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What's New in Cosmetic RD

Marketers are studying a wide range of materials in their search for more effective finished products.

Published November 10, 2005
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Presentation, performance and price are expected to drive innovation in cosmetic products research for the foreseeable future. Presentation applies to sensory excitation provided by the product and its packaging. Performance relates to consumer-perceived benefits provided by the product itself. Price comparison among products with similar performance is common, although consumers are now more affluent. Several external factors, too, are having an impact on the market. The general population is aging. The quality of life, self-indulgence and luxury in the "golden years" are of primary focus. Everyday life for the younger population is busy and hassled. The ethnic market is becoming specialized, driving needs for function-specific product innovations. Main- stream America is more health and beauty conscious. Cosmetics provide relief from complexities of life, as they offer hope and promise for physical attractiveness and mental well-being. Enlightenment of body, mind and soul will be the focus of cosmetics research in the next decade.

Brands within the various categories have become highly segmented and specialized. The high-end market which includes Estée Lauder, Chanel and Lancôme and mass market brands, such as Revlon, Coty and Neutrogena represent two extremes of perceived quality, price and economic focus for consumers. In between, there is a large group of middle marketers (including more than 450 listed in www.ulta3. com) that provides specialty cosmetic products to customers through a variety of routes, including direct sales, MLM (multi-level marketing), department stores, specialty stores, drug stores, organic and health food stores, physicians, aestheticians, spas, grocery chains, salons, shopping mall kiosks, catalogs, internet and general merchandisers. This middle group faces utmost challenges, both in product innovations and product marketing functions, especially those specialty marketers that do not have their own R&D or production facility. A contract manufacturer is frequently utilized for those services. The price pressures become obvious, as the high-end and mass merchandiser groups squeeze these middle marketers for profitability via price compression.

Product presentation encompasses the physical appearance, sensory excitation, packaging and graphics and price tag of the product. Consumers are asking two key questions: What will this product do for me, and is it worth it? The slogan, "Because I'm worth it" has been reversed to "Is it worth it?" relative to new cosmetic products. Product performance has become a complex issue as consumers are more aware of cosmetic ingredients and their functions. The old-fashioned hype marketing strategy often does not create product longevity. This causes difficulty for the middle marketers who often have to depend on a "story" ingredient for the success of a new product launch. Consumers often fail to perceive benefits touted for those products for a variety of reasons, including the formulation itself. Due to cost factors, the middle marketer often has to utilize a standard "in-house" cosmetic base offered by the contract manufacturer, incorporating the specialty "story" ingredient at a low level to provide product claims. Consumers often fail to recognize the benefits provided by that ingredient, either due to its low level in the product or the mediocre in-house base utilized in the compounding of the product.

Middle marketers must provide product performance equal to or better than that offered by the high-end marketers, and at a price that is in between the mass-merchandisers and the high-end marketers. Products offered by middle marketers are often viewed by consumers as economy class versions of high-end marketers that offer the same quality at value pricing. "Me-too" products marketed by middle marketers at a lower price that duplicate the performance of products offered by high-end marketers usually fail to excite consumers. The consumers are looking for extra benefits in those "me-too," lower priced products. New cosmetic products must provide sensory excitation for consumers to want to try and buy the product. New ingredients, innovative delivery systems, exciting fragrances and eye-catching packaging are key to success: Consumers must also perceive benefits proclaimed by marketers for their products. It is advised that product testing for claims support and consumer testing for product acceptance be combined to assure consumers both want and perceive benefits touted in those product claims.

A Look at New Ingredients
Performance-driven research continues to introduce new ingredients, both natural and synthetic, that provide formulators innovative building blocks for their creativity. Multi-functional products that combine complementary benefits are driving new product innovations. The concept of skin whitening products, popular in countries with a large population of non-caucasians and recently discussed in Happi,1 has finally reached lighter-skinned consumers as skin brightening, luminosity enhancing, anti-aging, age spot-lightening products. Recent product promotions in this category include LightSource (Estée Lauder), UV White (Shiseido), Bio-Performance Whitening (Shiseido), Phyto+ (Skin- Ceuticals) and Skinlights (Revlon).2 Popular ingredients, such as vitamin C and hydroxy acids are being repositioned in products that provide multiple benefits: Revlon's Vitamin C Absolutes (microencapsulated vitamin C), Age Defying (b-hydroxy acids, gluconamide) and Neutrogena's Healthy Skin are examples. Retinol with skin lighteners are found in several new products from Robanda (Advanced Retinol). Vitamins should continue to find applications in future performance-enhanced products (Primacy, by SkinCeuticals).

