Science Symposium … Bringing It All Together

By Alex Kowcz
Chief Scientist, PCPC

Last month, more than 300 scientists, industry leaders and regulatory officials gathered at PCPC’s Science Symposium for robust discussions about innovation, environmental science, microbiology advances, safety and quality in the personal care products industry; updated regulatory, safety and quality requirements; and understanding the latest science and technology developments. It is always inspiring to interact with my colleagues and have the opportunity to dig deeply and thoughtfully into complex issues related to science, safety and regulation. Collaboration is key across all program platforms.

I am pleased to share some important Science Symposium highlights:

Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act (MoCRA) Implementation

Linda Katz, M.D., director of the Office of Cosmetics and Colors (OCAC), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), opened the conference as the keynote speaker and updated attendees on the FDA’s ongoing implementation of MoCRA.

For more than a decade, PCPC and our member companies collaborated with a bipartisan group of congressional leaders and broad array of stakeholders to modernize and enhance the FDA’s regulatory authority over our industry and provide the safety reassurances that consumers expect and deserve. We celebrated the enactment of MoCRA in December 2022. This landmark legislation revamped FDA oversight for our sector, providing the FDA with enhanced regulatory tools, which are pivotal in ensuring product safety, promoting innovation and bolstering consumer trust.

MoCRA requires the FDA to implement new regulations in the next few years, and several provisions become enforceable beginning Dec. 29, 2023, including those related to safety substantiation, mandatory adverse event reporting, registration and product listing, mandatory recall authority, records access and labeling for professional use.

After providing an overview of the MoCRA implementation timetable, Dr. Katz noted that MoCRA includes a sense of Congress that opposes the use of animal testing on cosmetics products for product safety assessments and supports phasing it out, with the exception of appropriate allowances. She also noted that Congress explicitly supported the development of non-animal testing alternatives. The Symposium’s combined expertise and passion energized me as our industry continues to work closely with the FDA to implement MoCRA.

Sunscreens and the Environment

In 2022, the National Academies of Science recommended that the EPA conduct an ecological risk assessment (ERA) for all currently marketed UV filters and any new ones that become available. Sandy Raimondo, Ph.D, a research ecologist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), provided an overview of an ERA of ultraviolet (UV) filters on coral reefs as sunscreens enter the environment through recreational activities and waste, and may ultimately reach coral reefs. Raimondo noted that the EPA protects the nation’s waterways under the Clean Water Act, while the FDA has regulatory authority over the cosmetics and personal care products industry.

According to Raimondo, coral reefs are a vital ecosystem stressed by climate change, destructive fishing practices, pollutants, invasive species and other factors. Raimondo spoke extensively about qualitative and quantitative data limitations to conduct a comprehensive ERA and cautioned that current available data is limited and more research is needed. She encouraged further global collaboration to advance scientific understanding on this important topic.

Microbiologist Training and Importance

The Symposium’s microbiology program focused on the importance of training the next generation of microbiologists. Michael Loewenstein, vice president of Scientific Consulting, Q Labs LLC, discussed the critical role of microbiologists in manufacturing to support compliance with the Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations enforced by the FDA. Common issues with cGMP issues for sterile drugs include poor personnel practices, loss of environmental control and flawed operational design. Loewenstein emphasized that microbiologists in any laboratory operation foster collaboration across a variety of essential elements, from equipment and facilities design to disinfectant policies, process validation, investigations, training and maintenance.

In recognition of the outstanding contributions to the personal care products industry, PCPC launched its inaugural Early Career Microbiologist Award. The award recognizes individuals who demonstrate meaningful contributions to microbiology – developing new methods, designing preservatives or publishing patents – to encourage their continued growth in the industry.

Presented at the Symposium, PCPC awarded this distinction to Taylor Rienzo, Charles Rivers Laboratory, in recognition of her work in validating alternative microbiological methods. Her meticulous efforts and her commitment to advancing scientific methods in QC Micro have played a critical role in enhanced product quality and consumer safety. The award is a testament to Taylor’s exceptional expertise and dedication, which serve as an inspiration to other talented microbiologists.

