The launch of the first two-in-one shampoo and conditioner in the 1980’s caught the attention of consumers worldwide who have now come to expect products that have more than one function. And so, formulation chemists faced a new challenge, since a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner was just the start of an ever-increasing demand for new combinations of functionalities in cosmetic products.
At the time, it was counterintuitive to think that a product developed to cleanse the hair could condition it at the same time (leaving conditioning molecules on the hair), but thanks to the coacervation1 phenomenon combining cationic polymers and anionic surfactants (or silicone emulsions), the multifunctionality has been proven to be achievable.
Developing a multifunctional cosmetic product?
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Nowadays the formulator has different tools to plan multifunctional cosmetics that can be achieved in three different ways, as explained by Mort Westman in the book “Multifunctional Cosmetics:”2
- The use of an ingredient with more than one functionality, e.g. humectant and emollient, emollient and emulsifier
- The increased functionality of a secondary performance, e.g. two-in-one shampoo, body wash with high moisturisation
- The addition of a second functionality which would not be expected from the product: e.g. the beauty balm (BB) cream that combines makeup with skincare benefits
When developing multifunctional cosmetics, especially the ones from the third category, in addition to the formulation parameters of compatibility, stability, manufacturability, fillability, safety, microbiology, patent infringement, among others, the chemist must give special attention to the performance of the cosmetic product, making sure to substantiate the claims for all the functionalities that his product is addressing.
As such, in the development of a moisturiser with anti-redness properties, for example, a clinical study must verify the moisturisation capacity and the anti-redness effect, most probably increasing the budget of the consumer study. Fortunately, the possible combinations of functionalities are vast and the combination of makeup, whose performance is visually indicated, with a skin care benefit can be an advantage to the evaluation team of R&D.
The raw material suppliers, also following the trends, help us formulators with very innovative products that promise to ease our lives in the day-to-day of R&D and NPD, either by launching new ingredients or repurposing not-so-new ones. This helps provide the tools we need for multifunctional claims. Some examples of raw materials with multifunctional properties are listed below:
- Glycereth-26: humectant, skin conditioning agent, dispersant, detackifier, solubiliser, viscosity modifier, plasticizer, foam modifier and lubricant
- Niacinamide: the ingredient of the moment helps protect from pollutants and UV and blue light damage, anti-wrinkle, improves skin elasticity, reduces blemishes, among other functions
- Caprylyl glycol: viscosity regulator, wetting properties, broad efficacy against bacteria, yeast and fungi
The increasing consumer expectations, in addition to technological advances in formulation and demanding marketers, contributed to the launch of bolder products claiming to do more than one basic function, to convince the consumer of the cost- and time-saving benefits. The launch of the BB cream is probably one of the most successful among multifunctional beauty products, since it opened the doors to a mix-and-match range of combinations across categories.
The brand RoC, for example, launched the Multi Correxion3 5-in-1 that claims to “improve the appearance of sagging, dryness, dull skin tone and wrinkles while boosting overall radiance”, proven by clinical tests and achieved with a combination of active ingredients referred to as Hexinol®. On the other hand, Nivea4 and Garnier5 have 5-in-1 BB creams with “softer” claims, like skin tone improvement, hydration, shine control, reduction of blemishes, tightening of pores, and sun protection.
The communication around what a formulation can do plays a significant role in the multifunctionality of cosmetics. Multifunction claims can be achieved from simple to complex formulations and supported by consumer, instrumental and/or clinical testing, depending on budget, brand communication and strength of claims.
The savvy consumer will expect a well-performing cream, lotion, serum, and other formats from a trusted brand. However, in some markets, especially in Asia-Pacific, the consumers may need a visual cue that implies more than one function to the product, giving the chemist a new approach towards the development.
Gram’s BanBan cosmetics include two or more formulations which are separated by the packaging, and have become highly successful in Korea. Many brands are launching their version of two-in-one cosmetics (e.g. moisturiser + pore tightening, moisturiser + foundation, whitening + anti-wrinkle). Multiple phases are well-known for toothpaste and makeup removers, and the visual cue has expanded to face washes, like the Garnier Men TurboLight Double White, co-squeezing of a two-coloured formula; or co-dispensing of formulas, such as the Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector & Optimizer.
Whatever the choice of concept for the multifunctional cosmetic you are developing, the range of available ingredients and textures is on the rise. The alignment with safety, stability testing, regulatory, scale-up functions during the development is of utmost importance for a winning formula.
- Two-in-one Shampoo Technology
- Creating Silicone-Free Conditioning Shampoos
- Panthenol: A Multifunctional Active
- The Benefits of Niacinamide
- Prospector Knowledge Center: Understanding Deposition Rinse Products
- Multifunctional Cosmetics. Cosmetic Science and Technology Series, Volume 26. Marcel Dekker Inc., 2001.
- RoC Skincare MULTI CORREXION 5-in-1 daily moisturizer
- Nivea BB Cream 5-in-1 Beautifying Moisturiser
- Garnier SkinActive BB Cream 5-in-1 Miracle Skin Perfector
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2 Responses to “Beauty Multitasking: Multifunctional Cosmetics Trends and Challenges”
Is there any foundation that is multifunctional like three one i can use as a powder and same time a foundation? Someone told me this but i really don’t such exist.