Future of Green and Niche Markets Explored at MWSCC Technical Symposium

Over 110 attendees flocked to the Belvedere Events & Banquets in Elk Grove Village, Ill., USA, to attend the Midwest chapter of the Society of Cosmetic Chemist's (MWSCC) Fall Technical Symposium on Oct. 10, 2013. The event's theme "Formulating for the Future," focused on two key aspects of future personal care products—green and niche markets.

The morning's green sessions opened with a presentation by Sonia Dawson, North American marketing manager for IRB, a division of Sederma, who discussed the production and benefits of plant stem cells. Dawson noted, "Nature is really an indispensable resource for cosmetic actives, but gaining access is not so easy." She added that there are problems with safety, availability and standardization. Regarding plant stem cell cultures, she highlighted that they are an eco-sustainable source. They are a safe product that is free of residual pesticides, and rare plants can be used, with only a small amount of material being required. Resources are spared with plant stem cell cultures. For example, one ton of water is saved per six jars of cream. The amount of soil and solvent are also reduced. The noted that plant stem cell cultures are not going to replace traditional agriculture overall, but they are a novel way of acquiring ingredients from unique sources.

Following was a presentation by Tim Kapsner, senior research scientist at Aveda (Estee Lauder Companies), on green chemistry in the production of cosmetic products. He outlines the "12 Principles of Green Chemistry," as originally identified by the Environmental Protection Agency's Paul Anastas, PhD, and John Warner, PhD, in Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice. He emphasized that the ultimate goal for our industry is to use green chemistry with plant derived feedstock, but that we are not there yet. He recommended that to maximize the investment benefit, one needs to redefine the problem rather than optimizing the existing solution, adding that one can derive new benefit from green chemistry. He introduced Estee's Green Chemistry Program in addition to Aveda's green efforts, adding, "Green is part of our DNA." Aveda has led to the development of certified organic plant essential oils. Their goal is to use plant actives at a functional level, which has led them to the development of such materials as a salicylic acid from wintergreen, which is produced with sodium hydroxide rather than through the chemical process. He explained that it costs are higher for these natural materials, but that companies have to account for that with their use. They have also identified natural surfactants from babassu, a material much like coconut, which has been very successful for them. To inspire action, he ended with a video from www.ted.com, in which Derek Sivers discussed how to start a movement.

Alban Muller, founder of Alban Muller International, followed Kapsner, with a presentation on sourcing natural products for sensory benefits in cosmetics. He introduced the Cosmetic Valley's and his company's approach to more eco-sustainable products, noting that species of plants have been planted in central France to increase biodiversity. His company has also used filtering gardens, where through phytoremediation, bacteria is able to remove pollution from the environment and away from the plants. The company also uses concentration to eliminate alcohol from the extraction process and flash pasteurization to sterilize the concentrate. Some of the natural materials he described included: milk thistle, as an alternative to silicones with the added benefit of protecting the skin barrier; salicylic acid from wintergreen as a natural antimicrobial; rosemary as a natural antioxidant; witch hazel and oak gallnut to fight against irritation and unpleasant smell; and white hibiscus and boabab for anti-wrinkle actions. He ended by noting, "Use of naturals is no longer an option, it is an obligation."

Rounding out the morning was Dawn Thiel Glaser, business director for Beraca North America, who focused on her company's efforts in sustainability in Brazil. She first showed pictures of Brazil, noting that it is a socio-diverse country with six different biomes. She highlighted the importance of the Convention on Biodiversity's Nagoya Protocol, a transparent legal framework that maintains the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. She then highlighted some of her company's efforts to obtain crops local to Brazil, while respecting their culture and arming communities to flourish.

During the lunch break, attendees had to opportunity to view the 15 student posters, which highlighted some fascinating research in cosmetic science and related industries. Lori Hilson form TH Hilson, sponsor of the event's student poster awards, was on hand to hand out the prizes. Winners included: Kayla Banks from the University of Toledo in fourth place for her poster "Cosmetic Science Internship Experience from the Perspective of a Product Safety and Research Intern at the Limited Brands;" J. Woolridge from the University of Cincinnati in third place for the paper "On the Role of Yeast Ferment Filtrate in Reducing Pigmentation and Oxidative Stress;" Sudhir Baswan from the University of Cincinnati in second place for the poster "Characterization of Ion Transport in Human Nail Plate;" and Lauren Grabstanowicz from Northern Illinois University in first place for her paper "Oxidative Conversion of TiH2 to Ti3+ Self-Doped Rutile TiO2 with Visible-Light Photoactivity."

The afternoon kicked off with a timeline of trends in the ethnic hair care industry by Ali Syed, president of Avlon Industries. He noted that fashion trends are viewed in two frames: long-term, such as decades and centuries, and short-term, such as months and seasons. He added that creative entrepreneurs and fashion conscious consumers start trends. He then went into ethnic hair care trends, starting with the 1890s, when temporary hair straightening with heat started. He then continued to the 1930s, when permanent hair straightening with lye and potato starch began. The lye process continued to be refined into 1956, which saw a high oil, low lye permanent hair straightening solution. No-base relaxers were introduced in 1970, followed by glycerin-based sprays for men later in the 1970s. The end of the 1970s also saw the rise of no-lye relaxers and curly perms. Body waves were a hit in 1990, and finally, natural ethnic personal care products started appearing on the market in 1996. In the 21st century, home relaxer kits and products for natural hair continue to see popularity.

Continuing on the discussion of trends was Larissa Jensen, director and industry analyst of the NPD Group, who presented on the hot topic of alphabet creams. She emphasized that 77% of women still don't know what a BB cream is. According to Jensen, BB creams in the United States grew five times in 2012, and this trend shows no sign of slowing down. These products differ by region, with the United States looking for more lightweight BB creams, while Asia is looking for thicker BB creams with sun protection and whitening effects. Both markets, however, desire anti-aging benefits in these products. She noted that BB creams may be cannibalizing other types of products such as tinted moisturizers, foundations and brightening products. She noted that the product category is expanding, with DD creams and event GG creams coming out on the market. The biggest pitfall of the BB cream category, according to Jensen, is the lack of shades, with multi-ethnic and dark-skinned individuals not having options. Here, Jensen noted, tinted moisturizers and foundations have the upper hand.

The discussion then shifted to the mature market, with a presentation by David Koenig, PhD, research technical leader at Kimberly-Clark. Koenig noted that elderly skin is fragile and the chief complaint is that it is easily bruised and torn. Also, it is often perceived as dry. He added that formulations for the mature market are often unattractive, hard to use, sticky, greasy and not very beneficial to the skin. Collagen and elastin are reduced in aged skin and are less organized in the dermis. In addition, aged skin is less permeable and less susceptible to irritation, but has a slower healing rate. Though testing, Koenig found that there are decreased ceramide amounts in elderly skin, with a much higher urea content. He noted that formulators of mature products need to re-balance the ceramides, not the fatty acids and cholesterol. Also, he emphasized that the last moisturizer that should be added to mature products is urea, adding "They are already producing enough. What you need to focus on is how to get the resilience back into the skin to keep it from tearing."

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