Hold the Fertilizer

Fresh from the SCC Annual Scientific Seminar in Chicago, I sat down to write this piece with tinted glasses. Cosmetics R&D has expressed a growing weariness of natural and green-not for the design of products that are eco-compatible, but for the claims that often accompany them, fertilizing false perceptions that ultimately have grown this market segment.

What irks many is the fact that science continues to support the safety and efficacy of synthetic chemicals, yet much of the industry chooses instead to follow the herd in search of greener pastures. And while I believe there are some in it for well-being or political reasons, let’s not forget that green is also the color of money.

In my view, these conflicts have incited a mild R&D counter-movement, shifting the focus of product development to specify an aspect of greenness that can more concretely marry science to marketing claims-i.e., renewable, sustainable or nature-derived. Whether initiated or advanced by R&D, marketing or consumers, this mindset seems to be where we find ourselves today.

As usual, Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine is dedicated to the science that supports these claims—naturally derived, eco-friendly, etc. In this issue, Ismail et al. describe a palm-derived dihydroxystearic acid for sensory and technical applications; von Oppen-Bezalel looks to Leucojum aestivum bulb extract for antiwrinkle and skin lightening/protective benefits; and Kim et al. examine the skin’s own structure for improving skin care barrier function-all relating to claims for nature-derived efficacy. Also, Boaz et al. describe a green, biocatalyic, solvent-free method to produce esters on Page 56.

Besides research related to the eco-friendly movement, this issue features the second of Abrutyn’s “Anatomy of a Formula” columns, this edition covering surfactants and cleansing products. In addition, the annual Hair Care Formulary offers formulators new ideas to try out at the bench.

This issue presents several viable concepts to assist those navigating their way through what Karl Lintner, PhD, calls “The Green Jungle.” As new aspects of what it means to be green are discovered, the cycle will continue with marketing’s promotion of R&D findings, together driving innovation ahead to meet the needs of the consumer-please just hold the fertilizer.

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