The post-pandemic cleansing launches are not only balancing but also microbiome-friendly
Brands now respond to the recent changing consumer behaviours.
20 Apr 2023

During more than 25 years in the skincare and spa industry, Lisa Halldén has seen it change fundamentally. Now, as brand manager at skincare brand BABOR, she says that it’s time to bring back the basics and be critical rather than just jump on every social media trend.

— I really want to shout out loud the importance to understand the skin, its functions, and needs. ask us for advice. We are trained and certified professionals, we love to share our expertise.

The company just opened BABOR Beauty Cluster in the city of Aachen in Germany, which is said to be one of the most modern and sustainable cosmetic factories in the world. It houses autonomous vehicles and solar panels plus a special ”cube”, equipped with car batteries that store electricity from the solar panels.

For BABOR, cleansing is the very foundation of the brand. Back in the 50s,  the founder, chemist Dr. Michael Babor, discovered that the combination of oil and water is ideal for a deep cleansing effect for the skin and created HY-ÖL, a hydrophilic, water-soluble cleansing oil. This spring sees the relaunch of the cleansing range.

— Cleansing is a sensory experience. Therefore, texture is how we choose our cleansing product, so we present a collection of cleansing products with different textures — oil, balm, foam, soap, gel, and cream — to transform the routine into a special and pampering ritual, says Halldén. It’s products for all skin types and conditions, based on microbiome-friendly formulations in a new design and where more than 90% of the packaging is recyclable, says Halldén. She continues:

— Cleansing must respect the skin barrier and pH. The mild formulas cleanse but never strip the skin from the lipids that are needed and crucial for keeping an intact barrier. As our environment has become more polluted, we have added a new main active ingredient, a protein extract from moringa seeds that acts like a magnet for dirt particles and environmental pollutants and this extract reduces the adhesion of the skin.

The relaunched cleansing range.

With an increased awareness of the importance of the skin and its barrier function, we now see cleansing products supporting our skin microbiome trending. 

— The barrier has its own ecosystem and we are co-living with microbes, key to maintaining the skin healthy, says Halldén. Now we see more microbiome-friendly products also in the cleansing segment. The pandemic, I believe, has made consumers put health first. And from the frequent handwashing, we have learned that many soaps, detergents, and cleansers are drying out the skin. Many may have experienced the skin on the hands drying out so much that the barrier function disrupts, and redness, irritation, and eczema flare up. Products that highlighted these skin conditions stepped on to stage and at its core, they are working on balancing the skin’s microbiome and thus strengthening the skin’s barrier function.

Also Andrea Weber, Head of Research & Development at BABOR, highlights how cleansers, in order to protect the microbiome, shall not disrupt the natural pH of the skin.

— pH is important for keeping the environment for the microbiome stable. Changes in pH will temporarily disrupt its natural balance, which is why it’s crucial to formulate mild cleansers without too harsh surfactants and avoid anti-bacterial cleansers and too much alcohol.

Which ingredient do you think will be the next big one and why?

— When we look at our raw material producers, most of them focus on sustainability right now, in particular greener production methods and to lower the environmental footprint.

Lisa Hallden, which other consumer trends do we see now?

— Water-conscious products, as water is a resource we must use carefully as we have water scarcity in the world, so we use less water in the formulations for example in the cleansing bar and balm. Also, Gen-Z and -Y are looking for conscious and clean products and, now, when our health is more important than ever, we see a stronger focus on looking beyond symptoms and focusing on the whole picture.