Editor's Note: Flashback to the Basics

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When the trend for skinimalism emerged a few years ago, it reminded me of what my high school English teacher taught us about writing: cut the fat. Take out anything unnecessary to focus on the concept you mean to convey.

A similar approach to formulating* has been handed down to cosmetic chemists for generations: strip each formula down to the basics. Remove “pixie dust” ingredients; keep only those that serve a purpose; find ingredient synergies to eliminate the need for that third ingredient; etc.

This principle goes beyond reducing cost. It is more sustainable, reducing the number of materials needed to create a formula. It also decreases the potential for undesired ingredient interactions or skin irritation. It even clears space in consumers’ vanities with fewer products in their daily regimen.

Thoreau’s 1854 mantra of “simplify, simplify, simplify” is now riding the wave of skinimalism back to the tops of consumers’ minds. And it’s not the first time. What’s old is always new again – but each go ‘round brings the opportunity to reinvent based on new information.

This month’s issue of C&T goes “back to the basics.” It deviates from our typical content by including advice, opinion and tips for product development – in addition to our well-respected technical articles.

Preservation, for example, is a critical formulating fundamental and pain point for our industry. Here, Schnittger unravels regulatory contradictions surrounding it and proposes a way forward. Also, Manrique‐Otero, et al., examine preservation in w/o formulas, challenging the methods used to test their microbial stability.

Texture and structure are another formulating basic. In this issue, Lionetti and Deola review types of waxes and polymers and their functions in color cosmetics. Meier-Pokorny additionally explores the effects of foaming on emulsion spreadability.

In terms of tips and advice, Gallagher describes how mega-trends have shaped cosmetics R&D and the lessons he’s learned along the way. And Lambino stirs the imagination with his overview of ways to foster disciplined creativity in your product development process.

Lastly, what could be more basic than human emotion? Jiménez and Guzmán Alonso delve into this space by assessing how facial emotional expressions affect perceived age.

We hope this month’s flashback to the basics “schools” you in ways to rethink and reinvent your product development efforts.

* https://www.cosmeticsandtoiletries.com/formulas-products/skin-care/article/21835775/cosmetics-ketchup-and-formula-simplicity

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