In today’s fast-moving personal care category, natural ingredients often rotate in and out of the spotlight as marketers look to pique the interest of consumers who follows trends and will recognize a component’s benefit from elsewhere (like mealtime).
Think about avocado. Rising to the top of the Millennial’s favorite breakfast dish, marketers are keen to call attention to the use of this savory fruit in their finished skin care products.
Eos, for example, incorporates avocado oil into its Crystal Lip Balm as well as in its Extra Dry Body Lotion and Intensive Hand Lotion formulations where it delivers hydration.
At Mustela, avocado is hardly trendy; the brand has been into this fruit for more than a decade and is happy that consumers are catching on.
“Thanks to the avocado toast obsession, it’s now common knowledge that avocados are nutrient dense. The health benefits associated with avocado also extend to skin care, and we’ve seen so many adult brands incorporating avocado oil into their products. However, at Mustela, we don’t simply use avocado in our products to be on-trend. Our fascination with avocado dates back to 2003, when our R&D team began a decade-long study on the physiology of babies’ skin,” said Catherine D’Aragon, vice president of marketing. “Since then, we’ve incorporated Avocado perseose into all of our baby products.”
Specifically, the Avocado perseose that Mustela uses is patented by Expanscience Laboratories (its parent company)—the result of a decade-long research study on baby’s skin that was published by Mustela’s R&D team in 2013.
“What differentiates this ingredient, from the everyday fruit that you know, is its potency and extraction process,” said D’Aragon. “We use molecular distillation to extract Avocado perseose from the heart of the Fuerte avocado, a specific type of fruit that is sustainably sourced in Peru. Molecular distillation allows us to obtain the highest quality active ingredients without any environmental impact. Since Avocado perseose is found in concentrations of less than 1% in fresh avocadoes, this extraction process is time consuming and extremely costly, but allows us to preserve the potency of the ingredient.”
The other defining feature, she said, is that it works with a baby’s skin to support healthy skin functioning at the cellular level.
“Through our dermatologic research, we discovered that a baby’s skin is still developing until age 2 and is unable to maintain optimal hydration levels during this time. Avocado perseose is the only ingredient that can maintain hydration, reinforce the skin barrier and protect epidermal stem cells, while still being safe and gentle,” she said.
And as part of Expanscience Laboratories, which is the first and only B Corp-certified pharmaceutical and dermo-cosmetics laboratory, Mustela must make sure the avocado is used to its fullest. D’Aragon told Happi that while Avocado perseose is the hero ingredient in all of Mustela’s baby products, the brand also uses avocado oil in its bath oils and diaper rash cream, and the pulp of the avocado yields avocado peptides that are used across Mustela’s Maternity range, too.
“We even use dried layers of the fruit to make powder exfoliants,” she said, adding that the avocados her company sources are non-food grade, “so there’s no impact on the global food supply.”
Rose is also trending in facial care. According to recently released data from Kline Amalgam, 16 rose-infused products ranked among the top 100 products in the astringent/toners segment of the facial skin care category in March 2018, compared to 11 in January 2018. Brands playing in the space include Leven Rose, Burt’s Bees and Mario Badescu.
Rose is attracting consumers due to its redness-reducing and skin-soothing benefits as seen in recent roll outs like Pixi by Petra Rose Tonic and the new Rose Blossom Revitalizer from Annemarie Börlind. Made with stem cells from the naturally hearty, organically grown Black Forest rose, Börlind’s concentrated antioxidant serum calms and protects irritated skin. The serum, which also contains rose water and rose oil, is said to counteract loss of collagen while firming, moisturizing and revitalizing.
While the marketing department may sing the praises of select materials, beauty brands have their go-to ingredients thanks to R&D teams who are always researching and evaluating efficacious components, even those in their own backyards.
At skin care line Sand & Sky, for example, the focus is on active ingredients indigenous to Australia, the country where the company is based.
“We are really intrigued by Australian botanicals. They have been used for centuries by the Indigenous people of Australia and their benefits are largely unknown or used in skin care,” co-founder Sarah Hamilton, told Happi.
