Friday, 14 August 2015

Goldfaden MD response


Last Saturday I posted this review about Goldfaden MD's Sun Visor product. Understandably a lot of their customers that read the blog were concerned and I started receiving worried messages and comments immediately via my social media channels.
After two of my readers, Sarah and Jaquie, left comments with replies they had received from both Goldfaden and Space NK to their queries, I emailed the UK PR and reiterated my offer of letting Goldfaden use this platform to respond to my review, which I thought was only fair.

Below is Goldfaden's response (complete with their own capital letters/punctuation) with my further comments below them.

From the blog:
'Not only that, the titanium dioxide is nano-encapsulated, something which the California senate is so concerned about that Goldfaden MD have to have the proposition 65 warning on their website. The list includes 'airborne titanium dioxide' in 'a list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity’.'
Nano-encapsulated titanium dioxide is a topic of much discussion in the SPF world, but what everyone pretty much agrees on is that inhaling it is probably not the best idea. And this is a spray.'

Goldfaden MD: 
This is to clarify that the product has NOTHING TO DO WITH NANO PARTICLES (NANO). Micronized is NOT the same as Nano. This is an entirely false accusation and wrongful claim. The Titanium Dioxide that we use is broken up in smaller particles (i.e. Micronized), which are much larger by definition than Nano particles. Nano is an entirely different process defined by size and production procedure, etc. The micronized Titanium Dioxide used in this product is bound to the formula’s ingredients, including water, and therefore is not harmful for its intended use. To summarize: THERE IS NO NANO ENCAPSULATION IN THIS PRODUCT WHICH IS WHAT CALIFORNIA STATE PROP 65 IS REFERRING TO AND ALL CLAIMS ELUDING TO “CANCER-CAUSING” PARTICLES. Out of respect to California state residents and to avoid any customer confusion, the link to the background and explanation of the proposition appears across the entire website.'

CH: 
Happy to clarify. My apologies. Goldfaden have added the term non-nano to their website here, which should comfort their customers that can simply google 'titanium dioxide micronized' and see for themselves that industry thinking is generally that the term micronized equates to 'nano'. 
Micronized TD is a particle of an average of 15nm and thus it is considered a nano-sized particle. No confirmation from Goldfaden on the size of their particles.
This is why a lot of 'green' brands specify 'non-nano' on their packaging. Perhaps something for Goldfaden to consider on their next repackaging to avoid any possible confusion in stores?
Note however, that Proposition 65 refers to 'airborne titanium dioxide, unbound particles of respirable size', it makes no mention of nano. And it's not on the Goldfaden website 'out of respect to California state residents'. It's the law.


From the blog:
'Do not use on or near the eyes.' It's a spray. Recommended for the face.'

Goldfaden MD:
The blog writer’s configuration is looking at this in a very different direction than what’s intended to be conveyed on the packaging. This is a simplistic warning label under the guidance of the FDA and safety control about keeping any consumer products away from getting directly in the eye (other than what is intended to go directly into the eye, i.e. drops). It’s not “harmful” to the skin around the eyes, but this is to encourage users to be cautious. Customers are encouraged to use common sense when applying any topical agent on the face.

CH:
Whether it's clear on the packaging, or it's 'intended', this is the message taken directly from Goldfaden's YouTube channel. 36 seconds in - two spritzes to the face, two to the neck. 



If they think that offers enough protection, so be it. That's their opinion, it's their brand and their product. 
It's personally not how I would advise applying SPF, or how much I would suggest using to be fully protected, but it's only fair to show what they mean. 


From the blog:
the box clearly states 'silicone-free' like a badge of honour - below:


but it contains two silicones - polydimethylsiloxane and dimethylsiloxane. These ingredients are chemical silicones, any which way you dress them up.'

Goldfaden MD:
These ingredients are sourced from natural sources (ie. apples, raw cabbage and pumpkins) and are used in the development and refining of the final product formulation. These are used in trace amounts and are inactive, however these are disclosed on the label by inci name.