Botanicals continue their foray into new products,3 but consumers now expect visual, sensory or functional benefits from these additives. The incorporation of botanicals in significant amounts in cosmetic products is challenging principally due to formulation issues relative to their appearance, skin feel, stability and chemical reactivity.4 Traditionally, only small quantities of botanicals have been incorporated in cosmetic formulations to circumvent formulation problems. New technologies are on the horizon: botanicals are becoming available in their highly concentrated or chemically pure form requiring their use in smaller quantities, yet offering enhanced benefits. For example, incorporation of a typical rosemary extract at a 10% level that contains only 1% of rosmarinic acid can be matched in antioxidant activity of a formulation with only 0.1% rosmarinic acid (90% pure) available from Sabin-sa. The antioxidants are here to stay. New antioxidants will continue to be promoted in multi-function products, as their formulation technologies advance.5 Multifunctional anti-age products that contain antioxidants include Advanced Night Repair, Idealist, Spotlight (Estée Lauder), Age Fitness (Biotherm), Lifestyle (Helena Rubenstein), Re-Storation (Z. Bigatti), A Perfect World (Origins), and Intensive Formula (Murad); multiple botanicals are included in Botanisource (Avon); HydraFresh (L'Oréal) combines vitamin C and botanicals to help keep skin looking young.

The needs of "over 50" women have been recognized in L'Oreal's Vichy Novadiol, a soy isoflavone and phyto-actives based product launched in March 2001. Phyto-actives are envisioned to make continued inroads in future treatment-themed cosmetic products.4

The synthetic materials, from both natural and petrochemical sources, which provide elegance in formulations, ease in manufacturing or a special function, are in demand. Sodium stearyl phthalamate (Stepan-Mild RM1, Stepan) is a new, fascinating emulsifier that, at only 1% concentration in combination with small levels of co-emulsifiers, can emulsify up to 40% of oily ingredients with an elegant skin feel. Crodafos CES (Croda) permits the emulsion formation in an acidic pH range providing formulations that exhibit skin substantivity and shear thinning resulting in concomitant release of oil- and water-based skin beneficial ingredients from those emulsions. Sodium methyl-2-sulfo laurate (Alpha-Step MC 48, Stepan) is a new coconut oil-derived hydrotrope that offers improved solubilization of high levels of fragrances with virtually no adverse effect on the lathering properties of a hair or personal cleanser product. Carbomer (Ultrez-10, BF Goodrich) can be added to a formulation at any stage without pre-hydration for viscosity adjustments.

Anti-aging cosmetics are here to stay. A decade ago, the use of DNA, RNA and natural proteins for anti-aging skin care products was acclaimed. Later, it was established that such high molecular weight ingredients do not absorb adequately into skin to provide any true benefits. Protein fragments, or peptides, were then introduced. Glitterthione and carnosine, two natural peptides, have applications in sunscreen, skin brightening and anti-wrinkle products. Peptides synthetically obtained from combinatorial chemistry or enzymatic dismutation of proteins are attracting attention because they provide specialty attributes in cosmetic products. Argireline, a synthetic hexapeptide introduced in 2000 (Lipotec), is effective in reducing the depth of wrinkles from "laugh lines" and around the eyes, by its inhibition of catecholamine release. Biopeptide-Cl, Biopeptide-EL and Matrixyl are all synthetic peptides (Sederma) that proclaim to mimic proteinaceous enzymes. Introduced this year, copper peptides enhance skin elasticity and provide anti-aging benefits.

