Novel Natural Ingredients

June 6, 2006

Effective, cutting-edge ingredients have been found in nature.

Novel & Natural Ingredients

Effective, cutting-edge ingredients have been found in nature.

Susan A. Eliya
Associate Editor

Can simple ingredients found in a garden or kitchen really be the key to healthy, effective cosmetics and personal care products? Based on what many suppliers are saying, the answer is definitely “Yes.”

Consumers seem to agree. The natural/organic personal care market grew 22% to nearly $5 billion in retail sales in 2005, according to The Natural Marketing Institute’s 2006 Health and Wellness Trend Report.

Euromonitor International, Chicago, attributes this growth to many factors, including the heightened media coverage of possible carcinogenic effects of chemicals used in personal care products. These harmful chemical additives are said to cause various cancers, respiratory problems, liver and kidney failure, reductions in fertility and birth defects, heart problems and even mental problems.

Media reports of dangerous chemicals have forced suppliers to find the most innovative natural ingredients to create the positive results that consumers seek.

Euromonitor adds that the industry is criticized by some for using a number of dangerous chemical and synthetic additives in its processing. The research firm also adds that 60% of what is put on the skin is absorbed in to the bloodstream, and once in the blood, the chemicals accumulate in target organs or are metabolized through the system over a period of years.

In addition, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NY, reported that over 5,000 chemicals are used in personal care products alone, causing fear among consumers and forcing them to increasingly lean toward naturals each year.

“Customers seem to be much more particular about the source of the material, effects on the environment, allergens and the composition of natural products,” noted Tasneen Padiath, senior manager, international marketing, Sabinsa Corporation, Piscataway, NJ. “There seems to be a heightened awareness about naturals.”

Executives at Lipo Chemicals say that there is a demand for natural ingredients such as avocados.
Fear is not the only factor increasing the demand for natural ingredients. The naturals craze has grown from the food industry to the personal products industry.

The market has expanded with the growing awareness of healthy lifestyles and the importance of internal nutrition has branched off to concerns with topical products, and an increasing number of consumers relate natural to being healthy.

“Companies are looking for natural ingredients and concepts for developments,” added Maria Inês Bloise, technical director, Beraca Ingredients, Brazil. “Natural ingredients are related to organic, sustainable, environmental protection and it is now on the minds of [consumers and suppliers] to protect the planet.”

“As a supplier of shea and other exotic butters, this category of products has just exploded in the last two years,” said Larry S. Moroni, president, BioChemica International, Melbourne, FL. “In the case of exotic butters, greater oxidative stability has allowed formulating chemists to use these products as a replacement for synthetic esters and hydrocarbon oils.”

Aging Gracefully

Although aging is still difficult to deal with for many consumers, suppliers and manufacturers are working to make this phase a bit easier for them to handle. Today, women and men can choose from a wide array of natural-based products that promise to minimize the effects of aging.

Mark C. Sysler, vice president of sales, Bio-Botanica, Hauppauge, NY, explained that the quest for a youthful appearance has increased the demand for products that slow down the aging process. “Skin care products are utilizing botanical materials to accomplish this,” he said. “The antioxidant properties of products are being used both on the outside of the body and on the inside (supplements).”

The high content of antioxidants found in coffee and tea has increased the use of these ingredients.
“The overall shift encouraging healthy eating habits along with the influence of activities such as yoga and Pilates has peeked interest in the naturals market,” explained Reneé Kollar, director of marketing, Perfumania, Deer Park, NY.

“There is a broad range of consumers interested in all-natural products, all of whom are making a conscious decision to benefit from healthier, natural, more wholesome lifestyles. [They] are focusing more on how to live better, longer and naturally, and good-for-you products play a big part in that movement.”

Perfumania recently introduced a Sedona Valley Spa collection created with natural ingredients found throughout the desert of Sedona, AZ. Each Sedona product in the collection is made with ingredients such as desert flower extracts, cactus extracts, aloe and vitamins C and E.

The collection includes Sun Glow body mist ($10) made with notes of lime, jasmine, patchouli and sand musk. Yucca & Agave body moisturizer ($12) moisturizes with yucca, agave and vitamin E. With a rich source of antioxidants and vitamin C, Prickly Pear Cactus body scrub ($14) gives skin radiance and an even tone.

