Since the earlier version of this article was published in 2014, the US Natural Personal Care market has grown exponentially and is forecast to continue its growth in the coming years. The projection is that the US market size will be valued at 3.17 billion by 2025, up from 1.3B in 2015, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.6% during the forecast period.1 In Europe, sales of natural cosmetic products have grown at an average of +7% per year between 2014 and 2019 and are expected to reach five billion euros by 2023.2 Similar trends have been observed in the Asian market, where the natural cosmetics market grew from USD 3.38B in 2014 to USD 6.17B in 2022 and is expected to grow to 9.47B by 2026.3
The global expansion of the ‘natural’ category within the personal care industry can be attributed in part to post-pandemic attitudes and consumers’ quest for a more clean and healthy lifestyle, but also to heightened sensitivity to environmental issues and a desire to contribute to the protection of the environment. This awareness has spawned a variety of concepts that relate to products as well as packaging, all falling under the ‘natural’ umbrella. It is essential that product developers fully understand the lexicon to deliver against the expectations of their clients. Examples include:
Green and sustainable cosmetics are defined as cosmetic products using natural ingredients produced from renewable raw materials.4 Given its impact on the environment, the production of palm oil is a process that was long ago identified as being unsustainable, which led to the popular ‘palm-free’ claim. With global attention focused on this issue, efforts are being made to produce this and other plant-based materials in a more sustainable fashion.
A bio-based material is a material intentionally made from substances derived from living (or once-living) organisms.5 A shift from the production of petroleum-based to bio-based raw materials is yet another environmental imperative that has resulted in the emergence of these materials in the personal care industry.
Another recent addition to the formulator’s toolbox is the use of upcycled ingredients. Upcycling is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials or discarded objects into new materials or products.6
Raw material suppliers are keeping pace with the rapidly changing demands of the market with technological innovations that can support natural/sustainable product claims. Consider listings of Lamesoft PO 65 and Eumulgin SG as examples. They are both described as “derived from 100% natural, renewable feedstock” and are among a growing list of ingredients that offer the formulator more options for developing “natural/environmentally friendly” products.
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