Cosmetics & Personal Care

Inspired by nature

By Michael Smith

Bettina Heick, Business Manager LifeScience at Biesterfeld, talks about the company’s new range of active ingredients for

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Bettina Heick, Business Manager LifeScience at Biesterfeld, talks about the company’s new range of active ingredients for the cosmetics industry, and the rise of nature-inspired ingredients in the cosmetics space.
Biesterfeld Spezialchemie recently announced an expansion to its extensive product portfolio, with the addition of a range of patented nature-inspired active ingredients for the cosmetics industry. The portfolio, which has been developed for maximum safety and effectiveness, includes a natural alternative to retinol, an anti-aging active, oil-soluble moisture boosters, a photostabilizer, and a brightener for reducing hyperpigmentation. Chemicals Knowledge spoke to Bettina Heick, Business Manager LifeScience at Biesterfeld, about the new range and the rise of nature-inspired active ingredients in the cosmetics space.
What do you think are the main factors underlying consumer demand for natural ingredients?
Customers are more and more cautious about the ingredients in their beauty products. Their awareness has increased and they like to avoid synthetic ingredients if possible. Sustainability is also a key factor. As a result, natural ingredients and the market for natural cosmetics have seen significant growth rates during the last few years, and together they continue to be one of the fastest growing segments in the industry – even more so in Europe than, for example, in the US or Asia.
But is ‘natural’ always safer, or better for the environment?
This is certainly one of the biggest misconceptions, as natural does not always mean safer or better for the environment. If we look at synthetic raw materials, the risk of allergies or irritation can be lower than it is for natural ingredients, for example due to the presence of natural irritants in plants. In addition, synthetic ingredients make it possible to provide continuous high quality, whereas some natural ingredients are much dependent upon the harvest.
We understand that your new range of nature-inspired ingredients was developed by Sytheon. Is this an established partnership?
We started our partnership with Sytheon in Spain a couple of years ago, and we have been excited about their in-depth knowledge of actives, the way they develop new and innovative ingredients and the way they work with their customers. In April we extended this cooperation to BeNeLux, Germany and Russia. It is certainly a perfect fit to our Biesterfeld Personal Care portfolio.
The new distribution agreement covers Europe and Russia. Is there particularly strong demand for natural ingredients in these regions?
The biggest market for natural cosmetics is definitely the German market, which has been a key driver and is home to some of the biggest producers for natural cosmetics. We see quite a lot of potential there but the same applies to the other regions, although the demand for natural ingredients might not as be as big as it is in Germany. Looking at the US, this is certainly the biggest market for natural cosmetics and we see many famous German natural cosmetic brands selling large volumes into the US market. However, the US is still behind with regards to certifications. It seems that it is not yet of the same importance as it is in Europe. The market for natural ingredients is definitely expected to grow globally, but at a different pace in different regions.
Can you tell us a little more about Sytenol A, and its advantages as a natural alternative to retinol?
Retinol is listed among the top choices for anti-aging and has a well-known image in the industry. However, one of the biggest drawbacks of retinol is that it can cause irritation on the skin if not used properly. In clinical studies, Sytenol A has shown similar performance and activities to retinol without the negative side-effects. We can expect to see the INCI: Bakuchiol on several cosmetic ingredients in the future as it is simply a game changer, especially for those who suffer from the irritation which can occur when using retinol. As an active ingredient, it acts as an antioxidant and is ideal for acne-prone skin and anti-aging products.
The new range also includes an anti-aging active and two oil-soluble moisture boosters, a photostabilizer, and a brightener for reducing hyperpigmentation – would you like to tell us a little about how they work?
Sytheon’s oil-soluble moisture boosters HydraSynol IDL and HydraSynol DOI use different pathways to build up the skin’s barrier function and to balance the water level in the cells. Whereas HydraSynol DOI stimulates aquaporin 3, HydraSynol IDL acts on the filaggrin process.
The brightener, which is called Synovea HR, works on eight targets of the melanogenesis pathway. It is also available in a synergistic liquid blend – Asyntra SL, which is a combination of Synovea EL and hexylresorcinol.
Synoxyl HSS is an effective photostabilizer for photosensitive ingredients such as dyes, fragrances and UV filters. By using Synoxyl® HSS, customers can achieve an SPF boost of 50% for both organic and inorganic sunscreens.
How does the new range complement your existing portfolio?
Sytheon’s products are the perfect addition to our existing portfolio and bring synergies with many of our existing products, especially if we look at our growing portfolio for natural cosmetics, which consists of different emollients, functionals, actives and surfactants. Oil-soluble actives were something that we as Biesterfeld had been lacking for the last few years and we do see a lot of potential in our markets for the great ingredients of our new partner.
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What’s next for Biesterfeld?
Our formulation expertise and the technical background of our sales force are big market advantages and make it easy for us to explain our specialties to our customers. Of course, we want to increase this in-depth expertise to advise our customers even better in the future. And we aim to expand our market presence. With our centralized product management and our local sales teams in the different countries, we already have an excellent market coverage which we are ready to extend.
We are always striving to improve our offering for Personal Care applications and there are still some gaps in certain countries where our portfolio is not yet as complete as we would like it to be.
As a strategic market segment at Biesterfeld, Personal Care is continuously looking for reliable and innovative partners with whom we can jointly grow. But we are not a ‘brand collector’, we are interested in bringing specialties and innovation to our customers which we are convinced of and which create a benefit for our customers. It’s a promise to our customers and to ourselves, because we love what we do.
Bettina Heick, Business Manager LifeScience at Biesterfeld, Ferdinandstraße 41, 20095 Hamburg, Germany.
T: +49 40 320080;