By  on May 14, 2007

PARIS — Science and nature were the hot topics at In-Cosmetics, the ingredients trade show held here April 17 to 19.

"We are seeing super science versus ultra-organic," said David Jago, an analyst with London tracking firm Mintel International, during a talk titled "Beauty Trends: Growing Dichotomies," one of a series of conferences held during the event.

"On the one hand, frontiers are being challenged by science-based formulations, with branded ingredients that are proprietary or patented, and we're seeing the communication of that science on packaging," Jago added. "On the other hand, the evolution of the natural trend for many years now has gone from natural to communicating on natural, to organic ingredients, then to certified organic ingredients and now to an ethical positioning using fair-trade ingredients."

Merging results-oriented technology with natural or organic ingredients was a key message at the show.

"There's a lot of naturals activity," said Homer Swei, worldwide purchasing franchise manager at Johnson & Johnson, who attended the show.

"We're seeing a rise in nature-based science, with high levels of functionality like fruit acids, which are natural and can be organic and used in a scientific way," noted Jago.

Mintel analysts also pointed to a rise in premium organic lines, such as Care by Stella McCartney and Clé des Champs.

During his presentation, "Marketing Ethical Cosmetics — The Organic and Natural Perspective," Amarjit Sahota, director of London tracking firm Organic Monitor, said one of the challenges facing the growth of the natural beauty market was a lack of clear labeling on natural and organic products.

Sahota said the European natural beauty market generated 2006 sales of 1.1 billion euros, or $1.38 billion at average yearly exchange, and was growing approximately 20 percent a year, but the definition of what constitutes a natural product remains hazy.

Organic Monitor, which has been tracking the natural cosmetics market since 2003, classifies natural products as those made with plant extracts and natural ingredients, with minimal amounts of mineral oils, chemicals and synthetic substances. They don't contain parabens or petrochemicals. According to that definition, Organic Monitor does not consider L'Occitane, The Body Shop or Lush natural brands, for example.

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