“Formulators are central” to the development of natural personal care and cosmetic products

“Formulators are central” to the development of natural personal care and cosmetic products

This, according to Andrea Mitarotonda, head of R&D for the organic skin care brand Neal’s Yard Remedies. Ahead of his presentation on the green cosmetics market at in-cosmetics global next month in London, Mitarotonda spoke with Cosmetics Design about what it takes to succeed with naturals.

When asked about smart strategies that brands can use to create an all-natural product formula, Mitarotonda tells Cosmetics Design that, “for a ‘non-natural’ brand to bring a new range of natural products to life, there needs to be a team effort: a dedicated multi- and cross-functional team should be established to look into every aspect of such a challenging project in the most effective way possible.”

He explains that “creating ‘all-natural’ products…requires a change of mindset to some extent. There are several levels depending on how ‘natural’ the brand in question is to start with. In my opinion, formulators are central in such a process as they need to ensure the correct sourcing of ingredients as well as being able to put them together to create a product that is still efficacious and appealing to consumers. And then there are also the issues of safety, stability and microbiology. Then, if looking at getting the new product certified as natural or organic, there is an additional degree of complexity.”

Going green

For brands moving from conventional and synthetic formulations in to the natural space, Mitarotonda suggests they “start with [natural ingredients] that could deliver some additional or exclusive properties to their products.”

He notes that “the number of natural ingredients has progressively increased over the past few years and it is now easier to formulate with natural and efficacious ingredients. Formulators should not limit themselves when creating new products and should use the best ingredients that perform a specific job, including natural materials. It can pay to explore alternatives, time and budget permitting. This can include (but is not limited to) active ingredients, vegetable oils and butters (some of which may not be known to some in the industry), clays, waxes, biopolymers and more.”

And Mitarotonda submits that “a quick win could be to replace plastic micro-beads with more natural alternatives. There are plenty of opportunities to use what nature has provided, such as botanical powders, clays and ground nut shells.”

Organic technology

“Never forget that chemistry is the very base of nature and life,” says Mitarotonda.

When asked about the role of biotech in a natural beauty company like Neil’s Yard, he tells Cosmetics Design that “Biotechnology is a great fit for Neal’s Yard, as long as it is carried out within the constraints of natural and organic standards (e.g. COSMOS) as well as our own internal policies. This is mainly as a result of the use of GM organisms and enzymes. Biotech offers tremendous advantages in terms of sustainability and lower-impact chemistry.”

Mitarotonda adds that biotech “is a powerful weapon in the daily fight to replace (or significantly reduce) the use of petroleum-based feedstocks.”

And, “from an efficacy point of view, the higher selectivity of biotech reactions can bring more performing ingredients as well. We have recently completed a project with an external partner in Italy where we took a botanical waste material and performed some enzymatic reactions to deliver a novel active ingredient with amazing skin benefits that have been proven in-vitro already and are soon to be proven in an exciting in-vivo trial at Dublin City University.”

Natural needs

There’s more to come in the natural ingredient space, and pros like Mitarotonda have a wish list.

“The raw material industry has been constantly advancing in the last few years and green ingredients are more and more strategic to raw materials manufacturers,” he tells Cosmetics Design. Still, “the Industry always needs more and better ingredients that incorporate and implement the constant progress of science and technology but also that are more sustainable, ethical and more environment- and skin-friendly.”

“I would like to see significant improvements in green preservation techniques, more performing non-petroleum-derived surfactants, improvements in inorganic sun care technologies and biopolymers able to simulate acrylic-like performance, to some extent,” says Mitarotonda.

For more insights on natural and organic cosmetics, attend the in-cosmetics global workshop ‘Green cosmetics market: Global update & technical issues’ on April 6 at 9am. 

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