Quality and Safety

The conference wrapped up with a focus on quality and safety. PCPC’s Tom Myers, EVP, Legal & Regulatory Affairs, facilitated a conversation with Prashiela Manga, Ph.D, deputy director, Office of Cosmetics and Colors, FDA, who presented the latest information on the status of FDA’s facility and product registration system for cosmetics and personal care products. 

Michael Dourson, a board-certified toxicologist and director at TERA, an environmental science NGO, spoke about the complicated factors of measuring and analyzing ingredient risk exposure. Highlighting the importance of effectively communicating complex scientific information in easy-to-understand terms, he provided one of the more memorable quips of the conference: “No one drinks two liters of lipstick!” The takeaway: information regarding risk exposure always needs to be put into real-world context.

The beauty and personal care products industry has always been driven by science and safety. I have no doubt that new relationships were forged and existing relationships deepened at the Symposium to drive meaningful scientific collaboration for years to come. I believe the future of our industry will be bright – and beautiful – with many exciting innovations!

The Many Reasons to Celebrate During Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Louanne Roark
Executive Director, Look Good Feel Better Foundation

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a meaningful time for Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) because we know that breast cancer statistics translate into real women with real challenges. Women who are working through a cancer journey with determination and courage.

In 2023, approximately 297,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and approximately 43,000 will die from the disease.* Not surprisingly, breast cancer is the most diagnosed form of cancer among women – 31% of all female cancer diagnoses – and second only to lung cancer in number of deaths. Breast cancer rates have been steadily declining since 1989, yet despite this 43% decline, breast cancer deaths in Black women remain about 40% higher than in White women, despite lower incidence.

Breast cancer patients represent the majority of the people LGFB serves, with 62% of our participants reporting they are being treated for breast cancer. We are privileged to support anyone undergoing cancer treatment, enabling them to rediscover their normal appearance, confidence and self-esteem and to find a supportive community of others going through the same thing. Our goal is to help even more people with cancer and to be there for everyone who needs us.

That’s why we invested in digital strategies in 2019 to deliver LGFB workshops. We built a digital delivery platform and expanded our reach beyond in-person workshops at cancer centers, hospitals and clinics to serve the broader cancer community via online, livestreaming technology. The goal was to replicate the magic and community of our in-person programs by virtually bringing LGFB to patients wherever they are – at home, at work and in the community, including underserved and under-resourced communities – and creating new opportunities for sharing experiences and human connection.

Little did we know that our timing was perfect. Without skipping a beat, we were able to continue offering online, livestreaming group programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. This effort has only grown since. Today, we serve thousands of women every year through free in-person and virtual, livestreaming workshops; short-form Feel Better Moments streaming on social media platforms; and online resources and video tutorials on our website. Most resources are also available in Spanish.

Of course, we don’t do this work alone. We rely on the generosity of nationwide partners, volunteers and other supporters who create a positive impact beyond financial and product donations. They strengthen communities, address mental health, improve wellness, and support diversity and inclusion. From employee skill-based volunteers and fundraising to cause marketing and product and service donations, our partners elevate our ability to impact the lives of cancer patients and their families everywhere.

And we continue working hard to reach women in underserved communities. As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Look Good Feel Better’s Confidence Crusade is inspiring communities to recognize that we all have a role to play in helping friends, family or acquaintances facing cancer.

We want EveryONE to help ONE person to feel empowered on their cancer journey by sharing information about LGFB’s free resources and by challenging and engaging those who are unsure how to help to do the same.

Funding from the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation will help promote the Confidence Crusade, and their generous support will enable LGFB’s free virtual workshops to provide ‘makeup confidence kits’ to even more patients (while supplies last), including those in under-resourced and underserved communities.

