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Source of Innovation

By: Sara Mason
Posted: April 28, 2014, from the May 2014 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Naturex also dedicates 1% of gross revenues to community development activity in the villages. Maintaining the good relationships with sourcing programs that are going well gives you long-term durability, according to Kilham. “Sustainability has higher stakes for now and for the future,” he says. “Those companies that do not engage in sustainable sourcing are going to be lost in the dust bins of history because they fail to understand what the market needs.”

Following the successful launch of its botanical oil range, Naturex is already expanding the line to feature botanical butters along with new premium oils. Referred to by Himalayan inhabitants as “the butter tree,” the chiuri tree is native to Nepal. The main product of the tree is a butter extracted from the seeds and popularly known as chiuri butter. It has a wide range of traditional beauty uses, including skin healing, moisturizing and even the alleviation of rheumatic pain. It also can easily be incorporated in a range of beauty applications for an exotic twist.

Also a product of Nepal, dhatelo oil has long been used by the native population to soothe and heal skin conditions and to add strength and shine to hair. Both Nepalese products also are wild harvested through a cooperative that gives villagers a stake in the production.

Collaborative Efforts

Partnerships between suppliers and beauty brands are quite important to continuous innovation. This collaborative approach has developed into open innovation, and it is now an integral part of the industry.

Evonik has a unique innovation process because we introduce anywhere from 10 to 12 new products every year on the personal care side,” said Paul Washlock vice president of personal care, North America, Evonik. Washlock explains that besides one-on-one conversations with customers to identify potential needs, Evonik uses a broader network to review trends and potential actives for the marketplace. “Very early in the development process, these scientists and consulting firms who are experts in their niches work with us in a mutually beneficial way to identify potential solutions for the marketplace,” he explains.

Once an active is considered, Evonik brings in additional scientific and academic colleagues and collaborators to do their own independent testing and ensure the data is on the right track. “It is once testing is completed that we start talking to customers, particularly those with whom we have a strong collaborative relationship and whose needs fit the solution we are developing,” says Washlock. Evonik provides a win-win situation in which brands gets total access to the data, as well as potentially limited exclusivity for a particular active ingredient. “Meanwhile, we are still in the innovation mode, so we are able to work with the customer to understand the trends or solution they are looking for with the active, enabling us to personalize the solution for their product or brand.” It could be as fast as six months, Washlock says, but typically it may take 12 to 18 months.

When a beauty brand goes to Evonik with a specific question, such as how to improve skin elasticity, the supplier launches into research rather than simply providing a list of available products “For [a inquiry on skin elasticity], we screened more than 100 different types of algae that could potentially assist in skin elasticity,” says Washlock. The three most promising options from this research were selected and cultivated by algae experts. Depending on growth properties and potential desired effects, some of these micro algae were further explored.

Finally, a unicellular red micro algae was extracted that had the results they were looking for, to protect stem cells to provide rejuvenation of skin cell activity in the skin. Cyanidium caldarium is available only in acidic hot springs and hot soils, such as the Grand Prismatic Spring of the Yellowstone National Park, and the unicellular micro algae is able to survive under extreme conditions. The strain that is used for the production was isolated on the Sunda Islands in Southeast Asia from Mount Lawu fumaroles on the island of Java. Production of the bioactive algae extract is a natural and eco-friendly process from biorenewables. “We bring in the engineering, chemistry and technical expertise to make it naturally within the laboratory, at high volume without an external carbon source,” says Washlock. After cultivation, the algae cells are processed by a proprietary mild extraction method followed by a filtration step, enriching the bioactive compounds.

By helping and collaborating with a customer, Evonik identified a solution and brought into the marketplace at a commercial scale via Tego Stemlastin, an innovation that is part of the industry’s move toward algaculture within beauty and personal care. In a more recent collaboration, Evonik worked with a natural remedies producer to help find solutions for an environmental stress defense for skin. The result was Tego Cistus, a standardized plant extract highly enriched in polyphenols from the pink rock rose, a perennial shrub found on dry or rocky soils throughout the Mediterranean region. The active ingredient Cistus incanus extract provides protection by neutralizing free radicals to combat undesirable effects of sun exposure, reducing the appearance of sunburn. The medicinal plant makes new the old, as it has historical use in traditional European medicine, and Greek mythology reports use of the flower in healing warriors.

Trend Tracking

Keeping up with the latest developments and news in beauty through different media such as specialized journals and magazines, themed exhibitions and continuing education is another key to innovation.

Cobiosa, an ingredient supplier based in Spain, looks for lifestyle trends determined by social, economic, technological and cultural changes in attitude and behavior. “In a globalized and standardized world, regionality and locality are creating specific desires,” says Lorena Sánchez, R&D with Cobiosa. “There is a trend toward natural, organic, botanic products and to rediscovering of ancient ingredients.” Based on its continued research and ongoing knowledge, as well as extensive experience with multinational companies, Cobiosa develops ingredients with the desired functionalities that meet these demands.

Cobiosa’s Pore Reductyl was developed to answer a demand for ingredients with astringent and oil-reducing effects. “Maintaining clean, healthy pores is important for maintaining healthy and healthy-looking skin,” Sánchez says. Thus, Cobiosa’s goal was to find a natural astringent of botanical origin with a higher bio affinity for the skin. The purified, concentrated active is extracted from the pulp of Fomes officinalis, a basidiomycete mushroom that grows in East Europe on the trunk of the Alerce cypress tree, believed to be the second-longest living trees on Earth. Cobiosa chose this mushroom because it is well known for its medicinal properties and because of its agaric acid high purity; agaric acid exhibits astringent, tightening and moisturizing properties.