Labeling: Color Additives

You’ve probably noticed that most cosmetics and soap bases are a pretty neutral white or cream color. Generally there are two types of ingredients that can change the color of your product:  an ingredient that happens to change the color  or a color additive.  It’s very important to understand the difference between these two things, for both product labeling and regulatory compliance.
A Little History
The first synthetic organic dye (mauve) was discovered in 1856. By 1900, artificially-colored foods proliferated in the marketplace.  In some cases, dyes were toxic or poisonous, or they were used to hide inferior or defective foods (such as “strawberry jam” that contained red dye and flavoring – but no strawberries).  In 1906, Congress stepped in with the first version of the Food and Drugs Act which limited certain uses of color additives and the USDA was given enforcement authority. 
In 1927, the FDA was given the responsibility for enforcing the 1906 Food and Drugs Act and by 1931 there were 15 colors listed as approved for use in food.  The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 increased the scope and authority of the FDA.  Amongst other things, it required certifcation of certain color additives  and included regulation of cosmetics and medical devices.
A 1958 Halloweeen health scare where many children got sick eating an orange candy containing FD&C Orange #11 brought about the Color Additive Amendments of 1960, which resulted in the FDA reviewing over 200 color additives then in use (of those, about half were subsequently “listed” and allowed for use).  Later legislation and regulation established chemical specifications for allowed color additives and their specific uses.
An Ingredient That Happens To Change The Color
An ingredient that happens to change the color is one that is included in the product for a purpose other than coloring the product, but has a “side-effect” of changing the product’s final color.  Herbs or extracts often change the finished product color, as do some essential or fragrance oils.
In the ingredient declaration for the product, an ingredient that happens to change the color is included with all other ingredients in descending order of predominance. 
Color Additives
Color additives, on the other hand, are ingredients that are specifically added to change the color of the product. The FDA maintains two lists of approved color additives:  those that must be certified by the FDA and those that are exempt from the certification process. In order to sell a “Certified” color additive, the manufacturer of the color additive must have each batch certified by the FDA as meeting the required specifications.  Certified colors are recognizable by their names, which start with “FD&C” or “D&C” followed by the color name and number.  Colors that don’t have to be certified are generally plant or mineral based.
The FDA color additives lists[1] include the name of the color additive, whether it can be used in the eye area, if it can be used “generally”, whether it is for “external use only”, and if there are any specific limitations. For example, mica and titanium dioxide are approved for use in the eye area, for general use (including lipstick) and for external use, while ultramarines can be used around the eyes or externally, but they are not approved for general use (including lipstick). [Note: “external use” means it is “applied only to external parts of the body and not to the lips or any body surface covered by mucous membranes”.]
In order to be used in a cosmetic, a color additive must:
·       be approved by the FDA for use in cosmetics; AND
·       ONLY be used in products for which is has been approved; AND
·       be listed in the ingredient declaration by the approved name. 
The Product Ingredient Declaration
As noted above, ingredients which happen to change the color of a product and are included in the product for some purpose other than coloring, should be listed in the general ingredient declaration.  If they are included at less than 1%, they can be listed in any order after ingredients at 1% or more.
Color additives have an alternative way of being included in the ingredient declaration.  While they may be listed in the same manner as other ingredients (in descending order of predominance or, if less than 1%, listed in any order following the ingredients at 1% or more), color additives MAY be listed at the end of the ingredient declaration after all other ingredients, regardless of the amount used.


Creating a Great Business Plan

Starting a business without a solid plan is very risky, and most banks won’t give you a loan without first seeing your plan.  Think of it as a detailed roadmap for establishing and executing your business.  While banks are interested in your service or product and how you plan to sell it, it all comes down to your ability to manage the money they loan you.  They want concrete evidence that you’ve thought everything through before committing their money.  A good business plan doesn’t have to be complicated, but it has to be thorough.

In today’s economy, a sound business plan is more critical than ever.  You need to understand the marketplace and be able to differentiate your business from the competition.  This article addresses the most common elements to incorporate into your plan.


