Is regulation an innovation-inhibiting factor?

Thrusday, April 12th 2014

Every year, we can find in big box stores more and more brands, new products with original textures and advertising claims ever more promising. In this area where competition is fierce, we must create innovation. However, cosmetic regulation is more and more severe, especially since the European regulation’s modification has been in effect on July 11, 2013, but that’s not all. Indeed, due to their (many) exigencies, REACH and CLP regulations,  restrictions for using CMR and nanomaterials in cosmetic products and the IFRA Amendment in particular, delay suppliers, manufacturers and service providers in their race for novelty.  They must do a lot of toxicological tests before put a new product or a new substance on the market, but they also have to perform an assessment of the effectiveness of the product to claim particulars pertaining to benefits among consumers. All that leads to a significant loss of time and money for suppliers and manufacturers. Marketing teams must then tweak it for not having a more significant increase in the cost of launching new products due to regulatory costs.


As a result of these amendments, some suppliers are turning towards the development of multi-application and multi-ingredients optimizing ingredients known or assets to undeniable virtues with new features in order to objectify up to have the best safety/efficiency ratio. Others preferred originality and decided to offer a smaller catalog of products with innovative and effective ingredients. A long term goal of these types of providers is to use substances in accordance with the export function in multiple international regulations.

The same is true for the conception of new cosmetic products; we need to anticipate the demand and to find a way to avoid the additional costs in compliance with the official regulation. Raw material selection is crucial, it is necessary to use known ingredients and objectified and tested actives.  Laboratories therefore propose new formulations to improve the properties of commonly used ingredients and thus facilitate regulatory approaches. The challenge therefore is to find a balance between safety and efficiency of the cosmetic product.

It’s true that the regulation requires new thinking on the design of innovative products. However, it will not constitute an obstacle to the cosmetic innovation. Rather, it’s an additional challenge which requires once more a large team work, especially for the formulation pole, which requires an adaptation time dedicated to the development of future revolutionary formulas.

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