“COVID-19 has brought an increased focus on preserving the microbiological integrity of personal care products,” said Linda B. Sedlewicz, vice president of schülke inc, Fairfield, NJ.
Leaders in today’s preservatives sector have expertise and product ranges that can help brands solve their formulation problems and answer marketing demands at the same time.
“The natural and wellness movements are continuing to drive change in beauty and personal care products, and preservation is one of the most challenging areas in this respect. Preservation has to be effective and safe, in addition to meeting natural consumer desires,” noted Lisa Gandolfi, director of marketing at Inolex.
“Today, consumer-accepted traditional preservation options are limited,” Gandolfi said, noting that prevalent traditional preservatives used in the cosmetics industry, such as phenoxyethanol or sodium benzoate, are 100% petro-derived and alternative options, including caprylyl glycol or ethylhexylglycerin, are also 100% petro-derived. “Our customers are searching for effective preservation options that have high natural content, ideally 100% biobased, and are easy to use in formulation.”
According to Gandolfi, Inolex has focused development on optimized, complete systems that are efficacious when used with the Hurdle Technology approach; they include ingredients that function against bacteria, yeast and mold: caprylhydroxamic acid (CHA), medium chain terminal diols for additional bacteria growth control, and carrier fluids for easy-to-use liquid formats, she said.
Inolex’s Spectrastat G2 Natural MB (caprylhydroxamic acid (and) glyceryl caprylate (and) glycerin) is 100% natural and contains 100% USDA certified bio-based content. According to the company, this novel blend of caprylhydroxamic acid with glyceryl caprylate, a skin conditioning agent, creates a ready-to-use combination that effectively controls bacteria, yeast and mold over a broad pH range from pH 4 to 8. Other options include Spectrastat PHL (caprylhydroxamic acid (and) 1,2-hexanediol (and) propanediol), which contains 66% USDA-certified biobased content. This ingredient combination combines the chelating power of CHA with the solvency of 1,2-hexanediol yielding a readily water soluble and cold processable alternative preservation solution that effectively controls bacteria, yeast and mold. In addition, Spectrastat PHL provides a mild and gentle solution that is ideal for baby products and facial care products, including sheet masks, according to the company.
“Preservatives are critical components of a product and have taken center stage amid COVID-19 crisis,” noted Caren Dres-Hajeski, business unit director-personal care, Acme-Hardesty. “Demand has risen for cosmetic products that are preventative, safe and shelf stable.”
According to Dres-Hajeski, its principal partner (Sharon Labs) has innovated by predominantly researching application-specific solutions to tackle preservative need by understanding market gaps, changes in regulatory landscape and customer demands with a product line categorized into three primary solutions (natural and nature identical, amplification and traditional).
Rishabh Shah, director-technical services, Acme-Hardesty, pointed to ingredients such as SharoSense Plus, a patent pending solution that combines the best features of a natural/nature identical ingredients with the safety, quality and consistency that is strengthened by the role of cationic catalysis. The product line is based on the backbone of maltol, a natural occurring organic compound that is derived from isokojic acid. Maltol-backed preservative solutions enhance the efficacy providing broad spectrum protection at a significantly low use level (0.5% and above). It is supplied in crystalline powder that is easy to use, readily soluble in water, pH independent and compatible with different chassis environment. To amplify efficacy and be free from parabens, formaldehyde donors and isothiazolinones, Shah suggested Sharomix AM 28, which is free of phenoxyethanol, too. It is water soluble, pH independent and temperature stable.
The growth of indie brands and niche players across the beauty sector has influenced product development within the preservatives space.
“Customers are evolving into more and more niche product segments and niche identities for brands—some are challenging us into more natural systems, other customers are focused on the lowest level of preservation possible, while others are entirely focused on sensitizers and irritants,” said Albert Babik, general manager, Jeen International.
Jeen offers Jeecide CAP-7, a solution which has antimicrobial properties against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, yeast and mold. It also synergistically works as an emollient and skin conditioning agent, according to Jeen, which recently moved into a new facility with five separate specialized laboratories, including a dedicated microbiology lab, quality control lab, product development lab, R&D lab and a formulation lab.
“The laboratories in total encompass close to 4,000 square feet” and are “designed to support every aspect of our customers’ needs,” Babik told Happi.
Nicholas A. Arellano, technical marketing manager, preservatives, Coast Southwest, said customers “want a broad-spectrum, low-use level, non-pH-dependent preservative that is free of any and all ingredients that consumers have been told to avoid—for example phenoxyethanol, formaldehyde-donors and others.”
According to Arellano, Coast Southwest helps customers apply preservatives that work well in multiple formulas.
“From natural-like solutions, to economy alternatives for more price-sensitive consumers, we have an answer for everyone’s puzzle. With our technical team and applications lab, our solutions are not driven by what works for others, but what works for a specific customer’s specific formulation requirements,” Arcellano said, citing Sharomix Amplify and SharoSense Plus as preservatives that help lessen the use level and increase efficacy—and check many boxes from formulator to customer.