This section provides a top-level snapshot of the business and is designed to grab the reader’s attention.  It includes basic information such as the business formation date, description of products or services, key personnel, number of employees, location, mission, and reasons it will be successful.

The financial information will depend on the stage of your business.  An established business has historical financial data to rely on, including actual growth over time, sales, profits, and market share.  It’s very effective to portray such data in graph format.  A startup relies on projections of future performance, but those projections should be based on realistic, defendable assumptions.  Growth prospects are important for all businesses since investors focus heavily on their potential return on investment.

Outline your goals and plans for where you want to take your company in the future.  Make it concise, informative, and attractive to the widest audience possible.


Explain the nature of your business, describing all the critical elements that make your business unique and contribute to your success.  List and evaluate your primary and secondary target markets, and how your products or services satisfy the needs presented by those markets.

Identify the specific types of businesses or consumers you intend to serve, and what gives you a competitive advantage.  Examples are premier location, efficiency and productivity, top-notch employees, superior products or services, guarantees, and dedication to delivering the best value to your customers.


If you’re a sole proprietor, this section is easy.  Identify the form of ownership and your personal background and education.  If you have employees, describe the organizational structure and the role and qualifications of each employee.  Explain the salary and benefits packages, as well as promotional opportunities.  If you use contract labor or outside advisers, explain their roles and pay structures.

The ownership information should include the names of all owners, type and amount of equity stake, level of involvement with the company, background and experience, track record, notable achievements, primary responsibilities, compensation, years with the company, unique skills, and how they contribute to the overall success.


Describe what your company does in detail, with emphasis on how your products or services benefit your target customer base.  Discuss research activities, any new products that may be in development, and how you plan to stay ahead of the competition.  Explain product lifecycles and what it takes to get them from ideas to marketable products.

List any intellectual property, trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights, and patents (whether granted or in the approval pipeline).  Explain any legal agreements that you have such as sole-source provider, non-compete agreements, and nondisclosure agreements.


This section consists of market analyses and the strategies you’ll use to capitalize on the markets you’ve identified as being the most lucrative.  Include statistical data that show market size, historical growth rates, current market trends, competitive landscape, target customer demographics, purchasing trends, forecasted growth, projected market share, and pricing structure.

Your competitive analysis is a realistic assessment of your strengths and weaknesses versus the competition.  It includes barriers to entry, windows of opportunity within the market, technology hurdles, regulatory restrictions, available employee pool, and the relative importance of your chosen markets to your competitors.

Based on your market analysis, identify the management and sales strategies to maximize growth and profits.  This includes approaches for reaching target customers through effective communications and public relations, utilizing social media, advertising campaigns and promotions, creating an online presence, and market penetration tactics.  Include any plans for acquisitions to expand your market share.  Your efforts should be focused on driving sales and building customer loyalty.

Your sales strategy incorporates the marketing efforts already in place.  Outline the methods you’ll use to distribute and get your products to market such as retail stores, catalog, website, or personal sales force. 


This may the most important section and where you’ll spend the most time in preparation.  If you have an ongoing business, you’ll provide up to five years of balance sheets, cash flow data, and income statements.  If you’re seeking a loan, you’ll include a list of assets and potential collateral.  In addition, you’ll include financial projections for at least the next five years, to include sales, profit margins, capital expenditures, operating income and expenses, and cash flow.  Include all key assumptions for the estimates provided.

State the specific amount and timeframe of the financing you need, and make sure it’s fully supported by the financial projections you’ve compiled.  If the funding is spread over time, provide a quarterly estimate summarized by year.  Explain exactly what the money will be used for and why it’s necessary.  If there are potential impediments to your repayment of a loan, disclose those upfront.  The bank will perform an independent risk assessment anyway, so don’t hide information that they’re likely to find out on their own.


Use the appendix to include any other information you believe is important and relevant.  Keep it separate so you can provide it only to those who have a need to know.  It could include a variety of documents such as reference letters, key contracts, leases, credit history, photographs, resumes, licenses, magazine articles, and legal documents.  Keep a record of who receives your business plan and the appendix.