CH:
I know they're disclosed on the inci. I'm the one that pointed it out. The type of silicone isn't the issue. I personally like silicones, as regular readers will attest to.
The point is that they're silicones. Silicones don't magically appear from fruit. It's a chemical process.
Read for yourself.
Polydimethylsiloxane
Dimethylsiloxane
My concern was simply that they were in a product claiming to be 'silicone-free'.
*Net-A-Porter emailed me first thing on Monday morning to say 'thank you for bringing this erroneous silicone mention' to their attention and that they have changed the copy on the product page accordingly. I have of course altered the original review to reflect this. Thank you for the kind words NAP.

From the blog:
'this product contains oxybenzone at 1%, but is not labelled with a warning as required by EU law in products containing oxybenzone at a percentage higher than 0.5: ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics'

Goldfaden MD:
According to the EU, safety data allows up to 10% usage in topical agents. Warning discloser just states the use if above. 5% and/or used as product protection purposes. Benzophenone-3 is the same as oxybenzone and is used as protection purposes. This adheres to the EU requirements as the “warning” label is simply stating that the product contains the ingredient and at what percentage, which LISTED IN THE ACTIVE INGREDIENTS LISTING and ADHERES TO THE EU regulations,
“When a product met this requirement, the warning: Contains oxybenzone was required to appear on the label. While oxybenzone is the drug name for the INCI designation benzophenone-3, a consumer in the EU might look at a product label, see this warning and scan through the ingredient listing only to find no oxybenzone listed there. Regulation No. 1223/2009 changes the phrasing of this warning to now read: Contains benzophenone-3, to match the way it appears in the ingredient disclosure and outlined in the active ingredient listing.”
Furthermore, EU document on compliant percentages:
http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/index.cfm?fuseaction=search.details&id=28809

CH:
Happy to correct the original review accordingly, the Goldfaden position is correct. There are two amendments at the bottom of my original EU link - if it's benzephenone-3, used in this way, you don't have to say 'contains oxybenzone'. Details here from the EU amendment: Benzephenone-3


From the blog:
'The packaging description says it contains zinc oxide, but zinc oxide is not listed in the ingredients list. So if it does contain zinc oxide, the ingredients list is misleading, aka unlawful, and if it doesn't contain zinc oxide, then they are at best, misleading their customer.'

Goldfaden MD: 
Thank you for highlighting. This is a typo. We have addressed in reprinted packaging.

CH:
No explanation on whether the product used to contain zinc oxide and when it was removed, or how long it has claimed to include zinc oxide when it actually doesn't. Goldfaden aren't clear on whether or not I received out of date packaging or if the product is about to be repackaged.
Personally? Simply claiming it's a 'typo' would not be good enough for me if I purchased this in good faith because I wanted a product that contained zinc oxide.

The Organic Red Tea mystery
An eagle-eyed reader called 'prune' left a comment on the original blog post asking where the red tea was on the inci list. I hadn't even noticed that. I assume that will also be added on the new packaging, as it has now been added to the ingredients listing on the SpaceNK.com site.

To summarize?
Honestly? This has been the most unpleasant and unprofessional experience of my blog life by far.
Actually nothing to do with the Goldfaden team themselves, who I have had no direct contact with and who, as I stated in the original review, are lovely people who I genuinely think have their customers best interests at heart, but suffice to say some people could have handled it a lot better considering that as a direct result of my original review:

From my perspective? This has been a reminder for me that it is not always easy putting your name out there and actually having an opinion
I have never been, nor will I ever be, a 'press release' blogger. I ask questions. That makes some people uncomfortable. Some brands and PRs react brilliantly to that, others get defensive.


I will always say when I am wrong, correct it and apologise if necessary.
I will always be open to constructive criticism. 


I teach my kids to OWN IT. FIX IT. MOVE ON.

For my part, I have owned it and fixed it. I am moving on.