October is also when many of our generous partners step up to support LGFB through special company and brand initiatives and when they come together to celebrate our collective impact. On October 11 this year, the BeautyCares DreamBall Gala in New York raised more than $1.2 million to support the program, providing thousands of women with free LGFB support.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity to celebrate the spirit of survivorship, resiliency and hope. It is a time to acknowledge the extraordinary support from our partners, volunteers and allies. It is a moment to rekindle our commitment to ensuring hope glows for everyone for a better tomorrow.


For more information about Look Good Feel Better, visit

*American Cancer Society, 2023 Cancer Facts and Figures

Advocating for the Future

Karin Ross
EVP, Government Affairs

For more than a decade, the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) and our member companies worked diligently with a bipartisan group of congressional leaders and a diverse group of stakeholders to modernize and enhance the effectiveness of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulatory authority over our sector and to provide the safety reassurances that consumers expect and deserve.

We are thrilled that the long-awaited and bipartisan Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act (MoCRA) was passed and enacted this past December. This historic legislation modernized FDA oversight of cosmetics and personal care products, giving the FDA significant new authorities and regulatory tools that promote product safety and innovation for our science-driven industry and reinforcing consumer confidence.

But there is more work to be done. The FDA needs funding to fully implement these critical provisions. The message from member companies, PCPC and the Professional Beauty Association to Capitol Hill this month was clear and urgent: we support the $7 million in the Senate Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act to empower the FDA to fully implement MoCRA. Representatives met with members of Congress, including chairs, vice chairs and members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, to urge Congress to help the FDA realize the full potential of MoCRA and its public health mission. A lack of funding now would undermine more than a decade of bipartisan effort. 

These Lobby Days give us an opportunity to have meaningful conversations with Congress that highlight the work our members do every day to promote the safety and well-being of their employees, consumers and communities. Our member companies are proud of the work they do to advance industry efforts, and we welcome the opportunity to share our priorities for the future with policymakers. Beyond the funding of MoCRA implementation, we encouraged members of Congress to continue to eliminate trade barriers for cosmetics and personal care products sold worldwide and to support critical legislation on a number of issues:

  • Humane Cosmetics Act – We applaud S. House of Representatives by Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.), Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) and Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) for the reintroduction of this legislation, which would prohibit animal testing of cosmetics and their ingredients and prohibit the sale in the United States of cosmetics that have been tested on animals.
  • 45B Tip Tax Credit – This legislation would extend the credit to beauty service establishments and their employees. An existing tip tax credit is currently only available to restaurants.
  • CROWN Act – This bill prevents workplace discrimination based on characteristics such as hair texture and styles.
  • SHOP SAFE Act – This bill prevents the sale of counterfeit products.

To top it all off, we celebrated the launch of the Congressional Cosmetics Caucus, a bipartisan forum chaired by Reps. Linda Sanchez and Nicole Malliotakis, to build awareness and dialogue on the cosmetics and personal care industry’s important issues.

Our advocacy efforts always promote policies that benefit the millions of consumers who trust and rely on our industry’s products. Last year marked a major milestone with MoCRA’s passage, and we look forward to working with policymakers and NGO partners to build on that effort in the 118th Congress and beyond. 

Study Finds Sunscreens are a Key Component of Sun Safety

By Kimberly Norman, Ph.D., DABT, ERT
Senior Director, Safety and Regulatory Toxicology

Do you know the best strategies to protect yourself from overexposure to the sun’s harmful rays and reduce your skin cancer risk?

A recent nationwide study — Application Habits of SPF Users in the United States: Results of a Nationwide Survey[1] — surveyed more than 2,200 regular sunscreen users in the U.S. about how they use sunscreen products. Unlike previous studies, which have primarily focused on recreational use of sunscreen, this study also evaluated how individuals are using the wide variety of available sunscreen products, including facial skin care, cosmetics and lip care.

The study found that spray sunscreen is applied more often on larger areas of the body and hard-to-reach areas than lotion sunscreen, whereas the latter is applied more often on sensitive areas like the face and neck. Survey data also highlighted parents’ awareness of the importance of reapplying sunscreens, paying significantly more attention to water exposure, number of hours passed since application, redness, etc., for their children than themselves.   

