Name: Jenny Shirey

Project: What’s in My Products? Encouraging Young Women to Choose Safe & Healthy Personal Care Products

This project encourages young women to pay attention to the ingredients in their personal care products and
consider the benefits of choosing products without unhealthy chemicals. My goal is to empower women
by helping them question product claims, and pointing them toward resources to find out more.

Personal care product = anything a woman puts on her hair, face, or body

Target audience = 18- to 22-year old women who are currently unaware

Why is it social impact? The average woman uses 12 products every day, and a lot of what goes on our skin is absorbed by our bodies. But some common ingredients in these products contain chemicals which have actually been linked to cancer and other problems. In fact, according to No More Dirty Looks by Siobhan O’Connor & Alexandra Spunt, 89% of ingredients used in these products have not been tested for safety.

December 10: Final Design Solution

My final solution is an integrated campaign made up of 3 targeted messages.

  1. An appearing mirror message. The message appears over a bathroom sink and contains a website address where the viewer can go to learn more.
  2. A website. The site includes in-depth information, tips, and resources. To see the full website, visit
  3. The Terrible Twenty card. This is for women who are ready to take action. The wallet-sized card contains 20 common ingredients that they should avoid.

Below is the poster I showed at the Senior Show, which contains an overview of the research I did and my final solution. Click here to download a PDF version.

Final project poster, displayed at the Senior Show

November 17: Mirror Decals

Here are the mirror decals I created. I will actually print and test the top ones. I have purchased the web address, and when visitors go to the site, they will be asked for their opinion and also whether they prefer the alternate designs.

November 15: Prototypes

I tested the following prototypes with a few freshman women. They unanimously loved the idea of the “disappearing/appearing” mirror decal. No one liked the large-scale physical objects because they looked “too much like an ad.” The smaller physical object received a similar lack of enthusiasm. While the (dis)appearing decal is obviously the winner, for practical reasons I will prototype a more permanent decal for testing purposes. The feedback on the messages was extremely mixed—no clear answer here. So I will test out a few different messages and see which ones actually get the attention.

See the prototypes by clicking through the slides:

November 3: Update

During my interim presentation (below), I received some great feedback from the class. The idea that received the most positive interest was to utilize a women’s bathroom as a site for messages. So, I’ve decided to target one or two bathrooms on campus for the project space.

I still need to create and test out a few different prototypes to see what will actually grab attention. At this point I’m most interested in some type of large physical object or mirror decals.

November 1: Interim Class Presentation

October 25: Survey Results / Self-Reported Barriers

I sent out a short survey to dig a little deeper into buying cosmetics and personal care products. The survey contained questions such as, “How important are the following factors when you buy personal care products? (Cost, ingredients, liking the brand, recommendations, and other),” “Do you buy natural personal care products?” “How do you know whether a product is natural?” and “What prevents you from buying natural personal care products?”

Two caveats: I made all of the answers multiple choice to aid in taking the survey and analysis, even though I realize this might influence people’s answers. Also I only sent it to design students because I have access to those distribution lists — I realize that this probably influences the answers I got.

23 grad students and 31 undergrads (all women, all design students) responded. I separated the answers I received from undergrad and grad students. I especially focused on the undergrad students because they are my target audience.

Self-reported barriers to buying natural products (from undergrads):

October 20: Potential Barriers

In my initial presentation, I identified only 3 barriers to choosing products without chemicals: 1) unawareness, 2) cost, and 3) time. But after thinking about the problem, I realized it was probably a bit more complex. For example, one of my classmates brought up the barrier of information overload: basically, we are inundated with causes to care about, and so this issue might either be disregarded or ignored. Below is a whiteboard sketch updating and elaborating on barriers. It is based on personal conversations as well as the informational artifacts and campaigns that I included in my presentation.

October 20: Barriers to choosing safe and healthy products

October 13: Introductory Class Presentation