56 comments:

  1. This is extactly why your the best beauty and skincare blogger around! x

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  2. Whoever replied to you Caroline seem very unpleasant. The capitals are so very professional *eyebrow*

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  3. YOU'RE the best and I love YOUR blog for its honesty, humour and factual information.

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  4. Sorry everyone - the Intense Debate comments aren't working for some reason. Try and use Google+ xx

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  5. Blimey. That's literally all I can manage.

    *lies down. Imagines how you must feel.*

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  6. You didn't cause their mistakes and you can't fix them. Please don't take this one on your shoulders. You conducted yourself with grace and dignity, and went above and beyond by giving them a prominent, highly-trafficked platform on which to set this right. They failed to do so. Caroline 1, Goldfaden MD 0.

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  7. That is so strange. It seems like they are attacking you for a couple mistakes regarding convoluted labeling laws that differ country to country, when they could have been much more professional and polite to someone who has a large following of skincare consumers. I mean I understand wanting to defend your product, but they are the ones who actually f*ed up by lying about their product! You keep on keeping on Caroline, you are awesome. This company on the other hand... HARD PASS.

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  8. Brava, Caroline. Well done! Just remember you are doing this for the greater good and that we are NOT stupid ;) extremely grateful and appreciative!!!!

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  9. And let the congregation say "AMENNNNNNN" - AMEN

    Why they can't own it just puzzles me. "Oh, look I didn't include this in the ingredient list - it's a typo" - seriously. No. As a certain Nene Leakes once said "Shut up. That is so stupid"

    Thank you very much for this. I don't read many blogs about skincare but I do read yours regularly. (And I agree everything you've said/tweeted about that "is vaseline the best moisturizer" on ITG - I got slaughtered when I stated my view in the comments. Something about being snobby. I'll take that."

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  10. This exactly is why your blog is my number one source for skincare advice.

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  11. Just. Wow.
    I would buy a product by checking the inci list/product packaging and make a yeh/ney decision to purchase accordingly. If you can't trust either of these, then what CAN you trust.

    Thank you Caroline, for fighting for us, the consumers. Much appreciated (by me at least) x

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  12. Whoa that's a lot of typo/errors for just one product. I'd want to sack whoever was responsible for that kerfuffle. Plus be going thru all other products/packaging and try to catch any more errors before someone else does. If there is that many on just one product, there's bound to be more elsewhere.
    The Beauty Bloss

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  13. Ooh, defensive much?! (Them, not you). As you said, some things have been cleared up, some not. The thing that impressed me least was the zinc oxide thing - is it there or not? Clear as mud! Brave of you to stick your head up over the parapet, but then I'd expect nothing else from The Hirons 😉 x

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  14. This. This is why I love you and trust your opinion Caroline. Because your so no bullshit about issues like this. Also the reason your great for the industry cause it'll keep brands on there toes

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  15. Wow. How stupid are they to be rude to you of all people? I'm sorry they upset you. Don't let them get you down. You are doing a wonderful thing for your readers, educating them. They are looking out for their bottom line, end of story. I know I'll never buy anything from them.

    Oftentimes, as soon as an ingredient in products or food gets a bad rap, it also gets a new name to mislead consumers. They have proven themselves untrustworthy. Also, when I looked at their website, I noticed the head of the company used to work on Wall Street, and well uh sorry but I just generally distrust all of them.

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  16. Goldfaden "doth protest too much"! Way to go Caroline!

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  17. Is it me only? I found your Zelens/Goldfaden debate equally frustrating as these responses to your blog Caroline.
    Keep up the brilliant informative work!

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    1. Totally concur Linda, had picked up several GF samples offered by a Space NK sales consultant. Used them and they veered from meh to okay but nothing memorable and certainly not commensurate with the prices compared to other successfully tried and test brands. Then just in case i was missing a trick, I watched the Zelens/ Goldfaden debate and was also frustrated with the woolly answers, lack of articulate specialist knowledge and more than a tinge of marketing blurb.Then learning the brand back story clarified all I needed to know so moved along swiftly.

