Like most chief financial officers, ours cringed when several staff members, including myself, recently generated some unexpected expenses. Not only were they unexpected, they forged unmarked territory and required new account numbers. However, as we explained to her, they were justified because they were an investment in research—to better understand you, dear readers. We’ve all heard that companies are allocating more resources for R&D, so it only naturally follows that we would do the same. Our efforts have resulted in some rich, in-depth conversations, from which a new direction for us is beginning to take shape. But hold this abstract thought for now. It’s for a larger, as yet undefined picture ahead.

For the current picture, Cosmetics & Toiletries knows many of the headaches you endure; for example, regulations and scale-up. It would take volumes to address all the challenges these pose, but this issue covers two specific aspects of them: assessing exposure and identifying contaminants. Joo et al. describe a study of Korean consumers using a method to determine their exposure degree to lipstick and face creams. In addition, K. Martin outlines various devices and methods to identify particulate contamination in products.

But wait, now marketing wants to claim natural and paraben-free? Estanqueiro et al. source volcanic pumice as a natural exfoliant and explore the effects of different particle sizes on formula viscosity and efficacy. Also, M. Fevola looks to sorbic acid as a natural preservative and describes its manufacture and application.

Oh, and don’t forget novel sensory effects and proven efficacy. For these, ingredients like the hydrophilic silicone elastomer described by I. Van Reeth enable formulating with polar solvents, actives and high levels of water, providing unique sensory characteristics. To paint all these challenges in a more positive light, consider them opportunities to shine. It may be easier said and done, but with some creative license, a new landscape will take shape.

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