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Consumers Demand Eco, Individualized and Efficacious

Contact Author Jeff Falk
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Ingredient suppliers share insights into consumer wants, the ingredients created in response and how brand owners can leverage ingredient stories in product and branding efforts.

GCI: What consumer and ingredient trends are currently being seen in Europe and Asia?

Sharon Laboratories Ltd (SL): Consumers in Western Europe are looking for natural solutions in preservatives. Until recently, the so-called natural solutions did not have the same performance as [traditionally used] preservatives. In Asia, we do not see significant differences in the demand [for natural versus. traditionally used preservatives].

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[Editor’s note: The company notes that although market trends would indicate the use of parabens would have diminished greatly, actual inclusion of parabens in products has not declined significantly].

Alban Muller International (AM): There is obviously an underlying and fundamental trend toward natural products. Consumers are interested by “greener” products, as they perceive that biodiversity is threatened and that we have to change our consuming habits. Thus, for now and the coming months, “green” ingredients would certainly appear to be as strong as ever.

Besides, consumers are more and more informed and demanding in terms of efficacy and visible results, thus we [must still] provide high-tech active ingredients with tested activity and highly sophisticated modes of action.

Naturex: European and Asian consumers are increasingly looking for authenticity. Twenty years ago, the demand for natural products was low. People wanted products that were effective. Nowadays, consumers—in addition to wanting the product they buy to bring a real and visible benefit—are also concerned about environmental issues. The way the ingredients are produced and carried is a matter of interest for the final consumer.

Dow Corning Beauty Care: While we’re seeing more highly individualized products in many markets, specifically for hair care, emerging and developing economies may just recently be moving past very basic hair cleaning and oiling toward more sophisticated care. In some of these regions, populations prefer to stay with their well-known shampoos, and it can be a challenge to help them make the step to conditioners—yet at the same time, they already expect conditioner benefits from their shampoos. In emerging markets, there is a need for more effective, high performance formulations, yet ingredient and development costs are significant factors in determining the products that actually reach consumers.

GCI: How can brand owners leverage ingredients/ingredient types to strengthen their branding and product development efforts?

SL: Many times marketers do not acknowledge scientific research and facts. They label the products as “preservative-free” or “paraben-free,” implying that preservation or parabens are dangerous for the health, when it’s entirely the opposite. [For more, read Controversial Ingredients: One Brand’s Perspective.] [Brand owners] can influence the market by paying more attention to their R&D needs and, from there, educating consumers about the importance of safety in the formulas.

The majority of our international customers who are responsible for the reputation of luxury brands insist on protecting their formulas with class preservatives, even if the list of ingredients does not comply with the green trend. They state they cannot risk eventual contamination that could jeopardize their brand if not preserved adequately.

AM: This kind of product, obtained with eco-responsible processes from renewable resources, is particularly interesting for [beauty brands] aiming to formulate products in a more environmentally friendly way. To meet the growing market demand and strengthen their branding and product development efforts, they have to team up with an eco-responsible partner.

Dow Corning: In addition to performance, we know consumers look for novel product forms and distinctive feel. From simple to complex, silicones, for example, can deliver unique textures and sensory effects while also allowing broader compatibility with a wider range of common formulating materials. As new, increasingly innovative products reach the marketplace, [specialty ingredients] will play a broader role in creating distinctive product forms. From a global viewpoint, that’s an exciting proposition.

Sharon Laboratories Ltd, Alban Muller International, Naturex and Dow Corning Beauty Care are all slated to participate in In-cosmetics Asia, rescheduled for Dec. 14–16, 2011, in Bangkok.

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GCI: What is the continued potential and impact of ingredient trends in Asia and Europe for and on beauty product development and consumers?

Sharon Labs: [With consumers questioning many existing preservative], there are less and less options to work with. This is not a regulatory matter but a marketing one, and increasingly unsafe products are being released to the market [not do to the preservatives questioned by consumers and special interests but the lack of effective replacements/alternatives].

For example, a multinational company had to recall a mouthwash for microbial contamination recently, and the death of a two-year old Texan boy from a rare infection was blamed on contaminated alcohol wipes manufactured in the U.S. Some brand owners are taking a big risk based on marketing trends without scientific basis.

So, in addition to “natural,” other formulation trends are influencing preservation systems. Some include ingredients, which are not listed as preservatives with preservative qualities—such as fragrances or essential oils.

GCI: Have these trends led to any new products being produced by your company and will they be on display at In-cosmetics Asia 2011?

Sharon Labs: We are constantly developing innovative solutions for the preservation of cosmetics according to market requirements. All our blends containing organic acids, short chained parabens and other ingredients will be on display. At the moment, we are working on a series of natural, paraben and formaldehyde free preservatives. Scientific studies supporting their efficiency and safety will cover this new line of preservatives.

Alban Muller: We developed several ranges of eco-designed plant extracts: 100% natural, preservative-free and obtained exclusively with only renewable solvents and unique, eco-friendly technologies. We also designed natural alternatives to synthetic products commonly used in cosmetics, such as our new formulation ingredient Lipolami, a natural alternative to silicones for silky and smooth textures, and Amiox, a natural alternative to synthetic antioxidants (BHA et BHT) to protect formulas.

As for high-tech ingredients, we have recently launched efficacy-tested Cytokalmine, a polyphenols synergy that aims to reduce the secretion of inflammatory cytokines and the overproduction of free radicals to provide skin with soothing effect and reinforce skin’s resistance against the external aggressions and ageing.

Finally, we offer to our customers the possibility to develop their own personalized range of natural cosmetic products with an accelerated formulation service. They just have to customize already-developed and natural offerings according to their claims.

Naturex: We have developed two products that fit perfectly with current trends, which will be on display at In-cosmetics Asia 2011. Seveov is a maca extract that stimulates hair growth by promoting keratinocyte mitosis and protecting the hair bulb. It is very effective in anti-hair loss preparations because it helps to prevent alopecia and limit the effects of external aggressors such as pollution or tobacco.

Dragon’s Blood is an innovative ingredient that contributes to a complete reparation and regeneration of the tissues, for skin rejuvenation. Sustainably harvested, our Dragon’s Blood is obtained by cutting the bark of the tree (Croton lechleri) in a diagonal manner and bleeding the red latex. This method is employed by the locals to help preserve the trees. Harvested by local growers using traditional practices, the Dragon’s Blood is a good example of sustainable sourcing.

Dow Corning: To meet challenges and trends, Dow Corning has developed specialty silicones—including fluids, elastomers, blends, emulsions, resins and waxes—that offer a range of formulating options and align to the economies of global markets. Within that framework, we need to make certain we guide our customers in selecting the right silicone-based solutions for their applications. Many specialty silicones are multifunctional, providing combinations of conditioning, shine, improved combing, moisturizing, color and heat protection, enhanced strength or volume. Given their multifunctional properties, silicones may allow formulators to use one ingredient where they might otherwise require several to achieve the desired effects. The result is easier—and potentially more economical—product development.

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