Ashland’s latest offerings include Optiphen GP preservative, a broad-spectrum liquid technology designed to meet the requirements of a modern antimicrobial. It is effective against Gram-negative bacteria, yeast and mold, and does not cause skin irritation. Optiphen GP works in a wide pH range and was designed specifically for personal care formulations that require good formulation compatibility and skin comfort. It has good compatibility in a wide range of personal care applications, like water facial masks, fragrance-free products, transparent formulations, and mommy and baby products.
“People care about their future, their health and the health of our planet, this influences their choice of raw materials and cosmetic products. Questions related to sustainability and ecological footprint are important in the personal care industry and this includes antimicrobial offerings,” said Andrea Wingenfeld, global marketing manager preservatives and medical care, Ashland. “We are proud to offer a technology with wide antimicrobial spectrum of protection based on components that are readily biodegradable. Optiphen GP also provides a content of 37% natural origin, applying the ISO 16128-2:2017(E) standard,” she said.
According to Pat Lutz of Lincoln Manufacturing, customers are requesting products to be Cosmos-certified. To answer these needs, his firm touts Linatural Ultra-3, as well as three new preservative systems unveiled this year. The first is Linatural Ultra-MFN-Multifunctional Natural. Cosmos-certified, this multiple patent-pending system is designed around mastic water from Greece; it does not contain any conventional preservative wording and no glycols, diols, alcohols, or oils; and functions as a moisturizer and skin conditioning agent that will protect the stability of a formulation, according to Lutz.
Also new are Linatural MBS-Clear and Linatural MBS-Powder, both of which are Cosmos-certified. Linatural MBS-Clear is cost-effective, broad-spectrum, and a naturally-derived multifunctional for formulations with pH below 6.5; Linatural MBS-Powder shares similar attributes (naturally-derived, broad-spectrum) and is a multifunctional alternative powder to preservation.
While there have been ingredient supply issues stemming from COVID-19 shutdowns, Lutz contends Lincoln MFG has been well-positioned.
“Customers are having difficulty getting steady supply of raw materials including preservatives from overseas and dealing with the increase in tariffs. Lincoln manufactures in the USA making it easier for supply and better cost effectiveness,” he said.
For customers requesting preservative challenge testing to verify that the preservative system is effective in their formulations, Lincoln MFG provides the service free of charge. The company, which has moved into a new manufacturing and R&D Center in North Kingstown, RI, added new kettles to customize any size request from a 40lbs pail to tank wagons, as well as new high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) equipment for analysis. The company is also supplying new smaller minimum order quantities of 7lbs jugs (1 gallon), according to Lutz.
Schülke has been investing, too. It recently expanded production in a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Virginia where it is producing three of its main preservative blends: euxyl PE9010, euxyl K701 and euxyl K703.
“Producing these blends domestically will assure product availability and shorten lead-times for our customers,” asserted Ingrid Chirico, distributor network manager, schülke.
Further, schülke plans to open a microbiology laboratory in Delaware to provide challenge testing to its customers free of charge. According to Chirico, schülke will offer its stringent KoKo and CosPET challenge tests, as well as the USP <51> method, upon request. The new lab is expected to be fully operational by Fall 2020.
The company has also implemented a new customer technical information portal that enables customers to obtain technical information directly on any of its product offerings, 24/7.
Around the clock access to information can prove critical when marketplace needs change dramatically, such as the surge in demand for hand sanitizers following the coronavirus outbreak.
The company’s sensiva SC 50 has a history of use in hand sanitizers; it is “synergistic with alcohol, while increasing emolliency to counteract the drying effect these products often have,” said Sedlewicz.
“As this pandemic has shifted the business model of some companies in the industry, which are now dedicated to producing cleansing products and sanitizers to combat the virus, it is important, more than ever, to be transparent with the claims that can be made for our product offerings,” noted Chirico.
For companies that recently began or are considering formulating these products, Chirico offered some advice. “No topical antibacterial or antiviral claims can be made based on these preservatives. It is critical to remember that hand sanitizers are a monographed drug category and must be manufactured according to FDA guidance, even during this crisis,” she said.
The Clean Scene
Clean beauty is another trend showing no signs of slowing. More brands are using this language to talk to consumers, and preservatives suppliers are working toward solutions that fit the bill.
“Clean beauty is less of a revolution—and more of an evolution for the industry. It is the culmination of a lot of trends, must haves, wishes, consumer perception, specialized cosmetics and brand identity,” said Babick. “Our answers at Jeen are as varied as those demands—and often, we are deploying a series of solutions to meet the needs. Paramount to everything is to have a well-preserved, balanced product, followed by scientifically-based answers on the need and the options available.”
