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The biggest personal care news of 2011

Why did I name Johnson & Johnson's announcement to reformulate the personal care industry’s “one hallelujah moment"? We all deserve safe, efficacious products, and because of consumers speaking out, mass market is finally waking up to naturals.

In my 2012 personal care predictions, I give Johnson & Johnson a pretty big shout out, naming its decision to reformulate its baby products the personal care industry’s “one hallelujah moment.” Giving such praise to a mass-market company in a piece about the successes of naturals. Am I a sell out or what?

After writing my piece, part of me questioned: Why should we give this much praise to a company just for taking some of the personal care industry’s worst toxins out of baby products, when natural companies have been doing it for years? Since when is doing the right thing revolutionary?  Should I amend said hallelujah moment?

By no means does the success of naturals rely on the compliance of mass. In fact, it’s hard to say exactly how such changes from conventional manufacturers will affect natural companies. What are the ramifications of Johnson & Johnson patenting new technology to produce safer and effective products, at a reasonable price? While it may boost competition, I’m confident that it can ultimately even the playing field when it comes to quality ingredients.

Plus, the bottom line (depending, of course, on who you ask) is: We all deserve safe, efficacious products, and last month’s news took us one step closer. Mass market is finally waking up to naturals. This means naturals could soon be the new mass.

Change is coming... what was the hold up?

For years, finely crafted marketing schemes have allowed the likes of Johnson & Johnson to convince customers that their products are gentle, natural, and the right choice not just for them but for their children. Then, the economy took a turn in 2008 and kids’ personal care products took the hit.

Parents suddenly had to make choices about where they spent their money. Thanks to the hard work of organizations like the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, increasing awareness about the conventional personal care products they had relied on for years (not to name names, but how about Johnson & Johnson’s No More Tears Shampoo?) made that the logical place to cut back. Many parents found natural replacements. Some simply stopped making kids' PC purchases. Companies like Johnson & Johnson, under pressure from consumers and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, had to adapt. 

So now, I realize: I named J&J’s why-didn’t-it-happen-sooner announcement this year’s one hallelujah moment because what’s truly to thank can’t be applied to one year, day or a time. Consumers’ collective voices build slowly, then gain momentum and somewhere along the line yield results that can change an industry forever.   

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