Lorraine Dallmeier Interview
When I became interested in the issue of preservation in cosmetics, I reached out to Formula Botanica Director Lorraine Dallmeier, asking if we could do a brief interview on the topic. Despite her busy schedule, Ms. Dallmeier agreed without hesitation and quickly made time for it. Ms. Dallmeier has a clear position on preservatives in water-based cosmetics, and she utilized our interview as an opportunity to educate on the issue, as you will see below. Ms. Dallmeier’s position on this sometimes-sticky issue is refreshingly straightforward and sensible, and I find it representative of the safety-conscious stance taken and taught by Formula Botanica; one of the many things I appreciated about Formula Botanica is that the materials for the Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation are very direct and clear when it comes to handling issues related to consumer safety.
Without further ado, the Lorraine Dallmeier interview all about preservatives.
Beauty Librarian (BL): Formula Botanica’s mantra is that the risk of using preservatives is significantly lower than that of using unpreserved water-based cosmetics. Can you briefly explain why?
Lorraine Dallmeier: Unpreserved cosmetics can carry pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria or mold which can seriously harm us. There have been numerous documented cases of people becoming ill, developing nasty infections or even dying from having used unpreserved skincare and haircare products. Furthermore, preservatives are used in such low dosages; often only around 1% of your lotion, cleanser or toner will consist of a preservative. In our opinion, the risk is too great to avoid preservatives in skincare. There are plenty of naturally derived preservatives that keep your formulation safe while not posing any risk to the customer.
BL: Can you correct any common misconceptions about preservatives or natural preservatives?
Lorraine Dallmeier: There is a general mistrust of preservatives, as there are many online articles that suggest they are all toxic and will cause harm. Preservatives do need to be able to kill microorganisms, but the preservatives used on the market have to be safe for the customer. We only focus on naturally derived preservatives in our courses at Formula Botanica which means that the preservatives we use in our courses can be derived from natural sources.
We often find that when students first come to us, they are wary of preservatives, but as they work through their courses, they start to take pride in formulating safely preserved skincare and haircare products. Formula Botanica encourages its students to be proud of preservation because we work with so many precious botanical ingredients that are susceptible to contamination that we want to make sure we protect both the formulation and the customer.
BL: From your vantage point, what protection does obtaining training in appropriate preservation–like that Formula Botanica offers through the Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation and the Certificate in Natural Cosmetic Preservation–offer formulators/brand owners? What value/benefits/protection might this (e.g., solid training in and understanding of cosmetic preservation) offer other invested parties such as aestheticians and beauty bloggers?
Lorraine Dallmeier: By working with a safe preservative in the correct quantities and application methods, a green beauty brand will show professionalism, understanding and great customer care. Once you have learned how to formulate with basic preservatives, we encourage our formulation students to move on to our more advanced courses such as our Certificate in Natural Cosmetic Preservation where you’ll learn how to choose the right preservative for your skincare or haircare formulation.
Formula Botanica will help you analyze your skincare formulation, review which natural preservatives might be most suitable, compare and contrast these natural preservatives and then finally prepare a briefing sheet for your supplier so that you can work with them to find the right ingredient for your exact requirements. We know many formulators just want us to tell them which preservative to choose, but this process takes time, effort and a lot of testing. Our course will hold your hand throughout that process and give you all the checklists and guidelines you need to succeed.
Want to know more?
Read my post about what I learned about preservatives from Formula Botanica.
Read my post on what other students & graduates have to say about Formula Botanica.