According to industry observers, clean beauty is pushing the preservatives industry to craft better solutions.
“Personal care items will continue to be formulated with preservatives that are cleaner, healthier and more efficient, said Babick. “Our consumers continue to be more educated, more demanding and more savvy, and the challenge is being shared equally by product development people, ingredient suppliers like Jeen, and even packaging suppliers—all of whom are working on different ways to minimize the level of preservatives needed, to offer novel preservatives, or to formulate products without utilizing any of the ‘challenged’ traditional preservatives.”
“There have been a lot of inquiries about how our preservatives and multifunctionals stand with clean beauty. We receive Leaping Bunny, vegan, Halal, palm oil, and ISO document requests from our customers on a daily basis,” said Chirico of schülke, noting that her firm has a strong technical team in the US and Germany to address requests.
According to Sedlewicz, schülke approaches the concept of “clean” beauty with a focus on safety, efficacy and sustainability. The company, which has been participating in the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme since 1998 and has Bronze medal status from Ecovadis, has new offerings in addition to “tried and true” products like sensiva PA 40 (which combines natural, nature-identical and gentle synthetic boosters that help to maintain the microbial stability of many formulation types) and euxyl K 712 and euxyl K 903, which provide more traditional preservative efficacy while remaining compliant with major natural certification bodies.
New additions to the schülke roster include euxyl Eco 910, a strong, broad spectrum preservative blend that is pH independent, Cosmos approved and verified by Ecocert, it is intended to be used in personal care, pet care and is a great option for the preservation of clean beauty products. It has a fresh and invigorating smell and it is compatible with any surfactant system.
Also new from schülke is effisin LA natural, an organic acid solution derived from non-GMO corn. It is highly effective against bacteria and should be used in combination with other preservatives and multifunctional ingredients for broad spectrum protection, according to the company.
Experts across preservation recognize the challenges facing today’s product development teams when it comes to defining “clean” beauty.
“As we all know, the term ‘clean’ has a multitude of meanings in the marketplace; one consumer’s idea may not translate the same way to another,” said Arellano of Coast Southwest. “With the depth of our product portfolio, our laboratory capabilities, and the technical support from our preservative product team, we can help customers define what ‘clean’ means to them. From nature-like to naturally-derived, we have a response. While functionality and actives are the primary building blocks when formulating, in keeping with consumer preferences, we work with formulators to consider which preservative will allow the brand to stay loyal to their definition of ‘clean’ while remaining safe.”
According to Lutz, generally speaking, customers define clean as a preservative system that does not contain any conventional preservative wording such as glycol, diol, alcohol and oils.
“This is why Lincoln MFG has developed new three multifunctional preservative systems—Linatural Ultra-MFN, Linatural MBS-Clear and Linatural MBS-Powder,” Lutz told Happi.
Inolex’s offerings for safe and effective alternative preservation options center around the Hurdle Technology approach to preservation, which can be particularly useful in “clean” beauty.
“The best place to start when formulating a clean beauty product is with ingredients that focus on all aspects of ‘clean’ – safety, sustainability, and environmental impact. Effective preservation is incredibly important in formulation. Preservative systems exist explicitly to maintain the safety of a formulation by keeping it free of microbial contamination. When formulating products, ‘clean’ products included, it is critical to ensure they are safe for the consumer to use above everything else,” noted Gandolfi.
“To address the ‘clean’ beauty trend, it is first of all important to really understand what the customer defines as a ‘clean approach,’” said Wingenfeld of Ashland. “With our large toolbox we can usually offer a suitable technology, either alternative antimicrobials like the Conaroms or nature identical Optiphen offerings aligned with natural labels like Cosmos or Natrue. This ‘clean’ beauty trend influences our new innovation projects as well and the choice of the technologies.”
Potential solutions are a reduction of ingredients to stay with a shorter list of INCI, or selection of technologies with a sustainable ecological footprint, she said. Experts say brands are wise to loop in their preservative partners early—whether they are starting fresh with NPD or want to tweak an existing product.
“Clean beauty has gained traction in recent years. It was a trend that started out as a ‘naturals’ trend that has evolved into safety-first. The clean beauty trend has made contemporary, naturals and nature-identical ingredients acceptable as long as they are safe, reliable with better transparency, environmental footprint, and shelf stability,” said Dres-Hajeski of Acme-Hardesty. “We recommend startups as well as existing brands work with us at an initial stage of product development/reformulations, wherein we can recommend the right preservative solution, and help support their R&D goals.”
According to Global Market Insights Inc, the cosmetic preservatives market was valued at $975 million in 2019. As more beauty brands address health and safety and the call for clean products, the need for smart preservative solutions in cosmetics will continue to rise, placing even greater value on these essential and valuable ingredients. In fact, the market is projected to surpass $1.25 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 7% from 2020 to 2026.