As we strive for immortal beauty, there has never been so many cosmeceutical products or ingredients to choose from. But how do you make your product stand out in an already crowded market place, when there are so many products to choose from, and how do you formulate to the required price? How can you ensure long term stability and efficacy of your product and how do you know that something so active can be safe or compliant with local and international regulations?
This report looks at 5 Big Issues when developing cosmeceuticals, and what you need to be aware of, to help you create competitive, efficacious, stable and successful products for an ever-growing sector of the market!
Big Issue #1: Marketing claims
To stand out in the market place, your product needs a great story. That story must also be compliant, and based on appearance based changes to comply with the definition of a cosmetic product. Consumers looking for cosmeceuticals and products in general these days are looking to see what benefits are in that product for them… and want results FAST. Providing them with factual data about what they can expect to see and giving them a time frame in which to see it will help give you the best possible marketing story; for example:
- a 20% reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles within 28 days OR
- visibly lighter skin tone by up to 15% within 60 days
Do these types of claims get your attention? Well they certainly work on consumers! But to make these types of claims you need to have suitable evidence to support the claims, and that means results from well-designed human trials which will often be in the form of efficacy data provided by raw material suppliers when the right amount of their raw materials are used in a suitably stable and compatible finished product. Notice how both of these claims are appearance based? That also makes them okay to say… Without suitable evidence, you can’t make the claim; and in vitro data or claims about the physiological changes happening within the skin to bring about the visible results is also a no-no. Make sure you understand the compliance requirements around claims so that you can use active ingredients in your products which give you the chance to make great claims in the marketplace without breaking any rules!
Big issue #2: Price
So you can sell a cosmeceutical product at a higher price, this means you can be more flexible with your ingredient selections, right? WRONG! The ingredients that bring about efficacious results not only cost more, but if a consumer needs to pay significantly more for a product, they need a stronger marketing message to want to purchase the product and need to see more dramatic results to want to purchase it again.
Formulating your cosmeceutical product to a set price is even more important than formulating to suit a budget price – because your company will need to spend a lot more in marketing to get their message across. When you pick an active ingredient, make sure it will give you a great story to tell and fits the manufacture price of the product to ensure a competitively priced product in the market.
Big issue #3: Formulation compatibility
Cosmeceutical ingredients may have very a very specific pH range over which they are effective – if your formula has a pH that is too high or too low it may affect the bioavailability of your chosen active so much that it is pointless having it in there! Make sure that when you are investigating the cosmeceutical ingredients you want to use that you are checking thoroughly the pH, temperature and processing methods that it is compatible with, and make sure you only use it in formulas in which it will be compatible. You may also need to check the supplier’s technical information to see if there are any known incompatibilities with other ingredients present in the formula such as anionic gums/surfactants or electrolytes.
We’ve seen far too many products enter the market containing ingredients with known incompatibilities and reduced efficacy as a result – consumers may purchase a product once based on its story but if they don’t see the promised results, they won’t purchase again. Check the actives you want to use for compatibility issues while still investigating suitable ingredients and check them again when you have made your selection and are putting your formula together. Check them again when you make changes in the lab to suit aesthetic requirements... there is no point getting to the end of the development process, or worse, getting to market, with a product that is missing a fundamental formulation compatibility. It just won’t work!
Big issue #4: Stability
Cosmeceutical ingredients can have a significant impact on formulation stability. They may be subject to oxidation or cause degradation as part of a finished product or contribute to faster separation. There is nothing cheap about a product recall, so when you are formulating cosmeceuticals you need to run suitable accelerated stability trials to check the anticipated shelf life of the product before you manufacture it, and definitely before you take it to market!
Having a product go rancid, having a product that changes colour or having a product that loses its efficacy can all be signs of poor stability. That vitamin C product that has turned brown? It’s no longer active… so your consumer won’t be happy with results. It can happen with all cosmeceutical products! Conducting suitable stability trials as part of the R&D process should be expected, and additional development time allowed, to ensure this crucial step is covered off on, and yields suitable results, before packaging is printed and product is manufactured. Got an issue with your stability? You might need to revisit big issue #3, think of other ways to solve it, or search for a suitable active alternative.
Big issue #5: Safety & compliance
Active ingredients, to create impressive results, will cause transient physiological changes (even though you can’t claim this!) Their safety needs to be checked, especially if they are in an extreme pH environment; and you also need to consider how safety may be impacted by the use of other ingredients used to create the base product.
Knowing how to search for ingredient safety using REPUTABLE sites is essential. Knowing how to test preliminary safety in a focus group is also ideal. You should also know how to check compliance of various ingredients with the countries the product will be sold in… if you don’t know how to conduct those compliance and safety checks, you should learn or have someone qualified do it for you.
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