Due to the introduction in recent years of innovative products in the cosmetics and personal care market,1, 2 the awareness and demand for innovation, technology and science is growing among consumers.3 At the same time, products of natural origin that are eco-friendly and certified by a multitude of labels are increasingly entering the market,4,5 becoming more and more popular,6, 7 and forcing brands and ingredient suppliers to source into the natural supply chain. Until now, the demands for innovation and nature have experienced parallel growth for different reasons according to consumer perception; i.e., the need for efficacy and the need for purity.
In the cosmetics and personal care market, the distinction between scientific and natural products is notable. The technological consumer looks at the scientific claims and innovations proposed first; the origin of the ingredients or story behind them is secondary. Regardless of the ingredient source, the technological benefits must be there. This type of consumer shops for perceivable efficacy—i.e., color change, wrinkle reduction, increased detergency, reduced body odor, etc.
The nature-driven consumer looks at the origin of the product and ingredients first, with a strong belief that nature carries a guarantee for safety, purity and gentleness. In this case, the consumer is more concerned about product safety than perceivable benefits. He or she prefers “free-from” claims and seeks information about the origin of the ingredients. Eco-friendly concepts are desired, but also, and more recently, information on the communities involved in that particular product’s ingredient sourcing and their commercial involvement—including concepts linked to sustainability and fair trade. For these consumers, technology and innovation in the finished product would be a secondary benefit and not the first determinant in the purchase decision, although an influence while shopping.
Considering these diverse views, how is it possible to create products that satisfy both, i.e., that bring the natural sourcing and sustainability linked to the ingredients, but also are innovative and scientifically proven? This article explores these concepts and a means to marry them: sustainability.