Rainer Kröpke, managing director and founder of the Cosmacon GmbH (note: Ltd.) and formulator from the very beginning of PREMIUM ORGANIC GmbH answered our questions. In the first part of the following Q&A, he explains his approach to cosmetics and in the second how to get the best out of ALPIN HEILMOOR EXTRACT™ (AHE) when developing innovative products.
Part 1: Rainer Kröpke on Cosmacon GmbH and the philosophy of formulating:
Mr. Kröpke, how did you become a formulator/consultant?
I founded the Cosmacon GmbH in 2013 and we offer different services for the cosmetic industry. The focus is on consulting and development of all kinds of cosmetics, including the development of high-quality natural cosmetics. In addition, Cosmacon GmbH also works for raw material manufacturers and distributors to add new properties to their raw material portfolio.
Since my apprenticeship at Beiersdorf AG in Hamburg, I have been fascinated by cosmetics and people's desire for vital and well-groomed skin.
How would you describe your philosophy and your products in the field of beauty and skin care?
We try to develop cosmetics that are based on scientifically proven active ingredients and contain innovative basic raw materials. This combination, ideally with raw materials similar or identical to the skin, results in a great cosmetic product.
What is your specialty?
Personally, I like to develop facial care products and love to test out new textures. However, at Cosmacon GmbH we now have experts on board for all types of cosmetics.
What are your biggest goals as a formulator?
Effective textures that also feel good and are fun to use.
How many people work in your company?
The Cosmacon GmbH employs 6 developers and 6 student trainees.
Which ingredients do you prefer to work with, and why?
It's hard to say, because we mostly work according to customer briefings, which contain many specifications. However, we often try to use skin-like active ingredients for which efficacy tests are also available.
What is your process for developing a new product?
At the beginning there is a rough customer briefing, which we then complete after internal discussion of ideas. The product is then developed, within 3-6 months, together with the customer and finalized in accordance with the applicable cosmetic regulations.
In most cases, production can begin immediately afterwards.
Where do you find inspiration?
We have close contact with our raw material suppliers, visit at least 3-4 trade fairs and workshops per year. New products from premium brands are also an important source of inspiration.
What has been the most surprising thing about running your business so far?
The most surprising thing is the demand from international companies for our services. I am always delighted that we now have many customers on all continents of the world.
What has been your biggest challenge?
It's always getting to market within 3 months (!), when clients book the "Fast-Track-Fee" with us. Here we offer influencers and online retailers a very fast service.
What are the most common mistakes you see in skin care?
Skin care should result in a daily care routine of cleansing, nourishing and UV protection. The mistakes often lie in the use of low sun protection products, because UV protection is skin protection. Unfortunately, the UV filters are often rather sticky, lay-on active ingredients, so their use is not so popular.
What trends do you see in the cosmetics market for the next 10 years?
The megatrend of individualization prevails, and here there will be more and more customizable cosmetics. This will be additionally inspired by the use of smart technology and tracking of one's own skin condition and individual skin needs.
Part 2: Rainer Kröpke on formulating with ALPIN HEILMOOR EXTRACT™:
How did you first get in touch with AHE?
Mr. Fellner first called us in February 2018 to inquire about the possibilities of evaluating a natural Moor product.
What was your initial reaction when you first came into contact with AHE?
I found it highly interesting that someone would want to try their hand at this very old, well known active ingredient. In addition, many efficacy tests should also be done, because little was known in the previous literature about how Moor extract affects the skin.
What are the properties and characteristics of AHE (in terms of formulation)?
AHE is easy to process and, depending on the concentration of use, colours the product from light grey to dark grey. Of course, none of this is visible on the skin.
What products have you already formulated with AHE?
We have formulated almost all types of cosmetics with AHE – e.g. shampoo, BB cream, facial care products and even toothpastes. AHE is practically universal and the first dry shampoos, masks and enzyme peels are already on the market.
Are you currently working on other formulations with or applications of AHE?
Yes, we currently have a special cleansing product for men in development that will contain AHE as an active ingredient.
How do you formulate products with AHE? How does it differ from other active ingredients?
AHE is usually added as an extra phase at the end, before final homogenization, and is thus processed without any problems. No special, separate predispersion has to be taken into account, which is a major advantage over other active ingredients.
What are the challenges in formulating products with AHE?
There are none - AHE is really very easy to process.
How does AHE differ from conventional dark ingredients?
AHE is easy to formulate, and that's a big advantage. Iron oxides or charcoal usually require predispersion because the dusts irritate the respiratory tract.
AHE is completely inconspicuous here.
What should be taken into account when formulating with AHE? Is there a difference between rinse-off and leave-on products?
No. Only low viscosity products should have a "shake before each use" note printed to ensure that AHE is always present evenly.
What types of ingredients (oils, extracts, etc.) work well with AHE?
All raw materials can be combined with AHE and the developer does not need to pay special attention to anything.
What is the difference between formulating with AHE and formulating with charcoal?
Charcoal always offers a deep black colour – AHE is rather dark grey, like Bamboo Charcoal. However, AHE is easier to process and does not require special predispersion. Charcoal is more cleaning intensive and tends to be unstable due to its very large active surface area.
What is the difference between formulating with AHE and alumina?
There is none - both can be processed and combined without any problems.
What is your general approach to preservatives?
Here, we ideally work with preservative adjuvants that are not listed as preservatives analogous to the valid cosmetics regulation.
We always try to preserve without sorbates, parabens and benzoates, and we also avoid all halogen-containing raw materials.
How do you deal with preservatives when formulating with AHE?
Products with AHE are easy to preserve and the required microbiological die-off kinetics according to DIN 11930 are easy to achieve.
Dear Mr. Kröpke, thank you very much for the detailed and informative answers to your questions. We are very happy about the cooperation and that AHE is in such expert and good hands with you and your team.
Rainer Kröpke, managing director and founder of Cosmacon GmbH