Sand & Sky’s Australian Pink Clay Porefining Face Mask includes pink clay to remove dirt and oil; Australian finger lime (sometimes called “vegan caviar”) to boost collagen; kakadu plum (a rich source of vitamin C); mangosteen which protects against environmental damage and improves skin radiance; and Old Man’s Weed, which boasts anti-inflammatory properties to calm redness, irritation, acne and rosacea.
“Old Man’s Weed or Centipedia cuninghami extract is really interesting,” noted Hamilton. “It has been used by the indigenous people of Australia for centuries to treat skin conditions and heal the inflammation and infections. The leaves were traditionally bound to the area to be treated, however we use an extract that retains its potent healing abilities in our Porefining Pink Clay Mask to help soothe the skin.”
Hamilton also pointed to finger lime, calling it a “wonderful natural skin exfoliant.” Thanks to fruit acids that she said dissolve the glue that binds dead skin cells to the surface of skin, Finger Lime makes Sand & Sky’s Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment an “effective way to resurface your skin. It also protects against UVA and UVB and is source of vitamin C,” she said.
According to Hamilton, there is a seemingly endless supply of ingredients yet to be sourced from Down Under.
“Kakadu plum was one of the first ingredients that caught the attention of the skin care industry, but there is so much more to explore as 80% of our flora and fauna are unique to Australia. We are always seeking to understand more about Australian botanicals and we look to work with suppliers who respect the traditions of the Indigenous people as well as ensuring that harvests of the plant materials is done with the cooperation and involvement of the traditional owners of the land,” she said.
Demand & Supply
According to Hamilton, the R&D team at Sand & Sky is always looking for new ingredients to drive their formulations.
“We also watch closely for new raw materials that isolate the active ingredients of the botanicals to create a really effective ingredient,” she said.
When looking for effective ingredients, skin care makers can tap into the expertise of leading suppliers.
Mibelle Biochemistry made headlines earlier this year with the rollout of MossCellTec No. 1, the first cosmetic ingredient based on biotechnologically produced moss, at In-Cosmetic Global.
“Mosses were one of the first plants that moved out of the water and conquered the earth. To achieve this, they are masters in adaptation to different environments. To use these extremely resilient properties of moss for cosmetics, the innovative technology MossCellTec was developed to produce clean and sustainable moss cultures in the lab,” said Franziska Wandrey, research and study manager at Mibelle Biochemistry.
According to Wandrey, this ingredient targets a new anti-aging concept called cell nucleus health.’ “The nucleus in each of our cells contains the DNA and is considered the control center of the cell. Recent research has shown that the traffic of molecules into and out of the cell nucleus is crucial for the cell to adapt to its environment. This transport process is less efficient in aged cells. MossCellTec No. 1 maintains cell nucleus health for a more resilient skin,” she explained.
MossCellTec No. 1 can be used in all types of anti-aging formulations—but it is more than just an anti-aging ingredient, according to the company.
“As it improves skin adaptation to different climatic stresses, it can also be used in formulations that are developed to fight the stresses associated with urban city life such as fast temperature changes and pollution,” noted Wandrey, who said that Mibelle continues to research the effects of pollution on the skin, and plans to expand its roster in this area.
“Currently we are investigating how pollution influences the skin on an epigenetic level. We have developed a new active ingredient that can protect the skin from long-term epigenetic modifications caused by pollution. We are very excited about these results and will launch the product soon,” she concluded.
Jeen is touting Jeechem TDS (INCI: Tridecyl salicylate), an ester of isodecyl and tridecyl alcohol with salicylic acid which is known to be a skin conditioning emollient with strong anti-inflammatory properties and antibacterial activity.
“It’s also particularly useful in sun care products enhancing the functionality of active sunscreen ingredients,” said Albert Babik, general manager. He described Jeechem TDS as a “versatile product which lends itself as a powerful auxiliary ingredient in traditionally difficult formulations. Its multiple benefits enhance performance in formulations across multiple platforms.”
David Boudier, scientific communication manager, Silab, relayed information on Filmexel, which he described as an “innovative natural ingredient” resulting from Interpenetrating BioPolymer Network (IBPN) technology, which was initially used in the field of polymer chemistry.
