Statement by the Personal Care Products Council on the HBO Max Docuseries “Not So Pretty”



Lisa Powers,, (202) 297-1232
Stefanie Harrington,, (202) 615-6558
Jamie Kurke,, (202) 258-5285

Washington, D.C. — “Contrary to claims in the new HBO Max docuseries, “Not So Pretty,” cosmetics and personal care products companies must substantiate product and ingredient safety before they sell their products. Consumer and product safety are top priorities for our member companies, with careful and thorough scientific research serving as the foundation for everything we do.

“The films’ producers did not contact the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) to learn about the rigorous scientific processes our member companies use to ensure the safety of cosmetics and personal care products – products that enhance well-being and are trusted by consumers worldwide. Instead, this series is yet another example of one-sided and misleading information presented as fact. It misrepresents many of the ingredients the producers cite in the film, despite their thorough safety assessments and decades of safe use. The film refutes valid safety reviews that U.S. and worldwide government and authoritative bodies have conducted that determine safe levels of these ingredients.

“The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulates cosmetics and personal care products under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA). All cosmetics products and their ingredients are subject to the same safety requirement under the FD&C Act: they must be safe for consumers before they are sold. FPLA requires product labeling be truthful and not misleading. Companies have a legal responsibility to ensure product and ingredient safety; current law requires penalties for manufacturers that do not meet these standards. Personal care products companies provide consumers with more information than the law requires and continue to make more detailed information available about ingredients, sourcing, testing and manufacturing than ever before.

“PCPC and our member companies are proud of our longstanding commitment to work with a diverse group of stakeholders to modernize federal regulatory oversight for cosmetics and personal care products. As part of our commitment to FDA cosmetics reform, PCPC’s members created a set of principles to guide our advocacy. We believe that federal reform will give consumers continued confidence in the personal care products they buy – wherever they are sold across the country.

“The U.S. cosmetics industry invests millions of dollars in scientific research and development to support the safety and efficacy of approximately 2,000 new products introduced each year. Companies employ more than 7,000 professionals, including medical experts, chemists, toxicologists, microbiologists, dermatologists, epidemiologists, environmental scientists, etc. — to evaluate, substantiate and ensure product and ingredient safety. Each year, industry scientists publish numerous peer-reviewed papers about improvements and development of new safety methods.

“The foundation of scientific risk-based safety assessments is that every ingredient has a safe range and an unsafe range, be it water, a vitamin or a newly discovered compound. A critical part of an ingredient’s safety assessment is determining its safe range before using it in a product. A complete safety assessment accounts for who uses the product, how they use it and how often over a lifetime. Once in the marketplace, companies continue to monitor products as well as consumer experiences.

“It’s very disappointing that the filmmakers continue to perpetuate misinformation and false allegations, creating consumer confusion. Consumers should feel confident that industry safety experts as well as independent scientists worldwide thoroughly assess the ingredients used in cosmetics and remain committed to doing so. Families can continue to trust and enjoy these products and rest assured that our industry is devoted to safety, quality and innovation.”


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Founded in 1894, the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) is the voice and advocate for 600 member companies representing the $484 billion global cosmetics and personal care products industry. PCPC’s members represent approximately 90% of the U.S. beauty industry and are some of the most beloved and trusted brands in beauty and personal care today. As the manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of a diverse range of products millions of consumers rely on every day – from sunscreens, toothpaste and shampoo to moisturizer, makeup and fragrance – PCPC’s member companies are global leaders committed to product safety, quality and innovation.