New Leave-on Haircare Creme – with MCI / MI

In our last blog, we summarised the recent final opinion from the SCCS on MI. Among the points they made, one was that in their view, there is insufficient evidence for the “… safe use of MI as a preservative in leave-on hair cosmetic products up to a concentration limit of 100ppm from the point of view of induction of contact allergy”.

Curiously, today we became aware of a just-launched leave-on hair product called Modie Moisturising Creme. It contains MCI / MI, so is obviously a no-no to anyone already sensitised. I don’t know what the concentration of MI in the product might be, but it will be far, far less than 100ppm, given the ratio of the MCI / MI mix is already 3:1.

We don’t want to bash the company. They’re clearly a start-up, producing a niche product, for a section of the cosmetic-buying public who are under-served by the mainstream skincare industry. They declare their ingredients online at point of sale – not all cosmetic companies do, sadly – and even offer a small sample tester for a few pounds. Besides, the product actually looks good: natural oils feature highly in the formulation, and it is free from many of the ingredients which increasing numbers of consumers are looking to avoid – such as parabens, and silicones (often found in haircare products). But the inclusion of water (aqua) demands preservation, and the preservation they’ve plumped for is, unfortunately for many, MCI / MI. 

This launch is a useful reminder that new products can – and still do – come onto the market containing methylisothiazolinone, and may be marketed under a ‘natural ingredients’ banner – as this Creme is. It also reiterates the importance of the urgent need for decisions to be made at EU – and arguably, international – levels, so that we have clarity on the various scenarios concerning leave-on vs rinse-off, MCI / MI vs MI, and ppm concentrations that characterise discussions on this subject – and which confuse many. 

It’s also important, in fairness, to start-up cosmetic brands, who need to know where they stand. Who knows what the legislative decision on MCI / MI in leave-on hair products might be – if one is made – but if that decision results in brands such as Modie having to reformulate products they’ve only just launched, or are currently developing, this will be an expense and inconvenience that few promising start-ups are likely to be able to afford. 

It is, though, surprising that new products are still launching with MI among the ingredients. You’d think, with its huge sensitising potential and the issue being such a hot topic in cosmetic law and formulation, that word would get around that perhaps these preservatives might not be the best choice to use in your new formulations …

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