Ethical and exotic: China's consumers on the hunt for safe yet novel cosmetic ingredients

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

Clariant's product line-up includes an emollient derived from Beraca Brazilian Nut Oil, which is said to improve the skin’s ability to retain moisture. ©Getty Images
Clariant's product line-up includes an emollient derived from Beraca Brazilian Nut Oil, which is said to improve the skin’s ability to retain moisture. ©Getty Images

Related tags China Ingredients Clariant Chinese consumers safety

Chinese consumers are on the lookout for novel cosmetic ingredients, while also keeping a closer eye on safety and ethics as the country emerges from the shadows of the pandemic.

This observation was made by Swiss specialty chemicals company Clariant, which operates a manufacturing facility in Daya Bay, Huizhou, China.

“During the pandemic, people were living under a lot of pressure. With the reopening, they are now searching for interesting beauty products that they can find gratification in. At the same time, consumers have become more conscious of product safety.

“They are looking for products that demonstrate high safety and efficacy, and that differentiate from conventional China-made cosmetics,” ​said Christoph Yu, Head of Personal & Home Care Greater China, Clariant.

He was speaking on a panel at the Personal Care and Homecare Ingredients (PCHi) trade event in Guangzhou, China, held from 15 to 17 February 2023.

Clariant has also noticed a rising demand for natural, sustainable and exotic ingredients, especially those that offer anti-ageing solutions and address the needs of sensitive skin.

For instance, the firm’s product line-up includes emollients derived from Beraca Brazilian Nut Oil and Buriti Oil that were sourced from the Amazon Forest.

They are said to provide intense film-forming actions and hydration, which improves the skin’s ability to retain moisture and strengthens the skin barrier.

“These ingredients are very new and ‘mysterious’ to Chinese consumers, which would attract their eyeballs. At the same time, we have done a lot of testing to prove their efficacy.

“Collaborating with established partners in different regions helped us gather these exciting natural treasures from some of the most remote parts of the world. We then applied them in versatile formulations via the latest technologies to satisfy the evolving needs of consumers in China,” ​Yu added.

Good for consumers and the environment

As Chinese consumers are paying more attention to function claims, Clariant will continue to focus on naturally sourced active ingredients to meet these expectations.

At the PCHi show, the firm also showcased its growing portfolio of active ingredients and surfactants, including GlucoTain Flex.

A new ingredient under the GlucoTain range, GlucoTain Flex is a mild surfactant that has recently completed its registration with the Inventory of Existing Cosmetic Ingredients in China (IECIC).

The GlucoTain range consists of sugar-derived surfactants known for offering sensory benefits in skin care and hair care products.

“Consumers today also want companies to help them achieve their sustainability goals. Fittingly, the GlucoTain products are biodegradable and highly renewable,”​ Yu said.

In addition, Clariant has embarked on its next stage of development in China by injecting CHF 80m (US$85m) to expand the Daya Bay facility.

Announced in December 2022, the investment will boost productivity and output capacity of various product lines, including personal care, home care and industrial applications. The firm is also looking to introduce new products by the end of 2024.

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