Bottom Line

A business plan is essential to your success.  Most small business failures are caused by insufficient capital, and a good plan is a key ingredient to securing adequate financing early on.  More than that, it’s a roadmap you can use to keep things on course when the going gets rough.  It’s not cast in stone, and should be updated as the consumers, products, and economic conditions change.  Always look 3-5 years into the future and plan your resources and expenses accordingly.

This article only scratches the surface of what’s required to put together a standout business plan.  If you don’t have the expertise to prepare it yourself, hire someone who does.  There are experts available who do this for a living and they know exactly what banks and investors want to see.  A professional business plan will pay for itself many times over in the long run.

Geoffrey Michael ( is a freelance writer specializing in business, marketing, personal finance, law, science, aviation, sports, entertainment, travel, and political analysis.  He graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and is also licensed to practice law in California and New Hampshire.  Geoffrey wrote this feature article exclusively for, an organization dedicated to helping small businesses succeed.

How a Handwritten Note Can Get Your Business Noticed

Social media has become a go-to marketing tactic for businesses to reach a broad audience, and develop dialogue with them. In this years Super Bowl, for example, #Hashtags were used by more than half of advertisers to generate audience response to commercials on Twitter. In October 2012, comScore data revealed that Pinterest had cracked the list of the Top 50 websites in the U.S., attracting more than 25 million visitors a month. However, that also means there is a staggering amount of marketing clutter. To get your small business noticed, you need to be a different, and returning to “old school” handwritten notes can be the secret to standing out. Author, columnist and corporate trainer Cindy Zimmermann says the simple (and dying) art form of the handwritten note has gotten her into the White House, and in touch with icons like Michael Jordan. Zimmermann, the founder of Writing in Style, offers these tips to craft a handwritten note that conveys professionalism, and gets your business noticed. 

1. Begin a habitual routine. Writing simple thank you notes doesn’t have to be a time consuming business task, but you must carve out a time each day to do it, to make it a habit you’ll stick to. Stock up on postage so you have no excuses not to drop your letters in the mail right away, and find a comfortable, uncluttered place to write. Zimmermann says the little things matter when it comes to handwritten communication: Invest in a quality pen you love to write with, and find heavy stock stationary that you’re proud to send. Aim to write just two or three notes, at the close of each business day. 

2. Write from your heart. Who you write to doesn’t have to be supported by a business strategy; simply consider those who made an impact on your day, whether it was a particularly helpful executive assistant for one of your vendors, or a customer or local business person who graciously referred you to others. Because handwritten notes are so unexpected, they’re generally not thrown in the garbage, and their meaning resonates to the recipient—provided it’s from your heart. Instead of stating simply “what” inspired the note, expand into the “why.” Sincerely expressing thanks to a person can be among the most impactful long-term business moves you make. 

3. Get to the point. Though handwritten notes add a personal touch, they’re still a form business communication when sent on behalf of your brand. The image you portray in your note with spelling, clarity, and overall appearance represents your brand just as much as your product, service, or logo. Before you start writing, briefly outline what you want to say--and the most concise way to express your thought. Start with “Dear” followed by the person’s first name (and always confirm that you have the correct spelling). Briefly remind the person of your interaction, and then, get to the point. Zimmermann adds that people love to see their name; insert it into the note’s contents where it makes sense. End the letter with “Sincerely,” or “Best Wishes,” and sign your full name, with your business name written underneath. 

4. Be unique. Clever additions to your note can create lasting memories about you and your business. If you sell perfumed soaps for example, scented stationary can make an impact that supports your brand personality. Zimmermann includes a sprig of fresh rosemary from her garden in her letters. Other simple “add-ons” might include a unique stamp that seals the envelope, or even, interesting postage. 
Stephanie Taylor Christensen is a former financial services marketer turned stay at home working mom, yoga instructor and freelance writer covering personal finance, small business,consumer issues, work-life balance and health/wellness topics for ForbesWoman, Minyanville , SheKnows , Mint , Intuit Small Business, Investopedia and several other online properties. She is also the founder of Wellness On Less and Om for Mom prenatal yoga. Stephanie wrote this feature article exclusively for Debbie (, an organization dedicated to helping small businesses succeed. 

