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Skin Care and Cosmetics, Naturally!

Nancy Jeffries

Pomegranates, grapes and honey may sound good enough to eat, but in today’s beauty biz, they mean health and hydration for hair and skin, and new possibilities for a growing market.

Antioxidant extracts and energy-packed actives are big business with natural appeal. According to Euromonitor, companies are increasingly incorporating natural ingredients into products to distinguish themselves from the competition. In fact, it’s become a key element in many marketing strategies—and for good reason. Euromonitor puts the global market for natural cosmetics at $3.9 billion, and forecasts the market to grow 9% annually through 2008 to $5.8 billion. This trend is evident in the number of natural product launches.

Euromonitor notes that as part of a trend for health and wellness, consumers are adopting a more holistic approach to beauty care. Natural ingredients are appearing in all sectors and categories, and new benefits increasingly are being touted as key to cell renewal, antiaging and repair.

As the call for more control over what can be touted as natural and with savvy customers willing to question claims, the growing naturals market does mean a marketer can slap a natural label on a product and wait for the sales. The demand is there, but consumers want claims substantiated and demand the efficacy of non-naturals. To meet these demands, companies are peeking in at all points of the globe to source effective naturals. From South America to Australia, to the depths of the oceans between, the hunt is on for naturals to suit the needs of today’s sophisticated consumer. Along with that quest for the new, suppliers of natural ingredients continue to champion the long-ago proven—such as honey and aloe.

Remedies and Raw Materials

Marine-based ingredients and flowers with anti-inflammatory properties continue to gain popularity in a variety of skin care treatment products. On the raw material supplier side, Tri-K Industries recently introduced Cehami PF, an entirely natural active plant extract derived from Centipeda cunninghamii—a member of the daisy family indigenous to the Australian outback. According to the company, it was used for centuries by the Australian Aborigines as a remedy for skin complaints and other ailments, and possesses potent anti-inflammatory and restorative properties. Cehami PF was developed to capture the healing and soothing properties of the herb for cosmetic use. According to the company, it has proven to reduce skin inflammation and increase cell regeneration. Tri-K notes that it increases efficacy in a wide range of cosmetic formulations—including products for the treatment of acne, self-tanners, pre- and post-sun treatments, antiaging products, products for sensitive skin, shampoos and conditioners.

Skin and hair remain two of the most popular areas for treatment with naturals or naturally derived sources. “In hair care and skin care, optimization of color for both skin and hair is a huge market,” says Sonia Dawson, marketing executive, botanicals, Croda. Nut extracts such as Croda’s Castanha do Brasil, from the company’s Crodamazon line of Amazonian oils, contain juglones that have been shown to work in combination with tanning actives such as DHA to create a more bronze color. Further, the company found that the same effect can be achieved in hair care applications. “The oil improved hair color washfastness by 30% when used in a hair color dye formulation,” said Dawson.

Dawson notes that with the increased popularity of cosmetic procedures such as Botox and tummy tucks, there’s a growing trend toward more natural, less invasive alternatives. Crodarom, the botanical extracts division of Croda, recently launched the Phytotals line of botanicals that features performance-specific plant complexes obtained from various plants chosen for their complementary cosmetic activity. Phytotal AW for antiaging has shown to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, Phytotal FM is designed to enhance skin tone and elasticity, Phytotal OS regulates oily skin and refines pores, and Phytotal AI is an anti-irritant.

Naturopathica is a company that utilizes a host of natural ingredients sourced from partner farms that specialize in harvesting such crops as aloe, lemon verbena, German chamomile and orange blossom. According to Naturopathica’s founder Barbara Close, there is a vast range of therapeutic benefits attributed to essential oils and other ingredients.

“Many times our preferred choice of herb is ethically wild crafted, that is, (herbs that) are literally handpicked in the wild, not cultivated and harvested from a farm,” said Close. “We believe that consumers are becoming more aware of what natural means—and doesn’t mean—and the associated benefits.” She notes that natural consumers span age and gender, including baby boomers returning to traditional therapies, and younger consumers knowledgeable about ingredients and also skeptical about claims. “All in all, they are a discerning bunch,” says Close.

Naturopathica’s Hydrating Anti-Oxidant Mask, contains grape seed extract to repair existing damage from free radicals; aloe vera gel, for moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties; sea algae extract, with skin softening properties; ascorbyl palmitiate, and tocopheryl acetate, vitamin E, derived from wheat germ, to enhance stability of the skin’s immune system. The mask is designed to protect skin from environmental aggressors and revitalize dry complexions.

Even Hormones Reap the Benefits

To maintain healthy hair, keep skin hydrated and battle environmental stressors that contribute to premature aging, there’s a crop of protectants that can readily be seen as the new wonders of nature’s miraculous storehouse.

Fruits and plants are being utilized in products that are designed to firm and hydrate the skin, and plant-derived phytoestrogen and glycosaminoglycan, said to improve elasticity, have been used to address concerns associated with dry or hormonally imbalanced skin. Murad’s Resurgence Renewal Home Facial Kit was designed to combat hormonal aging. “As women age, the production of key hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, begin to decline, leaving other hormones, such as testosterone, more dominant,” said Howard Murad, MD, a dermatologist, CEO and founder, Murad Inc. “This hormonal imbalance results in changes in the skin.” Murad’s home facial kit combines a blend of plant-derived phytoestrogens—which are facial hair growth inhibitors, blemish fighters, antioxidants and firming agents—that work to restore vibrancy to the skin and help it stay balanced.

Nourishing Naturals for Hair

Hair care has seen a surge in the use of plant, nut and fruit extracts for a variety of treatment products. Klorane Laboratories, for example, launched Klorane Beautifying Shampoo with Pomegranate Extract for Color Treated hair. The product is rich in tannins designed to fix colorants to keratin for longer-lasting color. It also contains a vegetal lipoprotein for repairing action, as well as a natural polysaccharide to moisturize and protect. Karite Intense Nourishing Shampoo from Rene Furterer contains shea, the natural active karate, to nourish hair, and 12% nutritive oils based on shea and coprah oils to provide nutrition for scalp and hair. The new formula incorporates phospholipids for in-depth action, and a cationic polymer for detangling, smoothing and protection of hair shafts.

Jason Natural Products recently introduced Natural Salon Hair Care to volumize, moisturize, style and treat hair without chemicals or moisture-stripping cleansers. The company has sourced ingredients from both land and sea to formulate natural products designed to address issues inherent in chemically treated hair. Jason’s Plumeria & Sea Kelp Hair Moisturizing System includes natural marine botanicals to moisturize, reduce frizz and add shine. Its Mint & Rose Intense Moisture Treatment treats dry hair with shea butter and avocado oil, while rose flower oil nourishes the scalp.

A Garden of Earthly Delights

Natural beauty boosters range from the wildly esoteric to the longtime comforters with homegrown appeal that has been passed down through the generations and across cultures. Honey continues to be an ingredient of choice when it comes to natural products that boast healing properties. It’s 100% natural and has moisturizing, softening and stimulating properties. In addition, honey works in a variety of cleansing and bath and body formulations. L’Occitane, for example, has developed a honey blend composed of propolis, honey and royal jelly that is said to strengthen, nourish and soothe the skin.

In general, ingredients that come from nature continue to hold a special appeal across demographic lines. Customers seeking function as well as environmental friendliness are gravitating, naturally, to ingredients drawn from ecologically responsible sources. This is not to say that high-tech innovation is being overshadowed by natural alternatives, but thoughtful consumers who desire those benefits while remaining true to their belief in sustainable resources will increasingly find more complementary solutions.

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