Specialty ingredient maker Inolex expanding production to better serve beauty makers

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

image courtesy of Inolex
image courtesy of Inolex
The company has been exclusively serving the cosmetics and personal care industries since 2016 and this week announced plans to open a new production facility in North Carolina.

The new Inolex flagship manufacturing and warehousing facility is projected to open in Charlotte, North Carolina, in mid to late 2019, according to a media release circulated Tuesday.

It will replace and significantly expand upon the company’s existing US production capabilities, allowing Inolex to develop new processes in partnership with beauty industry clients. “The build-out of operations in Charlotte is,” ​according to the release, “a strong indication of the company’s continued momentum in the beauty care industry.”

Innovating for new market needs

The company that is now Inolex has its roots in the late 1800s and is perhaps most widely known in the cosmetics and personal care industry for a portfolio of palm oil – free ingredients. The SustOleo branded ingredients span a range of formulation functions: emollients, texturizers, emulsifiers, etc. (Inolex created the SustOleo trade name in 2016, around the same time that the company sold off its industrial lubricants business to focus solely on beauty ingredients.) Read more about SustOleo ingredients here on Cosmetics Design​.

But the Inolex portfolio is broader than its SustOleo line. The company also makes alternative preservatives, UV protection ingredients, and silicone alternatives as well. Early this year the company launched two silicone alternatives known as LexFell WOW and LexFeel WOW DT.

As Cosmetics Design reported​ at the time: Consumers and manufacturers alike are looking for “solutions that will create some sort of social impact and keep the environment in mind, ​believes Fana Makonnen, Inolex global technical marketing manager. “I think the market has been looking for an ingredient like LexFeel WOW for a long time,” ​she says.

Investing for sustainability and growth

The company’s forthcoming flagship facility in North Carolina is a telling move: “This is a significant investment to support the growth of our global platform,” ​as CEO David Plimpton says in the media release announcing the company’s expansion plans.

“The flagship plant,” ​he adds, “allows us to optimize our manufacturing processes and increase our production capacity so that we can continue to serve our customers and meet the growing global demand for our innovative technologies.”

“The new INOLEX facility also provides the opportunity for us to better align with our sustainability goals and those of our partners,” ​notes Plimpton in his remarks.

Adjusting to alternative, natural, and green chemistry

Over the past few years, Inolex has been narrowing its focus, not only toward a specialization in beauty ingredients but also toward so-called green chemistry. According to the company’s vice president of operations Ted Laarkamp, “Responsible manufacturing is a cornerstone of INOLEX’s Operational Excellence. The Charlotte plant enables us to enhance production and strengthen business continuity.”

“It’s a hub,” ​he says, “to explore new manufacturing processes for our innovation pipeline, and will serve as a gateway for broader industry collaboration.”



Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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