Since we posted on the subject of skincare manufacturers failing to include full ingredients listings of their products on their websites in ‘Free From Ingredients?’ a few weeks ago, we have explored the problem a little more deeply. Judging by the comments we received via social media and email, sentiment is fairly strong on the subject.
We decided to do a little, and very rough, experiment, and look at a selection of ranges which are listed in our Natural / Organic Skincare Directory – a widely used resource for visitors to our Skins Matter site.
First, we looked at all the brands with enhanced entries – the ones with click-through company logos and emboldened entries at the top of the listings, including Green People, NATorigin and Alva – and all included ingredients on their site (and quite a few were explicit about their ‘free from’ credentials too, which we’re always keen to see). Good for them all!
But then we moved down and looked at a selection of ten consecutively-listed brands near the top of the alphabetic listing, and what we discovered was surprising and disappointing. We chose a product at random from each site we clicked through to, and looked for the ingredients listing of that product. Five brands featured them, but five did not. Of the five which failed our test, for three we could only find selected ingredients (not surprisingly, the botanicals – or a few of them), and for two we could not find any ingredients mentioned at all.
We don’t want to name and shame brands, especially as several of the five we looked at have particularly good ingredients and strong ‘free from’ credentials, but the more we look into this issue, the more it is baffling us. Why are some brands failing to disclose ingredients? Do they think consumers don’t want to know? Do they think some of the widely acceptable but ‘chemical sounding’ names which are regularly found in skincare products might scare them off? Do they think it’s safer and best to just name-check the nice plant extracts?
Is there some legitimate reason we’re not aware of?
There have been other experiences we’ve had in recent weeks, since our previous post. One publicist (PR) for a range they represented was unable to give us the ingredients of a product they had put forward for review – at least not until they restocked their samples of the product in the office. Another new brand’s marketing folk told us that their products do not hide their ingredients and do disclose them fully (we should hope so – it’s required by law) – but do you think these were available to view on their (admittedly new) website yet? Sadly – no; although the light at the end of the tunnel is that they promised to remedy the situation.
We know everyone in the skincare industry is over-worked, and when setting up a website the full ingredients may not take precedence over things like product description, product image, price and ‘click to buy’ button, but is it really too much to ask to merely reproduce the ingredients that appear on the packaging, onto the product’s webpage?
No doubt there’ll be a part III to this, and we may even feel moved to start enquiring of brands why ingredients aren’t listed on their sites. In fairness, in some cases it may merely be an oversight – but surely this can’t be everyone’s excuse.
Would you find it useful to know why skincare companies fail to do this? Are you a manufacturer with good reason for not disclosing ingredients online? Have you ever had to email or call manufacturers to find out ingredients – for instance, to ensure a product you wanted to buy was ‘free from’ one of your allergens or personal chemicals to avoid?
As always, let us know …