In our last blog of the month Samantha Thistleton shares key trends that inspired her and Aminta Hand at SCS Formulate 2021.

SCS Formulate logo

There is nothing like meeting people face to face. Carol (Treasure, our CEO) asked me what my take-home impressions were from last week’s SCS Formulate show in Coventry and, on reflection, that is my number one lasting feeling. It was so liberating. I think in part because, as well as Zoom and Teams and virtual events held the fort during the lockdowns, many people appreciate and thrive on the spontaneity of ‘bumping into’ colleagues, customers and even competitors. These serendipitous, by chance meetings are good for the soul and they’re good for business.

So enough warm and fuzzy contemplation Sam, how was the show?

marketing teamI’ve been to SCS Formulate many times, but always as an exhibitor rather than a delegate. I felt strangely nervous as I collected my badge – I wondered how it would be actively approaching stands and introducing myself and Minty. The thing is the XCellR8 story and offering is unique and compelling, it’s also incredibly relevant right now and so conversations just flowed.

What’s hot right now.

We spoke to ingredients manufacturers, distributors, trade publications and even other testing laboratories, finding out what is on trend and where the industry looks like it’s heading. We were also taking the temperature of the vegan trend in personal care products, awareness as to what truly animal-free testing means and understanding companies’ commitment to eliminating all animal components in testing…

…And I can tell you that vegan is hot hot hot! For some people it was the ‘Aha!’ moment when we talked about the fact that in vitro doesn’t necessarily mean 100% animal-product-free. For others it was the realisation that whilst consumer demand for vegan is often based on ethics, in fact there’s also a story to be told about the fundamentally better science of animal-free testing. Companies know that consumers are super savvy nowadays and more interested than ever in a brand’s values. People we spoke with could see that the work XCellR8 does helps the brand’s storytelling, offering transparency and building reputation and loyalty.

So what else was bubbling away?


We saw lot of ingredients claiming sustainable credentials, from how they are sourced or manufactured to in-use benefits such as less water needed for rinsing through to end of life cycle considerations in terms of packaging disposal and product biodegradability. We felt that animal-free would be a logical extension to the criteria for being sustainable, and exhibitors we spoke to seened to agree.

Clean Beauty

This trend requires brands to communicate the safety of their products, proving that they are completely non-toxic and being fully transparent in the labelling of ingredients. There’s also an element of simplicity around clean beauty – the fewer the ingredients the better, just using the bare minimum to achieve the effect of the product. It also hints at a preference for natural extracts and botanicals over synthetic ingredients and seeks to avoid compounds like sulfates, parabens and phthalates. Cosmetics and Toiletries published a great article back in 2019 explaining the aspects contrbuting to ‘clean’ products.


lush cork potsI am totally behind this trend. Waterless products seem to tick many boxes 1) There’s not as much water tied up in the formulation 2) You don’t need as much packaging for the equivalent amount of active product, in turn meaning it occupies a smaller space, is lighter and therefore reduces transport capacity required and can lower emissions from shipping 3) Less packaging is needed, but also the choice of packaging material can be more environmentally sound – paper and cardboard versus plastic 4) Less water in a formulation generally means less preservative is required (bugs love moisture), and may even mean that more natural preservatives will perform satisfactorily rather than the parabens and phenoxyethanols of the world. The only slight downside, in my personal experience, of solid formats for things such as shampoo is that bars can go mushy in and need to be stored and allowed to dry – LUSH have thought about this and launched their cork pots so bring on the bars!

These trends undoubtedly bring their own challenges as new formulations and ingredients require significant safety, efficacy and stability testing. To see how XCellR8 can support your product development in a completely animal-free way visit and download our cosmetic claims guide.

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