There has been some drama going on around Facebook regarding a reformulation of the product line by California Baby. Before you panic I wanted to present the facts to you so that you may make an informed decision. Since I’m Mrs Bad News Bear around here I’ll just simply fill you all in and you can do what you want with that information.
Several months ago a friend/reader (Hi Cecelia!) messaged me on Facebook asking me if I noticed that California Baby Shampoo now contained sodium benzoate, when before, it did not. I wasn’t fully aware but I checked and sure enough this was the case. I don’t follow each skin care line and monitor their ingredients lists daily so this was news to me. I didn’t think enough of it at the time until yesterday when I wandered on to California Baby’s Facebook page and saw a large quantity of angry comments about relabeling and calendula creams and miscommunication and changing of calendula and burns and …. wow. It’s a little out of control so I want to sort out the information provided to us.
- CA Baby added sodium benzoate to their shampoos and body washes, hand soaps, and bubble products. It’s not in every product but several now feature this ingredient. They have an explanation as to why this ingredient was added in their statement (which has now been deleted). Updated: Many of the products have been reformulated but these are the ones who have had sodium benzoate added. Other ingredients have also been changed with the new labeling so please check your products if you are having any concerns.
- Some products have had up to 10 ingredients changed or altered. (Thank you Kaitlyn!)
- CA Baby changed some ingredients in their calendula creams, including preservatives (no sodium benoate but caprylhydroxamic acid and glyceryl caprylate which are “naturally derived from coconut”)
- They removed safflower oil and replaced it with “organically grown canola oil”.
- They switched their calendula oil to a more concentrated calendula oil that they make in-house – it’s darker in color and has a slightly different smell. They are using less of it because of it’s increased potency and moved it down the ingredients list accordingly.
- CA Baby did not announce any reformulations immediately which caused some uproar on the Internet. They have apologized and made a statement on their FB Wall (It was deleted). They said they have updated all the ingredients lists on their website. The only list I see missing is for the hair detangler.
- Comments regarding reactions to their creams and complaints were posted to the CA Baby facebook wall and deleted.
- Many parents contacted CA Baby to complain about the reactions and say that their complaints were waved off and the company has told them that it was the “same great product it has always been” instead of informing them of a reformulation. (This is what I’ve been told by parents, I’m not stating it as a fact. Just to cover my butt legally – I did not witness these calls.)
You can read about the above points in California Baby’s Facebook statement. (Deleted.)
I got a handful of emails from moms telling me that their babies were experiencing burns and rashes after using their new formula calendula creams and body washes, etc. CA Baby addressed it in their statement which is now gone, but I cannot say for certain why a reaction has occurred. (Because I wasn’t there – it would be false of me to make assumptions.. I’m not suggesting I don’t believe you that you had a reaction, because I do. I just can’t comment on why you had reactions.)
Updated: I can only say, if you are experiencing this, stop using it and try something that doesn’t contain any essential oils. (I’m suggesting this because if you are having a reaction to any cream or lotion, switching to something very basic is a good idea. There is also Rosemary, Lavender and Clary Sage oils in the Calendula Cream as listed. There is no telling what is to blame. All we know is that this product caused a reaction for some people.) I had always previously recommended their calendula cream for rashes and eczema and if its working for you I don’t see any reason to stop. (Unless you are purely disgusted by their practices then by all means!) But if you are not comfortable with it, there are other safe skin care products and techniques you can try.
Stephanie of Bubble & Bee Organics also has posted a very poignant article called Why Companies Reformulate that talks about why things like this occur.
Melinda from one of my favorite companies Earth Mama Angel Baby has published an article on the topic of reformulations as well.
Updated: I want to mention that I was not aware of the severity of the complaints being removed or about the responses from the CA Baby company when they received complaints. I think CA Baby made some very bad mistakes in handling this situation and it is disappointing. My goal with this post was to help answer a few questions I was receiving regarding the formulas, not to defend CA Baby. I am on your side and my only mission on SafeMama is to help people find answers.
I am compiling some recommendations on creams that may be suitable replacements for the CA Baby Calendula Cream. In the meantime, if you are in search of a new product line to use, please visit my Safer Skin Care Cheat Sheet for ideas.