The Power of Peptides
Products based on peptide technology include Anew Force Extra (Avon) and Visibly Firm Active Copper (Neutro- gena). The peptides pose formidable formulation problems in their adequate absorption and retention under skin surface, and stability. The copper peptides are very sensitive to other chelating ingredients in the formula and strong oxidizing-reducing ingredients. The bioinorganic chemistry of copper is complex. The copper peptides generally work in one of their three different intracellular Cu+2 states (normal Cu II, blue Cu II and coupled Cu II), and any disruption of this property can hinder their efficiency or alter their intended benefits. Copper is the third most abundant metallic element in the human body after iron and zinc. A number of oxidase, oxygenase and dismutase enzymes contain copper for their various oxygen transport, oxidation and detoxification functions. One more note: most peptides that contain copper or iron are strongly colored. Their use in any significant amounts in a formulation can cause product discoloration and stability concerns due to their strong pro-oxidative properties. Synthetic peptides that mimic the activity of enzymes are worthy of attention from formulators and suppliers.6 Higher molecular weight, protein-based ingredients with catchy names (Liftiline, SOD Vegetale, Structurine, all from Silab) continue to attract marketing attention. Age Perfect, a line from L'Oréal for the "over 50" generation, contains Dermo-Peptide, a combination protein-based ingredient.

Nucleic acids are key components of DNA and RNA. Synthetic analogs and derivatives of nucleic acids are finding applications in skin care products. Kinetin, a plant growth hormone of cytokinin class, is now the workhorse ingredient in Kinerase cream (ICN Pharmaceutical), Kinetin Cellular Renewal (Osmotics) and Kinetin Skincare (Almay). The use of other plant growth promoters in cosmetics is not far behind. It is well-known that cytokinins, such as kinetin, zeatin and BAP (benzylamino purine), are more effective in the presence of a growth co-factor, auxin. New auxins for plant growth enhancement have been patented, and their skin penetration attributes enhanced; some of these may find applications in future treatment cosmetics.7

Some Novel Ideas in Formulation
An interesting millicapsule technology has been introduced by Lipotec/ Centerchem. Conventional hydrophilic and lipophilic ingredients are combined and encapsulated in soft-gel form without the incorporation of surfactants, emulsifiers and emulsion stabilizers for visually distinctive skin and hair care products. The millicapsules are formulated in a carbomer gel in a pump delivery system. During product application, these millicapsules break and smoothly release their content. The capsule material itself essentially dissolves and disappears into the formulation matrix during product application.

A new concept in facial masks based on nonwoven fabric has landed on this side of the Atlantic (Centerchem). A tablet, slightly larger than aspirin, when soaked in an activator fluid, swells and takes the shape of the face with pre-cut spaces for eyes, nose and lips. This mask is placed on face and later removed and discarded. The skin- beneficial nutrients and anti-aging ingredients are delivered directly to the surface for rapid absorption. Electro- transport (iontophoresis), the delivery of a biologically active ingredient through a membrane (such as skin, mucous surfaces and nails) induced by the application of an electrical potential, is known in the pharmaceuticals field. The application of this delivery technology in cosmetics awaits further research.8

Opportunities in Home Spa
The home spa lines of products to pamper body, mind and soul are attracting increasing consumer attention. These products offer the feeling of luxury, tranquility and peace in consumers' personal living surroundings. The spa is becoming a place to relax, socialize, focus and conduct business.9 A Perfect World, offered by Origins, is a set of three products. Private Spa, an eight-product line offered by Estée Lauder, is one of the most complete product lines in this category. Origins has launched Feel-Good Spa, a four-product line and Foot Spa, a six-product line.

Avon offers a multi-product Avon Spa line. Biotherm offers a three-step, Create Your Own At-Home Spa line. Dead sea salts are formulated in a six-product spa line from Dunaliella. Lancôme provides an eight-product spa line, Aromatonic. In current turbulent times of anxiety and stress, spa products are sure to be a growing product category that turns the consumer's bathroom into a sanctuary where they can relax in private.

