How do multi-sensory products make you feel?

Published: 14-Dec-2016

Consumers expect more and more of the personal care products they buy. Claudia Fiannaca, Personal Care Expert at Ingredion, explains the growing importance of multi-sensory products and how manufacturers can meet this trend.

Over the past few years, multi-sensory products have grown in popularity as texture and sensory appeal have become equally as important as performance attributes. Nowadays products are expected to deliver more than just functional benefits.

According to a recent Datamonitor report, ‘Sensory Ingredients in Personal Care’, 37% of women and 28% of men rated sensory benefits as having a degree of high influence when choosing personal care benefits, with fragrance featuring found to be the most important factor. A third of women globally consider sensory benefits key in hair care and skin care.

Datamonitor also observed that whereas a luxury feel was once the preserve of high-end premium brands, it is becoming a prerequisite of many mass-market lines.

Consumers are becoming much more particular about the way their products feel, and now seek out premium sensory experiences. With the premium cosmetic market growing by 4% a year, according to GCI Magazine, luxury brands are becoming more aware of ensuring their products meet their customers’ sensory needs.

Everything from the elegant design and feel of the package to how the product smells is important, as this creates an aura of a luxury brand.

Popular premium beauty brands want to ensure their stores create the same premium experience. LVMH, a high end luxury brand, opened ‘L'Institut Guerlain’, a private residence-like spa in its flagship store in Paris. While Clinique also has a new store-concept strategy to improve the sensory experience, which is presented through its new store opening in Covent Garden, called the Clinique Great Skin Lab.

So what can manufacturers do to create luxury multi-sensory experiences in their products?

Natural textures and skin feel

According to Datamonitor, the main sensorial textures include skin feel, cooling and warming agents, tightening/firming and plumping.

In skin care, for example, texture can be an important way of delivering the feeling of an instant effect through ingredients that tighten, tingle or feel warm on the skin.

Enhancing skin comfort is achieved through the addition of emulsifiers and silicones. Increasingly, natural alternatives to petroleum-based products have become available, which are both eco-certified and have the same sensory feel as silicones.

Data from a Mintel skin and beauty report found that textures such as gel and jellies have increased in popularity because they feel fresh on the skin and are easy to apply, which consumers love.

Argan oil is a favourite natural skin soother, used in a variety of skin and hair care preparations, while Datamonitor is noting that aloe vera, rooibos and even camel milk are finding their way into skin care for their gentle, soothing properties.

Quillaja extracts, derived from Chilean plants, act as natural foaming agents, which can replace synthetic surfactants. Not only does this natural ingredient help improve foam quality, but data shows it may also reduce skin sebum production and improve the appearance of acne.

New natural polymers are also appearing on the horizon, these deliver creamy texture for leave-on and cleansing products. These ingredients help formulators create premium-like formulas that are absorbed fast on the skin and that leave a silky velvety feel after use.

Ingredions Personal Care ingredients can help manufacturers and retailers meet these natural texture trends, and may contribute towards natural-based claims and simple ingredients lists on product labels.


Scent ranks at the top of the list of sensory attributes of beauty products.

Fragrance can be used to evoke memory and mood, so even for products that are traditionally focused on functionality; scent is always a key purchase driver. For example, 4 in 10 German men think that scent is important when buying a facial skincare product.

Mood enhancement is a sensory innovation that is becoming increasingly popular. Nearly half of French fragrance users are interested in the concept of mood enhancing scents and a further 43% are interested in stress-relieving scents incorporated into products.

More information

Claudia Fiannaca is one of a team of experts at leading global ingredient solutions provider, Ingredion, who focus on developing innovative natured-based ingredients for the Personal Care industry.

To find out about how Ingredion can help you create natural-based, simple label products, or to find out more, visit

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