If you are interested in sustainable and natural products, in-cosmetics Asia has a number of sessions focused on sustainable, natural and biotechnical ingredients.
The global appetite for natural and organic cosmetics has grown rapidly, a trend that can be attributed to several factors, not least an increased awareness about the potential benefits of using natural and organic products and a growing desire for more sustainable options. In fact, the APAC region contributed significantly to this growth; according to the GlobalData Consumer Survey Q3 2019, over a third (39%) of consumers in the APAC region proactively sought products that contained only natural ingredients.
Fast-forward to now, and while the demand for natural and organic cosmetics remains strong, a focus also lies on “scientifically proven” ingredients – reflecting a growing demand for products that provide tangible benefits backed by research and evidence and a recognition that not all effective and safe ingredients are found in nature.
So, what are brands and suppliers experiencing?
The enduring allure of au naturale
In a world marked by rapid technological advancement, the allure of natural products remains steadfast. Consumers can be drawn to products that embody the simplicity and authenticity of nature while offering an enjoyable consumer experience, and companies have had no choice but to respond. L’Oréal, for example, has committed to ensuring 95% of the ingredients in its formulas will be from biobased sources, derived from abundant minerals or from circular processes by 2030.
Phillip Prather, COO of Down Under Enterprises, a specialist in traceable and sustainable Australian essential oils and botanicals, confirmed that they “are experiencing a significant increase in demand from personal care formulators for natural ingredients across all global markets.” Down Under Enterprises runs a regular survey of visitors to its site, and approximately “60% of these respondents cite their desire for natural ingredients in their new formulations”. When asked about their interest in natural ingredients, specifically essential oils, respondents cited factors including fragrance, functionality, marketing claims, and grower or ingredient storytelling.
As consumers are becoming more conscious of the ingredients they put on their skin, natural cosmetics can sometimes be perceived as having fewer harmful chemicals, artificial additives, and potential allergens. According to Technavio’s Natural Cosmetics Market by Type report, there is an increasing consumer demand for “chemical-free” and environment-friendly, natural cosmetic products. The report discusses how the personal care industry as a whole is “undergoing a transformation” due to changing consumer perceptions and increased awareness of the products they use. It cites the demand for natural beauty products is rising in part due to the increased health consciousness among customers worldwide; issues such as skin irritations, skin allergies, hair loss, acne, dark marks, and other beauty-related problems have propelled the demand for organic beauty products.
Kilala Tilaar, CEO of Martha Tilaar Group, one of the largest cosmetics companies in Indonesia, described a particular growing demand for “naturally formulated” products amongst Millennials and Generation Zs. The company’s ‘post-Covid’ market research found 60% of these younger consumers chose natural cosmetics formulation over synthetic. Moreover, the power of social media has had a profound impact on shaping these trends and influencing consumer behaviour, amplifying ideas, beliefs and concepts via user-generated content.
While natural and organic ingredients remain high in popularity, there is a recognition that not all effective and safe ingredients are necessarily found in nature. Scientifically researched and tested ingredients, including synthetic compounds, peptides, vitamins, and advanced technologies, can offer these benefits in ways more effective than some natural ingredients.
According to Yuki Kinoshita at TriBeaute, developer and supplier of unique active ingredients for skincare, haircare and nutrition, synthetic ingredients stand strong when it comes to efficacy. “Synthetic ingredients have clear benefits in efficacy. For example, when it comes to specific skin or hair trouble, synthetic ingredients such as peptides are specifically designed to target trouble areas to see improvement.” However, she said while the cost of synthetic ingredients can be cheaper, it “depends on the raw material and manufacturing process.”
Weighing in on the situation is Zio Lee, Manager at CQV, a South Korean manufacturer of pearlescent effect pigments. He said while they expect to see synthetic ingredients being used less widely in the future, they noted that “natural ingredients [are] generally more expensive” than their synthetic counterparts. Currently, the cost of natural ingredients is somewhat higher than synthetic ones. But as the demand for natural ingredients continues, the supply chain will continue to improve processes, increasing cheaper natural ingredients for the industry.
Nature vs nurture
It is clear from consumer trends that the APAC industry will see a rise in use of natural ingredients, particularly as consumers continue to prioritise sustainability and ethical considerations in their purchasing decisions. However, it’s important to note that this won’t be a complete shift away from synthetic beauty products, but rather a recognition that a balanced approach incorporating both scientifically proven and naturally derived ingredients can provide a wider range of effective options for consumers.
“[Synthetic ingredients] will still have a role to play in cosmetics,” said Prather. “[But] they will need to step up their game in the area of sustainability credentials, and greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint validation. Manufacturers need sustainability information about their ingredients, [and] if natural ingredient suppliers cannot provide this, manufacturers will need to look elsewhere.”
Enjoyed this article? Get more by subscribing to our newsletter!
Feeling inspired to see ingredients and trends in action?
Then why not visit one of the in-cosmetics events around the world?