How advances in botanical actives are taking naturals to the next level

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

How advances in botanical actives are taking naturals to the next level
The biggest complaint about the first generation of natural and organic products from consumers was invariably about how effective they actually were.

Now, with huge leaps in the research and development of natural-based active ingredients, things are changing, and consumers are increasingly getting products with the natural credentials they require, combined with the efficacy.

Cosmetics Design caught up with Ilya Raskin, distinguished professor at Rutgers University, to find out how these advances have come about.

What technologies are driving the development of natural active ingredients?

Ilya Raskin, Rutgers University

We combine modern metabolomic approaches, biorational strategies and in vitro assays to discover and validate novel cosmetic ingredients from plants.  Our research team, based at Rutgers University and mostly funded by the National Institutes of Health, is focused on efficacious, safe and proprietary natural bioactives.

How high has the bar been raised on natural active ingredients in, say, the last ten years?

Dramatic progress of science in the last decade and more educated and discriminating consumer have raised the bar for botanical ingredients. Ingredients of today require more rigorous scientific validation of safety testing. “Natural”, “efficacious” and “science-based” became key attributes demanded by the consumer.

Which beauty categories have most benefited from improvements in actives?

I believe that skin care and sun care has benefited the most.

What types or specific examples of active ingredients do you find to be advanced on the market right now?

The Nutrasorb / Rutgers University team focuses on proprietary, natural, anti-aging ingredients for skin and lip care. Our ready-for-commercialization botanical ingredients include:  Protein-polyphenol complexes that enhance stability and efficacy of plant-derived anti-oxidants; Quinoa milk - a concentrate of natural anti-inflammatory / anti-aging compounds produced by quinoa seeds; Winter cress oil containing powerful anti-aging compounds that also protect from sun damage;  Extract from nutritionally enhanced Rutgers Superlettuce containing a mixture of skin rejuvenating compounds; and Chicoryn, chicory extract with powerful anti-aging properties.

What do improvements in active ingredient efficacy mean to consumers and end users?

Younger and healthier skin are the obvious results of recent advances in cosmetic science. For the consumer it means greater value and higher satisfaction.


Ilya Raskin will be speaking at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in New York on 16-18 May. To find out more about this presentation and the event program, please click here​. :

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