The natural and organic trend is growing rapidly, and formulators and cosmetic manufacturers are evolving to create products that comply with green regulations. The United States is not the only country to see a growth in organic and natural formulation; countries in Europe and Asia have also joined the trend. However, instead of seeking out new and innovative raw materials to formuate into natural and organic products, Japanese cosmetics firms such as Shiseido, Kanebo and SK-11 are seeking greener living through history, not chemistry.
According to a recent report by Policy Innovations, Japanese cosmetic manufacturers are conjuring up traditional recipes, featuring natural ingredients such as seaweed, rice bran and ground adzuki beans. Some say that Japanese cosmetic manufacturers are re-inventing old beauty practices and making them 21st century-ready.
While the Japanese market is being innovative in recalling old customs, some ancient ingredients may turn consumers from other countries away. Ingredients such as nightingale droppings and bull semen will most likely be renamed on US shelves. Although there is precedent for name-switching, there are few that police such acts.
Europe, Asia and the United States are all making strides in terms of organic and natural innovation. Every day, new extracts, oils, compounds and powders are being found that meet organic and natural regulation criteria. Focus should not be placed on whether the new extracts are remakes of old recipes or new innovations, but rather on the consumer's perception of the ingredient. Will the consumer choose ancient remedies or new innovations? The future holds the answer.