Expert shines a light on the importance of formulation strategy

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Explanation

Formulation strategy is vital to creating a successful cosmetic or personal care formulation, explains expert Dr. Luigi Rigano.

Cosmetics Design spoke exclusively to Dr. Rigano, who is an industrial chemist at the State University of Milan and has a life-time of experience concerning the formulation and production of cosmetics.

“A successful formulation strategy is multi-faceted. The very first thing to prepare is a written list of so-called ‘functions’,”​ he said. "‘Functions’ are many, but can be subdivided for the sake of simplicity."

He went on to explain that the long list of important influences for this outcome include physical, physic-chemical, sensorial, identity, safety, consumer type, use, norms, costs, packaging, cosmetic functionalities, stability requirements, marketing and innovation.

“The more complete the list, the easier the formulation task. If it is done well and thoroughly, the formulation work will be ‘to fill the box’ of each function with ingredients categories, then making the necessary adjustments and revisions.”

Dr Rigano will be hosting two workshops at this year’s In-cosmetics Asia exhibition In Bangkok, Thailand on Wednesday, November 7th​ 2012, which will include a basic and an advanced workshop.

Dr Rigano
Dr Luigi Rigano

Are ingredients manufacturers doing their bit?

When asked if cosmetic ingredient manufacturers are doing their bit to make the formulation process easier and more efficient, Dr. Rigano expressed his opinion that they are placing an increasingly important role in this process.

​The support of manufacturers is essential for the simplification of any formulator’s task,”​ he said. “Manufacturers possess the best possible overall knowledge of their ingredients. They know their chemistry, the impurities and are learning that their adequate support of formulators creates the ultimate success for their ingredients.”

“With so many ingredients available, the recommendations of the manufacturers are a necessary guide to prevent becoming lost in the jungle of formulae. It seems to me that the approach of manufacturers has changed over the years, from simple promoters of ingredients to real ‘formulation partners’.”

The basic fives

Dr. Rigano’s workshop will also cover what he terms ‘the important variables' in formulation, something he explains as being the selection process to determine the class of ingredient and the amount used. This leads to what he concludes is the ‘basic fives’: stability, sensorial, cost, performance, safety.

“As the variables are many, a formulator cannot study in all cases a full universe of possibilities. Therefore, the reduction of the number of the possible formulation hypothesis (and necessary practical trials) is the main task of the formulator. In order to be able to do that, he has to consult a number of outlets, including magazines, suppliers, one’s own archive of formulae, for example.​ “

Emulsions, emulsions, emulsions

Emulsions will also play a leading role in the discussions for the formulation workshops, and Dr. Rigano explained why this is so: “Emulsions are a way to transform simple and frequently ugly raw materials like water and fats into a symphony of sensory perceptions end enchantment. Moreover, they deliver aqueous and lipid ingredients that are necessary for the skin’s maintenance, in one shot.”

Dr. Rigano went on to explain that emulstifiers are the key ingredient, providing overall stability, while working to enhance skin penetration, while also providing skin safety and feel for different oil categories, while enabling the dispersion of solid ingredient and compatibility of preservatives and thickeners.

“But, most important, their efficiency at low percentage is their key requirement. Sustainability and green characteristics are more recent requirements and are still difficult to obtain,”​ he said. 

Dr. Rigano’s basic workshop in the morning of November 7th, at 09.00 – 13.00 while the advanced workshop will take place in the afternoon, from 14.00 – 18.00.

Related topics: Formulation & Science

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