Will cosmetic formulators become food scientists?

There’s a trend in the beauty industry called “beauty from within.” This is a growing segment (representing about $5 billion in annual sales worldwide) which refers to beauty products that are designed to be ingested. The idea is that you can improve your skin and hair by simply drinking a beverage or taking some kind of supplement. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that the products touted to improve your beauty from within don’t provide much benefit. sports-drink

So with this evidence you might think that the beauty from within trend is dead. And you’d be wrong. There are a number of reasons that companies will still launch and market these types of products.

1. People believe they work. It doesn’t really matter what the science shows, if you can convince a consumer that a product works, they’ll buy it. They might be able to dismiss the science as being applicable to other people but not to themselves. Sometimes consumers are their worst enemy.

2. They are easy to formulate. Most of these products don’t require complicated emulsion system. Instead they are simple solutions of water, color and flavor. Sure you have to figure out some way of getting the appropriate vitamin or extract in there but this isn’t very difficult.

3. Claims are nearly limitless. The supplement industry in the US is practically unregulated and as long as you don’t make any direct health claims, you can say whatever you want about your product. This plays well with cosmetic claims because they are all about appearance and not about curing a disease.

The skills required to make these types of products are more akin to food science than to cosmetic science so in the future you just might find yourself in the position of having to learn food chemistry.

I suppose this isn’t all bad because it is fun to branch out. It’s just unfortunate that when you look at the science of these products, they are mostly BS.

Incidentally, it would be cool if someone could create a beauty from within product that actually worked. Of course, if it did I think that would qualify as a drug.

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