Article by: Perry Romanowski

Here was an interesting article about innovation and creating disruptive ideas. The cosmetic industry is definitely in need of some disruptive ideas. Unfortunately, the big companies are risk adverse and any idea that is really disruptive likely won’t see the light of day. That is why it is up to the entreprenureial cosmetic chemist to create disruption.

Note – Odds are high that your disruptive idea will fail.

Anyway, if that doesn’t discourage you read on to see how you can develop innovative disruptive ideas for the cosmetic industry.

Disruptive ideas

The Mashable author suggests three steps to creating disruptive ideas.

1. Figure out what you want to disrupt
2. Figure out the industry cliches
3. Come up with a disruptive hypotheses

Let’s look at how this might work in the cosmetic industry.

What do you want to disrupt?

In this step you want to define what you want to disrupt. This should be high level stuff. For example, hair care or skin care. But you can get more specific. Hair products for curly hair or skin products for senior citizens. Then turn it into a sentence.

“I want to disrupt the hair care market.”

Determine the cliches

Figure out what are the things about the cosmetic industry that everyone (insiders) believe or takes for granted. In the hair care example…

1. Shampoo must foam
2. Hair products make hair look beautiful
3. Hair products come in plastic bottles
4. Hair products are advertised using women with beautiful hair.

Do a little research and see what everyone in the industry is doing. Checking out websites of the biggest brands and finding similarities is a great way to make this list.

Create disruptive hypotheses

Now that you have your list of obvious things that everyone does, come up with ideas that disrupt the status quo. It is helpful to begin with the statement “What would happen if…” For example,

“What would happen if shampoo didn’t foam?” – Like Dry Shampoo perhaps?

“What would happen if hair products couldn’t be sold in plastic bottles?” – How would you sell them?

Well, you get the idea. The more scenarios you come up with, the more disruptive ideas you can create. And the more ideas you have, the more likely you are to come up with something that is truly unique.

That is what the cosmetic industry needs and you are the ones who need to do it.


  1. Avatar
    Nancy Liedel

    Note, as mentioned below, this is my personal blog. It’s not really educational, just a blog about raising four special needs boys and dealing with my life. I do have a storefront, but it’s not ready right now. It will be, soon. Starting a business has taken me well over two years now, almost two and a half. I strongly suggest taking that much time for research and work. I’ve learned Photoshop, (the hubs uses Illustrator), WordPress, the stupid cart, marketing information, working on my logo and actually am thinking of having that done elsewhere, and in general, making sure every product is good, effective, tested and stable. The soap took the most work. I had created twenty three formulas and got it down to four. Yikes!

    Ramble ahead, warning.

    Without trying to sound like I’ve put you on some sort of high equipment that you can rain your wisdom down upon us, or trying to suck up (I am nice when I like what I read. Feisty as my Grandma when I am challenged), this is your best post to date. Yes, I’ve read them all. You and Point of Interest are the only sites I went online for yesterday. I was protesting and everything.

    Now, I just want you to expand on this puppy, and note that you said something a couple weeks ago that cemented my niche.

    I’ve been all over the place. From Paraben Princess, to does that really need a preservative? Can I trust my customers to NEVER take it in the shower? No! How can I preserve this without parabens, or are parabens the best cause it’s near the eyes?

    I found my niche, “more natural.” I sort of hate it, and love it. I grew up with an enviromental mom who, along with my dad and about 15 dedicated people saved a large area of unique sand dunes on Lake Michigan. My dad owned some of it, 62 acres, and gave it away. The rest had my mom dragging door to door for signatures to get the proposal to save a large area attached, and when it was on the ballot…I was forced, literally, to walk up and down the main street, (Washington), of Grand Haven, MI with a 150 lb St. Bernard wearing a sandwich sign. The law passed and today, we have the Kitchell/Lindquist Dune Preserve.

    As I explored this niche, really in depth, you made a very timely post. If I, as a formulator, cannot feel a change with X inci, then why use is? Label appeal? Maybe. In this niche it helps. I detest saying that, I feel like a sell out.

    However, I dropped about half my incis, selling them off to other formulators, and am thrilled with the result. The Germaben II E? It’s still here. I am not making an eyeliner without it. My customers can deal, or get an eye infection from someone else’s product. Thank you.

    That was not supposed to be that long. Oops. I am home with a surly home-educated 13 year old all day. I need adults to talk to.

    Your post from the other day is up on my site. It’s not my cosmetics site. It will be there too, but I’m still working on adding the products and that site is there, just not open. I’ll let you know when it’s up.

    1. Avatar

      Thanks for the kind words Nancy. I’m blushing. 🙂

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