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2023's Most Innovative Ingredients in Beauty

Published September 10, 2023
Published September 10, 2023

Ingredients are the very foundation of the products created by beauty brands. The Global Cosmetic Ingredients Market was valued at $33.6 billion in 2021 and estimated to grow at a CAGR fo 5.8% from 2022 to  2031 reaching $58.8 billion by the end of 2031.

No brand achieves success on its own. The innovation happening in labs around the world fuels the creativity of formulators and finds its way into the marketing messages of beauty's buzziest brands. Sometimes these essential industry contributors are overlooked.

Our 2023 NEXT Awards surfaced six of the best ingredient innovations to hit the market. Join us in Los Angeles on October 26, 2023, at the BeautyMatter NEXT Summit: The Future of Beauty and find out who wins live.

The Best Breakthrough Technology (Ingredient): Recognizes the creation of a new ingredient/technology or innovative use of an existing ingredient/technology associated with the formulation of cosmetic products.

Arcaea – ScentARC

Arcaea is a biology-first beauty company. It combines technology from the past and present, bridging biology with DNA sequencing, bioinformatics, fermentation, software engineering, metabolic engineering, formulation, art, and storytelling to create new product experiences for beauty—Arcaea calls it expressive biology.

Traditional ways of managing odor involve blocking sweat, antibacterial activity, or masking smells. These approaches have also reinforced the sense of shame around our odor. Arcaea sees odor as something biological rather than chemical. Advances in bioinformatics, the skin microbiome, and screening methods exist today that we view as new tools to create better solutions.

ScentARC is the first launch in a portfolio of actives focused on creating new technologies to biologically shift our scent in a natural yet precise fashion. ScentARC technology, developed via high throughput screening and machine learning, is a precise prebiotic nutrient blend that impacts underarm microbes, shifting odor profile by selectively preventing the body’s production of odorous compounds without antimicrobials or masking smells. 

The value of ScentARC technology lies in its ability to empower formulators to step outside the boundaries of traditional approaches and ingredients that haven’t changed since the late 1800s. It offers a unique and differentiated solution that addresses the evolving expectations of consumers in terms of both safety and efficacy. 

BIOJUVE– Xycrobe Technology

Crown Laboratories is a global company committed to developing and providing a diverse portfolio of aesthetic, premium, and therapeutic skincare products that improve the quality of life for its consumers throughout their skincare journey. Over the last decade, the company has been dedicated to the development of the Xycrobe technology, the key active ingredient within the novel BIOJUVE skin-biome care regimen harnessing the philosophy that human skin is an ecosystem and should be cared for as such.

Xycrobe technology harnesses the power of a particular strain of Cutibacterium acnes subspecies defendens (C. acnes defendens), to deliver living microbes to the skin 24-hours of the day, improving the overall health and appearance of the skin by curating and supporting the right strain within the existing microbiome. The results of the recently published study within the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology demonstrate that the BIOJUVE regimen, which incorporates the Xycrobe strain as well as its ferment, supports a healthy skin environment, promotes increased skin hydration, decreases redness, regulates sebum production, and reduces the appearance of signs of aging such as fine lines and photodamage.

Clariant – Aristoflex Eco T

Clariant is a Swiss-headquartered and global supplier of specialty chemical ingredients. It focuses its innovation and scientific expertise on providing more environmentally sustainable chemistry.  Its purpose is to pave the way for sustainable innovation across all industries it touches enabling customers to innovate and create more environmentally sustainable products.

An expansion on the Aristoflex line, Aristoflex Eco T is Clariant’s newest rheology modifier gaining traction as the first on the market to combine biodegradability with strong thickening performance. Prior to Eco T, formulators had a choice of natural rheology modifiers, such as xanthan gum, which do not allow for strong thickening of formulations or for luxurious creamy textures. Alternatively, they could opt for synthetic rheology modifiers, such as carbomers, which have better thickening ability but in turn are not biodegradable or natural.

Aristoflex Eco T is a rheology modifier for skin care applications based on a patented technology. It is made from (biobased) tara gum with AMPS (2-Acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulfonic acid) grafted onto it. As such, it brings to the rheology modifier market the best compromise (to date) between sustainability and performance.

Aristoflex Eco T can stabilize high amounts of oils, matching thereby the performance of typical carbomers allowing formulators to reduce the amount of emulsifier or eliminate them completely from their cosmetic product to make emulsifier-free formulations, such as cream gels or serums. The ingredint also shows best-in-class resistance to temperature and is thus able to maintain the viscosity level even on hot summer days. Combined with the outstanding compatibility with inorganic and organic UV Filters, it is the first choice for formulators who want to create greener sunscreen products with lower impact on the environment. 

Debut Biotech – Cell-Free Biomanufacturing

Debut is a high-growth biotech beauty company that has the unique capability to unlock rare and precious bioactive ingredients that outperform existing synthetic or processed actives, without harvesting from natural resources. Its proprietary active ingredients exist in nature, often in remote parts of the world, and only in trace amounts. Debut’s technology is able to understand how nature makes these ingredients so that it can translate it to an industrially scalable system. 

Debut’s technology is centered on a proprietary cell-free biomanufacturing platform allowing the company to overcome traditional fermentation limitations. Cell-free biomanufacturing can overcome biological limitations to access current molecules at scale, while also creating novel, bioactive molecules possessing unique beauty, health, and well-being properties.