Silab, he said, is the first and currently only company that succeeded in transposing this technology to natural polymers (biopolymers).
Filmexel is composed of an interpenetrating network of two polysaccharides derived from plant materials with traceable, secured and sustained sourcing—galactomannans of Caesalpinia spinosa, a South American shrub described as the “green gold of the Incas;” and sulfated galactans of Kappaphycus alvarezii, a warm water alga that grows in South East Asia.
This advanced network of two interpenetrating biopolymers provides outstanding biomechanical properties and superior film-forming capacities compared to those resulting from a simple mixture of individual biopolymers. The targeted cross-linking technology creates a dense and tight meshwork, imparting multiple and innovative benefits to the film, according to the firm.
“Filmexel is thus the result of many years of research and technological optimization and forms on the surface of the skin a natural, protective and lifting film featured by high resistance, a powerful retraction force and excellent sensorial efficacy,” he said.
Filmexel’s mechanical and biological actions enable it to be used in all face and body care products that can protect and enhance the skin and give it a younger appearance, according to the company. Available in preservative-free powder, Filmexel is stable, very soluble in water and easy to formulate in a wide range of formulas at low concentrations, according to Silab.
Hani Fares, director, skin care and sun care, explained that Ashland scientists took their polymer expertise to the next level by bringing together oppositely charged macromolecules to create a stable complex and a new skin care chassis ingredient called Optimage SF Microgel.
“In skin care formulas, this microgel complex provides both rapid and long-lasting improvement in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It achieves this due to its unique gel-matrix composition, which has affinity to skin and adapts to wrinkle topology. Due to their size, flexibility and surface energy, Optimage SF microgels can fill fine lines and enhance the appearance of skin by making the skin surface appear smooth, without the use of silicones,” said Fares.
The patent-pending technology is soft, silicone-free, pre-dispersed (no neutralization required), robust and provides clinically-validated fine line reduction on Caucasian and Asian skin.
“Optimage SF microgel will work in various skin care formulations and products which target improvement in the appearance of fines and wrinkles, including facial and eye creams, moisturizers, primers, serums, spot treatments, and fillers. This ingredient is compatible with common chassis skin care ingredients including, but not limited to, anionic thickeners, silicones, actives and polymers,” said Fares.
Ingredients that deliver improved skin hydration are always in demand.
To that end, Jennifer Shea, business development manager at Botanicals Plus, suggested that formulators assess BP-BotaniDew MF. It replenishes, supplements, and maintains the skin’s Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF) with clinically validated results showing highly statistically significant improvement in skin hydration from five hours to as many as 15 hours after a single application.
“I love that it’s easy to use and formulate with,” Shea said. “It offers significant improved moisturization and moisture retention for a broad range of applications. It can be used in gels, lotions and creams, and can be applied to virtually any troubled area of the skin, from the scalp to the toes.”
According to Shea, this material would be ideally used in post-shave products, soothing products, formulations to treat cracked heels, hand sanitizers and any finished product where prolonged hydration is desired.
Of Probiotics & Pollution
One of the newest ingredients from Evonik is Skinolance, described by Dr. Annika Schrader, global marketing manager active ingredients, as “a carefully selected active ingredient derived from a hero probiotic, the lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus. It keeps and restores the natural balance of the skin microbiota.”
Schrader recommends incorporating the material into various skin care products such as serums, masks and lotions, noting that its proven efficacy meets current market needs for microbiotic active products.
“I particularly appreciate the mild and skin friendly way of strengthening skin’s microbial shield,” she said. “With Skinolance we have developed a new product that has a special influence on the improvement of the skin barrier and the general skin texture by promoting the beneficial commensal skin bacteria. L. brevis extract thus helps to maintain healthy skin and can therefore be used in many different products and applications to achieve its effect. That makes Skinolance really special,” she concluded.
Echoing dermatologists’ and scientists’ concerns about the negative effect that pollution has on skin, Lubrizol’s newest development, Fensebiome peptide, is said to strengthen vulnerable urban skin by promoting microbiota balance, diversity and an increase in beneficial bacteria.
