what each ingredient is - and the purpose it serves in products.
Who do you think will benefit most from the COSMILE Europe app?
I think it will really resonate with the growing number of people who
are taking an active interest in the ingredients within their everyday essentials. We’ve witnessed this rising trend in the UK for many years. It’s why CTPA launched its consumer information site, thefactsabout.co.uk, and why it continues to collaborate with industry scientists and external experts on a whole host of projects to promote science understanding.
What we’ve seen first-hand from this work is that people are often unsure where to turn to for information on ingredients - or who they can trust. There’s so much content out there across social media platforms, blogs and websites competing for their attention, but the reliability of those sources isn’t always clear.
It’s why it’s so important that the COSMILE Europe app only contains neutral and verified scientific information. It’s not there to promote or dissuade you from a particular ingredient, product or company. It’s simply there to offer at-a-glance science facts. Then for those interested to find out more, there are also links to further reading and external resources, such as independent scientific assessments on an ingredient in question.
You’ve helped the team at Cosmetics Europe to develop the app in recent months. What do you think are its stand-out features?
For me, it’s the convenience of being able to access reliable ingredient information in just seconds, using your smartphone. Previously, you have searched the Cosmile Europe website database for information on an ingredient you wanted to know more about, or turned to Google. However neither of those is ideal if you need information quickly, while standing in a store. With the COSMILE Europe app you can simply scan a product for instant access to the science. So it’s a helpful time saver.
For people that experience allergies, I think the information on allergens, and the ability to customise your own app experience, will both be very valuable too. When you look up an ingredient the app will tell you if it’s a common allergen - and you can also add a flag to any particular ingredients or products for your own future reference, if you have an allergy to a particular ingredient. It means should you come across them again, an exclamation mark will come up beside them as a handy reminder.
What do you think is next for the app? Will we see more from it in the future?
Definitely. I think the COSMILE Europe app’s launch is just the first step in a much longer journey. The focus now will be for more companies to add their own cosmetics and personal care products into the database so that it becomes an increasingly useful resource for consumers, and can offer unique insight and access to participating companies.
Wouldn’t it be brilliant, for example, if companies could send out formulation change notifications to users who had indicated an interest in a product or ingredient? Perhaps to let them know about a new, improved formula or if the new formulation contains something that they are allergic to. That would be a win, win for all parties.
Whatever is around the corner for the COSMILE Europe app, it’s been a privilege to be part of its path to launch. The project has brought people together from different countries, and different roles within our industry, to promote science-based decision-making. I have no doubt this collaboration across borders will now continue onwards, outwards and upwards.
Download and discover the COSMILE Europe app today. Available on Google Play and the Apple Store.