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Keeping Up With Johnson’s
Johnson’s Asia Baby Circle is a group of mom influencers around Asia gathered together to discover the latest research on baby care and share mom tips and secrets!
Shanghai, China | April 20 – 23, 2016
Because I’ve just given birth to my second angel Tristan Gabriel (IG post here), I was inspired to finally finish (half of) this special trip I’ve been meaning to share with you all for the longest time now. First off, I don’t really label myself as a “mom blogger“, but I have to share that this press trip has got to be one of the most interesting, educational and fun-filled ones I have ever had the honor to be invited to as a mom. Johnson’s rounded up mom influencers from all over Asia – collectively called the Johnson’s Asia Baby Circle – to get to know the brand more as well as be able to see first-hand the whole process their products undergo before they land on Mommy’s hands and eventually on baby’s skin. From conceptualization, formulation down to clinical testing, FGDs, packaging, shipping – we were completely acquainted with those bottles of Top to Toe Wash, Rice and Milk Body Lotion and their famous Baby Powder.
Getting to Know Johnson’s
Our first full day was reserved for getting acquainted with the other Asia Baby Circle members as well as with the brand through some of the brand representatives. It was exciting meeting and getting to know other moms from Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, India. Representing the Philippines during the trip were Andi Manzano and I (Bettinna Carlos is also an ABC Circle mom but she couldn’t join us that weekend). We all shared our experiences as moms – from how we choose products for our baby, how we celebrate me time, etc. We were also treated to an “Ask Us Anything” Open Forum by the brand where we were free to ask them anything – even controversial questions – and they were eager and very much willing to face it.
Questions varied – from why Johnson’s still keeps fragrance in their ranges despite the trend of scentless baby products (you will find out the answer to this later on) to why some products are available in other countries and unavailable for others. For example, Johnson’s Naturals is available in the US, not in Asia – while the Johnson’s Milk and Rice range as well as the Active Fresh range are only available in Asia. This is because the company tailors its product availability specific to the needs and insights gathered from the specific region. Did you know that the Johnson’s Baby Colognes are only available here in the Philippines? Other countries and regions do not have the baby cologne so they were all “Huh? What cologne? Johnson’s has cologne?” when Andi shared that she also uses the baby cologne herself.
Deeptha Khanna, Vice President of Baby care in Asia Pacific and Melissa Tyndale-Biscoe, Communications Director – answering our questions and sharing with us the Johnson’s Credo
The Controversial Cases
The elephant in the room. More importantly, someone finally brought up the controversy about the ovarian cancer lawsuit. The lawsuits claim that the talc powder in Johnson’s Baby Powder caused them ovarian cancer – as they applied them everyday on their genital area to prevent sweating and chafing. First of all, Johnson’s maintains that in their 130 years of dedication to baby and health care, they will never compromise safety over anything. Here are 4 reminders on why you shouldn’t worry about using Johnson’s Baby Powder:
1. Since the 1970s, talc used in consumer products has been required to be asbestos-free so JOHNSON’s talc products do not contain asbestos, a substance classified as cancer-causing. Johnsons Baby Powder products contain only U.S. grade talc, which meets the highest quality, purity and compliance standards. The company’s sources for talc are routinely evaluated using a sophisticated number of tests designed to ensure compliance with all global standards.
2. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which identifies potential risk factors for many diseases, has not identified talc as a risk factor for ovarian cancer.
3. Two widely accepted studies that followed women over a lengthy period of time—the Nurses’ Health Study by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Cohort by the U.S. National Institute of Health —found no association between talc and ovarian cancer.
4. An extensive review of all data on talc safety that was published in 2015 by the independent Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel concluded “talc is safe in the present practices of use and concentration described in this safety assessment.” Since the review, no new data has become available that would change their assessment.
So you see guys (especially my mommy friends who’ve panicked over this piece of news!), there are continuous research studies that support Johnson’s on this issue as compared to the very little peer-reviewed studies that the cases continue to cite. In short, yes – the case decisions go against years of research and scientific studies. How could this be possible? Find out below.
