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DSM in Personal Care

Sensory competence in the service of health and wellbeing

If personal care products are to be well received, they not only have to be highly effective and scientifically proven, they have to have visual appeal and be pleasant to use. In the case of sun care, studies indicate that improving the sensory acceptability of sunscreens might even be key to lowering skin cancer rates and slowing photoaging, particularly in Caucasian populations.
Sensory competence

At DSM our formulators are therefore addressing the challenges of improving the sensory attributes of skin and, in particular, sun protection applications.

Our dedicated panel of sensory experts

Sensory attributes are important product-related features that can be reliably and repeatedly measured and even quantified using descriptive analysis. Our team of highly skilled sensory evaluators, eighty percent of whom are themselves cosmetic product formulators, is dedicated to providing descriptive and objective sensory data for all lotion types and other semi-solid formulations. Together with our market knowledge these data generate meaningful insights which enable us to optimize the sensory properties of our formulations and applications effectively, ideally in the earlier stages of the development process.

Evaluation includes:

  • Sensory comparison of products
  • Evaluation of descriptive sensory profiles
  • Mapping of profiles relative to each other
  • Single attribute comparison on commonly observed values for a specific category, e.g. SPF 30 sunscreens
  • Neighborhood analysis and sensory target comparison
  • Directional analysis and qualification of sensory improvement ingredients
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Descriptive analysis – the hands-on approach

In order to reliably quantify the effects of sensory modifiers across various cosmetic formulation types we measure and mathematically compare a wide selection of commercial products, generating profiles that are connected to information from market insights. Any sensory deviation reveals areas with potential for improvement.

If a formulation does show adverse sensory aspects, we have two options: change the formula – or use sensory modifiers.

Sensory modifiers make the difference

Changing a formulation’s sensory features can be a complex undertaking and may impact  product performance. Sensory modifiers therefore offer an easy alternative to boost consumer acceptance by just adding one component. But how do we know which modifier will make a positive difference?

Our sensory panel uses mean analysis of variance to compare the effects of a single modifier vs. no modifier to quantify primary effects and uncover numerical differences that are not so easily detectable. We can then investigate their relevance to a variety of formulation types and decide where any supplementary effects detected might prove meaningful in practice.

Sometimes it’s more about finding the best fit. In this instance we might compare the relative merits of two sensory modifiers, using a nested linear mixed model in which everything except the modifier remains constant. For example, when we compared two of our own modifiers in this way, we found evidence of formulation-independent effects for both. The primary effects in this case were dry touch, anti-gloss and play time. We were also able to detect meaningful supplementary effects: anti-stickiness and a reduction in the perceived amount. We were further able to demonstrate that the effects of one modifier were dose-dependent.

Contact us if you would like to discover how our modifiers can make a demonstrable difference for you.