Customers perceive food-based ingredients to be healthier, free of harmful toxins and more wholesome. If an ingredient can be used as food, which is held to a higher standard by the FDA, transitioning to skin care formulations seems to be a natural progression.
Kosher, Vegan, Non-GMO and Gluten-free are some food based standards that are showing up in the cosmetic space. Customers want to know what is in their food to avoid allergic reactions and for other health considerations, so the same is proving true for cosmetic and skincare products. Natural cosmetic formulation is changing as a result of these trends and shifts in the marketplace.
The rise of the “Makers” and DIY enthusiasts in almost every area of manufacturing can also be seen in the skincare and cosmetic categories. Consumers are mixing, blending and whipping up their own beauty products at home using spatulas, pots and pans that they normally use for cooking their own meals. This transition between food and skin care demonstrates that customers are comfortable with the idea that their skin care products do not necessarily need to come out of a sterile lab, but can be produced in a kitchen – the same place where nourishing and nurturing food is made. The food that nourishes the body can nourish the skin. Many natural beauty brands, like the wildly successful Carol’s Daughter line of hair, body and skin care products, were launched in the kitchen.
Super foods like kale, spinach and spirulina have found their way into skin care products. One of the pioneering companies in this area is ilike, a Hungarian spa-based brand that uses fruit and organic herbal ingredients like whole raw pulps, rather than extracts and their products contain no artificial colors. According to ilike, the color and even texture of the products can change slightly batch by batch and may even vary by season.
Some new comers in the area of “super food skincare” are YTTP (Youth To The People) that seeks to apply the benefitsof super foods + science in a line designed for an active and driven lifestyle.
Probiotics that we typically find in Kombucha, Kimchee and yogurts are now making their way into face and body care products. According to The Beauty Chef, Carla Oats, probiotics are not just for the belly, but for your skin. Her organic skincare range blends selected food ingredients with a natural fermentation process to bring out the very best in all of our ingredients and keep the skin’s ecosystem strong and healthy. Beauty brands like Juara Skincareuse fermented black tea to brighten and firm skin.
Tree of Life Foods and Oils
The Shea, Olive tree, Coconut and Baobab are some of the most well know trees of life. They are called trees of life because every part of the tree has a purpose. The Baobab tree, for example has leaves rich in protein and is used for cooking. The sweet Baobab fruit is rich in antioxidants and can be used in smoothies, ice cream and cosmetic purposes. The oil from the seeds can be extracted and use for cosmetic purposes because of high anti-oxidant benefits.
The oils and extracts from Shea, Coconut, Baobab and Olives oils are well known ingredients in cosmetic formulation and will continue to be the backbone of natural formulations. These natural food and cosmetic emollients are replacements for synthetic emollients like mineral oils and petrolatum. As many of the large cosmetic brands consider transitioning from synthetic oils these oils will be more prevalent even in mass channels
The days of green washing are over in the natural beauty space. Customers are demanding transparency in claims about the natural, organic and wholesome aspects of products. It is no longer acceptable to prominently display images of fruits and vegetables on packaging and claim to be natural when the ingredient list shows a very different story
It bears repeating that natural is the new normal, and the cosmetic brands that are paying attention realize that it is not enough to make keep their formulations natural and free form harmful additives and filler. Rather, they must now focus on food trends and the spillover effect they have in cosmetic and skincare product formulation. Beauty brands must stay innovative and creative when it comes to their formulations and look to the natural food industry for inspiration.
About the Expert
Funlayo Alabi is the co-founder of Shea Radiance, a natural beauty brand dedicated to transforming hair, skin, thinking … and lives into something more beautiful than what it was before. An integral part of Shea Radiance is to empower the 16 million African women who are picking and processing Shea nuts and butter, and connect them with women around the world who benefit from their artisan craftsmanship. She spent nearly a decade working on all-natural product formulations for Shea Radiance, with the objective of perfecting a high-percentage of shea butter formulation. Funlayo is a global business leader who speaks domestically and internationally on matters of international business, market and economic access for African women, Africa’s agricultural sector and Shea butter.
Shea Radiance was founded in 2008 on the premise that women need to care for themselves and each other. The company crafts artisanal skincare and haircare products that are all-natural with the purest, small-batch, women-sourced shea butter from West Africa as a primary ingredient. Shea Radiance promotes the power of community and empowerment for women around the globe.