The Natural Evolution of Color Cushion Compacts
The original color cushion compact represented a breakthrough in luxury color cosmetic innovation in South Korea, selling at a record rate of nearly one every 30 seconds in 2014. This exponential growth attracted the attention of cosmetic companies all over Asia, who were quick to introduce their own version of this product. It became an extremely popular staple in the consumer’s cosmetic toolkit. This K-Beauty trend has spilled over into the European and North American markets in the intervening years, as several high-end domestic brands have introduced their own versions into the marketplace.
What is a color cushion compact?
In short, the color cushion compact is a low viscosity liquid “CC+ cream” with a unique delivery system – it is soaked into a compact sponge, and applied using a specially-designed puff that creates a cooling sensation when applied to the face.
Consumers love it because it combines the traditional benefits of a CC+ cream – color correction, good coverage, high moisturization, and strong SPF protection – with a practical, sensorially-pleasant application process. This delivery system is particularly appealing to busy consumers on the go. For established brands, it provides another avenue into the indie brand niches that focus on packaging innovations designed for delivering multi-functional formulas that are easily and quickly re-applied.
It turns out that formulating a product like this is quite tricky. The absolute key is finding how to lower the viscosity enough so that it will soak homogenously into the sponge. This has been a difficult challenge to overcome due to the high amounts of color pigment and UV filters contained in the formulation, and had stumped South Korean formulators for a number of years. They finally had a breakthrough in the original color cushion compact formula when they elected to use a powerful new dispersant aid in the Applecare Pigment Dispersion System (PDS).
It allowed the formulators to lower the viscosity enough to soak properly into the sponge, and moreover, it created a robust in-situ coating that kept the pigments from agglomerating within the product itself. The following water-in-silicone formulation is a typical, stable representation of how a formulator would create this type of formula.
Tap into the burgeoning natural color cosmetic market
It’s now possible to create a completely natural, clean color cushion compact. As it was with the water-in-silicone version, the biggest challenge has always been tamping down the high viscosity issues arising from larger color pigment loads. Pre-treated pigments using natural coatings have only been partially effective, and the associated higher cost of pre-treated pigments created a larger entry barrier for innovation from natural color cosmetic brands.
New COSMOS-approved dispersant aids like Applecare PDS-300 are very effective at addressing both the high viscosity issues as well as greatly reducing any dependence on naturally-coated pigments, so the rest of the formulation is easier to tackle. As for SPF claims, uniform dispersing of attenuation-grade zinc oxide and titanium dioxide will also benefit from the same dispersing system.
The focus then should be on incorporating low viscosity emollients, which has become easier with natural silicone replacements like coconut alkanes and hemisqualene. Additionally, it’s important to use natural water-in-oil emulsifiers that perform well, and thankfully more of these options are now becoming available as part of a formulator’s toolkit.
Recent innovations in dispersing technology have created new possibilities for color cosmetic formulators in both natural and non-natural spaces, and even premium K-Beauty products like the color cushion compact can evolve to become more ubiquitous for the discerning American consumer.
Paid content provided by Applechem, Inc.
|Applecare PDS-300 is a COSMOS-approved dispersing agent for hydrophilic color pigments, allowing formulators to greatly enhance the dispersibility of their pigments in all-natural color cosmetic formulations. Designed to adsorb very quickly to color pigment surfaces, Applecare PDS-300 helps rein in out-of-spec viscosity, brighten color strength, boost transparency, opacity, coverage, and overall sensory, all without having to rely on synthetic surface-treated pigments. Create green, sustainable color cosmetic formulas without compromising functionality!|
|GGEL™ 102V is an organoclay gel used to increase the viscosity of the oil phase in formulations.|
|PhytoCare-HA™ CG 1M is the extracted essence of the “Silver Ear” Mushroom. It is the first truly natural replacement for synthesized, bacterially-fermented hyaluronic acid.|
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