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Ingredient Innovation: Inspired by Nature

By: Sara Mason
Posted: March 2, 2012, from the March 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

In today’s beauty industry, product developers and brands are increasingly looking to nature for inspiration. This is likely because nature, for the most part, has already perfected its ingredients, as well as its natural chemical, engineering and structural processes.

“There is a definite move toward wellness and environmentally friendly ingredients, even sourcing directly from nature,” says Darrin Duber-Smith, president, Green Marketing Inc. The health and wellness trend is now mainstream, making bio utilization key to the success of many brands. Also, there’s a lot of perceived danger and bad press about problematic chemicals, and the pressure for cosmetics to go green is at an all-time high. At the same time, consumers buy benefits, not features. “It’s less now about the ingredients and more about their function,” explains Duber-Smith.

But why stop there? Technology emulating nature has resulted in innovations that make consumers’ lives easier, healthier and more sustainable. The emerging field of biomimetics has given rise to new technologies created from biologically inspired engineering on both the macroscale and nanoscale levels. And it also makes for a good marketing story in today’s eco-friendly marketplace.

Biomimetics is not a new idea. Humans have been looking at nature for answers to both complex and simple problems since the beginning. But biomimicry is a relatively new corporate discipline that studies nature’s best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve today’s problems. There is potential to replicate nature’s intelligence to produce ingredients that are safer or better for consumer use and not harmful to the environment.