Novelty ingredients set to innovate cosmetics industry?

By Louise Prance

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Skin care Cosmetics

As the cosmetics industry becomes over-run with plant and fruit
extract ingredients - manufacturers are beginning to diversify with
'novelty' ingredients that capitalise on the growing desire for
alternative products, from skin care to fragrances.

Many manufacturers are now beginning to cater for the more daring consumer who sees past socially acceptable cosmetic ingredients, and is willing to discover the cosmetic benefits that come from sources such as sheep placenta and bull semen. However, another reason for the diversification is possibly due to the fact that the ingredients are relatively cheap to source and manufacture, with many also providing invaluable skin care and cosmetic benefits. A London salon has recently sparked a new trend within hair care, claiming that semen derived from bulls is a lead ingredient in its new Aberdeen Organic Hair treatment due to the shine given by the protein in the semen. Indeed, a Norwegian based company, Maritex, allegedly first discovered the effects of the protein in Cod sperm in 2002, subsequently manufacturing it for binding water together in body lotions and make-up. Last year an Australian couple raised over AUD$1 million after discovering Ambergris, or grey amber washed up on a beach and selling it to fragrance manufacturers. The substance is actually bile secreted by sperm whales to help them digest food. Once discharged it can float on water until it is either pulled in by fishermen or washed up on land. It is one of the rarest fragrance ingredients in the world which and is at its optimum following several years of exposure to the elements, after which time it dries out and forms a smooth outer surface that contains a dung-like substance. Following a few years of exposure to salt water and sun, the lump eventually boasts a sweet, musky and alluring smell that many leading fragrance makers says adds a distinct and highly appealing character. The ingredient is used as a fixative for fragrance production, and high quality formulations that contain it currently include Amouage, Miss Dior, Parure, Vol de Nuit and Black For Him by Kenneth Cole. Likewise, cow dung is now being used as more than garden fertilizer, with Japanese scientists at the International Medical Center of Japan claiming to have successfully undertaken a co-operative development programme with Sekisui Chemical company to extract vanilla fragrance from cow dung. According to an AFX report, Mayu Yamamoto, who headed up the project, said that the process involved heating up the dung under pressure, which leads to the production of vanillin, a major component of the vanilla-bean. Vanillin is often used to fragrance a range of personal care products - from high-end perfumes, to hair care and skin care formulations. According to Mintel data, other unusual animal ingredients are being used in Asia and Latin America, with many companies incorporating placenta ingredients into skin care products. Sofface cosmetics, based in China, has created a make up base that contains sheep placenta, whilst the Guangzhou Sisder Health & Beauty company has based an entire skin care body range using the same ingredient. Indeed, as the search for new ingredients gets deeper, manufacturers are increasingly looking for more diverse ways to create innovative cosmetics - a trend that is only likely to get bigger.

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