Hot topics: Top 5 beauty and cosmetics stories trending on our socials right now

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Our round-up of the top five stories trending on our socials. [GettyImages]
Our round-up of the top five stories trending on our socials. [GettyImages]

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In our round-up of the top five stories trending on our socials, we highlight a skin microbiome AI tool, Shiseido’s latest sunscreen technology, experts on China’s alternative animal testing methods and more.

1 – Beneficial bug: AI predicts how molecules will react with skin microbes to ensure product safety

A research team from India has developed SkinBug, an artificial intelligence tool​ that can predict how specific molecules in cosmetics will react to skin microbes and potentially harm the user.

The skin is our largest organ and the most exposed not just to topical personal care products but also environmental pollutants.

Dr Vineet K. Sharma, Associate Professor of the department of Biological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Bophal, explained that the skin also harbours microbes that can affect how the skin reacts to pollutants.

“Our skin is the most exposed human organ. When we are exposed to pollutants like cosmetics, there is a possibility that these microbes can reduce the efficacy of a product or covert it into a toxic or carcinogen. Environmental pollutants can also be converted on the skin and become more toxic,” ​said Sharma.

2 – Smooth operator: Shiseido develops tech to optimise sunscreen texture and usability with less UV filters

Shiseido has developed new technology to reduce use of UV filters – such as titanium oxide and zinc oxide – to improve texture and white cast issues ​without compromising the strength of UV protection.

Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide minerals are naturally occurring minerals frequently used in sunscreens to physically block harmful UV rays.

However, despite their high functionalities, these ingredients can cause a sunscreen formulation to be thicker in texture. Furthermore, it can leave the dreaded ‘white cast’ on skin, making it less suitable for individuals with darker skin tones.

Shiseido explained that with the company’s conventional methods, high amounts of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide powder need to be added to obtain a high level of protection. However, this would invariably lead to a thicker texture and a more noticeable white layer on the skin.

3 – Cruelty-free cosmetics: China’s animal alternative methods have room for improvement

China’s alternative methods for animal testing can be further improved and standardised, according to a leading expert in the country.

Shujun Cheng, researcher at Shanghai Jiaotong University, presented at the recent CRAC-HCF 2020 Virtual Forum on the progress and practice of animal alternative methods in China.

Animal testing is used to test the safety and hypoallergenic properties of products for use in humans.

Globally, mounting pressure from consumers on governments and brands to eliminate animal testing, have resulted in EU, Australia, India, Colombia and other regions banning its use.

4 – ‘Less exuberance, more elegance’:  Branding expert’s assessment on 2021’s Lunar New Year beauty collections

How has the uncertainty and unrest of 2020 impacted the way brands are ushering in the Lunar New Year​? We speak to Spencer Ball, creative director of SGK, to find out.

The Lunar New Year is one of the most important and festive celebrations in the lunar calendar, and when beauty brands go all out to connect with their Chinese consumers.

This year’s celebrations, however, follow one of the most turbulent years in recent history, which has undoubtedly created a long-lasting impact on the beauty and personal care industry.

Ball believes that the latest crop of Lunar New Year beauty collections is reflective of the unprecedented year we have experienced.

5 – New retail standards: A.S Watson highlights the five trends that are shaping the future of its retail business

Health and beauty retailer A.S. Watson has identified a set of trends​ that it believes will influence the future of the retail industry and its business.

For the firm, retailing today is all about the O+O shopping experience. Said Freda Ng, Watsons International’s chief digital officer, who stressed this was not the same as online to offline (O2O).

“O2O refers to driving customers from one channel to another but online and offline is not an 'either or’ as what customers demand is a seamless and all-rounded shopping experience.”

She added that the Hong Kong-headquartered company firmly believes an integrated O+O model suits its consumers’ needs better.

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