Food and Cosmetics: Convergence in the Beauty Industry

Food and Cosmetics: Convergence in the Beauty Industry

A major trend in recent years is the growing convergence of food and cosmetics in the beauty industry. On one side, we are seeing consumers becoming more discerning in their eating habits as they realise the food they eat has a direct impact on their health and appearance. Indeed, the whole area of nutri-cosmetics has emerged to serve consumers looking at nutritional supplements for beauty purposes. Other consumers are changing their diets – some by eating fresh fruits & vegetables and even superfoods – to get added nutrients or to ‘detox’ their bodies.

On the other side, we are seeing food ingredients making their way into cosmetic applications. This development is partly driven by innovation; product developers and formulators are looking to the kitchen table for inspiration. With many consumers associating food ingredients with health benefits, such cosmetic products are usually marketed on these ingredients. The Body Shop has been a frontrunner in this respect, having imagery of agricultural ingredients on product packs and store shelves. A large number of cosmetic products are now marketed on these ingredients.

Some raw material firms are developing novel actives from food sources. One example is ReGeniStem™ Red Rice, which is derived from Himalayan red rice material. Produced by Lonza, the natural active is marketed as having anti-ageing qualities.

Other ingredient companies are using food ingredients as feedstock for new cosmetic materials. DuPont Tate & Lyle (an exhibitor at In-Cosmetics Brasil) was formed as a joint-venture between the chemical company DuPont and the sugar company Tate & Lyle. It uses corn sugar to make the monomer 1,3-propanediol as a petroleum alternative for cosmetic applications.

Food ingredients have arguably had most success with natural cosmetics. Some brands, such as Yes to Inc have developed entire ranges based on a core food ingredient. After its initial success with Yes To Carrots, the Israeli company has developed lines based on blueberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, cucumbers, grapefruit and coconuts.

The late Horst Rechelbacher (founder of Aveda) used to promote his new range of Intelligent Nutrients as ‘safe enough to eat’. Indeed, at one of our Sustainable Cosmetics Summits, he demonstrated the purity of his formulations by opening up one of his hair sprays, poured it into a glass, and started drinking it. What better way to demonstrate the blurring lines between food and cosmetics in the beauty industry!

The convergence of food and cosmetics in the beauty industry will be featured at the Latin American edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit. The summit will be hosted alongside in-cosmetics Brasil on 28-29 September. More details on

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