A deep dive into the international patent filings of beauty and personal care majors always indicates the direction of travel for industry, revealing research and development priorities and signalling categories and trends set to bloom.
In this round-up piece, CosmeticsDesign-Europe looks back at our coverage on patents filed in 2022, highlighting some key areas industry is investing time and science in.
Smarter UV protection
Scientific interest behind UV protection continued to build in 2022, with several big brands investing research, time and funds into expanding opportunities and applications in the field. An important space from a skin health standpoint, there have been some breakthrough concepts and innovations here, stretching future promise for industry.
. Unilever Just this month, Unilever filed an international patent for a two-step method that offered high SPF and UVA protection via a cleanser and cream that could be offered to consumers in a kit. The company said the wash-off and leave-on combination offered a “synergistic benefit” to consumers for broader daily protection.
. Shiseido Back in September, Shiseido filed an international patent on a heating device it had developed to improve the absorption of UV protective formulas and thus assure protection after application of makeup. The company said the innovation aligned well with growth in wider use of UVA and UVB protection amongst beauty consumers.
. L’Oréal Back in August, L’Oréal filed an international patent on tinted high-coverage sunscreens with UVA and UVB protection suitable for dark phototypes five and six. The company said this development plugged an important current market gap not currently well catered to.
. Beiersdorf Back in May, Beiersdorf filed a US patent on sunscreen formulations containing a range of pigment combinations to offer aesthetically pleasing visual effects to the skin, including soft shine, sparkle and even a metallic effect. The company said the formulas were, importantly, suitable for all skin types.
Next-gen hair focus
Hair care continued to be a giant category in the wider beauty and personal care space in 2022, but recent scientific advances had started to home in on products and regimes targeting concerns like dandruff and alopecia. In addition, the hair care category had upped efforts in sustainability.
. P&G Back in February, Procter & Gamble filed an international patent on water-soluble pouches containing dissolvable hair care pellets for a user-friendly, sustainable alternative to existing bottled and solid formats. The company said the fibrous pouches dissolved quickly with hot water, releasing the formula inside.
. Unilever In the same month, Unilever filed an international patent on a scalp care formulation using disaccharide trehalose as a prebiotic to reduce levels of fungi associated with dandruff. The company said the blend could be integrated into a range of hair care products, including serums, creams, foams and shampoos.
Later in the year, in June, Unilever filed another international patent on a topical blend containing hydroxystearic acid that it said could induce the natural secretion of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) on the human body. The company said it could be used to enforce immunity of the scalp, skin and oral cavity.
. L’Oréal In January, L’Oréal filed a patent on a method it had developed to predict hair loss, identifying the molecular signature of a person’s scalp in a common alopecic state, thus enabling prognosis and diagnosis. The company said it wanted to direct its method towards predicting androgenetic alopecia in men, known as male-pattern baldness, and then develop efficacious cosmetic treatments for such hair loss.
Digital beauty advances
The beauty category continued its foray into the digital world in 2022, with scientific advances focused heavily on at-home devices for tracking personal health and interplay with the virtual world across makeup, hair colouring and more.
. L’Oréal Back in April, L’Oréal filed an international patent for acne imaging technology that enabled the localisation and identification of different types of acne using a deep-learning image processing digital system. The company said the technology could be linked to e-commerce product and services to then make recommendations and create skin treatment plans for users.
Later in the year, in July, L’Oréal filed three separate international patents for an Augmented Reality (AR) virtual makeup app that enabled users to create images and filters of themselves that could be posted across online platforms or used during video streaming services like Microsoft Teams or Google Hangouts. The company said two add-ons offered users a virtual makeup palette and a system that made ‘look’ recommendations based on a user’s outfit.
. Coty Back in June, Coty filed an international patent on a technology that enabled dynamic and more representative digital colour adjustments for virtual makeup try-ons. The company said the technology could be used either via video stream or AR to offer more realistic colours that changed according to ambient lighting conditions.
. Colgate-Palmolive Back in August, Colgate-Palmolive filed an international patent for an at-home Artificial Intelligence (AI) oral health device, shaped like a mouth guard, designed to measure oral health properties using a series of multispectral sensors. The company said this diagnostic data could then be displayed directly via a consumer app or communicated through a virtual assistant, with recommendations on oral hygiene routines and products.
Earlier in the year, Colgate-Palmolive also filed a several formulation patents for oral care that offered improved stability and in-use delivery thanks to fatty acid salts. The company said these salts stabilised whiteners and reduced abrasive components, detailing this across four separate international patents.