EURO COSMETICS: Evident ingredients is a relatively new player in the market. What is your core business and where do you see the company going in the coming years?
Dr. Malte Sietzen: Evident Ingredients is a raw material supplier for cosmetic manufacturers with a focus on plant-based antimicrobial Multifunctionals and emulsifiers. We also supply antioxidants, rheology modifiers and actives, with most of our portfolio being based on renewable vegetal resources.
Apart from providing the ingredients, we also help our clients to navigate the jungle of raw materials on the market to find a good fit for their specific need. We have a deep technical know-how of formulation design, with a specific focus on preservation. Thus we can advise on how to efficiently protect formulas from microbial spoilage.
I believe that in the coming years evident ingredients, along with the whole personal care sector, will shift even more towards materials of plant origin, and it will become critical to supplement this move with robust data on things such as carbon counting, water-use and energy-use per kg.
EURO COSMETICS: You mentioned Multifunctionals and their use for alternative preservation. Conventional preservatives have proven themselves to be effective for many decades – Why should manufacturers switch to alternatives?
Dr. Malte Sietzen: There are a number of reasons, and I believe their aggregate makes a very compelling argument. For one thing, we have to understand that early preservatives were chosen mainly for their antimicrobial effect, and proper care has not been taken to ensure their skin compatibility. If you take a look at annex 5 of the European Cosmetics Regulation, the list of preservatives allowed in cosmetic products, it is astounding what was once considered safe to use. Nowadays the scientific community is much more knowledgeable on possible dangers. It took some time to figure out that it is very well possible to protect your formulation without adding toxic or otherwise dangerous substances.
Another important driver of change is consumer perception. Be it justified or not, but the backlash on parabens in the past years was surely a powerful incentive for manufacturers to replace them. At evident ingredients we do not participate in defaming other raw materials, but we offer alternatives and the data to support our own products. Most of the time this is convincing enough.
EURO COSMETICS: Of course ingredient safety is an important concern, but are the alternatives actually working as well as their conventional counterparts to manufacture safe products?
Dr. Malte Sietzen: Yes they are. Every cosmetic product must prove its microbiological stability through a challenge test before being placed on the market, and those preserved with our Multifunctionals usually have no problem to pass this test. We conduct hundreds of challenge tests every year to learn more about the antimicrobial efficacy of our multifunctionals in different formulations and under various conditions. We can safely say that formaldehyde releasers, parabens, triclosan and so on can all be replaced, if desired to do so.
A concept often employed in alternative preservation is the hurdle technology approach. It is based on the idea that the combined tuning of multiple factors in a formulation can turn a cosmetic product into a hostile environment for microorganisms. To paint a picture, instead of building one big wall around a cosmetic formulation, a number of smaller hurdles are deployed to prevent microbiological contamination. The combined effects of these measures are sufficient to prevent spoilage, while each hurdle itself does not contribute any harmful qualities for humans.
EURO COSMETICS: Evident ingredients calls itself “science-based and nature-friendly”. How are those principles part of your approach to R&D?
Dr. Malte Sietzen: For us, being science-based means to place great value in experimental observations, and not get blindsided by perceived truths or wishful thinking . It also means to consistently challenge your own methods and your convictions on what is considered common knowledge.
As to the second part, being nature-friendly – well this can mean a lot of different things. In one aspect it is our goal to be a net-positive force in regards to stress on the environment. To his end we have submitted to evaluation and rating of our sustainability efforts by Ecovadis, and are committed to repeating this process yearly with the goal of consistent improvements. In another aspect, our current raw material portfolio is mostly plant-based and our new developments are also focused on products of vegetal origin.
“We help our clients to navigate the jungle of raw materials on the market to find a good fit for their specific need.”
EURO COSMETICS: Cosmetic science is an interdisciplinary field, with experts from many branches of the natural sciences coming together. What kind of expertise to you value at evident ingredients for new R&D hires?
Dr. Malte Sietzen: It is true that our industry is home to a myriad of people educated in diverse fields, and all of them have their place and justification. For us, on the raw material side, we require a deep understanding of Chemistry, and at the same time advanced knowledge of cosmetic formulations and the complex interplay between their constituents. Therefore, from early on we have committed to staffing positions in various departments with natural scientists, from Management to Supply Chain, Quality Assurance, Sales and R&D.
For new hires we are looking for people that can resolve an apparent contradiction: Unfortunately, chemistry is often associated with negative connotations of toxicity, bad odor and artificiality. On the other hand, cosmetics is all about cleanliness, providing self-care, beauty and self-confidence. These two images we have in our heads do not seem to fit together. We want our people to be ambassadors, whose job it is to bridge this gap and improve understanding between both sides.
But apart from knowledge and technical skills, it is the person that counts for us, because they will affect everybody in the organization in one way or another. When employees feel as valued members of the team, they are happy to go above and beyond. It is our job to build this team-spirit and keep it going. Hiring fitting personalities makes this a lot easier.
EURO COSMETICS: The last 2.5 years were shaped by crisis, which have also affected global supply chains and put stress on cosmetics manufacturers. How have your business relationships with those manufacturers changed in this time period?
Dr. Malte Sietzen: We always considered the link between us and our clients as more than a simple supplier-customer-relationship. Apart from delivering raw materials we also supply a service and a promise: To be problem-solvers in every sense of the word. During these times of supply shortages a big part of our job has become to advise clients on how to deal with being short on stock. We are frequently asked to scour the market for missing quantities or even develop replacement products on short notice to ensure ongoing production. Of course we love to help – on the one hand it is a business opportunity for us, on the other hand it strengthens the relationship between us and our clients, which always pays off in the long run.
Being able to show this approach to customers requires dedication, speed and flexibility. As a relatively young company we are in the fortunate position to have all of this in abundance.
EURO COSMETICS: Are you participating at the Sepawa Congress in Berlin? What are you presenting, and what are your expectations for the show?
Dr. Malte Sietzen: Yes, this will be the first fair we attend since the outbreak of Covid, and we are very much looking forward to reuniting with old friends and meeting new faces alike. We are having our own booth at A183-184 – Everyone is warmly invited to come over for a chat about alternative preservation, natural emulsifiers, or life in general.
Also, fingers are crossed for two of our coworkers, who completed their Masters Thesis in our company’s laboratory and have applied for the Sepawa Young Researchers’ Award! Both projects have resulted in an exciting new product development, which we will present at the show. One is the all-natural emulsifier blend Evicare® emulgiza light, which is a very versatile emulsifier that imparts a great skin-feel, and also boosts the preservation system. The other is a plant-based, highly efficient solubilizer blend, which can bring water-insoluble oils or actives into aqueous solutions. We are happy and proud that both of them have now joined our company as full-time staff members.
EURO COSMETICS: Thank you for the conversation.