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Trends in Organic and Natural Products: A Q&A Session With Barbara Olioso, PhD
By: Katie Anderson
Posted: September 11, 2012
page 2 of 4
C&T: What are some challenges encountered when formulating an organic/natural skin care product?
I think formulating natural and organic cosmetics is a joy because there are so many choices for high-performing natural ingredients. However, if a formulator is working according to a private organic or natural standard, the challenge is to know what ingredients are allowed and can be used in the finished product. It is paramount to research this at the first stage of product development to know what is available. If the ingredient desired is not registered but complies with the standards, the registration procedure can take some time, thus affecting the development time schedule.
Often, one will find themselves doing a balancing act to find the sweet spot between the 'personality’ and look of the natural ingredients, costs involved and consumer expectations. For example, I can be briefed to use certain organic and natural ingredients, but the client might not realize that this results in the product having a strong color, undesired smell or a prohibitive price. A good formulator has to manage client expectations, helping them be realistic about what can be achieved and its cost.
C&T: How do regulation and independent seals affect your formulation of organic/natural products?
They affect my formulation a great deal—thank you for asking me this question. There is legislation that can have devastating effects on natural ingredients.
For example, the European restriction on methyleugenol may result in limiting the use of many beautiful natural ingredients such as rose oils. We are all enchanted by the beauty and smell of roses, and rose absolute is the empress in perfumery. However, at a regulatory level, there are no companies protecting rose oils and providing relevant and significant data due to the high costs involved.
It would be helpful if the organic certification bodies, and even producers, could work together to help protect the use of natural and organic ingredients such as rose and perhaps share the costs. Otherwise, more restrictions will limit the use of useful natural ingredients that are important in delivering effective natural products.