Natural Foods Merchandiser
Personal care ingredients good enough to eat

Personal care ingredients good enough to eat

Food products are making their way to your beauty aisles.  Find out how in-demand edible ingredients have migrated to beauty products, including antioxidant fruits, garden vegetables and essential fatty acids.

What’s the outlook for personal care ingredient trends this year? To find the answer, take a walk down your grocery aisles.

According to industry experts, no singular ingredient will come out of nowhere and rise to stardom in 2011. Instead, many ingredients that will appear in new personal care products are familiar to both you and your customers; they’re in-demand food ingredients that have migrated to beauty products.

“Ingredients that are already popular in food and drink markets are generally performing well in personal care applications,” says John Madden, head of ingredients research at Euromonitor, a global market-research company. “After all, if a consumer is happy to put something in their body, they are certainly going to be comfortable with putting it on their body. Health and wellness messages from the food and drinks industry tend to stick with consumers, so many are drawn to personal care products that contain recognized and trusted ingredients from their diet.”

Here’s the latest on three food ingredients that are on their way to your beauty aisles.

Antioxidant fruits
Berries and other antioxidant-rich fruits are now a common sight on grocery shelves in everything from tea to cereal. “The natural-health connotations of antioxidant-rich fruits and berries are making them particularly popular in health and wellness food and drinks,” says Madden, “so it is no surprise to see them extending into personal care.”

These ingredients, well known for their ability to scavenge harmful free radicals (plus they look and smell good), will continue to cross over to personal care in high numbers, says Laura Setzfand, vice president of marketing for Chatsworth, Calif.-based personal care company Nature’s Gate. The trend is bolstered by burgeoning research such as a recent Korean study showing that topical application of the antioxidant ellagic acid, found in numerous fruits like cranberries and pomegranates, prevents inflammation and collagen destruction. In particular, keep your eye out for personal care products infused with açaí, pomegranate and cranberry, as well as acerola, grape and goji berrry.

Açaí perhaps best exemplifies the food-to-beauty ingredient crossover. The recent introduction of an açaí hair care line by Garnier, a mass-market brand from cosmetics giant L’Oréal, will make the ingredient more high profile than ever. “Garnier is going to spend millions” of dollars to educate consumers [about açaí], says Setzfand, “so it becomes easier for a small player in the natural channel to introduce something with açaí—sometimes even products that have been in the pipeline for years.” 

Garden vegetables

According to Mintel, a global market-research firm, garden vegetables (think tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, asparagus and peas) will have a strong showing in new skin care products. Mintel reports that launches of new products containing carrot, tomato and pea extracts have been growing steadily over the last few years.

The solid reputations of these nutritious foods are driving their jump from grocery to beauty, rather than a large field of research supporting their topical use, according to Madden. “Vegetable extracts are similar to superfruits … in that they benefit from links to the food and drinks industry,” he says. Beauty claims mostly revolve around the vegetables’ well-known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, which are supported by emerging research. For example, a Johns Hopkins University study found that broccoli sprouts extract applied topically can reduce swelling and redness caused by sun damage by nearly 40 percent.

Essential fatty acids
Oils rich in omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids have turned up in everything from beverages and bread to peanut butter and chocolate, and may soon debut in skin care products in larger numbers, thanks to their high recognition as skin-beneficial food ingredients and supplements, Setzfand says. “Essential fatty acids have topical benefits as well as internal ones. They are good for the skin in terms of moisturizing, but they also help restore the natural moisture barrier,” she says. “A lot of consumers already know the beauty benefits of taking omegas internally, so it helps make that connection to beauty products.”

Soon-to-be-popular oils in lotions, moisturizers and hair products include borage-flower oil, argan oil, evening primrose oil, hemp oil and rosehip oil. So far, most of the research on these oils has concentrated on their effects when taken orally; however, Setzfand says several raw-material suppliers are conducting promising research on their topical benefits as well. 

Four food-infused beauty products

Weleda Pomegranate Regenerating Body Oil
Part of a new line of pomegranate-based skin care products, this body oil contains organic pomegranate oil as well as organic jojoba seed, sesame seed and sunflower seed oils.



Nature’s Gate Hemp Moisturizing Lotion for Dry, Dehydrated Skin
This body lotion combines hempseed oil with shea butter, milk thistle and kukui nut oil.



ShiKai Borage Dry Skin Therapy Lotion
Fragrance free and part of a full line of borage-oil products, this body lotion also contains antioxidants, vitamin C and L-ergothioneine.



Burt’s Bees Garden Tomato Toner
This post-wash facial toner contains tomato, cucumber and parsley blended with sugarcane, sugar maple, bilberry extract and alpha-hydroxy acid.

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