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  18. Hang in there! Thank you for taking the high road, unfortunate they could not have responded in the same vein in appreciation of your approach.

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  19. It's very disappointing to see how unethical the cosmetics and skincare industry has become just to increase their sales. It's getting too repetitive to see how many companies 1. mislead their customers these days, not only by confusing claims but also by paying unbelievable amounts of money to many just get positive reviews, that end up in social media rave of crap products. 2. are rude to those who take onto themselves the responsibility of helping the masses gain knowledge of the effects of their products.

    Thank you Caroline for your good work. The credibility you've built in this platform exists for a reason.

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  20. Wow....their response is about as well worded as their product listing! One typo you can forgive but to defend it in that way makes me think of the words doth and protest - we all know the rest of that quote! Still confuse about the zinc oxide and definitely won't be buying their products, I have an allergy to silicones so to see something labelled silicone free but to have silicones in it is beyond disappointing and frankly unethical at the least. Thanks Ms. Hirons for pointing these things out to us.xx

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  21. I am so impressed by your research and the thoughtfulness that goes into your posts and replies. Thank you for sharing this, however uncomfortable the experience has been, as it really helps us all to be more discerning, conscious consumers. Keep up the good work!

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  22. i remember watching a youtube video, ref; (part 2 in the bathroom with caroline hirons - sali hughes youtube beauty channel; minutes 23:03 to 23:32). in essence sali hughes said that ingredients list/INCI dont make or break the product. for me, INCI doesnt tell the whole story but what they tell is enough to make me buy or back off.
    for example, when shopping for a skincare/haircare product, ingredients list/INCI do make or break the deal. i won't buy anything that has methylisothiazolinone/methylchloroisothiazolinone/2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol in any amount/concentration, especially in a leave-on type product; high amount of fragrance/parfum/fragrant plant oils/extracts/fragrant type chemicals and any form/type of silicones in haircare products (as i have bushy curly hair and silicones make it stiff).
    and as and INCI reader, for sure i wont buy (or even use it even if it's sent for free) golfadenmd sunvisor because; a) spraying sunscreen directly on your face is a bad recommendation. b) i dont use chemical sunscreen (and physical suncreen mixed with chemical in that case) on my face because my eyes will itch, burn and water as per usual. c) it's too expensive. 45 dollar for a simplistic sunscreen - just a mixture of sunscreen agents, water, silicones and preservatives with no antioxidants plants/vitamins/antioxidant type ingredients added for extra benefit to justify the price. this product is a also perfect example of company coming up with "no no no" claims but in the end the things that they say they dont have (silicones) they have and the things that they say they have, they dont (red tea and zinc oxide). obviously the pr department forgot to consult their chemist.
    sorry for the long comment. love your blog.

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  23. Keep doing what you do !!!! :) x

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  24. This is why I read your blog. Seriously. Because even though I am not in the market for a facial sunscreen (incredibly loyal to my Shiseido), I know I can come here and read without trying to guess whether the person is genuine or not. Caroline, you are 100% the genuine article. So sorry to hear your experience was so unpleasant in this case. Just know that we greatly appreciate all the the hard work you do and everything you put into this blog! Hopefully that makes it worth it :) Love from LA x

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  25. Wow... They are very defensive aren't they? And rude too.

    That being said, I don't think their explanation is satisfactory.I don't know, maybe it's just me, but when a brand get defensive, I'll stay away from their products. Usually, it means something is going on.

    But, I haven't seen them in my side of rock, so whether or not I'd buy their products is a moot point.

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  26. I used to work in the clothing industry, composition listings had to be accurate within 3% by law otherwise we had to replace or over stick the labels. Astonishing therefore to think that a cosmetics company can just say that something is a 'typo' with no obligation to correct.