Unique drivers such as weather conditions, time spent outside and planned activities impact the types of sunscreen products used. Survey respondents were more likely to use sunscreens on sunny days, when spending more than three hours outside and participating in beach activities. The study also demonstrates a variety of safe-sun behaviors by regular sunscreen users such as other forms of sun protection, but less than 15% of survey respondents know that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulates sunscreens as over-the-counter drugs requiring rigorous testing. The FDA ensures that broad-spectrum sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB radiation and are safe and effective.

Countless health-care professionals and organizations such as the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention and the American Cancer Society recommend the following sun-protection strategies: 

Make sunscreen part of your daily routine:

    • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher even on a cloudy day
    • Apply 30 minutes before going outdoors
    • Reapply every two hours or more frequently if sweating or if in water

Wear protective clothing:

    • A wide-brimmed hat 
    • Long-sleeved shirt and pants
    • UPF clothing 
    • UV-protective sunglasses

Be smart around the sun:

    • Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest
    • Seek shade from an umbrella, tree or other shade structure
    • Use extra caution near water, snow and sand, which reflect the damaging rays of the sun and increase your chance of sunburn
    • Check the UV index before heading outside and protect your skin accordingly

Visit your healthcare professional every year for a skin exam.

This Fourth of July — and every day — celebrate sun protection. Remember, the best sunscreen is the one you’ll actually use. Happy sun-safe Fourth of July!


[1] Application Habits of SPF Users in the United States: Results of a Nationwide Survey by K. Norman, PCPC; L. Loretz, PCPC; A. Kowcz, PCPC; L. Kaufman, Scripterra Scientific; and J. Nash, Procter & Gamble






National Cancer Survivor Month: A Cause for Celebration

By Louanne Roark
Executive Director, Look Good Feel Better Foundation

The month of June is often cause for celebration, bringing warm weather, longer days and much needed vacations. For us at Look Good Feel Better (LGFB), June is also a special celebration of National Cancer Survivor Month.

This month, we celebrate the resilient spirit of the more than 18 million cancer survivors in the United States and honor the tireless efforts of doctors, clinicians, researchers and scientists who have made survivorship possible. We also celebrate the families, friends and communities who have provided steadfast care and support during their loved one’s battle with cancer.

At LGFB, we acknowledge a deep understanding that has evolved over the years and recognize the importance of psychosocial support in the journey toward recovery and survivorship. LGFB empowers people with cancer by teaching beauty, self-care and wellness techniques to help manage the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment and to encourage a sense of normalcy. From skin and nail care, cosmetics, wigs and turbans, accessories and styling, LGFB strives to bring a touch of the ordinary back into lives challenged by the extraordinary.

Research shows that patient support programs like LGFB are a vital component of cancer care and complement the clinical care provided by medical professionals, fostering a sense of control, community and belonging when individuals feel most isolated. A patient’s emotional and mental wellness directly impacts their cancer outcomes, and we are proud to be part of the survivor experience.

LGFB represents a fragment of a larger, ever-evolving ecosystem that is transforming cancer from a terminal condition to a treatable, manageable one — an achievement worth celebrating. Since its inception, we have touched, united and uplifted more than 2.2 million cancer survivors in 27 countries worldwide as the only global charitable program addressing confidence, beauty, appearance, morale and a sense of normalcy for people undergoing cancer treatment.

We are inspired by the ongoing commitment to research into improved treatment options, outcomes and potential cures. The resulting advancements in diagnosis, early detection and treatment options are directly influencing outcomes and survivorship. At LGFB, we support and share the oncology community’s resolve to reach underserved communities to ensure access to care, information and support are available to underserved populations.

Fortunately, we are part of a robust and ever-growing industry dedicated to cancer prevention, treatment, support and, ultimately, eradication. Companies like Avon, Coty, Mary Kay, L’Oréal, P&G Beauty, The Estée Lauder Companies, Ulta Beauty, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Wella and many others have been dedicated supporters of cancer-related causes for decades and have helped advance some of the world’s most promising research. 