Other products in the collection include Shea and Cactus body butter ($14) with cactus extracts and shea butter, Cactus and Peppermint foot scrub ($12), Desert Flower body wash ($12), Aloe and Hibiscus Flower foot balm ($12) and Mojave Desert body mud ($18).

“All product categories are strongly affected by the naturals movement,” explained Jon Packer, chief executive officer, Centerchem, Norwalk, CT. “Everything from edible notes in fragrances to hair products.”

Glen Gillis, PhD, director of research and development, Active Organics LP, Lewisville, TX, agreed, insisting that “no category of the industry has gone unaffected by the influx of natural ingredients.”

He explained that other new markets such as oral care and general personal health have now experienced an increase in the demand for natural products as well. “The prevalence of the degree of research and development as well as the focus on safety and well-being of the end-user has, over time, increased both the credibility of the industry and consequently, public confidence in the natural market,” he added.

Good Enough to Eat

After all this time, could the products we need be right under our noses? Interest in many different naturally derived ingredients is growing and the products are more common than expected. One ingredient is tea extract.

The ingredients used in the Jason Red Elements Skin Care line promote healthier skin.
According to Angella Green, associate brand manager, Jason Natural Products, Culver City, CA, rooibos red tea extract is an up-and-coming ingredient.

“This tea contains the largest amount of polyphenols (antioxidants) of any other tea,” she explained. “Recent studies have shown rooibos tea to contain anti-mutagenic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. Active flavonols in red tea speed up the healing process for various skin problems such as eczema, photosensitivity, rash and sunburn.”

Jason Red Elements Skin Care line features rooibos red tea extract and peptides that protect skin from free radical damage and maximize collagen production to promote healthier, youthful skin, according to the company.

There are nine products in the line including cleansers, toner, day moisturizers, nighttime moisturizer, eye cream, red clay masque and exfoliating scrub.  The line is hypoallergenic, and fragrance- and paraben-free.  

Brianne Hovey, a national educator for Phytocéane USA, Salt Lake City, UT, noted that trends identified in the market also include marine-based products such as plant and seaweed extracts.

She said, “Marine-based therapies and products offer an immeasurable amount of nutrients for the body. Seawater is indispensable for health and is the only natural resource on earth containing all essential trace elements. Marine vegetation (algae and vegetal coral) are concentrated in trace elements and provide a great source of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, polyphenols and marine sugars.”

Sedona’s Mojave Desert body mud includes citrus peel to help even out skin tone.
Phytocéane’s OceaBronze collection offers solutions for sun protection, after-sun care and self tanning. The Extreme Protection SPF 30 cream defends skin from UVA and UVB rays with ingredients such as marine spring water. Hydra-Soothing fluid, a non-greasy moisturizing milk, repairs and nourishes skin with shea butter and apricot kernel oil. The company’s Self-Tanning spray foam also includes apricot kernel oil to soften.

Ms. Hovey added that by using natural sources, Phytocéane helps balance and remineralize the skin.

Mr. Sysler pointed out that the large increase in the use and demand for botanical extracts in personal care and cosmetic products have resulted in a greater use of fruit and vegetable extracts.

“Folklore has shown that most healing remedies have come from natural sources for thousands of years,” he said. “Now that our technology and science can validate the effectiveness of these products, more are becoming mainstream everyday.”

Ms. Padiath agrees that there is a definite demand for exotic natural ingredients with a history of traditional use. As a result, two of Sabinsa’s products from turmeric and coconut water have become very popular.

“We are seeing interest in many different naturally derived ingredients such as pumpkin extracts, Inca wira oil, avocado butter, seed-based exfoliants (grape seed, raspberry seed, rose hip seed), as well as other naturally derived exfoliants such as cocoa husk powder and pumice,” said Melissa Frischling, marketing service director, Lipo Chemicals, Paterson, NJ.

She said that Lipovol WIRA, Persea butter and Lipo’s exfoliate line of Lipo CHP (cocoa husk powder), Lipo GSP (grape seed powder), Lipo RSP (raspberry seed powder) and Lipo RHS (rose hip seed) all offer efficacious results.

