Cosmetics & Personal Care

Innovation, trend ingredients and sustainability

By Dr Lisa Nahrwold Laboratory Manager Biesterfeld Spezialchemie GmbH

Biesterfeld’s responsibility as one of the leading international distributors in the personal care industry


Biesterfeld Spezialchemie was established in 1998 and now offers far more than distribution and logistics services to its customers around the world. In-depth technical expertise to advise customers, providing innovative formulations according to current market trends, and customized project support have become just as important as an attractive product portfolio. Laboratory Manager Dr Lisa Nahrwold gives some insight into today’s trends in the personal care sector.


Biesterfeld was once known as a distributor of silicones, but the product portfolio has completely changed since then and nowadays features ingredients for natural cosmetics, including various emollients, functionals, actives, pigments and conventional surfactants. Active portfolio management involves not only responding to current technical and market trends and regulations, but also foreseeing changing demands and offering variety to customers.


Constantly looking for interesting raw materials


Recent industry trends reveal a stronger demand for natural and naturally-derived raw materials. Consumers are increasingly focused on sustainable solutions, avoiding microplastics and looking for silicone alternatives. As a technical distributor of speciality chemicals, Biesterfeld is in a unique position to engage directly with manufacturers and customers and in this way is continually involved with developments in the market, as well as having active dialogue with customers to comply with their requirements and fulfil their needs.


Trends in ingredients for cosmetic products and formulations


Besides the performance of cosmetics, consumers are noticeably increasingly cautious about the ingredients in their products. Natural, clean and green cosmetics have seen significant growth in the industry. The same goes for upcycled ingredients, such as food by-products, which are already established as a source of natural ingredients and are widely used in cosmetic and personal care products. For example, GENENCARE OSMS MI (INCI: inositol), an osmoprotectant and moisturizer, is derived from sugar beet. It protects the skin from damage caused by heat, for example, and regulates the water balance of cells. It is a myo-inositol of natural origin that can be used for certified natural cosmetics and is ideal for applications in skin and hair care products as well as in decorative cosmetics.


In line with the trend of sustainability, plant-based and natural ingredients are being more and more used in formulations. The preservative range NEOLONOE Bio based on ethyl lauroylarginate is derived from natural ingredients and offers broad protection. It serves as a perfect alternative to synthetic options, as it is biodegradable, non-irritating and non-sensitizing, and is COSMOS certified.


Consumers asking for palm-free cosmetics with fair-trade ingredients will appreciate Prodhysoft ABK (INCI:ALLANBLACKIA STUHLMANNII SEED BUTTER), a sustainable, palm-free plant-based butter that is COSMOS-approved. The product originates from Tanzania and the project supports the local community. The butter, which comes from the fruit seeds, reduces epidermal water loss and provides long-lasting hydration. The consistency agent is odourless and leaves a matte, less shiny finish on the skin. It has a unique sensory profile and results in less crystallization, which is ideal for lipstick formulations. It is also suitable for skincare, haircare, (after) sun care and colour cosmetic applications.



Looking further into the trends that have become established in the beauty care space, CBD oil is one of the new ingredients to watch out for, however,  not everyone is confident about using CBD oil in their formulations. A favourable alternative can be found in the patent pending ingredient Asyntra CBD-Alt (INCI: isosorbide dicaprylate/bakuchiol/ethyl linoleate). It can also be formulated in synergy with CBD/hemp oil to protect the skin from stress. The blend is adapted for sensitive skins and inhibits anandamide degradation, which helps to reduce inflammation, reduces stress and strengthen the skin surface.


For formulations that avoid the use of synthetic polymers, these ingredients can be substituted with SolAmaze (INCI: diisostearoyl polyglyceryl-3 dimer dilinoleate(and) caprylic/capric triglyceride), which is ideal for sun care applications. This novel bio-based, biodegradable, film-forming polymer offers superior water resistance and pleasing aesthetics for high SPF emulsion sun care applications. It can also be used for colour cosmetics as well as face, body, hand and foot creams and lotions. It is a very attractive naturally-derived alternative to synthetic polymers used in these applications.


As consumer awareness increases, the packaging of cosmetic products is also becoming more important. For example, solid formulations are seeing more demand and are starting to replace conventional shampoos and conditioners. As water has become a scarce resource, this not only reduces plastic waste but also the water content of the formulation. As such, ‘Blue Gold’ formulations allow the consumer to mix the concentrate with water themselves, thus having a positive environmental impact as less water is used during the production cycle and the overall carbon footprint is reduced during when transporting the product from the manufacturer to the consumer – all this is achieved without, of course, compromising on performance.


Modern distribution – far more than trading


Nowadays, the business of distribution is not only about selling and delivering goods, even though excellent logistics models are one of the key elements of successful distribution, but is increasingly focused on application technology and integrated product solutions. This entails detailed project support from start to finish, advising on regulations, providing documentation, testing products and developing novel formulations. It was with this in mind that Biesterfeld recently expanded its laboratory space and opened the Biesterfeld Lab and Innovation Centre. This is home to– among other things – a designated laboratory for the Personal Care department, which allows in-depth research into product trends, raw material analysis and the development of formulations. The facilities also include a modern networking and presentation area to host events such as customer seminars. Discussing new ideas, presenting results and fostering dialogue has become the basis of up-to-date developments and encourages innovation for a thriving future: a model in which technical expertise is shared and matched to consumer demands. Similar aims are achieved by attending exhibitions and trade shows and cultivating a trend-watching network.


Cosmetic formulation kit: Masquerade


As art of its strategy, Biesterfeld has recently been launching a new cosmetic formulation kit every year inspired by current trends and using innovative raw materials. The formulation kit is a complimentary service to customers, not only sharing formulations and product know-how but also giving them inspiration for developing new products and reacting to market developments. The latest Masquerade formulation kit reflects global beauty and consumer trends such as clean beauty, sustainability and #noplastics. These formulations are characterized by purity and naturalness. There are nine innovative mask formulations for the hair, face, eyes, lips, body, hands and feet which care for the skin with natural active ingredients, reviving the skin’s and hair’s natural beauty. The masks are either ready-to-use or for mixing with water, offering the consumer a DIY effect with a home-spa-like approach. One example is the Hocus Pocus bubbling face mask, which includes the above-mentioned GENENCARE OSMS MI as a moisturizing ingredient. The mask surprises the user with its bubbling effect on the skin, while its active foam treats the face. It provides intense moisture, delivering youthful-feeling skin with an invigorating citrus scent.


The Personal Care team at Biesterfeld is already working in the lab on developing the cosmetic formulation kit for 2021, which will be launched at the next in-cosmetics show in Barcelona and will focus on consumer awareness and well-being.


Growth markets and geographic expansion


Diversity is not limited to the product portfolio but also includes serving different markets and their distinctive demands. For example, in Poland, there is a strong focus on skin care and colour cosmetics, whereas the Turkish market predominantly concentrates on hair care applications. The Nordic region is characterized by a strong tendency towards natural and sustainable ingredients while looking for products with specific benefits and unique functionalities. With Biesterfeld’s acquisition of the Norwegian distributor Lindberg & Lund, the company is now expanding its geographical footprint in the Nordic region and is building a Personal Care Hub in the area. It is the role of the distributor to adjust its product offering and services according to individual market dynamics.