Here’s how you can help celebrate National Cancer Survivor Month:

  • Let the cancer survivors in your life know how thrilled you are to celebrate this month with them.
  • Donate to PCPC’s Look Good Feel Better Foundation or organizations advancing cancer research, advocacy and education.
  • Support companies that partner with LGFB to raise funds and awareness, and help recruit LGFB volunteers from among their customers and employees.
  • Spread the word that June is National Cancer Survivor Month by sharing this post on social media.

The narrative surrounding cancer has evolved tremendously. Today, we are fortunate to be able to talk about living with cancer — a monumental shift in just a generation. I have no doubt more extraordinary changes are on the horizon.

As you break out the summer clothes and sunscreen, let’s take a moment to honor the millions of people who count themselves as cancer survivors, and let’s continue our relentless efforts to find a cure that ends cancer for everyone.

Celebrating Progress on Earth Day

By Lisa Powers
Executive Vice President, Public Affairs & Communications, PCPC

I love the TV series “Yellowstone.” The beautiful and breathtaking landscape of Montana brings me a certain peace. Its main protagonist once said: “The problem is people have stopped living with the planet and started living on it. There will come a time when Earth sheds us like dead skin and it will be our own fault.” These words have stayed with me since I first heard them.

Having worked within the beauty and personal care products industry for nearly two decades, I have seen extraordinary change when it comes to thinking – and acting – responsibly with our Earth. Twenty years ago, issues like reducing packaging, increasing transparency and traceability in the supply chain, and reducing biodiversity loss were not front and center. Today they are integral parts of both the operations and the mindset of our member companies.

PCPC’s most recent sustainability report and its companion video showcase the beauty and personal care industry’s continued commitment to the responsible management of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) impacts and highlights the innovative ways our member companies integrate sustainability into their business practices. 

But the report tells a deeper story that gives me tremendous hope on this Earth Day. In the two years since PCPC’s first sustainability report, more and more companies are taking significant steps to increase the sustainability of their operations:

  • Nearly twice as many cosmetics and personal care companies report making commitments to science-based targets (SBTs), designed to limit global warming to 1.5° C and prevent the worst impacts of climate change. The SBT Initiative requires reductions to scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Nearly twice as many companies report having made commitments to 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable for all plastic packaging by 2025.
  • More than twice as many companies report offering consumers retail collection or mail-in take-back programs for empty packaging.
  • The number of companies reporting commitments to use 100% renewable energy and joining RE 100 has doubled. RE 100 is a global corporate renewable energy initiative that brings together hundreds of large businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity.
  • Multiple companies are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and have made commitments to zero deforestation and sourcing sustainable palm oil for their products. The RSPO was established in 2004 to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil products.

The progress over just two years is remarkable. Momentum continues to build in our industry and so many others. And consumers are engaged as well, seeking products that align with their own sustainability priorities. While we recognize that there’s more work to be done, the beauty and personal care products industry is committed to be part of the solution when it comes to addressing some of society’s most urgent sustainability challenges. PCPC and our member companies are working together with governments and NGOs to make meaningful change.

I am optimistic when I look at our member companies’ efforts to create a more beautiful world. As we celebrate the 53rd Earth Day, I hope everyone can continue their commitments to care for our world – in every aspect of our lives – but also let’s take a moment to celebrate the progress we are making, together.

PCPC’s 2021 Sustainability Handbook provides practical guidance for advancing a company’s sustainability practice.

Honoring the Legacy of Women Trailblazers: The Power of Beauty. The Power of Women Supporting Women.

By A’Lelia Bundles
Author, Journalist, Madam Walker’s Great-Great-Granddaughter

Our stories are our power! As women we must tell our stories so future generations can see themselves in our triumphs and in our challenges. We must tell our stories so girls grow up assuming they can be bosses and innovators.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we are showered with magazine cover stories, documentaries, LinkedIn posts and TikTok videos about amazing women. But not so long ago, those stories were hard to find.

