On the surface, one might be tempted to think that the rise of natural cosmetics is due to consumer concerns over corporations and chemicals. It is true that the beauty industry has, in the past, lent itself to an ugly reputation. The use of harsh chemical substances formulated in laboratories made it necessary to test on animals. This is a chapter of the beauty industry we’d all like to leave behind. Organic compounds don’t need so much testing for safety when we can watch them interact with nature firsthand.
But the botanical revolution in cosmetics has deeper forces motivating it. The front of biotech science has made so many breakthroughs in research for the past few decades that we have just begun to put these results to work. Independent beauty products companies like Cel.MD have capitalized on this market, offering consumers access to this cutting-edge technology.
Here are just a few recent classes of natural compounds that have been introduced into the cosmetics industry since the turn of the century:
Stem Cells – Plant stem cells have demonstrated the same rejuvenating properties that animal-based stem cells have, for a fraction of the cost of harvesting.
Probiotics – Microorganisms are getting a second look, with new research telling us that we depend a lot more on microbes and bacteria than we thought we did. Probiotics were already widely used in nutrition and medical fields before they breached the cosmetics industry.
Terpenes – These organic compounds found throughout the plant kingdom have been used for centuries in everything from perfume to food flavoring. It’s only recently that they’ve been isolated and studied on their own. The recent legalization of cannabis in much of North America has prompted new research into this field of plant products. Cannabis is an excellent source of so many terpenes even though they’re found everywhere from the produce section to the spice rack.
Flavenoids – These are natural organic compounds that occur as pigments in fruits and vegetables. They are now used as natural coloring agents in cosmetics.
Peptides – Short-chain amino acids, as a kind of sub-protein. They act as antioxidants, anti-inflammatory aids, and anti-microbials, in addition to having applications in lowering blood pressure and improving the immune system.
With all these new avenues of natural science being explored, it was inevitable that we’d get dozens of new health and beauty products along the way. The beauty market is moving over to organic formulas not just out of consumer demand. It is because these new products are proving to be effective, environmentally sustainable, and even more profitable. Why formulate a new chemical in a laboratory when nature is growing it for free outside?
The organic beauty market is projected to reach a volume of $54B by the year 2027, with nimble independent companies leading the market as consumers shun the big beauty brands of old. Part of this is also due to the Internet and the rise of social media, enabling us to shop globally for niche products from small retailers. The international boutique is fueled by Instagram influencers taking to their channels to demonstrate new products, and consumers are responding with curiosity and a desire to experiment.
We might look back on this period as a cosmetics renaissance, one where we changed our entire definition of beauty. One important pivot is that make-up use has fallen away, as more consumers turn to caring for the body from the inside out. They practice a healthy lifestyle to let that wholesome natural sheen come through without the need for painting the face. It’s an exciting time in both health and beauty, and a welcome change to an industry that might have gotten too stuffy last decade.