Organic Formulating - Tales from the front

I am health. I am wealth. I am stealth. Ok, maybe not stealth, but it rhymed so well… I am ORGANIC. At least this is where my mind goes when I think of Organic. You make think it odd, that I did not mention soil conditions, synthetic pesticides and such, but really, when it comes down to it, “organic” speaks to those that live a healthy lifestyle, have the money to maintain that lifestyle and have the time, energy and savviness to continually educate themselves and develop somewhat of a personal conviction, for organic to really matter.

In all actuality, Organic refers to specific agricultural conditions that are void of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Certified Organic standards for the cosmetics industry usually falls under a 70% organic formulation excluding water and/or NOP Organic with is 95% Organic and the remaining 5% natural. So, what does this mean for us as chemists…time, money, and a customer.

Cutting formulation time

Regardless of what the Rolling Stones say, time is not on our side, during the day to day grind of research, testing, formulating and benching. I love it when marketing says, “Oh just change the actives to something that works with your current base,” because it saves so much time! Unfortunately, we have limited availability and activity in our Certified Organic ingredient options. I have found emulsifiers the most difficult to source. Hopefully I can save time by sharing my five finds for organic emulsifiers:

  • Hydredsia O — (Botaneco) Oleosome cold-process, mild emulsifier derived from Safflowers
  • Andean Quillaja Organic — (Desert King) Surfactant/Emulsifier derived from the Andean Quilliaja Tree
  • Berry Saponin Concentrate — (Ecological Surfactants) Surfactant/emulsifier derived from Nepal Soap Berries
  • Prodhycreme CE and Prodhybase GLN — (Laboratoires Prod’Hgy) A self-emulsifying base multiple vegetal sources
  • Organic Emulsifying Wax — (Koster Keunen) Blend of organic waxes and lecithin multiple organic sources

I have found Hydresia O, the most innovative and interesting of the Certified Organic emulsifier options due to cold process formulations and multi-functional benefits of encapsulating oil soluble actives and essential oils with a delayed release effect on the skin. The oleosomes have also shown an incredible SPF boosting effect. For more info visit the Botaneco website.

Importance of packaging

A good emulsifier helps stabilize a formula, but packaging aids in protecting often unstable oils and extracts. For example, while strolling along Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, I came across an Organic Skin Care store that claims to meet SOIL Association Certification (one of the most stringent organic certifications). I popped in, looked at the labels and experienced the oxidized formulations first hand. Needless to say, I felt sorry for the customers that succumbed to the organic hype only to purchase high end oxidized formulations, in glam packaging (that did not protect their product), leaving them somewhat ineffective.

Make sure Marketing and Product Development know the special packaging needs of your formula, since the emulsions and plant extracts tend to be more sensitive to degrade than traditional synthetic systems…very important!

Cost of natural formulating

Hopefully, I have saved some of you a little time in your natural formulation efforts. Unfortunately, I am not sure I can save you money as well. Let’s face it. Organic products cost at least two times that of none Organic. Marketing, Purchasing and the customer should have this knowledge, if not then go ahead and educate them. The time and money the farmers and manufactures spend to certify Organic costs extra money that is so generously passed on to us and our consumer.

Certified organic formulations

Lastly, I am not sure how many of you will have the opportunity to formulate a Certified Organic Product. Even though the market has seen tremendous growth in the past 5-10 year, the overall demand pales in comparison to affordable and highly scientific/non-organic effective options. Customers want results and Organic simply does not possess the ingredient repertoire that non-organic and synthetic categories do. So, until new technology comes forward touting innovative technology and Organic standards, the market has limited growth, to fit the pocket book of most consumers.

Overall, the organic trend has become a movement to build awareness for an optimum lifestyle of health. Health takes time and money. Hopefully, I saved you a bit of time trying to serve your organic customer’s needs. My next article will cover Natural formulations and some interesting ingredients I have found useful.

~Beakers up!

Dandizette Beaute
Dandizette Beaute is a cosmetic formulator dedicated to creating natural and organic formulations that make sense and work. She’s also the latest author on Chemsits Corner.

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