When I was in elementary school in the 1950s, my favorite library books were biographies. I loved learning facts about historical figures. But something was missing. Almost all the books were about men. I remember reading about author Louisa May Alcott and pilot Amelia Earhart, but there was nothing on the shelves about Black, Latina, Asian American and Indigenous women. Fortunately, the publishing industry is correcting this omission and women’s history is no longer just a footnote in the larger narrative of human history.

Today, I write the books I wish had been written for me as I tell the story of my great-great-grandmother, Madam C.J. Walker. Born Sarah Breedlove in 1867 on the same cotton plantation where her parents and older siblings had been enslaved, she became an early 20th century entrepreneur and millionaire by selling a line of hair care products created in 1906 specifically for Black women.

Having solved her own hair loss dilemma, she traveled throughout the United States, Central America and the Caribbean recruiting sales agents. Soon the products became a means to a greater end as she realized that her customers needed education and wanted financial independence as much as hair care products.

Madam Walker – like cosmetics industry founders Helena Rubinstein, Coco Chanel, Elizabeth Arden and Mary Kay Ash – knew the beauty business was lucrative. Despite their expertise in product formulation, strategic marketing and customer service, they all struggled to be taken seriously by investors, suppliers and male-dominated banks. Ultimately, their visionary business models prevailed as they employed thousands of women, empowered them economically and encouraged their self-confidence.

These successful businesswomen claimed their seat at the table even if they had to build their own board rooms to do so. They used their clout to fight for women’s rights and against domestic violence. That same spirit of advocacy shines through today, notably among women of color. Their concern for equality and fairness has inspired many beauty industry leaders to join them in supporting the CROWN Act, a law that bans workplace discrimination based on hair texture and styles, particularly those worn by African Americans. While federal legislation has not yet passed, 20 states have enacted their versions.

The beauty business always has been more complex than lip gloss and hair spray. From the beginning, it has been about women’s entrepreneurship, personal power, collaboration and economic empowerment.

Whether today or this month, I hope you will take some time to learn more about trailblazing women. Whether it’s Madam Walker and other cosmetics industry pioneers or women scientists, artists, diplomats, librarians, athletes, elected officials and your own grandmother, they all are a testament to the brilliance, creativity and fortitude of women who have succeeded against the odds.

Transparent, Accountable and Purposeful: Our Journey Towards Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

By Michelle Shands
Director of Human Resources and Office Services, PCPC

It’s been nearly three years since George Floyd’s senseless murder. Businesses across the nation promised to take meaningful action to combat the systemic inequities and injustices plaguing our society. The Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) understands the importance of playing a significant role in creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive (DEI) world. As the director of HR and Office Services and a Black woman working in the trade association sector, I know my voice is critical in advancing my organization’s commitment.

At PCPC, we are intentional and thoughtful about our organizational changes and initiatives, deeply diving into our practices, impact and internal dynamics. We took a good, hard look at ourselves and engaged expert consultants, and DEI and social justice advisors to facilitate challenging conversations with our CEO, staff and Board of Directors. Through organization-wide town hall meetings and one-on-one discussions, we talked, listened and reflected on what we learned.

But we didn’t stop there. We took decisive action to make real change. We are working to ensure our employees have more opportunities for growth and development, enhancing transparency and accountability, aligning our external activities with our organizational and internal DEI goals, and embracing an intentional posture that clearly defines racial justice, equity, diversity and inclusion for PCPC. By remaining focused and purposeful, we have updated leave benefits and refined our recruitment process. And we are are working toward a more transparent approach to salary and promotion decisions and investing in leadership development to ensure our employees are ready to advance – whether at PCPC or other organizations.

