COSSMA: Functional Ingredients- Shaping the Future of Personal Care Industry

Functional ingredients in personal care, how they are changing the future

Emollients, surfactants, conditioning polymers, rheology modifiers, emulsifiers, preservatives, hair fixative polymers, opacifiers, pearlisers, and so on are examples of functional ingredients. Haircare and skincare are two of the personal care industry’s most important applications. As a result, the ingredients used in them have a larger market share, which means that Emollients (skincare), Surfactants, and Conditioning Polymers (haircare) account for ~65% of the industry’s ingredient consumption.

Shower gels, shampoos, combing creams, and hair masks all contain conditioning polymers. Silicone-based polymers account for nearly 70% of the market for conditioning polymers; however, with the growing preference for natural ingredients, demand for silicone-based polymers has been declining. The recent regulatory framework that calls for lowering the concentration of these ingredients in the final product may also aid in the transition from silicones to other natural ingredients such as plant-derived oils (e.g., jojoba oil, argan oil, or coconut oil), shea butter, cocoa butter, and other natural emollients.

The expansion of functional ingredients is aided further by high demand from the young population and the rapid expansion of gender-neutral products in the personal care industry. Gender-neutral skincare aims to reach consumers regardless of gender, allowing them to select the products that are best suited to their individual skin. To meet such novel consumer and brand owner demands, many new brands have been launched, particularly in the skincare and fragrance categories(1).

The Growth Dynamics

APAC has a large end-product cosmetics manufacturing industry, and it dominates the market for functional ingredients. The significant increase in demand for more high-end and efficient products makes the region a fantastic candidate for accelerated growth. Europe/ North America would be the most appealing market entry point, owing to their customers’ willingness to pay a premium for innovative, natural, and multifunctional ingredients.

With the growing demand for 100% natural/organic/sustainable products, R&D activities in the development of nature-derived functional ingredients are also increasing. As a result of the high growth demand, many companies(2) are constantly involved in R&D activities to expand their product portfolio for anti-aging products(3). Brands(4) are getting into research and tech partnerships to develop an exclusive beauty-driven exposome platform. The partnership will uncover new insights into how the environment affects skin aging and, ultimately, provide new services to consumers all over the world to accompany their skin needs with personalised routines and lifestyle advice.

Stricter regulations in Europe and North America, as well as consumer preference for certifications such as ISO 16128 and COSMOS, have also fueled the growth of nature-derived functional ingredients.

Understanding of Self-Care

Preservatives have a low market share among functional ingredients, but they are expected to grow in the coming years due to increased demand for natural and organic skincare products that require a longer shelf life and a lower risk of contamination. The FDA has approved the use of preservatives such as sodium benzoate, phenoxyethanol, and propylene glycol in skin care products. Because a few harmful preservatives are being phased out due to serious toxicity issues for humans and the environment, the preservation of personal care products has become difficult as the industry has committed to changing preservation methods. Furthermore, the segment is subject to stringent regulations that have resulted in the ban of several harmful preservative chemicals such as paraben, as a result of which companies must focus on developing safer and natural preservatives for formulations.

Performance-oriented multifunctional ingredients are another major trend in the personal care market that major manufacturers are focusing on, popularising natural ingredients amongst brands, businesses, and consumers. These ingredients are derived from rose, barley, millet, and other plants that are high in polysaccharides and Vitamins, helping to reduce inflammation and strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier.


The rising demand for functional ingredients is propelling investment and innovation in the personal care industry. The functional ingredients market is expected to grow at a moderate CAGR of >5% by value in the next five years, owing to an increase in demand for formulations with desired sensorial benefits, which require the ingredients to provide desired fragrance and texture (including softness, minimal stickiness, comfort, radiance, spreading, and skin penetration).

On the other hand, preservatives are expected to grow at the fastest rate among functional ingredients, with a CAGR of around 5 – 7% in the next five years, owing to the fact that the use of natural/ organic products requires a longer shelf life. Innovations in the functional ingredient segment are expected to evolve quickly as a result of continuous new product development activities and increased demand for highly efficient products with characteristics such as instant, long-term, and sustained benefits.


1. 111Skin, Augustinus Bader, Dr Sebagh, Dr Barbara Sturm, Dr Dennis Gross, Aesop and more.

2. Shiseido, L’Oréal, and P&G.

3. L’Oréal Paris launched the new “Revitalift Filler Hyaluronic Acid Serum” as an anti-wrinkle solution for all skin types in the UK.

4. L’Oréal and BreezoMeter.

5. Cosmopolitan.


This article was originally published in the October issue of COSSMA, written by Shivam Sharma, Consultant at ChemBizR.

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