In cell-free, the useful parts of the cell are retained, such as enzymes, while discarding the limiting parts to overcome the barriers of traditional biomanufacturing. In cell-free enzyme reactions, the enzymes (the important parts of the cell doing the work) are removed from the constraints of the cell. Here, the enzyme enjoys different temperatures, pH, and reaction conditions that fermentation conditions cannot provide. This cell-free biomanufacturing "add-on" pushes the limits of biomanufacturing.

Furcy Botanik – Djon Djon Mushroom Bioferment

Entrepreneur Nathania Dominique and industry veteran scientist Harvey Gedeon created Furcy Botanik, a skincare brand leveraging deep Haitian ancestral knowledge of plants validated and enhanced with science. 

Djon Djon is known throughout Haiti and is a food as valued as the truffle in Europe with a distinctive taste and smell. Native only to Haiti, this mushroom has been shown to contain proteins, vitamins A and B2, B6, calcium, and polysaccharides. Its sprouting is rare and sporadic in nature and is only able to be hand-picked under ideal climate conditions; usually during Haiti’s rainy season. 

Djon Djon mushroom bioferment is found to be more potent than hyaluronic acid. The fermenting process transforms Djon Djon into a skincare super ingredienta potent anti-inflammatory that boosts barrier functions and acts as an immune system activator. 

Lab testing discovered the mushroom contains a high concentration of beta-glucan, an adaptogen, immunomodulator, and a superior molecule that topically calms and soothes irritated skin, forms and plumps fine lines and wrinkles, and improves the skin barrier functions. In some studies it was found to be 20% more moisture binding than hyaluronic acid at the same concentration.

Geltor – Caviance

Founded in 2015 by two visionary Princeton scientists, Geltor was born from a shared passion for nature and biology, revolutionizing the world of beauty, wellness, and beyond as the leading provider of biodesigned proteins. Through expert biodesign and precision fermentation, Geltor has unlocked a realm of possibilities by introducing animal-free alternatives to traditional animal-derived ingredients. Geltor has also demonstrated its ability to create and commercialize novel proteins that were previously inaccessible in nature, bringing unprecedented levels of biocompatibility, functionality, and innovation to markets and customers.

Drawing inspiration from the wonders of evolution, Caviance is the first biotech derived vegan type II collagen biodesigned for topical beauty applications. It is composed of an amino acid sequence mirroring the type II collagen of sturgeon—a primitive fish known for its exceptional survival strategies and the source of premium caviar. Caviance is certified vegan, cruelty-free, Halal, and non-GMO.

The ingredient boasts a remarkable amino acid sequence brimming with cell signaling domains. These domainsincluding the leading integrin-binding domain known as RGDenhance cell attachment and promote tissue regeneration, making it an ideal ingredient for skin rejuvenation. Initial in vitro studies have showcased outstanding benefits, which include stimulating the production of six different collagen types, providing potent antioxidant properties, and aiding in cellular regeneration and wound healing.

Inolex – AminoSensyl Ultra MB

Inolex is an independent company that designs sustainable ingredients for health, beauty, and wellness. Their designers are guided by the Principles of Green Chemistry to invent the future of sustainable ingredient platforms. By balancing conscious science with nature and artistry, their imaginative approaches become the building blocks for exceptional products that care for people and our planet.

Traditional haircare products rely on quaternary ammonium compounds (quats) to achieve high-performance results. However, with growing consumer concerns, changing regulations, and increasing free-from claims, finding environmentally friendly alternatives with improved sustainability and safety profiles is crucial. AminoSensyl Ultra MB (INCI Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Brassicyl Valinate Esylate) is an ideal haircare ingredient to create products with luxury textures and deep conditioning to smooth, define, and strengthen hair for brands with a strong interest in sustainability, naturality, and innovation.

Designed with green chemistry principles it is an eco-friendly, non-quat technology that is gentle to scalp, eyes, and skin and is readily biodegradable and safe for aquatic environments. This breakthrough amino lipid technology is rooted in green chemistry and designed for performance to deliver a 100% natural, sustainable replacement for behentrimonium chloride (BTAC). AminoSensyl Ultra MB is an optimized ratio of the cationic amino lipid Brassicyl Valinate Esylate and Cetearyl Alcohol. The biobased ingredient is preneutralized, offering formulation flexibility for easy processing and derived from responsibly sourced, renewable natural feedstocks including RSPO Mass Balance certified palm and Bonsucro certified sugarcane. 

The ingredient contains 100% USDA Certified Biobased content and has an ISO 16128 Natural Origin Index of 1.0; is COSMOS and NATRUE Approved; and is Halal certified, Kosher compliant, vegan-friendly, and never tested on animals.

Michal Morrison – βSTEM6 Molecule 

Michal Morrison Inc. is a science-first company committed to the research and development of unprecedented skincare products established in stem cell science and regenerative medicine.

The novel βSTEM6 molecule contains a mechanism of action validated by 25 years of research in stem cell science and regenerative medicine from the laboratory of Dr. Michael Kahn. Dr. Kahn is a prominent stem cell scientist and Professor of Cancer Biology and Molecular Medicine at the Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope. βSTEM6 supports stem cell signaling pathways that help awaken the millions of cells responsible for visibly healthy and youthful skin. Patent No: US 11,639,356 B2


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