Although it hasn’t been easy, we remain steadfast and proud of our hard work. While others may have acted faster, we knew laying a solid foundation was necessary to build lasting change. We have made significant strides but recognize that our work is far from done. We will continually evaluate our internal systems, practices and policies to ensure they align with our DEI goals and course-correct when necessary. Moving forward, we remain committed to listening and learning, even when it’s uncomfortable or inconvenient. We know that true progress requires vigilance and willingness to adapt.

It’s not about meeting quotas or checking boxes but building a culture of inclusivity that permeates every aspect of our organization. We are actively working to embed DEI into the fabric of our organizational culture, not just in how we do business but in how we treat each other and our wider community.

I am proud to work for an organization committed to making a real difference. I am grateful for the opportunity to lend my voice to this essential work. The conversation around DEI is long overdue, and while it took a tragedy to spark it, we will not turn back.

A New Year But Not Business as Usual

By Lezlee Westine
President & CEO, PCPC

After more than two years of shifting much of our work and personal lives to virtual platforms, this past year saw a welcome return to in-person gatherings and events. While 2022 was not without its challenges, PCPC and our member companies remained steadfast in our commitment to the well-being of our employees, our consumers and our communities.

I am incredibly proud of everything we accomplished together. One of the last bills passed by the 117th Congress and signed into law by President Biden included long-awaited legislation that advances product safety and innovation for our science-driven industry and reinforces consumer confidence. This historic moment took more than a decade to come to fruition, bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders to support a contemporary approach to cosmetics oversight and further strengthen consumer trust in the products they use every day. This landmark legislation would not have been possible without our members’ leadership and commitment and our partnership with key NGOs. We look forward to working closely with Congress, the FDA, our members and all interested parties to implement the new regulations every step of the way.

We also advocated modernizing laws and harmonizing initiatives at the state and global levels. For example, climate action is a top priority for our sector, and beauty and personal care products companies strive to be among the most exemplary in the sustainability of their businesses. We believe protecting people and the planet is an urgent responsibility, and sound science is the foundation for everything we do. However, we have more work to do. PCPC members continue to reduce their energy consumption, transitioning toward lower carbon or renewable sources of energy, and ambitiously cutting their GHG emissions while implementing mitigation, adaptation and resilience strategies. PCPC’s second sustainability report showcases our industry’s commitment to the responsible management of environmental impacts, as well as economic and social value, and highlights the innovative ways member companies have integrated sustainability into their business practices. 

We believe a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace fosters more innovative and creative teams, less biased decision-making and produces better ideas for solving problems. As part of our own sustainability commitment, PCPC presented the second annual Madam C.J. Walker Award for Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), which recognizes individuals in the beauty industry who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to DEI through strong leadership and sustained efforts with a focus on workplace culture, programs and policies, or through external engagement with consumers and communities. PCPC presented the award to Esi Eggleston Bracey, president of Unilever U.S. & CEO of Unilever Personal Care North America. 

I am incredibly humbled when I reflect on the countless ways our industry continues to deepen and broaden collaborative efforts to benefit society, including standing united with the international community to support the Ukrainian people. Many PCPC member companies fund relief efforts in Ukraine by donating to NGOs on the ground, supporting U.S.-based and international organizations focused on helping refugees displaced by the violence, and donating essential care and hygiene supplies.  

Business as usual has changed for the world, and collaboration is key to success. We are proud of the numerous ways our member companies are making a difference.

As we embrace the new year, we look forward to continued momentum and progress in creating a more diverse, equitable, inclusive and sustainable future. Together, we have much to be proud of and strive for. Happy New Year!

Sustainability is Beautiful

By Lezlee Westine
President & CEO, Personal Care Products Council (PCPC)

The world has changed dramatically since we published our first sustainability report in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic challenged all of us in unprecedented ways, and the events surrounding the tragic death of George Floyd in May 2020 and the subsequent protests have made diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) an even greater societal priority.

PCPC’s 2021 “Creating a More Beautiful World” sustainability report showcases the beauty and personal care industry’s continued commitment to the responsible management of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) impacts and highlights the innovative ways our member companies integrate sustainability into their business practices. 