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  27. YOUR blog is the one place I turn to for an HONEST review of products, both your opinion and the factual information you provide, enable me to make an INFORMED choice on whether to buy or not. You turn the Double Dutch of the cosmetics world's language into one a layman can understand. If we ever needed more PROOF of how VITAL your blog is to us as consumers Goldfadden response is it. Keep doing what you're doing Caroline, we NEED you.

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  28. Auch stuff like this just makes you feel rubbish, it doesn't matter if you know you are right or doing the right thing it just somehow manages to get deeper than you want it to, feels personal and makes you feel sad. I really feel for you because as strong and tough as you are I'm sure this has had a negative impact on your life, even for just a short time, and no one wants that. All we can do is remind you how much we appreciate your honesty, your knowledge and experience. I am not ashamed to admit that I do not have the knowledge to see those mistakes or know that those ingredients are a cause for concern and without you or people like you I never would. I can only hope that the upside of situations like this are your loyal readers reminding you that we are on your side and know that you are a good person that actually cares about more than money and that we will always have your back.

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  29. I don't usually comment (despite reading religiously every day), however I wanted to say well done.

    Any reputable brand would commend you for your enquiries into the totally bogus or seemingly misleading aspect of the beauty industry - as situations like these, quite frankly, give everyone a bad rep. The concept of 'best business practice' has so obviously been lost on them. Not just in their bullying and belittling replies to you, but in the prior so-called "typos" etc that belong nowhere in the industry, nevermind in products claiming to protect you from skin damage, or worse, cancer ("typo" - what a facetious and unprofessional justification?!).

    Rant over. I certainly commend you! Congratulations for keeping your hat on in the face of this.

    Jessica xx

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  30. Bravo Caroline!! Thank you so much for getting to the bottom of this! I got the feeling that all their defensive replies to you were just pure BS. I never used their products in the past and I don't plan to start especially after reading this.

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  31. Thank you for blogging this. You're the best Caroline! I really appreciate the hard work and effort it takes to explain to us readers with great transparency.

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  32. And this is why you're the best. Love you Mrs Hirons.

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  33. Brava, Mrs. Hirons! I am a relatively new reader of your blog, but I intend to be a loyal one. And this is why.

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  34. Whoever composed the response to you had better send you a huge deserved apology all it does is tarnish there brand

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  35. Jesus, whoever wrote that response needs a serious talking to in customer/ client relations!
    You're the only beauty bloggers whose advise and recommendations I trust implicitly because of how honest and no nonsense you are (you would get on like a house on fire with my mum!), you were absolutely right to take them to task over their claims/ packaging/ inci list, and its highly commendable that you did, quite honestly they should have treated you with the respect you deserve and have worked seriously hard for.
    Not that you need telling but you can hold you head high, as my mum would say don't let the b'tards grind you down ��

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  36. Caroline your opinion and pointing out of these kind of things is worth gold. Never stop we love and support and appreciate it. Though it puts you under the spotlight, know that we appreciate this and its time companies realized that the consumer is not as stupid as they think. Trying to make bloggers tow the line is probably something most corporations would really like to do but times are changing and the transparency will make better companies appreciate the Gem that they have in you. Its inspiring.
    I am such a fan.
    You ROCK beautiful lady

    now go back on vacation so we can get more lovely tweets of oddball things that make you laugh.

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  37. As you said, only fair to give them the opportunity to clarify. Too bad they didn't make more use out of it.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

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  38. How interesting to compare the response from Goldfaden MD's with Deciem's a few months ago (re. their eye treatment dropper packaging)? I think you said you had to give the latter respect for responding in a polite and non-defensive way. I have to laugh at Goldfaden MD's PR people. They've done exactly what the company would have wanted to avoid - turning off potential customers. Talk about a petulant FAIL!

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    1. I agree- and in fact as a result of the way Deciem handled their response, I pursued their products, and have been very impressed! :) I will always favour a company that takes ownership of errors and communicates to consumers with respect

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    2. Totally agree! I was also really impressed with how Deciem handled that and bought products from them that I will continue to purchase in the future. Goldfaden however will never make their way over to my list of items to be purchased thanks to their rude response.

