The World of Cosmetic Science and Innovation
Science and innovation have always been synonymous; Cosmetic Science is unique in the fact that consumer desires and social trends have a greater influence on innovation than pure scientific curiosity. A Cosmetic Scientist must be able to identify which trends are going to translate into the world of cosmetics and create products that interpret these changes.
In the past few years there have been many social and political changes that have influenced trends, which in turn has influenced new product developments. One of the key examples of this is the new interpretation of the ‘Naturals’ trend that began to build momentum in 2017; a growing awareness from the consumer has affected what consumers require from products. There is now a demand for products that are not only effective but ecologically aware. Similarly, changes in the fashion industry, such as the advocation for an increase in diversity has inspired products that reflect these changes. Over the past year there has been an influx of products on the market that challenge social stereotypes; make-up for men and gender-neutral products being the most impactful examples.
Typically, most trends do not withstand the test of time but some stay relevant and adapt. A trend as big as ‘Naturals’ can have a ripple effect over every consumer lead industry. When considering what leads innovation in natural products, technological advancements are at the forefront. As demand for natural raw materials starts to outweigh supply, companies are turning to Agtech (Agriculture Technology). The development of processes and farms that are less resource intensive, faster and sustainable, such as next gen and micro farms, means that the range of natural products being made can continue to expand.
Technology is also changing the way in which cosmetics are purchased and used by the consumer. Smart Beauty is due to increase in popularity in the future as brands continue down the path paved by the personalisation trend. The way that consumers purchase products is slowly changing into a tailored process that provides an individual and unique beauty regime. AI (artificial intelligence) has facilitated a shift towards technology that identifies what the skin needs and suggests products; such as HiMirror, a mirror that maps your face in order to identify problem areas and suggests relevant products to combat these issues. Furthermore, there is a growing interest in 3D printing within the cosmetic industry as this will allow companies to create products that are personal to the user in every way. The Department of Cosmetic Science at UAL have put this into practise and have created a method for producing personalised lipstick applicators.
The skin biome is also an exciting area of research that is leading to the development of pro and prebiotic products for skincare and cosmetics. As a ‘Food’ trend that has been adopted by the cosmetic industry, biotic products hint at the arrival of a whole different branch to the ‘Personalisation trend’. The Microbiome, a system of naturally occurring bacteria that lives on the skin surface, is unique from person to person. Most of the research that has been done focuses on finding a way to analyse the microbiome of a consumer. This research will then enable companies to create products that will work synergistically with the microflora, instead of using products that will disrupt the natural processes of healthy bacteria in order to tackle problems such as inflammation, redness and dry skin.