My personal take on the matter. I’m no scientist but I believe that correlation does not equal causation. Ovarian cancer isn’t a rare cancer. There are plenty of cases of ovarian cancer where women never even applied talcum powder anywhere near their crotch area. How is it that “said carcinogen” makes direct contact with the skin but only causes cancer of the ovaries. It doesn’t cause cervical cancer, stomach cancer, colon or intestinal cancer. It bypasses everything in the gastrointestinal and genital area and only causes ovarian cancer. I find that very suspect.
So why did the lawsuits win? They are all decided upon by a jury so emotions and empathy could have played a huge role. Their decisions can go against years of research or any science should they all agree upon the same thing. And Johnson’s being a very family-oriented company, even if they believe they have the research authority on baby care having 130 years of experience, sympathize with the family who sued because a person actually died regardless of the real cause. Even if they believe they’ve nothing but the safety of babies, women and men above all – they still want to make sure their consumers have peace of mind. In conclusion, there is absolutely no compelling reason to believe Johnson’s products are unsafe or harmful. I still use the baby powder on Selene and myself on a regular basis!
Snapchatting with my newfound momma friend, Astrid Satwika who runs Aishaline from Indonesia
The Johnson’s Gallery
We were so ecstatic upon entering the Johnson’s Gallery Exhibit Area that greeted us with photos of ourselves and our babies. I mean, look at our reactions – it’s as if we actually saw our children in the flesh! Love this personalized touch they incorporated – especially since I really wanted to take Selene with me on this trip. Andi was with her beautiful (superstar!) daughter Olivia so I was super missing Selene all the more.
A timeline of the first ever baby care products Johnson’s was known for – 74 years ago, our grandmothers were using these products and we’re still using them on our babies now!
We were given our very own lab coats complete with our names on it for the Scent Workshop as well as for the following day’s “lab experiments” which really made us feel like ‘scientists’ (or students back in Chem lab!)
Experts from Symrise came to the workshop to school us on everything about Johnson’s scents (Johnson’s outsources their fragrance to the experts instead of developing it themselves)
So why does Johnson’s keep fragrance in their products? It’s because research shows that babies’ sense of smell develops in the womb and it is one of their strongest senses at birth. Wonder why they cry when they’re away from momma? It’s because they know the smell of their mothers (who smell like milk if they’re breastfeeding) as early as a few weeks. Familiar smells improve a baby’s mood and alertness as well as their ability to sleep soundly through the night (with the right scent). With this belief, Johnson’s makes sure that their fragrances undergo the highest quality of processes to ensure that they are non-irritating and extremely safe for baby. They have partnered up with Symrise, the leading global fragrance experts who develop scents, flavors and aromas for various big companies.
Personally, I love the scents in Johnson’s products as they aren’t at all irritiating or too heady. They’re soft and subtle and somehow all calming to the senses, even to adults. One of my favorites is the Bedtime range which contains a tranquil combination of chamomile and natural lavender for a soothing, relaxing experience.
These are two different scents that have the same base – although one is made for adults, the other for babies.
The Symrise expert joked during the session that I should be given a job in Johnson’s because I was able to correctly identify all the fragrances and which Johnson’s products they are in. Ha ha! It’s no secret I am a huge fragrance freak.
Shanghai Half Day Tour
The Day Tour
The Johnson’s Devries Team took us on a half-day tour around Shanghai which I appreciated so much! It was my first time to visit China so I really looked forward to going around even for a short time. I initially attempted to go around on my own but it was a huge challenge since almost no one spoke English and the transportation system were all in Mandarin or Shanghainese. I really want to do a separate post on this as I took so many photos so I’ll share just a few for now.
Exploring the little alleys and nooks at Tian Zi Fang, an arts and crafts enclave that has developed from a renovated residential area in the French Concession area of Shanghai, China.
With the super fun and extremely energetic PR team of Johnson’s from Devries Singapore – thank you guys for such a great time!
Photos by the super talented Ashley Mak
So that’s it for Day 1! The more exciting part of the trip was reserved for Day 2 – a trip to the Johnson’s Innovation Center (where product development and all scientific research are done) and their Plant (where the products turn from raw materials to packaged goods). If you’re interested to see this rare opportunity behind-the-scenes, do watch out for my Day 2 post!
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