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The Challenges of Developing Natural & Organic Cosmetics

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We all want natural and organic, and we hear about how good it is to use natural and organic products, but we need to be aware of the challenges of developing these products in order to make safe and effective products that do not harm the environment even further.

The Challenges of Developing Natural & Organic Cosmetics

  1. 1. The challenges of developing Natural and Organic Cosmetics by Dr Barbara Olioso, organatural.co.uk
  2. 2. Who I am • Founded in 2006, 10 years experience • Uniting marketing approach with technical expertise • Independent technical advice and natural/organic formulations • Technical brand strategy, innovative products brief, sustainable approach • International
  3. 3. The challenges • Natural definition • Technical • Ethical • Certify or not to certify • What organic/natural certification? • Marketing • My Approach to the challenges
  4. 4. Natural, who are you? • Consumers want it, but do not have technical understanding • Natural in the eyes of the consumers is about big picture thinking: • “My definition for Natural means no artificial colors and fragrances and no testing on animals. Not a chemically-derived formula. Natural is about better choices and the responsibility inherent in those choices: organic before pesticides; botanicals before artificial colors and fragrances; vegetable-based before animal-based; and reusable before disposable. Natural is about big- picture thinking. It's about socially responsible business, looking at how we source, formulate and package and reuse or safely dispose of what's left. It's about the relationship between producer and consumer and the planet that we share.” from Internet forum
  5. 5. Different shades of natural Natural: present in nature and extracted from nature without chemical modification (essential oils, vegetable oils, extracts..) Nature identical: found in nature but made from synthetic sources (benzoic acid...) Nature derived: made from natural sources but chemically modified to make a new molecule (the whole molecule is from natural parts) (Glyceryl stearate..) Semi Natural: made from natural sources with synthetic parts added (ethoxylation, hydrogenation..) Synthetic identicals from natural sources: synthetic structure made from natural sources (propylene/butylene glycol from corn)
  6. 6. Technical challenges/raw materials • Shorter shelf life • Different sensorial performance • Natural is not always safe (for example Aloin in aloe vera) • Quality, freshness, storage conditions are king (oxidation, batch to batch variations, microbial content..) • Essential oils adulterations with synthetics and even naturals! • Price! • Availability, especially for organic raw materials
  7. 7. Technical challenges/finished products • Oil based products: massage oils, face oils, balms (100% organic claim) • Emulsions: face creams, body lotions, face masks, toners: 100% organic is a struggle but high percentage is achievable (organic % boosted with aloe vera, differentiation?). Excellent sensorial profile achievable • Shampoos and bath products: green surfactants available but viscosity and performance can be tricky (many brands use semi naturals) • Hair products: styling products, hair conditioners. Really difficult • Colour cosmetics: mineral based brands coming out (no nail varnish yet!) • Deodorants: feasable
  8. 8. Technical challenges/finished products • SPF: without nanotechnology it is impossible at the moment • Perfumes/EDTs: the first organic certified EDT was by Primavera Aromatherapy with OFF in 2005. Only the oriental one had a lasting performance (no synthetic fixatives were used) • Oral care: need to explore • Wet wipes: feasable
  9. 9. Ethical • Air miles • Environmental sustainability and biodiversity • Palm tree plantations in South East Asia linked to deforestation and orangutan extinction in Indonesia and Malaysia • Fair trade? • Packaging: glass versus plastic dilemma, metal foil makes recycling impossible, over packaging
  10. 10. THE UNION FOR ETHICAL BIOTRADE ANNOUNCES The Beauty of Sourcing with Respect Conference April 24, 2009 (8:30 to 17:00) Hotel Maritim - Munich, Germany
  11. 11. Certify or not to certify? • Certifications are very trendy at the moment as they give credibility and reassure the consumer • but they restrict the use of ingredients and the performance • they add a cost and can take longer to develop • There are quite a few certifying bodies, with different criteria and the only international one is Ecocert • Harmonisation, finally on its way, Cosmos Standard (Soil Association, BDIH, Ecocert, ICEA), double standard for natural and organic
  12. 12. Yes/No? • It is all about performance/claims versus target audience • If the target audience really values the organic certification as a priority: yes • If performance comes first, for example antiaging: I would think about it and see what ingredients are available that allow strong substantiated claims
  13. 13. Which one?
  14. 14. Ecocert and Cosmebio Soil Association, Organic Food Federation, Organic Farmers and Growers BDIH, Demeter AIAB (ICEA), CCPB Organic Trust EcoGarantie, Natrue NPA, Oasis, OPCAI, NSF, NOP White Swan
  15. 15. Which one? • Cosmos Standard (double standard) versus Natrue (triple standard) • Cosmos standard will have double logo and possibly stricter standards within the bigger frame (for example 100% organic) • Organic in the US is via NOP
  16. 16. Marketing challenges • Consumers find difficult to spot the “fake” natural from the original one (ie purely based on natural key ingredients rather than the whole product) • Organic claim can be diluted by certifications overdose • Efficacy claims can be limited because of ingredients restriction linked to certifications • There can be a conflict between looking premium and being truly green
  17. 17. My approach to the challenges- Who • Brand identity: purity, performance (technical and sensorial), both, ethical fair/ trade • Target claims and application
  18. 18. My approach to the challenges- How • Pick green claim: certification (natural or organic?), ethical/fair trade, natural, natural with % organic, minimum use of palm oil derivatives? RSPO? • If thinking about certifying, ask yourself a few questions: How much does it cost? Are you exporting? What type of performance and claims can you get? • If not certifying define your own natural with raw materials policy (organic, natural, nature identical, nature derived, semi natural) with environmental policy (OECD 302, bioaccumulation) • free from list, raw materials questionnaire, GMO status, animal testing cut off date
  19. 19. Free from list • Parabens • Artificial colours • PEGs • Aluminium chlorohydrate • Mineral oils • Silicones • Formaldehyde • Phthalates • Animal derivatives • Petrochemicals apart from nature identicals • Synthetic perfumes • GMO
  20. 20. My approach to the challenges-What • Product brief with performance and claims • Search for the ingredients that fit into the brief (with good hard data and good performance) • If using contract manufacturer, ensure confident and experienced with naturals (good turnover of natural ingredients) • Essential oils suppliers with GCMS • Raw material full traceability ideal, but not always possible • Add good antioxidant to the formula and find concentration that works best (Knight Scientific patented technology)
  21. 21. Antioxidant versus Pro-oxidant ABEL Superoxide Antioxidant Assay no sample control 10000 antioxidant pro-oxidant 8000 6000 Light 4000 2000 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 seconds
  22. 22. My approach to the challenges-Think Sustainable • Threatened species? • Where does it come from? • Does it have a yearly crop? • Does it have more than one source? • If fair trade, ask for hard figures and technical specs
  23. 23. Conclusions • Be clear about your natural identity and how to express it authentically and consistently • Think quality, safety and sustainable • Naturals/organics come at a price, not cheap and cheerful • Not all cosmetics and toiletries can be fully natural, not yet • Keep on looking for new raw materials (nature-derivatives) that can enhance stability and performance (ideally with good biodegradability) • Choose contract manufacturer familiar with naturals • If certifying think, costs, where and claims
  24. 24. Thank you for listening • Final version coming out soon http://www.cosmos-standard.org/ • Nature Standard/Criteria: http://www.natrue-label.com/criteria/criteria.html • http://www.knightscientific.com/ • barbara@organatural.co.uk
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We all want natural and organic, and we hear about how good it is to use natural and organic products, but we need to be aware of the challenges of developing these products in order to make safe and effective products that do not harm the environment even further.

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