The evolution of anti-ageing cosmetics



Industrial Consulting & Research, Via Bruschetti 1,  20125 Milano


In the last 20 years, the increased number of aged population, the sensorial enchantment, the joint developments of new vegetal and technological active principles, together with environmental and safety issues are influencing the cosmetic scenario, under the additional pressure of new norms and internet communication. Green chemistry and the consumers’ wish to escape from technology, drive the interest for more and more ‘natural’ products, with all the limits of this multi-minded, somehow magic, word. New actives, functional at very low concentration, are produced by combining amino-acids into amphiphilic oligo-peptides, while the development of sensorial sciences applied to cosmetics has led to more and more pleasant products, where extreme sensoriality takes the main part of the product success, including the packaging elements.
The hurricane of safety issues is affecting the list of EU allowed preservants. Therefore, new, ‘non official’ preservants are increasing their role in the formulators’ strategy, together with the search for new, vegetal derived, molecules for an effective microbial protection of the formulae. Finally, new European norms are accompanying such evolution, with a strong pressure on objective and reliable claim substantiation strategy. In this context, efforts for officially defining the reliability and quality assurance criteria for the many recently-born efficacy testing labs are still awaited.

One of the most frequently asked questions in the cosmetics business is: what has changed in the cosmetic business in the past 20 years?

To discuss this, we need to take into account a number of factors that have shaped the cosmetic sector in the past decades up to today.


Firstly, consumers, who are increasingly ageing yet ever more motivated to look healthy and attractive. These consumers may be defined as “experienced” - or at least they believe they are - since they have been using cosmetic products for many years and have learned that they can trust products that promise a realistic degree of anti-ageing effectiveness, that is with no miracles involved! They can now check the results of the treatments on their own skin and will proceed to the regular use of a certain product only after an adequate and positive trial period. They haven’t learned to read the INCI list, yet they pay special attention to the “free of” or “does not contain” claims, which has unfortunately triggered “cheap”, banal communication claims, to the extent that ingredients today are, questionably, even classified with green, red or yellow stickers to indic ...