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Limited ingredients set to be a ‘serious’ challenge for the industry in the future

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Limited ingredients set to be a ‘serious’ challenge for the industry in the future

Related tags Ingredients European union

We caught up with an industry expert on the ongoing challenge of limited ingredients available for cosmetics formulation and innovation - what is the issue, and what can be done?

Kevin Gallagher, industry consultant with Kevin Gallagher Consulting LLC and formerly of ingredients supplier Croda, here gives expert insight into how he feels the industry is currently failing to protect its own supply chain properly, and this can be tackled.

Limited ingredients are a challenge for the industry today

In some cases “limited ingredients” are an ongoing challenge, but in other cases, the situation could be far more serious for future innovation.  

Anyone who has been on the product side of the beauty industry will recognize that limitations on ingredients are an historical fact.  

In my case, when I started out in the industry in the mid 70s, as a lab technician. My first projects were around replacing red colors which were being delisted.  

My next generation of projects involved replacing chloroflourocarbons (ex. Freons) as propellants in aerosol systems.

Shifting perceptions of ‘natural’

Later in my career, I can remember our surprise that hydrolyzed collagen and keratin proteins were no longer considered to be “natural” by customers in California.  That was around 1990, and we thought, “What could be more natural than a cow?”

It became clear though, that indeed the definition of “natural” had changed, and this began the turning of the tide against animal proteins and in favor of vegetable proteins, even if at that time, customers were not certain that vegetable derived proteins would work as well.  

We turned the full attention of the Croda applications labs in North America to the formulation, evaluation and performance testing of the new vegetable derived proteins that were coming out of the Croda UK labs at Ditton.

Restrictions from regulation the current major threat

If ingredient limitations, both regulatory and “societal pressure” based have been a historical fact, then why is there a “dark side” to the limited ingredient story?  It has to do with the restrictions on new ingredients.

In my mind, this is a new threat to innovation, and one that both beauty companies and their entire supply chain must work hard to prevent.  

Better beauty products are dependent on better performing ingredients. Ingredient innovation is crucial to beauty innovation.

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