“It also helps reinforce the skin’s microbial and physical barrier function and prevents dehydration, one of the main problems of sensitive skin. This heptapeptide helps the skin stay healthy and vigorous to face modern lifestyle,” noted Olga Laporta Alcántara, PhD, technical marketing manager, Lubrizol Skin Essentials.
Alcántara relayed the story behind the development of this ingredient, which started in 2009 when a scientific expedition discovered an isolated village in the Amazon jungle (Yanomami Amerindian) whose members did not have any previous contact with modern lifestyles. Scientists were able to understand skin characteristics before industrialization and compare that skin with those of individuals living in a city. The research showed that the Yanomami’s bacterial diversity was twice that of urban citizens and their skin was enriched with anti-inflammatory bacteria, associated with a healthier and more protected skin, demonstrating the negative impact that modernization has had on the skin.
According to Alcántara, Fensebiome peptide can be incorporated into any formulation intended to strengthen the double barrier function of the skin and prevent dehydration.
Moreover, it can be added into prebiotic and probiotic-inspired skin care products looking for a balance in the skin microbiota or an enhancement in beneficial bacteria that lead to a healthy skin.
“With Fensebiome peptide we want the skin to regain its original strength,” she said.
Alcántara contends it is a perfect candidate to be introduced into formulations for skin exposed to urban conditions and sensitive skin types.
Christina Dean, personal care R&D director at Brenntag North America, also pointed to the slew of environmental issues that affect skin.
“Skin protection is a growing concern in today’s environment,” she said, noting that Brenntag’s solutions offer protection from “UV damage, as well as blue light damage and environmental pollution, which consumers are becoming more aware of and looking for a solution.”
The Brenntag portfolio, she said, has a perfect combination: Blumilight for blue light defense and SeaStem a marine biofunction that protects stem cells from pollutants (both manufactured by Ashland and available from Brenntag).
Blumilight biofunctional is a sustainably-sourced Theobroma cocoa seed extract from Peru that contains cocoa peptides, saccharides and polyphenols to help skin fight blue light pollution. This, in combination with SeaStem, an algae extract that captures the regenerating power of the ocean to protect stem cells from pollutants, offers complete skin protection.
“What I love about this combination is it’s not only extremely effective, but it is sustainably sourced,” said Dean. “The giant kelp that SeaStem is derived from is sustainably eco-harvested from the wild in a manner that helps maintain healthy kelp forests and protects marine ecosystems. After harvesting, it undergoes zeta fraction technology, a proprietary, solvent-free and sustainable process that captures the essence of the fresh and living algae; no chemicals are used in the manufacturing process.”
Marketers looking for a competitive edge in today’s multibillion beauty category know they can’t rest on their laurels. The good news is that leading suppliers are taking deep dives to find new ingredients that will work hard and wow customers.
• As legalization of recreational and medicinal marijuana continues in the US, the global cannabis market is heating up as more consumers look to purchase products legally. In fact, the legal marijuana market in the US is expected to hit $11 billion in consumer spending by the end of this year, and top more than $23 billion by 2022, according to a study conducted by ArcView Market Research and BDS Analytics.
Legalization and removal of stigmas associated with being a “stoner” are allowing cannabis-related ingredients to make headway into new markets—including wellness and skin care.
“We see a lot of energy being spent on cannabis, extracting materials from the plant and putting them into manufactured products, tinctures, edibles, topicals, and CBD skin creams,” said John Downs, director of business development at ArcView.
Several brands already tout topical skin care products that deliver pain relief. Mary’s Medicinals offers a spot-specific transdermal balm formulated with a blend of THC, CBD and CBC to offer fast-acting localized pain relief, and Lord Jones has a Pain & Wellness Formula that’s billed as a rich luxurious lotion that quells issues.
Outside of pain relief, Milk Makeup sells Kush Mascara, which contains CBD-rich cannabis oil; PerriconeMD’s Cbx for Men skin care range is formulated with phytocannabinoids that deliver antioxidant benefits to stressed, oil-prone skin; and Shea Brands, a Brooklyn-based indie skin care company, has expanded its roster with new CBD Restorative Lip Balm and CDB Natural Pain Reliever.