Cosmetics preservative industry has sustained a positive outlook with incessant consumption of skin care products and essential oils, as well as improved customer reach. Cosmetics have become a vital part of modern-day lifestyle and well-being as they not only improve a person’s physical appearance but also boost self-esteem, confidence, and the overall mood.
Ranging from fragrances, antiperspirants, make-up and shampoos, to soaps, and sunscreens, the products today represent an essential component in all walks of consumer life.
However, most cosmetic products contain water as one of the prominent elements along with nutrients, vitamins, and many active ingredients which make excellent ground for microorganisms, bacteria, and fungi growth. To prevent this, manufacturers include preservatives that help the cosmetic formula to remain safe and prevent alteration in time.
What are cosmetic preservatives?
Preservatives are ingredients that are necessary not only in packaged food but also in cosmetic products to keep them safe and fresh for users. Without cosmetic preservatives, beauty products – just like food – can become contaminated with microorganisms, leading to spoilage, loss of product performance, and possible infection or other health reactions. The compounds ensure that cosmetics remain suitable and safe during their shelf-life and period of use by consumers.
List of some of the most used preservatives in cosmetics:
- Formaldahyde Releasers
- Phenol Derivatives
- Organic acids
- Essential Oils
Significance of parabens in cosmetics
Parabens are commonly used preservatives in cosmetics and makeup for their bactericidal and fungicidal properties. Often used in combination with other types of preservatives, parabens provide better protection against a broad range of microorganisms. Some of the common products that contain parabens include moisturizers, makeup, hair care products, and shaving products, among others.
Ramping up sales of cosmetic products, especially via online and e-commerce platforms, will favor the demand for personal care products containing paraben preservatives. According to L’Oréal 2020 annual report, social commerce accounted for almost 12% of online sales in China, indicating the widespread acceptance of digital platforms for consumer reach.
Natural cosmetic preservatives
Sustainable beauty and organic cosmetics are becoming increasingly popular, especially at a time when consumers are abstaining from the use of chemical-based products. In fact, a Kari Gran survey shows that more than 55% of women check the ingredients that are mentioned on beauty products prior to making a purchase, and more than 35% intend to purchase all-natural beauty products in the next two years.
The trend of organic has made cosmetic manufacturers dubious about ingredients like preservatives that could potentially be risky for customers.
Benefits of natural preservatives
Preservatives such as parabens and sulfates which are used in a large array of products like shampoos, moisturizes and toothpastes are said to be harmful. Using of natural cosmetic preservatives can significantly decrease the risk of harmful substances like carcinogens.
- Better for Sensitive Skin
Natural cosmetic ingredients provide the perfect solution for sensitive skin conditions as users don’t have to worry about getting a rash or suffering from skin irritation. Organic cosmetics can also be less abrasive and damaging to your skin in the long term.
Natural preservatives for cosmetics can avoid allergic reactions triggered by complex chemicals like bronopol and imidazolidinyl urea.
List of some of the best preservatives for sustainable cosmetics:
- Phenoxyethanol – Found naturally in green tea plants, phenoxyethanol is used in most sustainable beauty products for its ability to inhibit bacterial growth.
- Sorbic Acid – Sorbic acid is used in both food and cosmetics products as it is effective in preventing mold growth as well as inhibiting the growth of airborne bacteria on products.
- Potassium Sorbate – Potassium sorbate is another natural preservative that is widely found in a variety of makeup and skincare items ad is used to reduce mold growth in shampoos, lotions, mascaras and hair care products.
Cosmetic manufacturers are keen on producing organically derived, sustainable products without hindering the performance and pleasure aspects of cosmetic products like texture, smell, and shelf-life.
Highlighting an instance, in 2020, Swiss specialty chemical company Clariant launched its next-gen preservation booster Velsan Flex which is highly versatile and enables reduction of typical preservatives by around 50% while managing to achieve safe antimicrobial protection for cosmetics.
Drawbacks of Natural Preservatives
Although natural preservatives come out as a preferred alternative to chemical counterparts, they exhibit certain drawbacks, some of which include:
- Availability of fewer available options
- Not as effective as synthetic counterparts in inhibiting microbial growth
- Are required to be used in relatively high concentrations to be effective
- Consistency and potency may vary from batch to batch.
Europe to hold a strong foothold in the cosmetics preservatives market
As the cosmetics and personal care sector continues to make large investments in R&D, the cosmetic preservative market is expected to experience robust revenue growth in the next few years.
Europe is standing out as a leader in the cosmetics sector and a dominant cosmetics exporter. In terms of retail sales, the European cosmetics and personal care industry was valued at €76.7 billion in 2020.
Similarly, the shift towards online shopping has escalated the sales of cosmetic products across developing nations. India is one of the priority markets for beauty brands like Oriflame, a European company which has forecasted double-digit growth over the next 3-5 years. The company sells cosmetic and wellness products in India and expects substantial growth in its sales force, adding more direct sellers in the coming years.
Cosmetics preservatives market is expected to evolve with new development in skin and personal care products. Modern beauty products containing natural preservatives are likely to become more popular by evidence of the toxicity of certain chemical-based preservatives. Furthermore, the trend of online and e-commerce shopping across emerging economies like India could elevate the future prospects of the global cosmetic preservatives market over the years to come.