Cosmetifique can be used with both the iPhone and iPod Touch and claims to have a searchable database of over 5,000 ingredients, in INCI format.
Results for ingredients searches come back highlighted as either red, orange or green, to denote whether the ingredient is good, acceptable or should be avoided.
According to application designer Alfredo Delli Bovi, this can inform the consumer whether the cosmetics they have bought or are planning on purchasing are dangerous to their health or the environment.
Cosmetifique also allows favourite products to be saved with the name, brand and colour, which can then be shared with friends via email, facebook or twitter.
Delli Bovi explained that the ingredients suggested as good are natural and green ingredients.
“We talked to make-up gurus and 90 percent of them preferred natural ingredients, so we don’t suggest chemical ones like dimethicone,” he said.
A local scientific agency provided much of the information for the application as did webservices, explained Delli Bovi.
The application is now available to purchase from Apple’s App Store at a price of $1.99.
Cosmetifique answers consumer demand for more information about a product’s ingredients and fits the green and natural trends that have been sweeping through the industry.
However, the industry is unlikely to welcome this addition to the consumer’s handbag.
All products for sale in Europe have to comply with the European Cosmetics Directive which provides a list of ingredients banned from cosmetics and others for which concentration limits apply. If a product complies with the Directive and therefore allowed for sale in the region, then, according to industry, it can be deemed safe.
According to Chris Flower from the UK cosmetics trade association the CTPA, it is for this reason, among others, that the application is 'concerning'.
"The launch of this new i-phone application is concerning for a number of reasons. Firstly, because it suggests that consumers might find ‘dangerous’ substances in their cosmetics. In Europe, all products sold are subject to strict safety legislation so would never pose a safety threat to consumers," he told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.
In addition, he said it 'perpetuated the myth that natural ingredients are not chemicals and are in some way safer than man-made ingredients'.
Getting reliable and accessible information to consumers about what is in cosmetic products and their safety is a challenge but is likely to become more important if applications such as Cosmetifique take off.
Bodies such as the CTPA and its US equivalent the PCPC have consumer orientated websites (www.thefactsabout.co.uk and www.cosmeticsinfo.org, respectively) that contain ingredients glossaries in an attempt to provide information about what is present in cosmetics products and why.