Compass—Feeling Out Consumers

While attending the recent Informex USA event in New Orleans, I met technical sales manager Eugene Ward of Siltech, whose separate but affiliated company name, Siltech LLC, you may recognize from the personal care industry. Ward made an interesting observation about exhibiting products to personal care versus industrial buyers. “The difference between personal care and industrial is that personal care is all about feel and touch. Here [at Informex], you can talk strictly about the chemistry, but personal care is different. People want to feel your products. I’ve [previously] attended 17 different shows in one year and the NYSCC Suppliers’ Day stood out because of this.”

Obviously, personal care is personal, which creates a challenge to not only design the desired physical effects, but also to interpret those effects as subjectively as the users will. For instance, if one develops a skin care active for anti-aging benefits, as Loing et al. describe in this issue, these effects must be both visually perceivable and, essentially, liked by the user. This becomes more complex since, as Steventon explains, sensory experience relates to user skin type.

To some extent, however, consumers experience similar effects, which is where ingredients such as silicones and nanoparticles can be employed. In relation, Fevola discusses the production and use of silicones, while Wu reviews the application of nanoparticles. Further, biocompatible hydrogels are described by Luis et al., which can be used to control the release of actives and consequently, their corresponding activity; whether for sensory or other benefits.

Taking subjectivity a step further, product developers whose target consumers believe strongly in naturals will appreciate Georgalas’ column on formulating with naturals for skin lightening and the Naturals/Botanicals Directory. This issue, in one way or another, is all about supporting your efforts in sensing what appeals to consumers. How does this appeal to you? Send us feedback.

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