Our Operations Director, Thomas Kerfoot, talks functionality versus marketability…

An interesting read:)

It never ceases to amaze when we manage to extract yet more natural oil out of another sporadic raw material.  The tap is very much flowing in the natural oil production arena and does not seem to be turning off. In the past year, O&3 The Oil Family, have brought another list of spellbinding oils that have successfully managed to excite the world of cosmetics.

It is fair to say, there are few limitations with even more oils entering the market in the next few months.Despite the obvious health benefits of applying natural oil directly onto your skin, most have an enticing story to back them up, whether it is with regards to the origin, manufacturing method or functionality.  Nowadays this comes as standard in the Natural Oil world, whether we are working with a women’s cooperative in Africa, supporting a community project in the Amazon or providing UK farmers with alternative seeds to grow and develop to then be able to produce UK oils.  The projects that back up these already functional/marketable oils give formulators around the world that added benefit of an ingredient with heritage.

So, what is more important – Functionality or Marketability when it comes to sourcing ingredients?  O&3 – The Oil Family is usually faced with ticking both these boxes when approached by formulators around the world, hence why we have progressively focussed on delivering both functionality and marketability no matter what the cosmetic application.  Fortunately, working with such invigorating materials such as Refined and Cold Pressed oils, it makes life relatively enjoyable and more times than not, easy! We take great pride in looking for another seed, plant, fruit that we can extract oil out of and when we can support a community at the same time; this is an added bonus. Although some will disagree, functionality in our view is the key to a natural oil/butter/wax performance in the personal care sector, without this there would be little consumer faith in application.

Consumer faith in Natural Oil application is so much so that there has been considerable increase in the retail of pure oils in a bottle.  Brands are progressively offering oils in various bottle sizes to apply directly to hair and skin to encourage the consumer to take advantage of these oils nourishing benefits directly rather than through a formulation.  This is fantastic progression for the “Naturals” sector as it aids in diminishing any doubt that natural oils, butters and waxes are simply used as marketing tools to deceive the consumer into thinking what they are using is good for them.  Furthermore, extensive research is always carried out at O&3 on every natural product to ensure the essential fatty acid content and emollient capabilities are up to our requirements.

Although we certainly favour functionality, there is no denying the importance of marketability of ingredients.  O&3 makes a considerable effort to tie the two in together, so when scouring the planet for the next raw material that we could potentially extract from, both fundamentals are considered at length.  Cosmetic consumers are becoming ever more conscious of what they pick off the shelf.  There are basic marketing prerequisites for cosmetic products that generally fall into not harming the planet, animals or people in production of the product.  These come as standard within our range, however we are in an even better situation whereby around 90% of our range is produced sustainably and most importantly with a conscience.  So, if you are ever faced with the opportunity of delivering factual information to your consumers about your integral approach to producing an ingredient – shout about it!