Beyond the Obvious in Sun Care Formulating

What are the biggest challenges in sun care formulating? I asked a few colleagues, and they answered: achieving what marketing wants while complying with regulations and making sunscreens esthetically pleasing (so consumers will use them); and the lack of international harmonization in UV filters, UVA testing and labeling. These issues are not new, so why are they not yet resolved? Perhaps because regulations and consumer demand are moving targets, which are difficult to hit.

Since consumer fears underlie most regulations, one could theoretically remain a step ahead by predicting consumer behavior. I do not own a crystal ball and my tarot deck is a bit dusty, so I cannot tell you what consumers want next. I can tell you, though, that products that gain the most consumer attention are noticeably different from others on the market and stand out by incorporating step-change innovations. So where are these innovations found? I think the answer lies in looking beyond the obvious or known, and not just at successes, but also failures.

Take one of my favorite failure-based successes: champagne. While attempts intially were made to remove its dancing bubbles, once they gained consumer acceptance, demand for the product remained steady and has since the 17th century. Imagine product loyalty like that.

More in Sun Care