Sharon Labs: Innovative Preservation Solutions for Clean Beauty & Natural Cosmetics

Sustainability and safe ingredients are increasingly becoming a priority for consumers worldwide, driving beauty brands to new innovations. This trend is also impacting the method of preserving personal care products. Sharon Laboratories, one of the global leaders in preservation solutions, has responded to this demand by developing innovative preservation systems based on natural and sustainable ingredients. In this post, we highlight the key beauty trends and novel preservation solutions that Sharon Labs has realised for the growing interest in sustainable and safe products.   

4 key trends in preservation

There is a growing awareness, but also some confusion among consumers regarding many ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products. The media warns about the various ingredients, such as parabens or phthalates. Resulting concerns and consumers' increasing awareness of health and the environment are driving the demand for "clean labels" and safe products. 

1. Clean beauty trend: from "green" to "clean" 

Clean beauty has become one of the strongest trends in the cosmetics industry. Healthy and "clean" products are becoming more and more important, with a clear shift in consumer interest from pure natural cosmetics to Clean Beauty, especially in the last two years. 

Clean Beauty is primarily about the safety of ingredients and their impact on the health and well-being of consumers:
  • Natural Beauty: products that contain some or only ingredients of natural origin (Free from..., organic cosmetics, products and ingredients measured or qualified according to ECOCERT, COSMOS, ISO 16128, etc.). 
  • Safety: Ingredients whose effects on the body and the environment are 100 percent clarified - regardless of whether they are synthetic, natural, organic or vegan. "Free from..." is one of the most important claims of Clean Beauty applications. 
  • Minimalist approach: Less is more - the desire for fewer ingredients that deliver better results. 
  • Sustainability: The importance of sustainability in terms of ingredients, production as well as packaging is a high priority. Ecological claims are among the fastest growing claims. 
  • Ethics: No animal testing, vegan ingredients and transparency are core values of Clean Beauty.
Der Trend geht zu Clean Beauty Produkten

Millennials are leading the trend towards Clean Beauty products, both through the high number of consumers in this age group and through their purchasing behavior. They prefer products that are free of undesirable properties and whose ingredients come from sustainable production.

Detailed and transparent labelling is also important to Millennials. Preservation solutions that meet this trend must consider many new aspects in addition to antimicrobial efficacy. 
Wichtig ist die detaillierte und transparente Kennzeichnung der Inhaltsstoffe.

2. Trend towards waterless products 

To meet consumers' sustainability and quality concerns, more and more manufacturers are launching waterless cosmetic products. According to Mintel's Global New Product Database (GNPD), the skincare category accounted for nearly half of all new waterless cosmetics launched in 2019. 25%-30% of millennials in the EU are interested in water-free products (e.g. waterless shampoos). Given the growing demand, appropriate preservation solutions are also gaining importance - as waterless products also need to be preserved. 

3. Trend towards safe products for sensitive skin

In the last five years, product launches for sensitive skin products in the EU have increased by 39% (Mintel Global New Product Database). The market for sensitive skin products is on the rise, as is the challenge formulators face in preserving these products. Popular alternatives to classic preservatives are often too mild and pose a problem for sensitive skin at high concentrations. Formulators need to use ingredients that provide complete protection without compromising skin sensitivity. 

4. Changed needs due to Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the cosmetics market and consumer buying behavior, new demands are also being placed on cosmetic raw materials and cosmetic formulations. Sensitive skin is one of the main concerns of consumers when it comes to facial applications due to the masking requirement. COVID-19 is therefore a catalyst for clean and safe facial care products. The focus on health and hygiene is expected to remain post-pandemic, increasing the demand for clean beauty formulas.

Sharon Laboratories: State-of-the-Art Preservation 

Sharon Laboratories was founded in 1977 in Israel and is today one of the world's leading manufacturers of preservation solutions in the field of cosmetics and personal care. The company offers a wide range of innovative preservation solutions that meet consumer demands for safety and sustainability, including "preservative-free" options, in addition to established classic preservatives. 

Sharon Laboratories' more than four decades of accumulated knowledge and expertise enables it to formulate a variety of new products that provide solutions across the personal care industry based on industry and consumer trends: Skin Care, Hair Care, Sun Care, Oral Care, Baby Care and more. 

The company focuses on broad-spectrum preservative blends to protect products against virtually all types of microorganisms. The solutions are formulated to provide maximum protection at minimum concentrations. 
Video: Trends in preservation

Free from... preservatives

To meet the demand for preservative systems that are free of parabens or isothiazolinones (CIT, MIT) but still provide effective protection, Sharon Labs has developed several product lines based on multifunctional ingredients, organic acid blends and other active ingredients. 

1. Preservation with enhanced efficacy

The biggest challenge with mild, "free from" preservatives is microbial contamination. Enhanced potency preservative solutions are based on a combination of multiple preservatives to achieve the best antimicrobial results. They allow for significantly less use in a final product of ~0.5%. This means fewer preservatives with higher protection. Very suitable for color cosmetics and skin products for sensitive skin. (Sharomix™ Amplify).

2. Organic acid blends

Mixtures based on organic acids have a broad protective spectrum and are very suitable for leave-on products (e.g. hair spray, body lotion), for rinse-off products (e.g. shower gel) and for baby care. There are various combinations for organic acids with solvents such as phenoxyethanol, benzyl alcohol and others. Organic acids are pH-dependent, so the pH of the final formula must be up to 5.5. The products are free of parabens, formaldehyde donors, halogens and isothiazolinones. (SharomixTM Organic Acid Blends). 

