Blurred lines: Swiss firm Omya sets sights on APAC’s recovering make-up market

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Omya has identified Asia Pacific’s recovering make-up market as a key target. [Getty Images]
Omya has identified Asia Pacific’s recovering make-up market as a key target. [Getty Images]

Related tags make-up Colour cosmetics Skin care Apac

Calcium carbonate producer Omya is aiming to expand its business into skin care and colour cosmetics and has identified Asia Pacific’s recovering make-up market as a key target.

The Swiss company produces calcium carbonate for many industries, including the personal care market.

However, Omya has primarily dabbled in the oral care category and is now working to expand its business into skin care and colour cosmetics with one of its offerings, Omyaskin 100.

The ingredient can be applied to products such as powders, foundations, and primers to give a ‘soft-focus’​ effect, explained Radha Kunasaigran, scientist, consumer goods technology centre, Omya Singapore.

The launch of Omyaskin 100 around three years ago coincided with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the decline of the colour cosmetics market.

Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ at the 11th​ Society of Cosmetic Scientists Singapore (SCSS) Suppliers Day, Kunasaigran said the firm was aiming to capitalise on the re-adoption of make-up as many APAC countries start to put the pandemic behind them.

She added that it can tap into the post-pandemic consumer demands, such as the need for minimalist ingredient lists and more natural-looking make-up.

“People are not interested in cakey-looking products like heavy coverage foundations. They also don’t want a lot of ingredients that they don’t understand or don’t know where they come from.”

At the same time, consumers are demanding products that can give the “filter effect”​ and help them get ready for video calls and TikTok recordings almost instantly.

Eco-friendly alternative

Kunasaigran explained that Omyaskin 100 is made from calcium carbonate that has been recrystallised using the firm’s patented technology.

“We create this new molecule which is basically a soft-focus particle. If you look at the market, there are diffusing particle ingredients like PMMA, boron nitrate, or nylon-12 – all these are microplastics,”​ said Kunasaigran.

While beauty consumers are gravitating towards more natural and less environmentally harmful ingredients, Kunasaigran highlighted that the available alternatives have not been as cost-effective as cosmetic manufacturers would like.

“Most customers won’t want to switch to something else because of cost – especially in Asia. In Asia Pacific, cost is our main priority over anything else,”​ she said.

With cost being the imperative issue, the company believes Omyaskin 100 has tremendous potential in the APAC region.

“What we are using is nothing fancy. We’re not bringing a brand-new chemical compound; we’re just recrystallising a natural mineral that already exists. And cost-wise, it’s actually lower than a lot of what’s already in the market,” ​said Kunasaigran.

Aside from cost, Kunaisaigran added that the ingredient has been tested against PMMA, boron nitrate and nylon-12. “We found that our ingredient at a lesser usage amount has a higher performance.”

She elaborated that a formulation, such as a BB cream, would only need about 2.5% or 3%, while existing optical blurring ingredients are typically higher at around 10%. 

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