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  40. Stunning. The best beauty blogger around. Unquestionably ethical, honest and fiercely understanding. I didn't think I could respect you anymore Caroline, but you truly are, a remarkable woman. I wish you and your family health, wealth and happiness in the future and for years to come. VOGUE need to make you their Beauty Director. Seriously.

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  41. Why do I get the sense we are in Erin Brockovich territory!? A complaint is a gift is a quote I've been taught to truly respect. The great majority of customers don't take the time to give a company feedback or an opportunity to make it right-you have given them this beautiful gift and they showed clearly (not just to you but to MANY other potential and current customers) just how they value us. And it ain't pretty. Yuck Yuck Yuck. You go girl for putting this out there. Some companies just. Don't. Get. It. Never. Will. But, you keep on keeping on.

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  42. You are to be commended Caroline not only for your original article, but the way you responded. Goldfaden MD were coming across as very defensive and detrimental to their image.

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  43. Caroline, you have an opinion, and we love it. We value YOUR opinion, we consume what you write with great enthusiasm because we know is unbiased. You have a readership - you engage with your followers in a deeper level than any communication vehicle. That is tremendous achievement. Rejoice. This too shall pass.

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  44. This is exactly why your readers trust you and not the PR copy. For the last 3 years I haven't bought a single item of skincare without checking your blog first and my skin is much better for it. PR companies: take note.

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  45. I'm glad we have someone like you in the blog scene. I know hundreds of bloggers (even very talented ones) that will encounter a product with such outrageous claims as this one and never say a word about it, as they don't want to blow up the possibility of future opportunities. Congratulations on the honest work you're doing here.

    On other news: World, LEAVE SILICONS ALONE, they're beautiful and should be loved the way they are. They're friends.

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  46. As someone who works in QA & Compliance for a Drug/Cosmetic manufacturer, Goldfaden should be sending you presents for catching the labeling errors before a regulatory agency did. Having incorrect ingredients on the labeling renders the product misbranded under Federal Regulations in the US, and Europe isn't any more forgiving.

    Having a 'typo' on your ingredients list that involves the presence/ absence of one of your active ingredients is something that tends to indicate a substandard review process. I'd be very surprised if a few departments didn't have some kind of level 5 meltdown whey they got wind of the initial post.

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  47. I am so impressed, Caroline! You give an honest opinion, which is so uncommon among bloggers! You only see positive reviews out there, which is wring! These brands must learn to accept not only positive reviews they paid for, but also negative ones.

    http://againstandforward.blogspot.com

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  48. One only thing to say: I'm not buying Goldfaden. Ever.
    :*

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  49. The best, most honest blogger as always.
    Bravo.
    Own it. Fix it. Move on.
    Added to my vocabulary!

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  50. Caroline, it might just be me (probably is!), but I think you should do a remix with Daft Punk.
    Own it. Fix it. Move on......
    ;0P
    X

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  52. It's really disappointing to read their response to you. Incredibly rude in tone and they don't seem concerned about how the ingredient discrepancies could affect their consumers. After reading this, I finally watched the SpaceNK debate with the Goldfaden representatives and Dr. Lens and Dr. Lens not only seemed more gracious but far far more knowledgeable. The Goldfaden reps just parroted responses and couldn't explain why completely natural is better (and failed to mention their products DO contain synthetic ingredients). I'm a student right now so I don't have much extra cash but it sure won't be going to Goldfaden MD products (I'd LOVE to try Zelens but it's too expensive right now, so I'll just stick with my tried and true Origins). So sorry you've had to deal with this, just know that your readers love you all the more for asking these questions for us!

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  53. I've been re-reading your blog from the beginning, you should sell it as a book!

    At any rate, a typo is saying finc oxide instead of zinc oxide, it isn't totally forgetting to include it (or vice versa). Smells whiffy to me!

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