The Society of Cosmetic Scientists promotes education, research and collaboration to advance the science of cosmetics

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BACS & SCS Joint Event


Thursday 21 September 2017, Bredbury Hall, Stockport

picture of BACS 2017 eventWho would have thought that the future of cosmetics lay at the end of a dark underground passageway in the gothic-style vaulted bar of the Bredbury Hall Hotel, Stockport? Certainly not an obvious place to find the answer, but the BACS/SCS joint event on 21 September 2017  certainly delivered some interesting and thought-provoking suggestions!

Helena Eixarch (TGSE) gave an update on recent and upcoming regulatory changes affecting cosmetic ingredients. A 2016 European Commission report on product claims had shown 90% compliance with the regulation. Non-compliances were in relation to ‘function and performance’. A need to clarify ‘free-from’ and ‘hypo-allergenic’ claims was identified. A technical document on such cosmetic claims, although not legally binding, will be in force from July 2019.

Other topics covered by Helena were:

  • Microbeads – Cosmetics Europe has reported an 82% reduction in their use but despite this reduction a ban is still probable. The UK, France and Sweden are already taking measures in this area.
  • Nanomaterials – Version 1 of the list of approved Nanomaterials has been published but guidance is still in preparation.
  • Endrocrine disruptors – Criteria should have been published in 2015 but it is still outstanding.
  • CMRs – These are covered by Article 15. In September 2016 the EC confirmed that CMRs are not automatically banned, so inclusion in Annex 2 is needed. A total of 210 substances have been added to Annex 2 and this will be published as an Omnibus on an annual basis. 

Clare Liptrot (Croda) tackled the hot topic of microbeads. Following the 2013 Adopt-a-beach surveys and a published report on the microplastic pollution of the Canadian Lakes, the conclusion was that the major cause was ‘most likely microbeads used as abrasive agents in a range of consumer products, including exfoliating creams, soaps, toothpastes’.

NGOs such as Greenpeace are very active in this area and microbead use in products has already been greatly reduced voluntarily by the industry in most countries. Trade Association activity includes monitoring and lobbying, also working with the government to understand issues and develop a proper risk assessment process.

However, the legislative landscape varies greatly depending on region and definitions. US, Canada, UK and Sweden already have some legislation. Ireland, India and Taiwan are looking at legislation. Australia has a voluntary ban. The UK position is ‘very worrying’ as the definition relies on all polymers being plastic, meaning the implications for suppliers could be the loss of opacifiers and acrylate-based thickeners, not just microbeads. “All plastics are polymers but not all polymers are plastics,” said Clare. “This can be a real danger to the industry’s use of polymers and definitions are key to ensure that the scope of any legislation is reasonable.”

Ronan Stafford (GlobalData) discussed Millennials and the future of customisation. Generally, millenials are accepted as being born between the 1980s and early 2000s. The range of choice has increased radically during their lifetime and “customisation is the norm”. As this becomes more pervasive, they will expect cosmetics brands to offer the ability to co-create products. They are also particularly interested in products tailored to DNA, said Stafford.

Stafford presented 4 scenarios:

  • The kid in the candy store problem – Too much choice can be a problem, therefore a balance of active, passive and smart customisation is recommended.
  • The brand that cried wolf – DNA products that don’t deliver risk creating pushback. Concise and clear in-store communication is vital to overcome consumer scepticism.
  • Social curators – Highly influential social media personalities will be crucial in educating consumers on how to achieve the most effective and satisfying product customisation.
  • Home manufacturing – Advances in 3D printing and home manufacturing will move production away from the brand and into the bedroom. Make at home kits are already on the market from companies such as Active Formulas and MIMI.

Judi Beerling (Pertech Associates) began her presentation on the future of naturals by asking if topical cosmetics have a future with the rise of machines. However, it does appear that naturals are here to stay. The UK natural’s market is up 7.3% to €318m (53% being skin care) and constitutes 3% of all personal care products sales, according to Ecovia International. Although Soil Association figures show £61.2m in sales of certified organic and natural beauty products, a 13% increase on 2015, the UK market is slowing down and becoming more competitive. 

‘Green’ ingredient use has been growing due to consumer pressure, desire to limit petroleum reliance, emotive marketing stories and positive environmental impact. Major trends include food ingredients moving into cosmetics, certification of natural ‘authentic‘ cosmetics and an interest in ethics and ingredient provenance, ethical labelling and fair trade. However, ‘greenwashing’ is a major hindrance and genuine labelling is difficult to judge. Standards still lack harmonisation, despite regulatory efforts.

Sustainability pressures are leading to the reduction of environmental and human impact of cosmetics. There have been many advances in plant extraction technology. Future challenges include making green technology more affordable, creating more effective delivery systems, biotech fragrance ingredients and affordable natural preservatives. Ideally this will “produce natural cosmetics that will work even more effectively with the machines”.

Olga Gracioso (Sederma) asked whether anti-pollution claims can answer consumer needs. She acknowledged that pollution is everywhere in the atmosphere – human, industrial, from fires – but it also includes screen lights. Increasing urbanisation causes polluted cities, such as in India or China and now concern is growing in South America, Middle East and Africa. Pollution is now more monitored. When dealing with the skin, particulate size does not matter; the usual definitions are for respiratory effects.

A study by Croda investigated consumer perceptions about pollution. The main findings were that there is confusion about claims: ‘prevention’, ‘protection’ and ‘repair’ are better understood concepts than ‘anti-pollution’ and ‘anti’ is perceived as negative.

There is a huge potential to reformulate existing skin and sun care products with regional approaches to accommodate different preferences in Asia and the west, said Olga. Other proposals include a PPF (pollution protection factor) and the consideration of blue light as a pollutant with effect on the skin. “Fighting against pollution is more than a trend, it is a universal lifestyle,” Olga concluded.

Laura Kempen (Surfachem) took a close-up look at luxury and mass market, beginning with definitions of both. The Luxury Pyramid demonstrates the upward ‘luxurification’ of mass brands and the downward ‘massification’ of luxury brands. The lines of luxury are blurring:
“Luxury used to be clearly defined by how much you can afford. Before, if you belonged to a certain group, you shopped at Wal-Mart and bought the cheapest coffee and bought the cheapest sneakers. Now, people may buy the cheapest brand of consumer goods but still want Starbucks coffee and the latest iPod.”
NY Times, 2015

Euromonitor data shows that premium beauty is double the growth of mass market beauty and is outgrowing all other luxury goods sales. However, millennials view luxury as experiential; niche and natural products are still on the rise. Formulators can play with ingredients to create different textures and claims, reposition products, make smaller pack sizes or different delivery mechanisms, all helping to demand a premium to cater for this.

Far eastern beauty met western formulation in the presentation by Roxanne Smith (KCC Beauty). ‘Hallyu’ or the Korean wave, is a major trend, with Sephora at the forefront. Amore Pacific is Korea’s largest cosmetic company with over 16 brands. Korean preferences are for light skin feel, watery texture, multifunctional products and the ‘chokchok’ fresh, dewy complexion or ‘baby skin’. Koreans may use between 10-17 products in their routine.

Roxanne listed numerous examples of product types.  She also gave examples of interesting and exotic ingredients, including badger oil and volcanic clay and horse oil from Jeju Island. Interesting finished products include Farm Stay Crocodile Oil Cream and Skin Ceramic – Donkey Milk Yogurt All-in-One Moisture Gel Cream.

Reported by Jane Evison and Rhiannon Hurd


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