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Surveying the aisle of shampoos or lotions at a local store, you stop; eyes fixed on a bottle that visually attracts your attention, and you click the lid open to sniff the contents. What does this mean? A) That something about the product—be it the reputation of the brand, the style or color of the bottle, or the verbage you read on the label—connected with you; and B) You care about the way it smells, or doesn’t.
Before the world turned “green,” aging became a “major” threat and folks were measuring their carbon footprints, sensory and emotional experiences with products were a key marketing focus. This does not mean they ever went away, but perhaps they became more of an assumption and foundation for new trends to build upon. Obviously the bottom line is: if the consumer thinks a product does not feel or smell good, or doesn’t work, they will not buy it.
However, consumers react to change, so new marketing stories were written for products and thus the story of sensory appeal took a back seat. But as technology has progressed, new sensorial experiences are being created to revive an old tale. The recent NYSCC Suppliers’ Day held in New Jersey hummed with renewable, natural and safer product solutions but there also was a heavy focus on sensory attributes of materials—in unexpected ways. For example, one company introduced a new polymer designed for wash applications that provided a thick foam and washed clean away but moments later, after the skin had dried, a silky and moisturized after-effect was imparted by rubbing the skin.
Another company introduced a tool for formulators to “tune” the sensory properties of a formula during different stages of use, which is detailed in Carey et al.’s article beginning of this issue. Also, Girboux and Courbon explain how to enhance the feel of vegetable oils in formulations by using silicone. Besides a product’s feel, Hindelang and McDonnell sniff out ways to reduce odiferous volatiles in formulations by using zeolites.
This issue of C&T magazine is dedicated to the overall science of formulating skin care—because although it’s exciting to learn what fascinating tricks new ingredients can perform, practical, hands-on formulating experience inspires the “feeling” of what a formula needs added and ultimately gets the formulator through the day.