Cosmetic Ingredients

Cosmetic ingredients are chemicals used in personal care products such as shampoos, soap, lotions, powders, and perfumes. Cosmetic and personal care products play a significant role, not just to enhance aesthetic beauty but also for well-being. For instance, toothpaste and sun creams are used for skin care, while moisturizers and hair care products such as shampoos are used as grooming products. Cosmetic ingredients are categorized as organic and synthetic. Organic ingredients are extracted from natural sources. These ingredients include plant extracts, vitamins, waxes, proteins, oils & fats, thickening agents, additives and preservatives. Growing health concerns and increasing demand for environment friendly products is expected to lead to a rapid transition from synthetic cosmetics ingredients such as aluminum salts, parabens, phthalates, and petrochemicals products towards organic substitutes.

Demand for hair and skin care cosmetics ingredients is expected to increase over the course of the next few years. Furthermore, demand for natural hair care products without ammonia, parabens and sulfur is increasing at a rapid pace. The increasing health awareness and consumer-inclination towards hair care products for dandruff protection and hair fall control is driving growth of the Cosmetics ingredients market. Anti-aging skin products are also expected to gain significant traction in the near future. Increasing inclination of men towards enhancing aesthetic appeal is a major trend in the market and a highly lucrative growth opportunity for market players to capitalize on.

Surfactants are the basic raw materials used in various cosmetic products which include hair care, skin care and various male grooming products. In line with the global trend of adopting organic products, manufacturing companies are focusing on extracting surfactants from natural sources such as coconut oil and palm oil. Also, cosmetics manufacturing companies largely prefer bio-based polymers to ensure adherence to stringent regulations regarding synthetic polymer products. Conditioning polymers are widely used in the manufacture of shampoos and hair conditioners. Increasing health awareness is influencing consumers to protect their skin against harmful UV rays and enrich the skin with antioxidant. This is expected to fuel growth of the preservatives segment.


Continuous research & development and product launches by companies is expected to boost growth of the cosmetic ingredients industry. For instance, in 2016, Ashland introduced Elixiance Bio Functional, a multi-functional cosmetic product rich in phytoantioxidants which offers advantages such as oil control and anti-aging. Also, rising disposable income and changing lifestyle coupled with increasing beauty and health consciousness among people of all ages is driving demand for cosmetics ingredients. North America is the dominant region in the global cosmetic ingredients market, followed by Europe. However, Asia Pacific and Latin America markets are poised to be growth engines for cosmetic ingredients due to rapid urbanization, and increasing awareness among consumers about skin care. For instance, according to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), a Trust established by the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, in 2025, the Indian personal care market is expected to reach US$ 20 billion. Moreover, manufacturers are continuously investing in mergers and acquisitions, product innovations, and joint ventures. For instance, Sumitomo Corporation acquired Kyowa Hakko Europe GmbH to expand its presence in the Europe cosmetic ingredients market.  


Stringent government regulations are prohibiting use of certain chemicals as ingredients which is predicted to be the key challenge for growth of the cosmetic ingredients industry.

  • In 1970, the Member States of the European Union (EU) decided to stabilize their national cosmetic law to enable free circulation of cosmetic products within the Community on the basis of commonly agreed safety standards. The Cosmetics Directive was adopted in 1976, and reevaluated in 2009 to enable further harmonization and an EU-wide Cosmetics Products Regulation was implemented in July 2013.
  • The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 was introduced by the Parliament of India to regulate the manufacture, import and distribution of cosmetics products in India. The key objective of this act is to ensure the quality, standard and safety of drugs and cosmetics sold in India. Moreover, the act was amended several times as follows,
  • The Drugs (Amendment) Act, 1955 (11 of 1955).
  • The Drugs (Amendment) Act, 1960 (35 of 1960).
  • The Drugs (Amendment) Act, 1962 (21 of 1962).
  • The Drugs and Cosmetics (Amendment) Act, 1964 (13 0f 1964).
  • The Drugs and Cosmetics (Amendment) Act, 1955 19 of 1972).
  • The Drugs and Cosmetics (Amendment) Act, 1982 (68 of 1982).
  • The Drugs and Cosmetics (Amendment) Act, 1986
  • The Drugs and Cosmetics (Amendment) Act, 1995 (71 of 1995)
  • China Food & Drug Administration (CFDA), regulates the cosmetics and cosmetic products in China and currently the following laws are into force
  • Regulations concerning the hygiene supervision over cosmetics (1990) - Main regulation
  • Detailed Rules for the Implementation of the Regulation on the Hygiene Supervision over Cosmetics (2005)
  • Hygienic Standard for Cosmetics (2007)
  • The Measures for the Administration of Hygiene License for Cosmetics (revised in 2010)
  • Guideline for Risk Evaluation of Substances with Possibility of Safety Risk in Cosmetics (2010)
  • Standard Chinese Names of International Cosmetics Ingredients Inventory (2010)
  • Cosmetics Technical Requirement Standard (2011)
  • Guidelines for the Registration and Evaluation of New Cosmetic Ingredient (2011)
  • AQSIQ Order No. 143 of 2011 - The Administrative Measures on the Inspection, Quarantine and Supervision of Chinese Imported & Exported Cosmetics (2011)

Some of the key players in the market includes Ashland Inc. (U.S.), Croda International Plc. (U.K.), BASF SE (Germany), Solvay S.A (Belgium), Stepan Company (U.S), The Dow Chemical Company (U.S.), Evonik Industries (Germany), DOW Corning (U.S.), and DSM (The Netherlands), and Clariant AG (The Switzerland) among others.

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