Dow drives sustainable beauty through science

Dow drives sustainable beauty through science

Products that require less water and utilise natural ingredients strike a chord with local consumers, writes Lamonphet Apisitniran

A collection of personal care products developed by Dow.
A collection of personal care products developed by Dow.

Dow, a US-based chemical company, launched three new bio-based and biodegradable personal care ingredients with the goal of shaping the beauty industry under a sustainability concept during in-cosmetics Asia 2023.

During "2023 in-cosmetics Asia", a personal care and cosmetic ingredient event in Asia-Pacific, Dow introduced visitors to its innovative personal care solutions and the need to protect the beauty of the environment.

The three-day exhibition was held in Bangkok and ended on Nov 9.


Growing demand for sustainable personal care products worldwide is leading to new R&D of products that will play a key role in building the future of the Personal Care industry.

Mr Toh says the firm will continue to invest in their bio-based technologies platform to offer high-performing, bio-derived, bio-degradable ingredients that meet green regulatory standards.

The concept of sustainable beauty can be viewed from multiple angles, this can refer to products made of natural ingredients, and ingredients that are readily biodegradable to new formulation formats that reduces water and energy to produce and transport.

The development of innovative skin care and cosmetic products that require less water, known as Waterless Beauty, has become more popular. The market for these products has a projected compound annual growth rate of 9.9% between 2022 and 2031, according to Allied Market Research.

Developers of waterless personal care products want to enhance product's performance at the same time making it travel-friendly by using no water or less water, helping to reduce carbon emission during transport.

Another trend is the rise of high naturality content formulas made from bio-based ingredients. High naturality content beauty products can be made with 90% of ingredients coming from natural ingredients.

"According to Euromonitor, around 35% of Thai consumers are willing to pay 10-20% more for natural ingredient formulations," said Cedric Toh, global segment leader and regional marketing manager for Dow Personal Care.

The third trend is beauty products made with 10 or less ingredients, which fulfills consumers' desire to do more with less, which means beauty products will usually be multi-functional.


Taking good care of face, skin and hair are as important as the awareness of a need to have cosmetic products become more environmentally friendly.

"Dow marked Asia's diversity and beauty at the in-cosmetics event with three new technologies and new Beauty Rebalanced and Sustainable Hair Care concepts collection," said Mr Toh.

Face-to-toe and hair care products on display at the 2023 in-cosmetics Asia.

"We continue to invest in our bio-based technologies platform to offer high-performing, bio-derived, bio-degradable ingredients that meet green regulatory standards."

The novel technologies can be seen in Dow's three key bio-based ingredients showcased at the exhibition.

EcoSense™ APP-1000 Surfactant, which was shortlisted for the in-cosmetics Asia Innovation Zone's 2023 Best Ingredient Award, is 100% naturally derived and is readily biodegradable surfactant.

It delivers improved foam quality and foam stability, compared to existing surfactants. This product is efficient at removal of silicone (deposit from rinse-off conditioner treatment) and is able to demonstrate long-lasting colour protection.

Next is EcoSense™ APP-5000 Formulation Aid, a bio-based oil-in-water emulsifier that is naturally sourced from sugars and fatty alcohol.

It supports consumer demand for natural formulations with 100% natural index per ISO 16128 and 100% renewable carbon content. The product is suitable for PEG free systems and can emulsify high oil phase content up to 40%.

The third product is DEXCARE™ CD-1 Polymer, a 2023 BIG Innovation award-winning, bio-derived deposition aid to boost the shampoo's conditioning effectiveness. It allows for increased versatility and improves the natural content of formulations.


Circularity concepts in beauty are still relatively new even as more educated consumers are demanding products with high performance while having less impact on the environment. Companies are looking to provide products that meet these needs, said Mr Toh.

Circular in beauty is more than the use of naturally derived ingredients in formulations. It also explores biodegradability, which is the capacity for biological degradation of materials by living organisms down to base substances, as an integral aspect of building a sustainable future.

"The company wants to enable brands to deliver to consumers formulations that are gentle to skin, hair and the environment," said Mr Toh.

People visit Dow's booth which showcased the firm's innovative products at the 2023 in-cosmetics Asia held in Bangkok.

Dow continues to seek new business opportunities by joining hands with global cosmetic brands and local startups to develop new value-added cosmetic products to meet consumers' demand and be in line with the sustainability future.


Sustainability in beauty can also be extended to packaging. The company works with business partners like Kimpai Tubes who makes packaging made of recyclable polyethylene and another supplier whose packaging made from Polylactic Acid (PLA), upcycled from corn starch, wheat straw and rice husk.

PLA is a compostable biopolymer which can be used in a variety of applications ranging from coffee capsules and food packaging to 3D printing filament, hygienic masks and home appliances.

The company also worked with the Khlong Nok Katung community in Nakhon Pathom to make handcrafted bags made completely from dried water hyacinth, diverting them from landfills and waterways. The bag was used to carry beauty formulation prototypes given to customers at the 2023 in-cosmetics Asia, so it was eco-friendly both inside and outside.

Dow is committed to developing innovative solutions to meet the demand of its customers which pay heed to products that are environmentally friendly, said Mr Toh.

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