Modere: What lead to your interest in personal product formulation, and can you describe your role here at Modere?

As a child, I loved reading the ingredient panels on the back of cereal boxes. What’s inside the box? What makes it taste that way? I was hooked. While pursuing my Biology and Chemistry degrees in college, I worked in several analytical laboratories. While it was fascinating, I knew I had found my calling the second I had my first R&D job. The mystery of sensory characteristics, what causes the formula to work so well and the art of making them work in harmony as a finished product is exhilarating. Nothing is more satisfying than engineering a formula in a beaker in the lab and then seeing that product in the customer’s hands. I am proud to bring this passion to the Modere team.

What is the process like when you are reviewing a product for safety and efficacy before it
goes to market? What’s the most challenging aspect of making sure it hits the mark?

Modere takes ingredient and product safety very seriously. In addition to a long list of ingredients we avoid in our products, we subscribe to numerous databases that focus on scientific reviews of ingredient safety data. We also conduct a battery of testing on the quality and safety of each ingredient and formula.
Then there’s Modere’s Quality 10 promise, a 10-step process to ensure every product is made with safety in mind.

  • Our comprehensive procedure starts when a full set of documentation is obtained for each ingredient that confirms the manufacturing process, country of origin, material specifications, allergen, verification of non-irradiation, non-GMO, non-ETO and ingredient composition.
  • Each ingredient then undergoes full testing against the specification to ensure the identity, quality and purity of the ingredient are up to our standards.
  • Contract manufacturer’s and key ingredient suppliers may also be qualified through on-site audits.
  • Suppliers are required to provide information and documentation on all areas of their business (with a focus on manufacturing and quality processes).

Lastly, Modere’s Research and Development team and Quality Assurance department, in combination with the input of the Scientific Advisory Board, collectively review the quality of ingredients and processes used in the development of Modere products. We make every effort to make certain that the ingredients and processes we use are of high quality, safety and efficacy.
Is there a simple way for consumers to weed out potentially harmful ingredients when shopping?

It all comes down to being conscious of the products you’re putting into your cart, but having a keen eye isn’t everything. There are several online databases that I turn to when I’m unsure of a products safety:

For personal care products, EWG’s Skin Deep database is the most user-friendly resource that I know of. 
For Household products, I recommend the EPA safer choice ingredient list. And while this site isn’t the most user-friendly, it’s an excellent source of information.
And for dietary supplements, we only use ingredients that have Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status. I am not familiar with any consumer databases for this information, but there are many websites that provide product reviews. However, when wading through the abundance of information online it is important to discern reliable data from fiction. 
Many people think that seeing a long ingredient list full of complex words is a sign to stay away, and that the fewer ingredients a product has, the better. Is that accurate?

Not necessarily. It depends on the ingredients involved. For example, would you consume a product that contains aqua, vegetable oils, sugars, starch, carotene, tocopherol (E306), riboflavin (E101), nicotinamide, pantothenic acid, biotin, etc.? They sound intimidating, but those are actually the first listed ingredients in an apple(1).
Which safe ingredients do you believe are currently underrated or underused?

Ingredients that minimize irritation are often underutilized by formulators due to cost savings or undervaluing the benefits they offer. It’s great to be part of a company that prioritizes ingredient quality and the health of their customers over cost. Irritation and inflammation due to wind, sun and pollution can cause skin discoloration and even premature appearance of aging. Modere frequently turns to underrated but beneficial ingredients that offer the chance of improving our customer’s lives, regardless of what the elements throw at them.

For example, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizinate and its chemical cousin, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, are natural ingredients extracted from licorice root that can help minimize irritation. They have been shown to aid histamine release inhibition, reduce erythema from UV rays and even help protect skin from irritants.

It’s important to constantly be on the lookout for the latest and greatest formulas and ingredients so that our customers are provided the safest and highest quality products available on the market. Modere has made it our mission to hold ourselves to the strictest standards when formulating our products, and when you look at our track record of avoided ingredients and cruelty-free products, it shows.

1) Big Think. Everything is Made of Chemicals.