Making Lemonade

Laugh lines and crow’s-feet are signs of a good life according to my aunt, who recently told me proudly that she had earned every wrinkle on her face. While I completely agreed with her philosophy, I also wondered whether we were merely making lemonade from lemons and accepting that aging to some degree is inevitable—and better than the alternative. Yet, I still apply my daily antiaging facial cream with SPF. Why?

Although it is politically correct to state that appearances don’t matter, I know the world in general doesn’t work that way. We dress up to attend social functions, job interviews or even trade shows not only for social acceptance, but also to show that we care about our persona. This in turn raises our credibility as well as our self-esteem, as various studies and programs such as Look Good ... Feel Better have established.

So, like many consumers, while I dutifully acknowledge deep down that “beauty comes from within” and “is in the eye of the beholder,” I also figure it does not hurt to give my outward appearance a little TLC, to at least maintain, if not improve, what nature gave me. This is where the expertise of product developers comes in: creating personal care products with consumer-perceivable, proven benefits.

This issue of C&T magazine addresses various angles of perception in the personal care market. For example, methods of green formulating—such as reduced energy use and raw material waste—are viewed favorably, which Lin describes. In addition, in Mondon et al.’s article, consumer-perceived indicators of aging, i.e. sun spots and vascularization, are assessed via a novel imaging technique to develop an ingredient that addresses these signs of aging.

Moving from sight to scent, Bhargava et al. examine methods and mechanisms of controlled release for fragrance to deliver specific product experiences to consumers. And finally, nothing represents the perception of “clean” more to consumers than a rich, foamy lather, which is the handy work of surfactants; thus, this issue features the 2010 Surfactant Encyclopedia.

Admittedly it is difficult to penetrate consumers’ perceptions to deliver science to their core beliefs. However, if they already believe, for example, that they are drinking lemonade, it is relatively easy to mix up a batch that quenches their thirst—just be sure to use real lemons.

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