The Needs of Ethnic Consumers
The special needs of ethnic skin are receiving major attention from marketers. For example, L'Oréal created the Institute for Ethnic Hair and Skin Research in 2000 to focus on the study of the hair and skin of various ethnic groups. On Sept. 29 and 30, the Institute and Howard University College of Medicine organized a symposium in Chicago on the theme: "Ethnic hair and skin: what is the state of the science?" The purpose of this symposium was to encourage research for a better understanding of the specific properties of hair and skin of populations of various ethnic origin.

Recent articles in Happi have focused on the ethnic skin care market. Multicultural cosmetics were the focal point at the Global Beauty Congress in Chicago.10 Shiseido's leadership in Asian skin care is reflected in The Skincare and Benefiance line of products. Brands such as Color Me Beautiful, Iman and Flori Roberts offer complete lines of color cosmetics and skin care products for women with darker skin. It is interesting to note that several marketers of ethnic skin care products continue to promote alpha-hydroxy acids, although low pH AHAs are actually not very good for skin of color. Carson, a L'Oréal subsidiary, is the leading global manufacturer and marketer of hair and skin care products, which are specifically formulated to address the unique characteristics of people of color. Carson sells its products in the U.S. and in more than 60 countries around the world under the leading brand names Dark & Lovely, Gentle Treatment, Magic Shave and Ultra Sheen. Most of these products are, however, for grooming and hair care. As global marketing for ethnic cosmetics continues to expand, the flow of ethnic-oriented products from overseas markets into the US cannot be far behind.

Color cosmetics have received plenty of attention within the ethnic market. Innovative new ingredients and delivery systems to address the special needs of ethnic skin care demand supplier attention. Performance-driven, consumer-oriented ethnic products are the wave of the future. However, the term "ethnic market" would be replaced by some other term in the next decade, perhaps by product distinction via complexion type such as fair, tan, dark.

Functional Cosmetics
Consumer concerns about health and a feeling of wellness have resulted in explosive growth of cosmetics that offer added functional value. "Functional cosmetics" are a rapidly growing class of cosmetic products that also possess medicinal or treatment attributes. The sales of cosmeceuticals have grown from slightly more than $1 billion in 1995 to over $2.4 billion in 1999. These products may be regulated by the FDA either as cosmetics or as OTC drugs, depending on their product claims. Sun care products, such as sunscreens and sun blocks, are the most well known group of OTC drug functional cosmetics. Marketers are combining sun care concepts with a consumer-preferred skin care trend. Skin care products combine UV protectants and anti-aging ingredients. Organic SPF ingredients are traditionally lipophilic, usually with an oily skin feel. Garnier has introduced sunscreen wipes, a unique delivery system for a combination sun care and skin care product. A combination of antioxidants from Japanese pagoda tree and SPF 15 sunscreen is formulated in Perfect Protection (Nivea/Beiersdorf). Elizabeth Arden combines sun care attributes in a botanicals-based, multifunctional skin cream, Extreme Conditioning Cream SPF 15, and a skin soothing Triple Protection SunBlock Spray SPF 15. Antioxidant grape polyphenols and moisturizers have been combined with SPF 15 sun protection in Lancôme's Vinéfit and Absolue products. Orlane has launched five sun products with anti-wrinkle ingredients from apple peel. Innovative sunscreen skin care products specifically designed for under age 18 consumers are addressing sun safety for children. Recent patents have described novel entrapment methods for the loading of organic SPF ingredients in sol-gel forms that possess elegant skin feel and enhanced delivery of the SPF ingredient.11

