Formulating ‘sensorial’ cosmetics

The task of formulation is to select ingredients and combine them in precise ratios in order to obtain a functional complex. During use, besides pleasantness, there is an interplay of many variables. First of all, the tactile ones, bound to actions of compression, flow and product deformation: firmness, greasy or oily perception, slipperiness or waxy feel, spreadability, lightness or lubricity. Then, the qualitative side: silky, velvety, sticky, even. Finally, the amount of residue onto the skin after massage. There are also thermal perceptions, like warm, cool or wet. Sight characteristics link luminosity and brightness, color and opacity, both for the product and the treated skin. Also the container may give tactile, visual and sometimes even auditory perceptions (think of the gliding of a lipstick case). Applications? To compare an old sample with a new one, to verify if a difference is perceived (for instance in PAO evaluations), to evaluate an industrial batch versus lab sample. In the daily Quality Assurance procedures, Sensory Analysis can be applied to complex problems in production, research and marketing, to make the product suitable to satisfy consumer’s expectations. To guarantee the immediate perception of efficacy, as final result of intense formulation studies.

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