The multiple approaches to multifunctional beauty

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (fortyforks)
© Getty Images \ (fortyforks)

Related tags multifunctional ingredient technology Formulation

Multifunctional personal care products and ingredients are nothing new. But the products, ingredients, and functions themselves are increasingly sophisticated as ingredient technology and formulation innovation advance.

Here, Cosmetics Design takes a look at 3 main sorts of multifunctional beauty:

  • Finished cosmetic and personal care products with more than one consumer benefit
  • Raw materials and ingredients with more that on function in any given beauty product formulation
  • Cosmetics and personal care ingredients that impart different benefits in different formulations

Multifunctional finished goods

Ingredient makers like Clariant are helping brands formulate multifunctional products that can help consumers save space and time compared to skin care routines that call for 10+ steps and

That company’s Zenspiration concept, as Amanda Lim reported for Cosmetics Design – Asia​, comprises a Simply Rebalancing Scalp Toner (formulated with EquiScalp​), an Energizing Water Cream, and an On-The-Glow Solid Serum.

And as Charlotte Stricane, Formulation and Concept Designer at Clariant Active Ingredients, explains, “Spending so much time at home [during COVID-19] has reinforced the need for space and elimination of what is unnecessary to everyday life. Smarter formats and a less-is-more approach to skin care,” ​she says, “will be even more appealing to consumers looking to keep a healthy beauty regime.”

That same sort of less-is-more approach is how the indie brand Jesse Jimz approaches men’s grooming. As brand Co-Founder Lucy Splichal told Cosmetics Design at Cosmoprof last year, “The idea behind this was to create a tightly curated collection of simple, multipurpose products but that are utilizing high-quality active ingredients that give men that superior result.” Watch the full Cosmetics Design video interview with Lucy Splichal, Co-Founder of the men’s skin care brand Jesse Jimz, here to learn more.

Multifunctional cosmetics and personal care formulations

Multifunctional can be a formulation strategy unto itself. Brands like biophile skincare​ only include ingredients that serve multiple roles in a formulation; and for biophile at least one of those roles must always be a skincare benefit.

Learn more about biophile skincare and the brand’s leading-edge approach to formulation in Episode 3 of the Cosmetics Design Clean & Ethical Beauty Video Series​, which will air on June 30.

And more and more cosmetics and personal care ingredient makers are developing these sorts of technologies and bringing truly multifunctional ingredients to market. Just last month, for instance, Firmenich launched its first fragrance ingredient with skin care benefits, as Cosmetics Design reported.

“Dreamwood is the cornerstone of sustainable innovation and represents the future of our ingredients business.” ​says Julien Firmenich, VP of Sales, Ingredients, and Perfumery, in his recent remarks to the press. The ingredient which is reminiscent of Sandalwood also has an “antimicrobial effect and soothing properties on skin cells [and] it may have positive benefit in skin care products for special needs, including blemishes,” ​according to Firmenich press materials shared with Cosmetics Design.  

Ingredients with multiple functions across beauty product categories

And still other multifunctional ingredients can deliver different benefits in different product category formulations. Ingredients like Isopentyldiol from Kuraray promises to provide both skin care and hair treatment benefits.

As the product page on expalins, “Isopentyldiol (3-methyl-1.3-butanediol) is synthesized chemically. It is a colourless and odourless liquid, which is completely miscible with water. In addition to its safety and high compatibility with other ingredients, isopentyldiol works as a moisturiser and emollient in skin care applications. It is also used in hair care products designed to restore damaged hair.”

While still other ingredients are being used in both topical and ingestable skin, hair, and nail care products; expanding the possibilities of multifunctional beauty even further.  



Deanna Utroske’s coverage of the beauty industry commonly includes news of new ingredient technologies, product formulation strategies, and published scientific innovations of significance to cosmetic chemists.​ This is just part of her work as Editor of, where she writes daily news about the business of beauty in the Americas region and regularly produces video interviews with cosmetics, fragrance, personal care, and packaging experts as well as with indie brand founders.

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