Good enough to eat: Why food-inspired beauty is on the menu

By Julia Wray | Published: 11-Nov-2020

In celebration of the upcoming holiday season, Cosmetics Business discovers how to create cosmetic formulations with a gourmand twist

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In 1953, child star Gayla Peevey scored a festive hit with the single ‘I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas’. Fast-forward 60+ years and it seems handmade cosmetics company Lush is likewise poised for success with the I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas bath bomb.

“I was sitting down with our press team – when we still could meet IRL – and we were talking about Christmas songs, as you do most of the year when you work for Lush,” Lush Product Inventor, Alessandro Commisso, tells Cosmetics Business.

“Someone mentioned this American song about a hippo. They showed me the YouTube video and the rest is history. I couldn’t stop singing the tune for weeks, so it had to become a bath bomb!”

Lush’s festive floating critter is the star of its 2020 Christmas collection and is designed to fizz around the bath leaving a trail of raspberry fragrance and popping candy in its wake.

“We have been using vegan popping candy in many bath bombs and bubble bars, as it really adds a bit of magic,” Commisso explains.

“In the same way as it melts in your mouth releasing its tiny gas bubbles, it will also slowly melt in the bath water. The cracking noise is amplified in the tub, and depending on how much you use, it can sound like sitting by the fireplace, or like a full on fireworks show.”

As well as being potential ingredients, our delectable foodie favourites can also inspire the beauty industry to create products that look, feel and smell good enough to eat.

And with feasting and food being such a vital component of the upcoming festive season, there seemed to be no better time for Cosmetics Business to explore the appeal of gourmand beauty.

A feast for the senses

“I think food-like textures are a trend that reappears regularly in cosmetics,” comments Flora Bollon, Product Marketing Leader – Personal Care Texture & Applications at Gattefossé.

“Consumers want sensory and innovative textures, and food is a relevant source of inspiration since it appeals to several senses: touch, smell, sight and, in an indirect way, taste since the texture reminds a particular taste to the consumer.”

Aleksandra Zmiric, Technical Application and Marketing Development Manager Personal Care EMEA at Clariant, adds that the lines between food and personal care are “blurred”.

“They share a degree of familiarity, a reminder of the past, that is easy for the consumer to relate to on an emotional level, whether that’s a colour, a crunchy or squeaky sound, smooth silky texture, or a specific scent,” he says. “So there’s a lot of potential appeal in ‘borrowing’ or transitioning the textures, fragrances and benefits of food to personal care products.”

Lou Graydon, Technical Development Chemist at Aston Chemicals, further notes: “Most consumers will know what to expect when they see a honey or yoghurt textured product, and for a lot of foods they may also associate the food with skin care benefits, as fruits, honey and dairy products have been used throughout history to enhance beauty and treat skin problems.

“Consumers are also influenced by the trend towards more natural, simpler beauty products, which is easily communicated using food textures and ingredients.”

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