The formulation of nutritional and phytopharmaceutical ingredients in functional cosmetics has recently been discussed.4, 5 Nutraceutical Corporation (www.nutraceutical.com) has introduced functional cosmetics that complement the benefits of their nutritional supplements: Vein Defence cream (vein masking, wrinkle smoothing), Defender-C serum (complexion enhancement), Psoriasis Plus cream (dry skin), Arthritis Joint Pain cream and MSM Plus Glucosamine Liposome cream. Avon has launched the Avon Wellness line that encompasses nine new VitAdvance nutritional supplements, 14 Body and Mind products and selections from the Avon Spa collection. Naturally Smooth, a women's shaving cream from Andrew Jergens, combines the hair growth retardant benefits of select botanicals. Sears' Circle of Beauty has addressed the problems of adult acne, caused by hormonal changes, stress and slower cell turnover rate, with the five-product Skinplicity Skin Control line. Masada has introduced a line of bath scrub products that take advantage of Dead Sea minerals. Origins continues the tradition of incorporating phyto-medicinals in its newest cosmetic introductions: Checks and Balances face wash, United State balancing tonic, Grin from Year to Year skin brightening face firmer, Calm Balm for puffy eyes and Balanced Diet moisturizing cream. Even in the color cosmetics area, phyto-medicinals are being introduced. Estée Lauder's La Mer and Revlon have already entered this segment. Clarins is perhaps the world leader in providing cosmetics that combine the benefits of functional botanicals, offering a broad-based functional cosmetics product line. Aveda, the originator of aromatherapy, and The Body Shop have long practiced the ancient science of Ayurveda in their nature-based cosmetics. Several health food-type stores (Roex, Hi Health, Wild Oats, members of the National Nutritional Foods Association, which represents 3000 retailers and 1000 manufacturers) have started offering cosmetics versions of their popular herbal and nutritional supplements. Most of the cosmeceuticals in the past have included phytopharmaceuticals typically in small quantities, just to satisfy their requirements for marketing claims. The inclusion of phytopharmaceuticals in therapeutic amounts offers significant formulation challenges.4 The industry is just awakening to address those complex issues to provide truly high performance cosmeceutical products.

Facial and body masks provide site-specific treatments. In combination with home spa products, masks provide cleansing, nutritive and protective treats for face and body not offered by traditional cleansers, moisturizers, serums, creams, splashes and lotions. Facial masks are offered in various types to include cleansing, hydrating, nourishing and treatment functions. The masks are frequently promoted as a set to perform complementary functions. Estée Lauder has introduced So Clean, a natural clay-based pore cleansing mask; So Moist, a deep moisturizing mask and Stress Relief eye mask. Avon offers Aromatherapy eye mask, Oil Clean complexion mask and Sensitive Beauty complexion mask. Geomer's Blue Lagoon seaweed mask contains marine extracts with skin retexturizing action. Shiseido offers Moisture Relaxing mask in both unfragranced and fragranced versions. A consumer survey revealed that a fragranced version provided greater psychological feeling of relaxation (www.shiseido.com). Shiseido's Bene- fiance mask and Benefiance Eye cream products are promoted as a kit for eye-zone treatment. The masks for women's breasts are already popular in the European spas. These may soon cross the Atlantic. Innovative cosmetic masks that have appeared in recent patents may soon be commercialized.12

Cosmetics for Men
For years, cosmetic choices for men were simple: shaving cream, aftershave, cologne and hair colorants. With women purchasing nearly 80% of cosmetic products, the marketing of appearance enhancing cosmetics for men was limited. Zirh, with a comprehensive line of products, Neutrogena (Neutrogena for Men), L'Oréal (Color Spa for Men), Nivea (Nivea for Men), Estée Lauder (Lab Series for Men, Pleasures for Men), Clarins (Skin Care for Men, a unique eight-product skin treatment line with phytopharmaceuticals), Clinique (Men's 3-Step, Happy for Men) and other major players are changing this scene with the availability of their men's skin care products. The biology of men's skin, especially facial skin (due to shaving, or beard grooming preferences) is quite different from that of women. Scientifically balanced niche-market products for men are envisioned to be poised for future growth that may expand the selling season for men's cosmetics well past the holiday season!13

1. S. Gupta, Formulation of Plant-based Skin Whitening Cosmetics, Happi, 90, (April 2001).

2. L. Kintish, What Constitutes Global Beauty?, Soap & Cosmetics, 67 (September 2001).

3. C.M. Caruana, Botanicals Blossom in More Beauty Products, Soap & Cosmetics, 19 (October 2001).

4. S. Gupta, Nutraceuticals Based Topical Delivery Systems, Nutraceuticals World (November 2001); S. Gupta, The Role of Phytopharmaceuticals in Topical Pain Relief, Happi (December 2001); H.S. King, From Land and Sea, Soap & Cosmetics, 51 (July/August 2001); C. Meunier, Healthy, Wealthy and Cosmeceutical Wise, Soap & Cosmetics, 21 (March/April 2001).