Recognizing a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace fosters more innovation and creativity, less biased decision-making, and produces better ideas for solving problems, PCPC and many of our member companies initiated a variety of programs and approaches to improve employee recruitment and retention, and to address issues of racial disparities in leadership and pay. Currently, more than 75% of PCPC members have DEI policies and programs in place. Additionally, they work to develop products and services with more formula and shade diversity, as well as disability-inclusive packaging, to meet different needs.

I am incredibly proud of PCPC’s continued advocacy on behalf of our industry for the passage of the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act, legislation that aims to end race-based hair discrimination. PCPC also announced the first annual Madam C.J. Walker Award for Excellence in DEI in May 2021, recognizing individuals who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to DEI through strong leadership and sustained efforts with a focus on workplace culture, programs, and policies, or through external engagement with consumers and communities. Latriece Watkins of Walmart was our first recipient. Our second award presentation during PCPC’s Leadership Summit this past September brought industry together to celebrate Unilever’s Esi Eggleston Bracey.

These past few years have also called to light the pressing, complex and critical challenges facing our natural systems and the urgent need for us to take significant measures to protect our planet. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) state of global climate science publication issued a red alert for the planet. Climate action is a top priority for our member companies, and our sector has undertaken ambitious initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and transition toward a low carbon economy. Many PCPC member companies have also committed to zero waste in operations, including Beiersdorf, Burt’s Bees, Coty, Colgate-Palmolive, Henkel, Firmenich, International Flavors and Fragrance, L’Oréal, Procter and Gamble (P&G), Mary Kay, The Estée Lauder Companies and Unilever.

Several PCPC members are committed to the Global Commitment and Plastic Pact to make 100% of plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, including Beiersdorf, Colgate-Palmolive, Henkel, Kimberly-Clark, L’Oréal, Johnson & Johnson, Natura, Reckitt Benckiser, The Clorox Company and Unilever. And many PCPC member companies and their brands offer consumers retail collection or mail-in take-back programs for empty packaging, including Aveda, Burt’s Bees, Colgate Oral Care, Dial, Head and Shoulders, Herbal Essence, Henkel, Garnier, Kiehl’s Since 1851, MAC Cosmetics, Origins, Pantene, Seed Phytonutrients and Tom’s of Maine.

PCPC members also support a wide range of corporate social responsibility programs to help make their communities better places to live, including flagship initiatives like PCPC’s Look Good Feel Better and many corporate programs: L’Oréal Fund for Nature Regeneration and the For Women in Science program; Dove’s Real Beauty campaign and its more recent project #ShowUs; M·A·C’s VIVA GLAM campaign; Vaseline’s See My Skin; LIFEBUOY’s global handwashing campaign; Schwarzkopf’s Million Chances; Colgate’s Bright Smile, Bright Future; P&G’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water; Always’ #LikeAGirl campaign; Gillette’s #TheBestMenCanBe; Coty’s long-standing partnership with DKMS, an international non-profit fighting blood cancer and blood disorders; Rodan + Fields’ Prescription for Change Foundation; Fondation Chanel’s work on gender, climate and the environment; Mary Kay’s Pink Changing Lives and Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator; and Beiersdorf’s “Care Beyond Skin.”

Our member companies continue to conduct business with transparency, oversight and accountability, implementing policies, practices and processes that govern their actions and decision making. Ethical conduct guides our industry to act with integrity and maintain the highest standards. We are committed to promoting greater transparency and disclosure around products and believe everyone deserves the right to know and understand what’s in their products. Our member companies are also committed to eliminating animal testing while ensuring the safety of the products consumers trust and rely on every day. We have long advocated for government recognition and acceptance of alternative testing methods for product safety.

While we face a long list of social and environmental challenges, PCPC and our member companies believe that working together alongside government and NGOs will enable us to make meaningful change. We remain committed to tangible progress on serious issues like workforce opportunity, racial equity, climate change, and sustainable, responsible supply chains. Together we can make a difference.