Feeding microbes for odor control – or even preferred scent production – was among the future-forward talks presented on Day One at the 76th SCC Annual meeting. Held Dec. 12-14, 2022, in Los Angeles, the event made its debut for the first time on the West Coast.
7 Keys to Successful Innovations
The opening keynote and session, the "Future of Beauty," featured Clarisonic founder and founder/CEO of Opulus Beauty Lab Robb Akridge, Ph.D., who outlined seven keys to successful innovations.
- They must be similar to existing consumer habits in order to be accepted (i.e., you would not present something to consumers that seems too far-fetched).
- They should not have too many steps. Consumers will get bored if you expect them to apply products several times per day.
- They should not provide too much information about the innovation. Consumers don't want all the details, they want to know the outcome or "what's in it for me."
- They should look high tech but also be simple to use.
- They should be fun and "addictive" to use, so consumers want to use it multiple times.
- They should provide better results that what consumers are getting now.
- They should take into account where consumers get their information (e.g., do they believe their smartphone app or influencers over their dermatologist?).
"The biggest challenge is about consumer knowledge," said Akridge. He explained consumers used to get information from print ads, dermatologists, beauty editors and department stores, but now they look to macro and micro influencers and bloggers. "Trends used to migrate from east to west or west to east," he added, "but trends don't migrate any more. They are always everywhere."
This can lead to information overload, however. "How much is too much?" he asked. "How do you hone it in and make it real?" Akridge added that social media in the future will need to be reigned in; for example, the way the Federal Trade Commission protects consumers.
Evolving Trends in Beauty
Also during his keynote, Akridge outlined evolving trends in beauty, including:
- Customization, for example, using genomics – although he emphasized the need to go beyond marketing to make truly customized products;
- Sustainability, environmental consciousness, transparency and carbon footprint/emissions;
- Cause marketing;
- Novel ingredients;
- AI and devices;
- Microbiome, prebiotics and probiotics; and
- New materials.
"The future's going to be about new materials," Akridge said. He gave examples including 3D printed microbes, patches for environmental and pollution protection, "living" tattoos, plant-derived biotech and secretory extracts. "Biotechnology is a new way to get ingredients," he added.
Further, while the market has seen prebiotics and probiotics, Akridge believes there is opportunity in postbiotics. "Postbiotics are the way of the future," he said. "We will find that secretions from the microbiome do things." In relation, he cites cell signals involving receptors, ligands, etc., and their specific binding as a target for desired effects.
A final point he noted throughout his talk was the blurred line between cosmetics and drugs. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not currently recognize the term cosmeceuticals, he believes they may need to, eventually.
Beauty of Biotech
Following they keynote, the afternoon session continued with concepts for future cosmetics. Moderated by Helen Knaggs, Ph.D., of NuSkin, and Dennis Abbeduto, of Colonial Chemical, the first presentation, "The Power of Biology," presented by Jasmina Aganovic of Arcaea, gave attendees a different perspective of biotechnology.
"Biology is the most sophisticated technology on the planet," Aganovic said. "It has nano-precision and global scale, and is sophisticated and sustainable de facto." She added that biotechnology is similar to the chemical manufacturing process, as microbes metabolize the desired products; albeit on a different scale and under purer, more controlled conditions.
"To me, biotechnology is helping us access a new palette of materials," she said, adding, "Many technologies have matured over the last decades to help us understand biology." She described protein engineering, protein design, etc., as Legos to help us create new solutions.
For example, she described recent work to control body odor through biology. Using AI to identify odor-causing microbes and study their metabolism, her team created a metabolic map to assess whether the food the microbes ate impacted their behavior; e.g., the odors they produced. High throughput data informatics revealed there was a connection and in vitro tests validated this probiotic effect. She additionally shared the idea of using this approach to not only remove malodor, but also influence microbes to produce desired scents.
19 Trends in 'My Beauty'
Finally, Amit Chandra, Ph.D., of Amway gave attendees several trends in beauty through what he believes is a unique emerging consumer perspective – "my beauty," or beauty as perceived by the self, as opposed to beauty in the eye of the beholder. These included the following:
- Sustainability, which according to Chandra comprises the environment, economics and social aspects;
- Diversity, equity and inclusion – meaning developing products specifically for diverse consumers, rather than them settling for products that are "good enough";
- Power of culture and traditions, including understanding cultural traditions to open up ideas for products;
- Botanicals and their ancient wisdom paired with modern science;
- Avoiding fearmongering – "Don't sell fear and stress, share joy," Chandra said;
- Impact of extreme weather (e.g., pollution) and circumstances (i.e., COVID lockdown/virtual world) on the efficacy, stability and even the relevance of pre-pandemic products. This includes changes to the stability or dynamics of products themselves due to pollution or global warming. Such changes must be considered to ensure the products are still safe for consumers;
- Thriving with age, rather than "anti-aging." "Drive positivity," Chandra said;
- Skin care for menopausal health; there is room here to grow, according to Chandra;
- AI and technology merging digital (not virtual) and reality;
- Quality – adulteration is happening especially in botanicals as supply chains were strained during COVID;
- Beauty Rx and the medicalization of beauty; here, regulators have their work cut out for them, according to Chandra (which brought the discussion back to drug vs. cosmetic);
- Personalization that is solution-oriented;
- Allergy-modified cosmetics;
- Biologically active;
- Herbal cosmetics from traditional systems ("east meets west");
- Lipsticks and lip augmentation (now that lips are being unmasked);
- All about the eyes;
- Multicultural; and
- Men's care – "Where is it?" Chandra asked.
Following the talks, a lively Q&A panel discussion rounded out Day One of the conference, which closed with a welcome networking happy hour.