Over 110 attendees flocked to the Belvedere Events & Banquets in Elk Grove Village, Ill., USA, to attend the Midwest chapter of the Society of Cosmetic Chemist's (MWSCC) Fall Technical Symposium on Oct. 10, 2013. The event's theme "Formulating for the Future," focused on two key aspects of future personal care products—green and niche markets.
The morning's green sessions opened with a presentation by Sonia Dawson, North American marketing manager for IRB, a division of Sederma, who discussed the production and benefits of plant stem cells. Dawson noted, "Nature is really an indispensable resource for cosmetic actives, but gaining access is not so easy." She added that there are problems with safety, availability and standardization. Regarding plant stem cell cultures, she highlighted that they are an eco-sustainable source. They are a safe product that is free of residual pesticides, and rare plants can be used, with only a small amount of material being required. Resources are spared with plant stem cell cultures. For example, one ton of water is saved per six jars of cream. The amount of soil and solvent are also reduced. The noted that plant stem cell cultures are not going to replace traditional agriculture overall, but they are a novel way of acquiring ingredients from unique sources.
Following was a presentation by Tim Kapsner, senior research scientist at Aveda (Estee Lauder Companies), on green chemistry in the production of cosmetic products. He outlines the "12 Principles of Green Chemistry," as originally identified by the Environmental Protection Agency's Paul Anastas, PhD, and John Warner, PhD, in Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice. He emphasized that the ultimate goal for our industry is to use green chemistry with plant derived feedstock, but that we are not there yet. He recommended that to maximize the investment benefit, one needs to redefine the problem rather than optimizing the existing solution, adding that one can derive new benefit from green chemistry. He introduced Estee's Green Chemistry Program in addition to Aveda's green efforts, adding, "Green is part of our DNA." Aveda has led to the development of certified organic plant essential oils. Their goal is to use plant actives at a functional level, which has led them to the development of such materials as a salicylic acid from wintergreen, which is produced with sodium hydroxide rather than through the chemical process. He explained that it costs are higher for these natural materials, but that companies have to account for that with their use. They have also identified natural surfactants from babassu, a material much like coconut, which has been very successful for them. To inspire action, he ended with a video from www.ted.com, in which Derek Sivers discussed how to start a movement.
Alban Muller, founder of Alban Muller International, followed Kapsner, with a presentation on sourcing natural products for sensory benefits in cosmetics. He introduced the Cosmetic Valley's and his company's approach to more eco-sustainable products, noting that species of plants have been planted in central France to increase biodiversity. His company has also used filtering gardens, where through phytoremediation, bacteria is able to remove pollution from the environment and away from the plants. The company also uses concentration to eliminate alcohol from the extraction process and flash pasteurization to sterilize the concentrate. Some of the natural materials he described included: milk thistle, as an alternative to silicones with the added benefit of protecting the skin barrier; salicylic acid from wintergreen as a natural antimicrobial; rosemary as a natural antioxidant; witch hazel and oak gallnut to fight against irritation and unpleasant smell; and white hibiscus and boabab for anti-wrinkle actions. He ended by noting, "Use of naturals is no longer an option, it is an obligation.