3. Multifunctional blends

In response to the market shift towards multifunctional, "preservative free" or mild preservative systems, this preservative solution offers a range of blends in liquid form that are multifunctional, heat stable and suitable for a wide pH range. The recommended usage level is less than 1%. The mixes are free of parabens, formaldehyde donors and isothiazolinones. (Sharomix™ Advanced Line). 

4. Preservation for specific groups of microorganisms.

Ingredients with highly effective preservative properties target specific groups of microorganisms, including boosters, multifunctional materials and more. In combination with other materials, they provide broad-spectrum protection. These products are also free of parabens, formaldehyde donors and isothiazolinones. (Sharomix™ Singles).

Similar to Nature: Synthetic & Natural Ingredients.

Natural preservative solutions are environmentally friendly and bridge the gap between synthetic and natural materials. The products are based on maltol, a naturally occurring organic compound found in the bark of larch, the katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum), pine needles and more.

The addition of a cationic surfactant component (polyquaternium-80 and/or didecyldimonium chloride) within a certain range significantly increases the efficacy to bring the usage level in the final product below 0.5%. The preservative solution thus enables better protection to be achieved in a wide pH range with less preservative at the same time.

Similar to Nature solutions are suitable for a wide range of applications including facial care, colour cosmetics, sun care, waterless products, sensitive skin care and more. (SharoSENSE™ Plus). 

Effectiveness of maltol as a preservative

Maltol is used primarily in the food industry as a flavor enhancer (food additive E636), but also as an intermediate in pharmaceuticals and flavoring agent in personal care. However, research by Sharon Labs has shown that the white, crystalline powder also has very useful properties as a preservative. And when combined in the SharoSense plus line it can work as a full system as can be seen below:

Wirksamkeit von Maltol als Konservierungsmittel
 © Sharon Labs

Maltol has also an EWG value of 1, is highly soluble in water and is readily biodegradable. 

Innovative preservation for sunscreens

The difficulty in preserving sunscreens is a well-known fact. Various UV filters affect bacterial growth and can even exacerbate the contamination of the sunscreen formulation: 
  • To achieve increased UV protection, a higher sun protection factor is required.
  • The combination of different UV filters and absorbers in sunscreen formulas is a must, which consequently increases the dosage of the oily phase in the final formula.
  • The use of non-polar preservatives in a highly oily formula leads to contamination, as preservatives with low polarity tend to migrate into the oily phase. This leaves the aqueous phase unprotected.
To address this issue, Sharon Laboratories has developed an innovative preservative solution with an ideal polarity index for high sun protection factor formulations based on extensive studies (SharoSUN™).

The preservative system provides broad spectrum protection at a dramatically reduced use of 0.7%, is readily biodegradable and free of parabens, formaldehyde donors and phenoxyethanol.

Learn more about the challenges of sunscreen preservation and the novel sunscreen preservation system in this short video.


Natural preservation solutions

Natural preservatives do not always meet manufacturers' requirements, e.g. for reasons of compatibility, cost or availability. When it comes to broad spectrum protection, many natural preservative solutions are less effective and a higher input is required. 

Sharon Laboratories has developed a range of innovative natural preservative solutions that still have high product efficacy at low use levels.

1. Maltol with polyquaternium-80

This preservative solution is based on natural maltol and vegetable polyquaternium-80 (SharoSENSE ™Plus 181 N). The RCI (Renewable Carbon Index) is 99.32% and the ISO 16128 index is 0.996. The antimicrobial efficacy using hyaluronic acid as an example for facial care is shown as follows:

Wirksamkeit von Maltol am Beispiel einer Gesichtspflege mit Hyaluronsäure 
 © Sharon Labs

2. BIOSECUR® Citrus Extract with Natural Glycerin

Biosecur® is a natural antimicrobial preservative solution made from natural organic citrus extracts combined with organic vegetable glycerin. It contains active bioflavonoids for preservation and antimicrobial activity. The certified organic preservative is effective against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria (EcoCert and USDA Organic certified). The recommended usage level is less between 0.5 to 2%. Ideal for body care, hair care and oral care. (Biosecur®). 

3. BIOSECUR® citrus extract with phenethyl alcohol/benzyl alcohol.

An alternative preservative solution for green and natural formulations is based on Biosecur® and natural phenethyl alcohol or natural benzyl alcohol. The blends are heat resistant, suitable for a wide pH range and provide broad spectrum protection against bacteria, mould and yeast with a recommended usage level of less than 1%. Ideal for leave-on and rinse-off products. (Link to Sharon™ Biomix). 

Conclusion: State-of-the-Art Preservation Systems 

In the beauty sector, the topic of sustainability and safe ingredients has become indispensable. Accordingly, the demands on cosmetics companies with regard to the preservation of clean beauty and natural cosmetics products are great. Sharon Labs offers manufacturers a wide range of options to meet the expectations and needs of consumers - from free-of-solutions to near-natural systems to purely natural preservation. 

For more information and if you have any questions about Sharon Laboratories' preservation systems, please contact us!

Donauchem GmbH

Related links:
Sharon Laboratories


Write a comment Close comment
Security code*
 Security code