5. S. Gupta, Antioxidants: Formulation of Cosmetic Delivery Systems, Happi, 56, (July 2001).

6. R.W. Roeske, A.R. Mitchell, N. Cladel, and S.K. Gupta , Synthesis of Cyclic Peptide Enzyme Models, "Peptides: Chemistry and Biochemistry," Weinstein and Lande, Eds., Marcel Dekker, NY (1970); C.H. Lawyer et al., Enhancement of antimicrobial peptide activity by metal ions, U.S. patent 6,042,848 (March 28, 2000); S. Bloor, Compositions for the treatment of chronic wounds, U.S. patent 6,042,848 (December 26, 2000); R. Ping-Fong, Methods for the preparation of bioactive peptides by protein hydrolysis, U.S. patent 5,849,882 (December 15, 1998).

7. J.J. Lin et al., Regeneration of both plant tissues and transgenic plant tissues using a new plant hormone, 5-bromoindole-3-acetic acid, U.S. patent 6,271,032 (August 7, 2001); G.E. Deckner et al., Enhanced skin penetration system for improved topical delivery of drugs, U.S. patent 6,277,892 (August 21, 2001); K.T. Cheah, Methods for producing genetically modified plants, genetically modified plants, plant materials and plant products produced thereby, U.S. Patent 6,255,559 (July 3, 2001).

8. A. Linkwitz et al., Formulation for electrically assisted delivery of lidocaine and epinephrine, U. S. patent 6,295,469 (September 25, 2001); M. Southam et al., Device for transdermal electrotransport delivery of fentanyl and sufentanil, U. S. patent 6,216,033 (April 10, 2001); P.W. Ledger et al., Reduction of skin irritation during electrotransport delivery, U.S. patent 6,324,424 (November 27, 2001); J.C. Trautman et al., Device for enhancing transdermal agent flux, U.S. patent 6,322,808 (November 27, 2001).

9. V. MacDonald, The Rising Spa Market, Happi, 78 (November 2001); M. Tillery, The New Spa Experience, Soap & Cosmetics, 23 (June 2001).

10. www.loreal.com, news headlines, November 2, 2001; M. Tabion, Modest Growth in Latin America, Happi, 50 (November 2001); V. MacDonald, The Ethnic Skin Care Market, Happi, 60 (October 2001); The Global Beauty Congress, September 25-26, 2001, Chicago, USA; O. Nadkarni and S.S. Ranade, Facets of Indian Beauty, Soap & Cosmetics, 76 (March/April 2001).

11. S. Magdassi et al., Method for the preparation of oxide microcapsules loaded with functional molecules and the products obtained thereof, U.S. patent 6,303,149 (October 16, 2001); K. Golz-Berner et al., Cosmetic compositions with agglomerated substrates, U.S. patent 6,309,627 (October 30, 2001); G. Rubinstenn et al., Composition containing sapogenin, U.S. patent 6,294,157 (September 25, 2001); P.R. Tanner et al., Sunscreen compositions, U.S. patent 6,290,938 (September 18, 2001); D.S. Deblasi et al., Delivery systems for active ingredients including sunscreen actives and methods of making same, U.S. patent 6,280,710 (August 28, 2001); J. Mufti et al., Skin Aging & UV Protection, Happi, 71 (September 2001); C. Meunier, All Things are not Equal Under the Sun, Soap & Cosmetics, 17 (May 2001).

12. K.P. Rodan et al., Masque, U.S. Patent 6,296,840 (October 2, 2001); S. North, Cosmetic mask, U.S. Patent 6,199,560 (March 13, 2001); H. LaFuente, Method of enhancing the appearance of a body area and for manufacturing a mask for use in such method, U.S. patent 5,893,872 (April 13, 1999); J. Davis, Foamable cosmetic mask product, U.S. patent 5,720,949 (February 24, 1998).

13. M. Marchie, A Man's World: The Male Personal Care Market, Happi, 75 (October 2001).

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