As previously reported in CosmeticsDesign, in January of this year Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) welcomed Thomas J. Myers as its new President and CEO. Myers, who previously served as the organization’s Executive Vice President for Legal & Regulatory Affairs & Legal Counsel, replaced former President Lezlee Westine who had held the role since 2009.
We sat down with Myers to interview him about his reflections about the personal care products industry in 2023, as well as his insights into the year ahead, the biggest issues currently facing the cosmetics and personal care product spaces and how the PCPC plans to address them, and his predictions for the most impactful trends of 2024.
CDU: Any thoughts about 2023 as we move forward into the year ahead?
Thomas Myers (TM): As we begin 2024, I am humbled to take the reins as PCPC’s new president & CEO. I was fortunate to work alongside Lezlee Westine for more than a decade and am eager to advance the priorities she set in motion.
PCPC celebrated the enactment of the bipartisan Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act (MoCRA) in December 2022, and the organization has been supporting the FDA in its implementation over the past year. This landmark legislation revamped FDA oversight for our sector, giving the FDA enhanced regulatory tools, which are pivotal in ensuring product safety, promoting innovation and bolstering consumer trust.
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 the FDA’s regulatory authority over our industry and provide the safety reassurances that consumers expect and deserve. PCPC will continue to work with the FDA on implementation while also advocating that Congress provides the FDA $7 million in funding to meet this mandate.
In collaboration with policymakers, we also championed initiatives that promote regulatory and scientific advancements that will move the world closer to eliminating the need for animals in personal care products and cosmetics safety testing. Our industry has consistently sought governmental endorsement for non-animal testing methods to ensure safety. And that commitment continues in our strong support of The Humane Cosmetics Act, which was introduced in both houses in Congress last year.
Additionally, we continued to advocate for the SHOP SAFE Act, which aims to protect consumers from counterfeit products sold online. E-commerce platforms create opportunities for legitimate companies to grow and reach new consumers, providing them with more choices and greater convenience.
However, the current structure is vulnerable to exploitation and contributes significantly to a rise in unlawful trade. Counterfeit personal care products damage businesses, disregard regulatory protections and, more importantly, threaten consumers’ health and safety.
Consumers should have the same assurance that the products they purchase online are as safe and effective as the products they purchase in a brick-and-mortar store. Our member companies invest substantial resources to ensure the safety and quality of their products and U.S. laws hold our members accountable for doing so.
PCPC’s efforts always promote policies that advance product safety and innovation for the science-driven beauty and personal care industry and reinforce consumer confidence.
CDU: What are you most excited about at the PCPC in 2024?
TM: As I assume my new role, my predecessor reminded me that partnerships are critical.
To that end, partnerships with multiple stakeholders are, and will continue to be, essential in MoCRA’s successful implementation and progress in the years to come. PCPC is providing the FDA with constructive feedback on the new law’s application through comments, education, platforms and technologies testing and to ensure the Agency considers the perspective of the regulated community.
The FDA’s enhanced capabilities provide a uniform national framework for modernized cosmetics regulation. Collaboration among government, industry, NGOs and other stakeholders provides meaningful benefits to consumers while protecting public health. MoCRA ensures the cosmetics and personal care products sector can continue to innovate and provide the safe and effective products that consumers trust and rely on every day.
Our industry also continues to make an extraordinary commitment to sustainability with more than half of our member companies integrating sustainable business practices into their operations and 56% of CEOs identifying sustainability as one of their top priorities.
Our member companies’ efforts extend from minimizing waste to promoting renewable resources, but I know we can do more to reduce our ecological footprint and pioneering sustainable practices.
Addressing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is an important goal for PCPC. I am firmly committed to continuing to diversify PCPC’s staff and leadership.
As an organization, we have taken concrete steps toward this goal through active listening at employee town hall meetings, examining recruiting and promotion practices that encourage more inclusive action, and holding training sessions on the importance of DEI.
Our member companies promote diverse leadership and ensure their products meet the varied needs of our consumers. Women make up nearly 80% of the beauty and personal care industry workforce, and people of color represent 33% of our workforce. Nevertheless, we know we are not perfect and that we have more to do.
In 2024 and beyond, consumers can continue to trust our industry’s commitment to science, safety and to the well-being of people and the planet.
CDU: In your opinion, what is the biggest issue currently facing the cosmetics and personal care product industries and why?
TM: Misinformation has been circulating for years, depicting certain ingredients in personal care products as harmful to the environment or to consumers. These allegations often lack an understanding of the science behind our industry’s products.
There is nothing more important to our industry than ensuring the safety of its products. Science and safety are the cornerstones for our member companies, which are committed to providing a variety of safe and innovative products that enhance the wellbeing of consumers. We firmly believe that sound science should drive important policy discussions.
CDU: How does the PCPC plan to address these issues?
TM: PCPC is a trusted, respected voice and advocate for the industry. As a reliable and credible source and resource, PCPC actively educates and engages stakeholders about the industry’s commitment to safety and innovation, as well as works with policymakers and advocacy groups to modernize state and federal laws based on sound science and safety.
Consumers worldwide rely on our science and safety resource, CosmeticsInfo.org, for accurate and credible information about the industry’s innovation and the thousands of ingredients used in cosmetics and personal care products.
Developed and maintained by scientists and subject-matter experts, CosmeticsInfo.org is a comprehensive, informational database containing science and safety information on cosmetics and personal care products – how they work, data to corroborate the safety and science behind commonly used ingredients.
CDU: How does 2024 fit into PCPC’s five-year progress plan?
TM: Regardless of the year, PCPC will continue to promote public policies that are grounded in sound science. Sound, science-based information is good for everyone and provides consumers with more confidence in the products they enjoy every day.
Consumer trust and transparency are paramount to our industry. For example, although PCPC member companies have long provided more product information than is required by law, MoCRA will further increase transparency as cosmetics manufacturers must now list each product with the FDA, including its ingredients and where it is manufactured.
Cosmetics product labels for consumers and for professionals must identify each fragrance allergen in the product. By giving consumers more access to information from manufacturers, consumers can make informed choices about the best products for themselves and their families.
Everyone deserves the right to know what’s in their products and to understand why those particular ingredients are used.
CDU: As MoCRA deadlines for enforcement come into effect, what is your advice for cosmetics and personal care product companies regarding compliance actions?
TM: PCPC continues to work with the FDA to offer suggestions on MoCRA implementation, including improving the functionality of the new Cosmetics Direct platform, which was launched recently for cosmetic facility registration and product listing as required by MoCRA. PCPC is providing guidance to member companies and encouraging them to submit facility registrations and product listings to Cosmetics Direct ahead of the July 1, 2024, deadline.
CDU: What are your predictions for the biggest beauty industry trends in 2024?
TM: There is a growing trend among consumers toward health and wellness with consumers seeking a ‘multi-dimensional’ cosmetic product. Consumers want cosmetics that align with their own personal values, and they are willing to spend more on products that do.
Younger consumers are also increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of the products they use, driving them to purchase products that they perceive as less harmful: with natural and organic ingredients, sustainably sourced, reduced packaging or easily recycled / biodegradable packaging, etc.
We face a number of environmental challenges, yet PCPC member companies believe that working together alongside government and NGOs will enable us to make meaningful change. Our member companies remain committed to making tangible progress on climate change and sustainable, responsible supply chains.
CDU: Anything else to add?
TM: I am proud to lead an industry that enhances people’s wellbeing and contributes positively to our world. I am ready to embrace the challenges and the opportunities ahead on behalf of our member companies to help build a sustainable, equitable, holistic and, of course, beautiful future for us all.