What is Your Money Story?

Do you resent “rich people”? You may be surprised to know that could be the reason that your business isn’t flourishing and profitable. 

I recently had the honor of interviewing one of America’s leading entrepreneurs on Million Dollar Mindset Radio. Larry Broughton grew up in a rural mining town, joined U.S. Army’s elite Special Forces (commonly known as the Green Berets), and spent eight years jumping out of airplanes, engaging in military conflicts and working hard to maintain peak condition 365 days a year.

Since then Larry has become a serial entrepreneur, advisor, and author. He has been named Ernst & Young’s prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year, and made Entrepreneur Magazine’s Hot 500 List of the country’s fastest growing companies.  One of Broughton’s companies, BROUGHTON Advisoryboasts clients from entrepreneurial start-ups to Turner Broadcasting and The Pentagon. 

Whew! Sounds like a pretty tough guy, doesn’t he? And in many ways he is. I would describe Larry as disciplined, focused, creative, and spiritual. Yes, spiritual. It may surprise some people to know that this former Green Beret spends time each day in solitude; meditating, reciting affirmations, and visualizing the future that he most desires.  He also dedicated many hours to his humanitarian efforts and to mentoring promising entrepreneurs. When Larry Broughton leaves his home each day he takes more out the door than his ego.

This certainly defies the common misconception that highly successful and wealthy business people are self-absorbed and would go to any lengths to get what they want. This stereotype does not include kindness, thoughtfulness, or generosity. Yet, Larry Broughton is all of these things.  In fact, of all of the top-flight entrepreneurs who I have interviewed I can only think of a handful who actually fit into the former stereotype.

So why do so many people equate success and wealth with greed and ego? It’s usually not from first-hand experience that we make those judgments, but from a negative portrait that has been crafted throughout our entire life. From the images seeded by our well-meaning parents or other influencers to the stereotyping that we see in reality television, the idea of wealth has become warped and negative for many.

So what does this negative perception cost those who possess it? The cost is high; very high.  As long as an individual holds on to resentment and negativity about those who are wealthy and successful they are not likely to achieve success themselves. Instead they tend to get stuck in a life of unhappiness, negative thinking, lack, disappointment and even anger.

What is your money story? Do you see wealth in a negative light? Do you see “rich” people as arrogant snobs? If so, take notice of how you feel when you step into these belief systems. Do you feel good, or do you feel bad? Does your body tense; your shoulders sag? Do you clench your jaw or feel emotions like anger or resentment?

Now I ask you:  How can you attract something into your own life that you view as so ugly in another’s life?

Remember, your subconscious is a clever little rascal. It knows that you don’t approve of wealth; therefore it will do anything within its power to push it away. This is better known as self-sabotage.

So how do you rid of these negative impressions? There are so many ways. The Emotional Freedom Techniques are powerful in getting to the bottom of your beliefs to reduce or eliminate them altogether. Affirmations, visualization and meditation are practices that can easily be embraced on a daily basis. Too many people claim that they don’t have the time to do these things, but that’s not really true. Larry Broughton spends only 14-minutes a day in his routine and look how well it’s worked for him.

Here’s a little process that should get you on your way without taking a huge chunk of time out of your day:

  • As soon as you awake in the morning think about three things that you are truly grateful for. Spend a minute or two in the energy of gratitude, feel the positive effects of that energy.
  •  While you are in the shower or blow drying your hair recite several empowering affirmations. I keep affirmation cards in a lovely frame on my bathroom wall to make it easy.
  • Before you begin your day spend about 3-5 minutes in a quiet place.  Imagine yourself paying your bills with ease, joy and even gratitude. Feel freedom from your financial burdens and allow feelings of success to take over. Even if you don’t typically view yourself as successful, allow confidence to seep in. Bask in the pleasure of success and prosperity. These few minutes will change your energy and send positive signals to your subconscious mind. This will help to retrain your subconscious to allow opportunities for wealth into your life.

Repeat before bedtime. You will sleep like a baby and soon you will see signs of change. Let me know how it goes!