Getting natural-based anti-ageing formulations right – Part I

By Simon Pitman contact

- Last updated on GMT

Getting natural-based anti-ageing formulations right – Part I
Natural and anti-ageing have been the two mega trends in the industry over the past decade, so it comes as no surprise that there is an increasing number of products that combine both.

But can natural-based formulation be as effective at fighting ageing as conventional formulations? And what natural-based options are likely to give the best results?

In this the first in a two-part interview, we caught up with Judi Beerling, who heads up the technical research division at Organic Monitor to find out what kind of options are out there, what is the best kind of approach in the development of effective products and what consumers make of these products.

What are the biggest advancements for natural-based anti-ageing formulations of late? Is it more about technology/science rather than the actual ingredient?

I feel the major advancement has been that good natural anti-ageing products now contain some very potent actives, in addition to the traditional plant oils, essential oils and herbal extracts/botanicals for example. Advancements in biotechnology and the use of microalgae as ‘bio-factories’ has really moved the goalposts in terms of efficacy.

Judi Beerling, natural ingredients expert

Along with this, the use of new functional ingredients (such as emulsifiers, emollients etc.) that allow better sensory properties to be created in a naturally derived formulation means that consumers now can buy a product with good application and skin feel properties that is a joy to use. Soapy white creams with poor spreading are now a thing of the past!

Which natural or organic ingredients do you think have the most efficacy for anti-ageing formulations and why?

There are now a multitude of ingredients with good efficacy data and more are being discovered every day. I wouldn’t want to pick out any specific categories of ingredients as it really depends on what you want to achieve. Skin scientists are finding more about the biological pathways that lead to ageing and new mechanisms by which to treat different these ageing parameters.

 As that science advances, alongside natural actives are being identified that act on these different pathways. More so than ever before the vast majority of new actives launched at in-cosmetics in Paris were of natural (botanical) or biotech /micro- or macro-algal origin showing that it isn’t just marketing hype but the activity is really there.

What do you think is the perception of a natural-based formulation with anti-ageing?

 I think there is still some way to go to convince the consumer that natural anti-aging products can give as good if not better results than more conventional synthetic active based products which rely on very scientific stories. But, I think as more new natural products with genuine efficacy and good sensory properties feed through into the market I feel that those consumers who try them will be converted.

However, there is a big marketing job to do and unfortunately many of the companies in this field are small with limited budgets. But  in the days of social media word of mouth goes a long way.


The second-part of this interview will be published in Cosmetics Design tomorrow, when we will be asking Judi Beerling more about the part biotechnology is playing in natural anti-ageing formulation, which brands are getting it right and what the industry might look like in ten years’ time.

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