There’s little doubt the world of hair and skincare is shifting toward a world all of us nature lovers and tree-hugging idealists have dreamed about. More people are turning to nature and the amazing benefits that plants and natural ingredients are able to offer for their hair and skincare. Using natural cosmetic ingredients as a holistic approach to skincare and haircare is what we here at Essential consider to be our roots not only as a manufacturer of natural and organic hair and skincare but as humans who occupy our little space in the universe on earth. After all, what we use to nourish our skin is as important as what we use to nourish our bodies so using what nature has so graciously provided seems…..well, natural. However, as our population continues to grow, and demand for these amazing resources continues to climb, we find ourselves at an intersection of ingredient sustainability, supply and demand, and cost.
Natural Cosmetic Ingredients – Supply & Demand
As more of us pay attention to and research the ingredients in our hair and skincare products, we are becoming more demanding of which ingredients are included and even more so of which ingredients are excluded from the products we buy. We hear this from many of our customers who own retail brands and whose customers are insisting they keep their products as natural as possible. Their customers are insisting on more natural ingredients and are specifically demanding certain ingredients not be used at all. More information about the risks of certain ingredients is readily accessible online and this concern over using possibly harmful ingredients has caused a sharp rise in demand for natural ingredients. While natural ingredients are amazing, they are subject to mother nature and all of her moods. This includes climate change, poor crop conditions, weather conditions and often times more demand than can reasonably be supplied. The ever-increasing demand for natural ingredients leads to at least two important issues: Cost and quality of ingredients.
Natural Cosmetic Ingredients – Quality
“Quality is the number one consideration when it comes to purchasing any ingredients.” says Michelle Falls, Purchasing Manager for Essential. “Cost is secondary, but quality is always the top priority when purchasing.” Proof of performance, technical information, quality documentation, and regulatory data are all ways in which vendors and suppliers can prove the quality and effectiveness of their ingredients. And this documentation is becoming more important as new suppliers enter the market. This has caused many vendors and suppliers to invest in new systems, testing methodologies, facilities and technical services to meet the demand for proof of their ingredients ability to be effective and natural.
Natural Cosmetic Ingredients – Cost
With more demand for natural ingredients and the simple fact that supply is restricted by the what is able to be grown and harvested, it’s no surprise that we see an increase in cost. Prices can also be driven up by the suppliers’ increased expense of equipment and scientific studies to prove the quality and effectiveness of their ingredients. We saw a sharp increase in Bulgarian Lavender in 2017 due to crops being damaged by an extremely cold winter. This caused a limited supply to be produced which did not meet the demand for this lavender and prices increased significantly. We are very fortunate to have an experienced purchasing manager who watches crop conditions and pricing like a hawk, however, even with Michelle’s diligence, we are experiencing increased cost in manufacturing due to ingredient prices rising.
These factors may raise concerns for you facing down the new year, but we are certainly trying to mitigate these issues. We too are buying in bulk to get an economy of scale and reduce overall prices, to maintain as best we can our prices for our costumers. Some degree of scarcity of ingredients is almost inevitable as the natural skincare industry balloons, so it pays to plan ahead. We’re happy to help!