The line, which started with the launch last spring of an after-sun cooling gel, was in formulation for over two years due to the technical difficulties of using real yoghurt instead of dehydrated yoghurt powder, said Korres.
"Yoghurt has always been considered nutritionally beneficial as a food, and has also been traditionally used in Greece to soothe skin. We wanted to bring those benefits into cosmetics by formulating products using real yoghurt and not yoghurt-derived ingredients," said Lena Korres, the company's product development manager.
"It proved a real challenge as yoghurt is a living ingredient and does not take well to mixing, with many creams in our experiments spoiling just a few minutes after formulation. After many trials, we started by using yoghurt as a base and adding other ingredients to build up the formula," she added.
The new yoghurt line by Korres also includes a face mask and face cream, as well as a body butter due to be launched early next year.
Yoghurt has long been considered a beneficial ingredient for skincare applications, promoted as relieving and hydrating dry skin, but tends to be used in a dehydrated powder form.
According to market researcher Mintel's Global New Products Database (GNPD), this year has seen the launch of 90 new cosmetics and skincare products in Europe containing dairy ingredients. These include a soap bar and shower gel by Schwarzkopf & Henkel containing yoghurt protein, and a bath foam with yoghurt powder by Paglieri Profumi.
Indeed, consumers are increasingly opting for natural ingredients in cosmetics products, according to a recent report by Euromonitor International, which identified a steady increase in demand for these products since 1999.
"Natural product ingredients such as plant extracts, herbs, vitamins and food ingredients are more easily recognised by consumers than the abstract names of extracted essential elements, and are regarded as 'safe,'" said the report.
According to Mintel, one of the strongest trends it has observed in the non-food market as a whole is the use of a wide variety of food ingredients.
Fruit has proved to be one of the most popular organic ingredient choices for many personal care and cosmetic product launches, while other food products used include olive oil, herbs, rice, potatoes and even wine.
Korres Natural Products, which exports to 19 countries, currently manufactures around 300 products, all made with natural ingredients.
Established in 1996 as a skin, body and hair care company with strong pharmaceutical and homeopathic roots, the firm's most successful products include wild rose face cream, guava body butter, evening primrose eye cream, pomegranate moisturizer and white tea facial cleanser.
The company, whose products in Greece are sold exclusively in pharmacies, started reformulating its entire product range five years ago to remove mineral oil, silicon and propylene glycol.
"Because these components are synthetic they have poorer levels of compatibility with our skin, and can often produce allergies or irritation. We have replaced them with vegetable oil, dry vegetable oil and butylene glycol, which allow us to have more natural, more friendly formulas, which offer better penetration and better delivery of the active ingredients," said Korres.
The company said its next step is to remove all ethanolimines, compounds often used in cosmetics to adjust the pH or the viscosity of a product. They will be replaced with L-arginin, an amino acid naturally present in the human metabolism.
"Apart from being a pH-regulator, L-arginin has substantial moisturising properties and excellent compatibility with the skin and hair," said the company.