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New Spray Options for Thicker Formulas

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: February 3, 2009, from the February 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

It is well accepted that consumers value the convenience and efficacy of spray technology. Over the last several years, GCI magazine has noted the acceleration of design, taking spray packaging from the appearance of a commodity to ergonomically sophisticated containers with aesthetic panache.

What has been difficult for spray formats to do, however, is to connect with consumers beyond hair care and fragrance. Sprayable sun protection appeared close to breaking that barrier just a few years ago, when nearly every major marketer of sun protection products added a spray format. These experienced quick popularity with consumers, who gladly opted for the ease of application and the lightweight and less-mess formulas this option offered. And suppliers played their part, creating formulas and ingredients specifically for sprayable sun protection. The format, however, hit something of a wall.

Alcohol in the finished formulas, particularly when applied to faces, can be an issue of consumer concern. And health care industry insiders watching regulatory and consumer advocacy issues noted an issue less evident to those making the purchase—to be truly effective, sunscreens must be applied in quantities not readily achieved in a spray format.

Although not really the game changer that was expected, sprayable sun protection has been a catalyst for attempting spray options in other segments. In formulations, antioxidants and moisturizers became both part of the protection claim and added-value differentiators. Developments for hair care also are playing a role in opening the options for spray delivery of product. Work by Westman Associates, Inc. in 2005–06 to demonstrate the viscosity capabilities of barrier pack cans showed that spray systems could handle gel and cream formulas, specifically for hair products. Further, Emsar and others have offered sprayers for higher viscosity formulas for more than 10 years, allowing spray dispensing for hair gels and the like.

Two recent launches indicate that incorporating skin care ingredients and breaking down viscosity barriers are opening avenues for spray products beyond hair and sun care: the D2O Hydration Spray from Jane Iredale–The Skin Care Makeup and Reckitt Benckiser’s Veet brand Spray On Hair Removal Cream. These products are links in the format’s evolution, and the launch of D2O Hydration Spray was an evolutionary step in itself. Its predecessor offered hydration in less than ideal climates. As additional benefits were realized, more needs could be addressed.