Preservatives Special Edition Newsletter

Is there a future for conventional cosmetic and personal care preservative ingredients?

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Is there a future for conventional cosmetic and personal care preservative ingredients?

Related tags Personal care Cosmetics Cosmetics design

Several factors are driving the development of new preservatives for use in beauty product formulations. Perhaps chief among them are prospective new regulations, the green or natural beauty movement, and the unrelenting force of industry.

Change is inevitable. And, the data from Cosmetics Design’s first annual reader survey suggest that cosmetics and personal care manufacturers and suppliers both accept and perpetuate change in the beauty industry.

“If reader replies accurately represent the industry at large, 76% of cosmetics and personal care companies plan to both invest more in new product development and to launch more new products this year than last,” ​according to the Cosmetics Design ‘State of the cosmetics formulation & packaging sector in North America 2017.’

All that new product development and the resulting change has to start somewhere: “At 86% of companies, [product development is motivated] (at least in part) [by] consumer demand. At 74% new ingredient options figure in to new product dev. And at 54% of companies technology transfer from other industries drives development.”

More regulation

Retailers, advocacy groups, and governments are all continually redefining cosmetics and personal care industry regulations.

Conventional retailers like Target, Walmart, CVS, and most recently Costco​ are instating chemical ingredient guidelines for the personal care brands they sell. And online marketplaces and shopping resource sites are creating similar parameters in an effort to save concerned consumers the time it takes to thoroughly research any given brand’s formulations and production practices.

In September The Counteract Coalition, traveled to Washington DC to advocate for regulatory reform. Gregg Renfrew, CEO of Beautycounter, is the driving force behind the coalition. According to Renfrew, “Beautycounter has led the charge to transform our nation’s outdated cosmetic safety laws since we were founded. We know we can’t do it alone,” ​she says, “and are proud to work alongside other leaders in the rapidly growing safer and natural personal care industry to demand change in Washington, DC.” ​Those other leaders in the coalition come from brands big and small, including Biossance, Rahua, Seventh Generation, and Silk Therapeutics.   

And this summer, Canada updated its Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist​. The new regulations apply to leave-on beauty and personal care products formulated with both methylisothiazolione and methlychloroisothiazolinone (MI and MCI).

These sorts of guidelines, advocacy initiatives, and policies are commonplace and hardly unexpected. The Cosmetics Design readers survey confirms as much: “Regulatory changes are to be expected: 57% of respondents believe changes will come from the federal level and 47% believe changes will come from the state level this year.”

Natural inspiration

Natural cosmetics, personal care, and fragrance are becoming big business and not just in the indie beauty space where the current natural beauty movement has gained significant momentum.

Clorox announced its Q1 2018 financial results earlier this month (as Cosmetics Design reported​) and the company’s lifestyle business segment’s positive performance was credited to the Burt’s Bees brand: The company reported that “segment sales growth was driven primarily by double-digit volume gains in the Burt's Bees Natural Personal Care business, reflecting the launch of natural cosmetics as well as expanded club channel distribution of lip care products.”

On the supply side, much of the industry is thinking natural. 70% of Cosmetics Design readers responding to this year’s survey “acknowledge that their company is making more products now, than in past years, that can be described as natural, bio-based, or green.”

At in-cosmetics North America last month in New York City​, Lonza, for instance, was showcasing its line of Geogard alternative preservative ingredients. And as the company’s marketing manger Vito Cataldo told Cosmetics Design, the Geogard line is “an avenue in to the naturals market.”

And while earlier this year Contract Manufacturer Colorado Quality Products reported “seeing an increased focus on developing cleaner alternatives to existing ingredient technologies…[including] preservatives,” ​Andrea Mitarotonda, head of R&D at Neal’s Yard Remedies, told Cosmetics Design in March​ that he “would like to see significant improvement in green preservation techniques.”

Other motivation

Regulatory loopholes and demand for multifunctional ingredients, as well as other industry nuances inspire preservative innovation.

Specialty chemical company Ashland introduced a new ingredient this year called Conarom TM b aromatic. The dual-action ingredient is described as having a distinct floral, spice-like scent and it functions as a preservative. “At dosages of 0.3 to 2% it contributes to microbial stabilization by delivering broad antimicrobial protection as a secondary effect,”​ ​according to an Ashland press release.


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