“There is continuous interest in our unique marine derived patented anti-inflammatory ingredient, gorgonian extract, as well as our Liposilt, which is a fresh water silt,” Ms. Frischling added.

Nature’s Growth

Demand for natural-based personal care products isn’t limited to the U.S. Global demand has companies searching for new materials all around the world.

“As resources from around the world are becoming easier to access and consumer knowledge sharpens from data offered by the Internet, the desire for natural products will remain strong,” explained Ms. Kollar.

In order to tap into the Korean market, Sabinsa has created new natural actives such as rosemary T3 complex.
Sabinsa Corporation has experienced such a positive response from the naturals movement that it has opened new offices in Malaysia and Germany to better serve the Southeast Asian and European markets. Ms. Padiath shared that the company has also appointed a new distributor in Korea, Durae Corp., in order to tap into the Korean market and has also introduced three new natural actives in the past year—coffee bean extract, gallnut extract and rosemary T3 complex.

BioChemica has also benefited from the industry’s growth. As a result, the company purchased a 14,000 sq. ft. facility in Melbourne, FL to pursue the research and development of natural ingredients, giving BioChemica in-house capabilities to create new and novel ingredients for use in cosmetics.

Beraca Ingredients is also working to improve its position in the industry. Ms. Bloise said that the company is investing $10 million during the next three years in new products, research and technology to its Rain Forest Specialties line.

Mr. Sysler noted that Bio-Botanica has developed some new products for the consumer, one of which is a high ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) liquid concentrate called Orac Super 7. The product includes seven fruit extracts and green tea to bring the high antioxidant benefit in a flavorful liquid.

Positive results from seed-based exfoliants are causing an increase in demand for these types of ingredients.
Ellen Kamhi PhD, RN, herbalist/nutritionist, Bio-Botanica, explained that ORAC describes a laboratory analysis of the antioxidant activity against the peroxyl radical, which is one of the most common reactive oxygen species that cause damage to cell membranes. The greater the amount of free radicals a food or nutrient can combat, the higher its ORAC score.

She also said, “Oral health care is becoming a major consumer category, especially due to research linking oral health to heart health. Bio-Botanica offers all-natural ingredients for oral health care products that are free of chemical preservatives, sudsing agents, coloring agents and artificial sweeteners.”

Ms. Kamhi added that Bio-Botanica offers natural alternatives such as Bio-pein, Neopein and Suprapein. These all-natural preservatives feature plant extracts with high levels of antimicrobial activity and support a “chemical preservative free” label claim.

Restrictions May Apply

With the rapid increase in demand for natural ingredients, it seems as if the naturals crusade can’t be stopped. But can it be too good to be true? Like other movements in the market, more regulations mean more work for suppliers and their customers.

Dr. Gillis said, “REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals) and the recent California Law SB 484 will impact the industry. The price of cosmetics may be increased by such laws and will therefore affect all end users.”

Spices found in typical households are providing more than just flavor to food.
The REACH program is a chemicals legislation adopted by a broad majority of the European Union (EU).

Mr. Sysler said that many of the new, international regulations, in particular in the EU, U.S. and Canada, have put additional documentation burdens on the suppliers. Yet, he called these moves positive ones for some suppliers.

“It enables quality manufacturers like Bio-Botanica to rise to the top and weed out the companies that are uncommitted to providing safe and effective materials. The additional paperwork and compliance may add to the cost, but it certainly plays a key role in protecting the consumer.”

Mr. Packer also addressed the growing number of regulatory hurdles. “We as a company have continued to become more astute as far at the global regulatory picture. One time the issue is with Japan, then you have issues with the European economic community, then the U.S., Canada, Korea, Australia… It’s become much more complicated to meet the criteria and there is more that you have to know to be an effective marketer.”

Depending on where companies want to sell, he says that obviously, they have to comply with guidelines related to that country.

“There is nothing onerous,” he said “there is just more to do and more to learn. A few years ago we added staff to reflect this and it turned out to be a good move and a needed move.”

While particular restrictions give companies more work and make certain processes more difficult, industry suppliers insist they can’t stop the strong growth and demand of the natural ingredients market.