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Coschem keeps members connected online



As social distancing requirements and limitations on gatherings are still in place in South Africa, the Society of Cosmetic Chemists (Coschem) continues to host virtual events and webinars to maintain a vital connection among its members and the industry as a whole. We take a look at a few of the seminars and social events hosted by the society over the last few months.

Pink ladies’ day high tea

Every year the Coschem ladies’ day is a highlight on the calendar of the society’s social committee. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, many social events have had to be cancelled, including the 2020 ladies’ day.

According to Liesl Keulder, chairperson of the social committee and technical manager of Cirebelle, the social committee felt it was necessary to stay in touch with members while encouraging virtual interaction.

“We organised a virtual high tea on 14 August. The ladies of the society were encouraged to bring their tea/drinks for the event as well as some treats and to dress according to the theme – PINK – which stands for pause, inquire, nurture and navigate with kindness,” she explains.

The high tea was held via Zoom. For the first part of the event, Tamara Al-Halaseh, founder of Ever Journey, gave a motivational talk focused on self-talk and how important it is to become aware of our self-talk patterns. Al-Halaseh gave the ladies a very simple tool to change their thinking patterns when it comes to negative thoughts.

The rest of the afternoon was spent giving each lady an opportunity to have a few minutes to chat about how they have been coping during lockdown and to talk about their pink items they brought to the event.

The virtual social event was very successful, and the ladies had a great time connecting.

Tips on accessing the EU market

On 17 August, Dr Anushka Govindsamy, sales and product consultant at Lisam South Africa, presented a webinar on EU market access for indigenous ingredients and cosmetic products. The webinar offered insight into the project initiated by the ABioSA programme, funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) office in South Africa, in response to the gaps identified during the 2019 ‘product dossier gap analysis study’.

The project aims to provide SMEs with technical guidance and to assist southern African essential oil producers in taking active ownership of REACH dossiers, CLP regulatory requirements and/or the cosmetic regulatory and safety requirements for the EU.

Dr Govindsamy explained that the project will look to support the collective/joint REACH registration for the most commonly used indigenous species in order to reduce trade barriers into the EU/EEA and make the process of REACH registration more affordable to SMEs. The modalities envisaged for these collective registrations include methods for protecting the confidential information and any intellectual property of the individual SMEs.

During the webinar, the benefits of appointing an only representative and responsible person were highlighted – especially the main point that communication of information needed by the EU importers would require the disclosure of confidential business information.

Among the many project deliverables to SMEs, it was mentioned that they will be provided with content specific workshops on REACH requirements, CLP requirements and EU cosmetic regulation and safety compliance requirements, a safety data sheet authoring solution for a consortium of SMEs, as well as a best practices manual.

Join the clean beauty movement

On 20 August, Abby Vorster, editor of SA Pharmaceutical & Cosmetic Review, gave a presentation on the hot topic of clean beauty. It’s a movement that’s new to the South African cosmetics industry and one that has grown substantially internationally, over the past two years.

Clean beauty is products made without ingredients shown or suspected to harm human health. These products can be luxurious or everyday formulations and range from a shower gel or lip colour that you use daily to a youth-boosting super serum that leaves skin glowing.

While there is no regulated definition for clean beauty, experts say the crux of this trend is the use of a combination of natural ingredients and safe synthetics in beauty and cosmetic products, which do not compromise on quality, efficacy and aesthetics.

The movement is highly driven by consumers increased access to information with apps and barcode scanning technology having become so good that conventional beauty companies have even less of an excuse to keep making products with potentially harmful ingredients.

In her presentation, Abby shared insights into the clean beauty consumer and the trends in this market. As of 2019, the perception of clean beauty among female consumers worldwide showed that 58% of respondents considered that clean beauty meant that the product was natural; 32% perceived clean beauty products to contain less harsh chemicals and 28% said clean beauty means a product is cruelty free.

In the eyes of consumers, clean beauty is a beautiful thing. It’s all about honest brands formulated with honest ingredients and transparency spans the life cycle of a clean beauty product.

Clean beauty products are those that are mindfully created and produced without any proven or suspected toxic ingredients; clean beauty brands are also said to avoid traditional ingredients. These products include ingredients ethically sourced and are made with the health of our bodies and the environment in mind,

Formulators in this market look for multifunctional technologies that can limit the number of ingredients needed for a formulation. Shorter INCIs are highly typical of clean beauty brands. A huge aspect of clean beauty is the reference to ‘no nasties’ or ‘forbidden lists’, which constitute dedicated sections on their websites with a lot of content on so-called harmful ingredients. These pages often using rather emotive language around ingredients and what makes them harmful. Two ingredients that have been ditched by almost all clean beauty advocates are parabens and sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS).

Abby shared information on some of the most widely used apps, such as Healthy Living, Think Dirty and INCI Beauty, which have been developed specifically to help consumers decode scientific terminology and understand the toxicity (or lack thereof) of cosmetic ingredients. These apps also assist consumers in understanding the ingredients in their beauty products, and most of them have accompanying websites and e-commerce platforms.

The presentation also touched on social media as it’s the main marketing medium of clean beauty brands. If you have a look on Instagram, clean beauty brands constitute some of the quickest growing active accounts on the platform. The clean beauty hashtag boasts close on three million posts on Instagram, with beautifully curated content of products and people. Besides promoting products, successful clean beauty brands also recognise the value of community. Abby advised guests to speak their audiences’ language while engaging with them on an intimate level. You’ll see inspirational quotes, text overlays, videos and memes sprinkled across so many clean beauty feeds.

