Monday, April 18, 2011

Buyer Beware: The Conservatorie

**I would like to make it unequivocally clear that I have no knowledge that GlitterSniffer Cosmetics ever purchased from The Conservatorie. This post is about an ingredient supplier and it's effect on several MMU companies and is being posted for informational purposes as The Conservatorie has not made the information public. If you are a formulator or a person who purchased from The Conservatorie for personal use please take a moment to check your ingredients. Though the company is not publicly releasing this information there is a chance that what you have been sold may not be used for what you intended.**

Over the last few months safety of Indie MMU has been in the spotlight. I am very cognizant of the fact that there are people who are now shying away from Indie makeup due in part to this blog. This is very unfortunate, as most Indie MMU sellers are safe and put out amazing, unique products, and, for the most part, this blog is here to illustrate the business practices of one company. GlitterSniffer Cosmetics is not representative of Indie MMU as a whole. Most Indie MMU companies take safety seriously and the health of their customers is their first concern.

Recently two of these companies were faced with the unfortunate task of recalling products. RockABetty Beauty and Morgana Cryptoria initiated recalls after discovering that their ingredient supplier The Conservatorie (first link on the google search) had changed their ingredient information and what they had previously purchased as either eye or lip safe or vegan was, in actuality, not.

In the case of RABB the company responded to customer concerns about glitter fallout by checking the ingredients on The Conservatorie site, only to find that the listings had changed and none of the glitter they had purchased was eye safe. The company immediately pulled all of their shades containing glitter and posted about the recall. They offered several options to their customers, including reformulated shades, trades for other shades, refund, or store credit. They then followed through on all their commitments.

Morgana Cryptoria discovered the ingredient changes in their own research. As a matter of course they research ingredients even if they have previously purchased them. As soon as the company realized the ingredients had been changed they issued a recall on some of their lipsticks, offering store credit, refund, or exchange. In all nine shades were recalled, some as containing carmine (the lipsticks were sold as vegan) and some not approved for lip use in the US as they contained Chromium Oxide Green or Ferric Ferrocyanide. Morgana Cryptoria has also followed through on their commitments.

A third company, whose line has yet to be launched, has had to reformulate at least 4 shades as they contain carmine, an ingredient change that affects this particular company as they will sell strictly vegan product. Due to issues with the INCI listing on The Conservatorie site they may have to reformulate several more.

There has been no effort on the part of The Conservatorie to notify customers that they changed their ingredients. Had it not been for the diligence of the above mentioned formulators the issue would still be unknown.

There was another change to The Conservatorie site as well. If you click the first link in the google search linked here, scroll to the bottom, and click on the Policies link you can read the suppliers' revised policy. This policy is what prevents me from linking directly to the site. Another change is that it, in effect, releases the company from any liability whatsoever. It states that they do not guarantee that any of their information is correct and that everything on the site is used 'at your own risk'.The company has made an all out effort to protect themselves, but no effort to communicate the ingredients changes to their customers.

At this time there is no official word as to why The Conservatorie has not made public these changes which have already resulted in 2 recalls. All three of the formulators I've written about in this post have been in contact with the company and they are aware that the changes have resulted in recalls and reformulation.

So what changes were made? Some of their products are now listed as containing carmine, Ferric Ferrocyanide, Chromium Green Oxide, and Chromium Hydroxy Green. Some glitters, previously listed as eye safe, are no longer listed as eye safe. You can review their updated ingredients list by accessing any of their micas and clicking on the Info Chart, which opens a PDF. Below I will post screenshots of Google cached versions of some of their affected previous ingredients for comparison.

A note about Chromium Green Oxide and Chromium Hydroxy Green as The Conservatorie now has them listed. It seems that The Conservatorie is referring to Chromium Oxide Green and Chromium Hydroxide Green, neither of which are lip safe. Even with the updated list the ingredients are not correctly listed. These names are not INCI compliant. Anyone going off this list to label would still be labeling incorrectly as the INCI is incorrect. As per the FDA ingredients on cosmetics must be listed in descending order of predominance by INCI. The correct INCI for these are Chromium Oxide Green (CI 77288) and Chromium Hydroxide Green (CI 77289).

Here are the screenshots for the previous ingredients for some of the affected ingredients, as of 3/7/11 per Google cache.

And from The Conservatorie Twitter, dated 2/3, an answer about the safe use of their glitters:

I present this information for a couple of reasons. As consumers we have a right to know that what we are purchasing, be it from a commercial cosmetics company, an Indie company, or a supplier is what it claims to be. The Conservatorie is not being forthcoming and the extent of the reach of these ingredients is unknown. These recalls do not lie at the feet of the Indie MMU companies who purchased these ingredients and people should know that. I also wanted to show that not all recalls have to be handled in the manner that GS' is.

I would like to thank RockABetty Beauty and Morgana Cryptoria not only for their permission to publish, but for the manner in which their recalls were handled. They could have easily pulled their products and reformulated, but they did not. They researched and did what was best for their customers. Both companies were transparent and apologetic. Though unfortunate, the recalls for these companies only serve to illustrate that diligence in research, concern for the customer, and simply doing what is right goes much farther than the fact that a product had to be recalled ever could. That both companies stepped up to the plate, not only in terms of their recalls, but in answering my inquiries and wanting first and foremost for others to be informed by this publication speaks volumes. It is a horrible situation to be in, but both handled it with grace and a business acumen geared toward the customer.

Again, if you purchased from The Conservatorie please check your ingredients. Be Safe. Be informed. Be well.


  1. Their inci's are correct on the actual packaging, recently, but the site is a hopeless mess. I will use things from them that I know to be safe, white mica's, but there is a world of color I won't touch and I'm very transparent about who my suppliers are. Because of TKB losing their pops and the Conservatoire mucking about with this and that, I've had to push my opening back by a month and a half. I feel sick about it, but again, transparency. It's the only way MMU sellers have a hope of garnering a good audience and claiming honesty. The whole thing stinks right now. Grrrrr


    this is for all mica's, happy hour, and glitters.


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