Current consumer trends drive multifunctional ingredients in skincare


Simplified skin care routines gained steam in early 2020 and became even more relevant during COVID-19.

According to Mintel’s December 2019 report “Minimalist trends will impact BPC spending in 2020,” concern over plastic waste, climate change and the Marie Kondo effect drove consumers to reconsider their beauty purchases. As #ShopMyStash went viral, consumers were challenged to buy less by using up what they already own.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are paying even more attention to which brands are doing the right thing. Much of the beauty industry has shown up in a big way to support frontline health care workers, vulnerable communities and beauty industry professionals who have been impacted by mandatory closures. In addition to concerns over excessive product waste, a brand’s commitment to social responsibility will become an even larger factor in the buying decision.

Compounding these effects are stay-at-home orders. With nowhere to go and a rocky economic future ahead, why maintain an extensive beauty routine? It should come as no surprise that consumers have been paring down their routines to only the necessary products. Additionally, many are trying out “skin fasting,” according to Allure, by minimizing or even forgoing skin care routines altogether.

Consumers with sensitive skin concerns—up to 50% of the Western population in recent studies—are not only minimizing their regimens, but also looking for products with minimal ingredients. Dermatologist Justine Hexall, M.D., speaking to British Vogue, said, “As a dermatologist, I always tell my patients to keep it simple … Looking for products that utilize fewer ingredients can help reduce sensitization and allergy.”

So, what should formulators do to respond to these converging trends? BASF has your back. Our market research demonstrates that consumers are willing to pay more for products that have sensitive skin claims. We know consumers with sensitive skin concerns are looking for simple—and if possible—natural INCI lists. BASF has developed eight new chassis formulations that feel luxurious, are economically-priced, naturally-derived and boast simple INCI lists.

The key to effective and simple formulations lies in multifunctional ingredients and gentle, natural surfactants.

With Hydrasensyl Glucan Green, you get six benefits in one ultra-pure beta glucan. Not only does this molecule contribute to short, long-term, and sustained hydration and skin smoothness, it also helps reduce the appearance of redness as demonstrated in a clinical study.

Hydagen 558 P is not your ordinary Algin. This algae-based, natural rheology modifier has also demonstrated hydrating effects. In a consumer study, we asked participants to compare the feeling of a skincare formula with 1% Hydagen 558P versus a formula with 3% glycerin. After 15 minutes, the formula with Hydagen 558P beat glycerin in consumer perception of hydration, suppleness, and radiance.

Cegesoft VP is a COSMOS-approved blend of natural waxes that behaves similarly to petrolatum, offering multiple benefits.

Plantaren 818 UP, Coco-glucoside, is naturally derived, has demonstrated mildness for skin and hair, and offers excellent foaming properties. BASF is the leader in APGs, check out the full Plantaren range on our site’s product search.


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