What’s Next for the Cosmetics Industry? | AIChE

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What’s Next for the Cosmetics Industry?

SBE Special Section

Cosmetics are moving toward a future of personalization and sustainability. As the industry modernizes, many companies are developing increasingly cutting-edge, innovative products.

The cosmetics industry promotes concepts of beauty and self-care, whether that means glowing skin, full-bodied hair, or painted lips and nails. Cosmetics have been used for centuries to cleanse and replenish skin, as well as to enhance overall appearance.

Today’s cosmetics span genders and generations, with moisturizing lotions, volumizing shampoos, colorful eyeshadow palettes, and smoothing hair serums available for all ages from increasingly diverse brands. Products can range from simple soaps to high-end lipsticks from luxury brands such as Chanel or Dior.

Simple cosmetics have existed for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians lined their eyes with kohl, while ancient Romans and Greeks used softening skin creams derived from beeswax and olive oil.

Traditional Chinese medicine prescribed the application of the fungus Tremella fuciformis for its anti-aging properties. Some people even risked their lives in the pursuit of beauty; in the 19th century, lead poisoning became prevalent as a result of widespread use of red and white lead makeups and powders.

In the 21st century, cosmetics have become increasingly cutting edge. Modern technologies such as 3D printing and artificial intelligence (AI) have been incorporated into cosmetics manufacturing, and the field continues to foster innovation and growth. Trends in the cosmetics industry are born of consumer interest and popularized through social media. As cosmetics expand past traditional products, personalization and sustainability have emerged as two prominent movements.

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