Skin needs during and post pandemic

On 9 September Stephanie Gompel-Ratsiane, sales representative of Chemgrit Cosmetics, gave a presentation on Skin Needs During and Post Pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a change in our behaviour, mainly our hygiene habits and social lifestyle with an increase in the use of hand sanitisers and disinfectants.

Soaps and sanitisers work by removing microorganisms, dirt, sweat and oil from the surface of the skin, but they also strongly interact with proteins and lipids in the stratum corneum leading to an increase of transepidermal water loss and skin permeation. As a result, consumers are experiencing adverse skin reactions such as dryness, erythema and irritation.

To fight these effects, Gompel-Ratsiane discussed a range of solutions, which include different mechanisms working synergistically. These are identified through immediate lipid replacement, biological repair of the skin barrier and natural soothing.

For immediate lipid replacement, Gompel-Ratsiane suggested a synergistic combination of vegetable oils rich in omega 3,6,7 and 9 – essential fatty acids that guarantee smoothness, softness and restoration of the skin barrier. Anadenanthera colubrina bark extract blend promotes biological skin hydration through a unique mechanism of water distribution and retention in the dermis. For natural soothing, the Physalis angulata extract blend reduces the inflammatory cascade of the skin and restores the cutaneous barrier.

Consumers social lifestyle has also changed. Their interaction with one another via social platforms has increased, leading to an excessive use of electronic devices. Artificial blue light can penetrate deep into the skin and causes a decrease in the amount of collagen and elastin. Chemgrit Cosmetics Physalis angulata extract blend demonstrates excellent stimulant activity of skin’s natural antioxidant defence mechanism and increases the production of the extracellular matrix to protect against blue light.

Staying indoors during the pandemic has also decreased consumers exposure to the sun, resulting in less vitamin D production. The result is thinner and aged skin, imbalance of microbiota and a compromised skin barrier. Gompel-Ratsiane recommended the CO2 supercritical plant-based extract consisting mainly of Bidens pilosa extract. This extract acts similar to synthetic retinoids but without the adverse effects. It also promotes the treatment of ageing skin by stimulating the epidermal growth factor.

An additional solution to counteract the effects of vitamin D deficiency is within consumers reach. A fruit extract blend containing mainly Spondias mombin pulp and Mangifera indica (mango), stimulates gentle biological exfoliation and cell renewal.

Coffea Arabica seed oil blend is an active ingredient that can be used to deal with pandemic weight and boost consumer confidence. It has been developed to improve skin elasticity, firmness and reduce cellulite by improving dermal microcirculation and reducing lipogenesis.

Whether consumers are dealing with adverse skin reactions or lifestyle changes during the pandemic – there are solutions available to brands to help consumers overcome these challenges.

Upscaling and manufacture of cosmetic emulsions

On 22 September, John Knowlton of Cosmetic Solutions, presented a webinar entitled Upscaling & Manufacture of Emulsion Products.

Knowlton opened the webinar by emphasising the need for a properly designed upscaling protocol to ensure that newly-developed cosmetic emulsions find their way into the manufacturing environment, where they become commercially viable through the implementation of robust and repeatable processing techniques.

The first step in the upscaling process is to characterise the emulsion in question; adherence to the principles of Good Laboratory Practice is an essential part of this. Knowlton specifically referred to constant batch sizes, controlled heating and cooling conditions, minimisation of evaporation and the standardisation of mixing techniques, as integral parts of the process.

Emulsions may be objectively characterised by the use of measurable parameters such as appearance, olfactory profile, pH, viscosity and specific gravity. These are widely used for this purpose in the cosmetic industry globally. Knowlton explained how each of these parameters may be used in the emulsion characterisation process and made particular reference to two less commonly used techniques of rheological profiling and particle size analysis.

Rheological profiling can provide valuable insights into how emulsions behave under different processing conditions in the factory, whilst particle size analysis provides very useful information about the stability of emulsion products thus manufactured.

After emulsion characterisation, Knowlton explained that the next step in the upscaling process is to examine how each of the determined parameters may, or may not, be affected by processing conditions in the factory. In this context, viscosity, rheological profile and particle size profile are fundamentally affected by the design and operation of the manufacturing equipment used which, in turn, determines the compliance with specifications for the resultant cosmetic emulsions produced.

Virtually moving into the factory, Knowlton explained that the manufacture of cosmetic emulsions can be divided into two distinct steps:

  1. low shear mixing of the oil and water phases
  2. high shear processing of the emulsion to reduce the disperse phase particle size.

The first step depends upon factors such as vessel design and configuration, in addition to the actual mixing equipment used. Knowlton explained how the use of the Reynold’s Number calculations are immensely useful in determining the equipment to be used.

Knowlton then moved on to step two, explaining the various machines available to achieve high shear processing. Specifically, a comparison was made between ‘batch’ and ‘in-line’ high shear processing techniques and the advantages and disadvantages of each, as an integral part of the overall manufacturing process.

Finally, Knowlton closed his particularly informative webinar by reviewing some of the more frequently encountered problems that are experienced in the commercial manufacture of cosmetic emulsions and he provided some guidance on their swift resolution.

For original articles see SA Pharmaceutical & Cosmetic Review.

September issue

October issue