in-cosmetics Korea interviews Kunal Mahajan, Project Manager, Kline Group.

in-cosmetics Korea interviews Kunal Mahajan, Project Manager, Kline Group.

Kunal Mahajan shares his insights into the current state of preservatives and the global trend of personal care ingredients.

  1. Please explain about the global market trend of ingredients of personal care products. Is there one country leading cosmetics trends? Are there other countries on the horizon, waiting to take over the lead? If so which of the emerging countries do you think is most likely to lead the cosmetic market in the future?

Country markets can be split into two categories:

  • Mature markets like the US, Europe, and Japan
  • Growth markets – These markets can further be divided into two sub-categories
    • China, a growth market, where consumers are shifting towards mid- to high-end personal care products and thus adopting premium ingredients.
    • Smaller markets like India and Southeast Asia that have huge potential

The US and Europe will remain the biggest markets for the foreseeable future, however, most of the growth will come from growth markets, especially China and India. In the, future, while mature markets will remain for some time the leader, growing markets’ weight will grow and they will become more often trend-setters.


  1. It seems countries prefers different ingredients depending on their trends in consumed cosmetic products. Please explain the different trends in Asian and European countries.  

The differences in the usage of ingredients are due to various factors such as climatic conditions, demography, and cultural differences. For example, in Europe, due to aging population, anti-aging skin care products are driving the overall skin care segment. As a result, ingredients used in these products such as emollients or emulsifiers are growing in Europe. Whereas in India, people prefer fair skin due to which demand for skin whitening products is high in the country. India has predominantly humid and hot weather most of the year, making hair susceptible to oil and dirt. As a result, formulators are developing hair styling products and sprays offering multiple benefits, such as moisturizing, nourishing, voluminizing, color protection, heat protection, and frizz-free. On the other hand in China, facial masks and moisturizing skin care products are much more popular, and these products do not need emulsifier, thus the growth of emulsifiers is slower in China.


  1. Which ingredient is currently gaining most attention and is about to be the one for the next-generation of personal care?  

It is a difficult question to answer for an ingredient as the choices vary from one region to another. I think as category multifunctional ingredients are receiving more attention and will certainly grow in the future. There is a trend towards multifunctional end products that can offer several benefits in one product, such as anti-aging, cleansing, moisturization, anti-oxidant, UV protection, etc. Secondly, multifunctional ingredients can help in reducing the cost of formulation. This is leading to growth in the consumption of multifunctional ingredients. For example, consumption of preservative boosters such as caprylyl glycol, glyceryl caprylate, etc., is growing at the expense of traditional preservatives. They are not only able to enhance the antimicrobial effect but also give emolliency to formulations. Similarly, the consumption of lecithin, which acts as an emulsifier but also provides emolliency and conditioning to skin, or PEG derivatives that act as rheology modifier and also has emulsifying properties, has increased in the past few years and it is expected to grow further in the future.


  1. In Korea, there is increasing interest in natural cosmetic ingredients. Some consumers believe that natural ingredients are unconditionally better than synthetic ingredients. What do you think about this belief? And please explain the strengths and weaknesses of natural ingredients.    

Natural ingredients are receiving a lot of attention lately from consumers as the consumers believe them to be safe compared to synthetic ingredients that are used in the cosmetic products. I think the truth is somewhere in between. There are a large number of synthetic ingredients that are used in the cosmetic products and there is no reported concerns related to health with them. Some ingredients, especially preservatives, have reported to have caused some health issues and there usage has been regulated in most markets. Regarding natural ingredients, their strength is obvious that they are regarded as consumers as safe, however, natural ingredients are more prone to microbial attacks and also face compatibility issues with other ingredients in various formulations. Some natural ingredients are animal derived, which is not preferred. This could adversely affect the growth of natural ingredients.


  1. Following the revelation of the harmful effects of Reckitt Benckiser’s humidifier disinfectants, Korean consumers have growing concerns about the use of chemical preservatives. We wondered if there are preservatives or other cosmetic ingredients that are causing concern. Are there any ingredients that are about to be regulated or reduced in the major markets? If there are, does the industry have replacements? If not how much progress has been made developing replacements?

It is true that several preservatives or antimicrobials are under scrutiny of regulatory authorities due to health concerns associated with them and as a result, there is a clear shift away from certain antimicrobials in the market. ingredients such as parabens, triclosan, and formaldehyde releasing preservatives like BNPD, DMDM hydration, etc., is expected to decline in the future, especially in the developed markets like the US due to health concerns associated with them which has been leading to decline in their consumption. As a result, alternative ingredients such as organic acids (benzoic acids/benzoates or sorbic acids/sorbates) and preservative boosters are growing in the market. Regulations will also play an important role in determining the usage of ingredients in the future. For example, the European Commission has stipulated a maximum concentration of 0.0015% of CIT/MIT and MIT in rinse-off skin care products and has banned its usage in leave-on products like body creams. This has had an adverse impact on the consumption of CIT/MIT and MIT not only in Europe but in other countries such as the US and China. CIT/MIT can no longer be used in skin care leave-on products in China. It is however important to note that the role of antimicrobials in a formulation is to control the growth of unwanted living organisms. Any products you will take from this category is potentially an “unwanted” ingredients.


  1. Please explain the market situation and outlook of the countries such as China and India where production and consumption of cosmetic products is increasing.

China and India are expected to be the two fastest growing markets for cosmetic ingredients as the demand for cosmetic products grow in these countries. However, there are certain differences between these two markets. While India is still a price sensitive market China is transitioning towards mid- to high-end cosmetic products. As a result, formulators in China are paying more attention to performance of ingredients and are increasingly adopting premium ingredients. Another notable difference is the regulations between the two markets. While China is following the European Union and has restricted the usage of certain antimicrobials like CIT/MIT, these ingredients are expected to grow in India. It is expected that such ingredients will be pushed into India at a lower price as their demand declines around the world, which in turn will drive their usage in India.


  1. Recently, silicone-free shampoo has become popular in certain markets, including Korea and China. Can you tell us more about this trend and the future of the technologies used in silicone-free products? What is the outlook for ingredients, which are alternatives to silicones?

Silicone free shampoos are gaining in popularity. China is influenced by the Japanese market, where silicon free products have gained due to concerns that silicones could lead to hair loss. Formulators have also sensed this opportunity ancts as silicone free. As a result, silicone alternatives will grow in the market. However, most of the shampoos will continue to use silicones as no ingredient has been established as a genuine silicone alternative in the market. Our historical consumption figures on silicones tend to show that there is more noise about silicones than real facts as their consumption shows no sign of great decrease.


  1. The environment is rapidly becoming polluted. How are personal care ingredient producers adapting their practices to become eco-friendlier?

Personal care ingredient suppliers have been trying to develop ingredients that are eco-friendly or biodegrade in the environment after their usage. At the same time, many suppliers are looking ways to cut energy and water consumption. This is a factor that consumer often package together with the green trend as many natural ingredients are also biodegradable. To answer this expectation, a lot of work is being put together to trace raw material sources, notably in the surfactants area.


To find out more about what Kunal Mahajan presented at the Marketing Trends & Regulations presentations of in-cosmetics Korea 2016 please visit the education page.

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