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CBI Product Factsheet:

Vegetable oils for hair


conditioning in Europe
Practical market insights for your product
Vegetable oils are the natural alternative for use as a
conditioning agent, especially in hair conditioning products.
Furthermore, certain vegetable oil derivatives are excellent
alternatives to silicone derivatives, or can be combined with
these. Substantiating beneficial claims remains the key factor.
A well planned marketing campaign is essential to
distinguishing your vegetable oil in this competitive market,
focusing on what makes the oil special: stories on origin,
traditional use, certification or unique qualities.
Product definition
Vegetable oils are extracted from plants, often obtained by cold-pressing seeds,
nuts or kernels. The colour of vegetable oils is generally light green or yellow to
brown. The oils are used in various industries, most notably the food industry,
followed by the cosmetics and other industries. This factsheet focuses on
vegetable oils used in cosmetics for their conditioning and moisturising
properties, both in hair and skin care products.
A wide range of vegetable oils is used for their moisturising properties, from
high volume palm and coconut oil to low volume specialty oils, such as moringa
oil or murumur seed butter. This factsheet will focus on the low volume,
specialty oils, which provide the most opportunities for producers in developing
countries (DCs).
Classification of vegetable oils:
Harmonised System (HS): within the EU/EFTA there is no separate HS code
for vegetable oil for conditioning, but it can be classified under:
o 1515.90: other fixed vegetable oil and fats, refined or unrefined, not
chemically modified; as vegetable oil
o 1207.99: oil seeds and oleaginous fruits, whether or not broken; as raw
material
Botanical names and Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) Registry numbers of
various vegetable oils for conditioning, which can be found at CosIng:
o Borage (Borago officinalis): 84012-16-8
o Rosehip (Rosa canina): 84603-93-0
o Argan (Argania spinosa): 223747-87-3
CosIng, the European Commission database of cosmetic substances and
ingredients, lists cosmetic ingredients such as vegetable oils, separately
under their INCI names together with their hair and skin conditioning,
moisturising, and emollient properties. Examples are: sacha inchi
(Plukenetia volubilis seed oil) with emollient, humectant and skin protecting
properties, murumur butter (Astrocaryum murumuru seed butter) with
emollient and skin conditioning properties, marula (Sclerocarya birrea seed

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Argan oil and seeds

Source: Aroma oil store

Murumur seeds

Source: Rockitnapptural

CBI Product Fact Sheet: Vegetable oils for conditioning

oil) with hair conditioning and humectant properties, and chia seed oil
(Salvia hispanica Seed Oil) with moisturising and skin conditioning functions.

Product Specifications
Quality

The quality of the oil depends on its freshness and age, as well as proper
storage. It is of higher quality if it is freshly pressed and is stored in closed
packaging, as detailed below. This is to prevent oxidation, which turns the
oil rancid. Buyers test the peroxide level of the oil; if it is too high, it implies
that the oil is old or has been exposed to fresh air.
Rancidity is a major issue in the shelf life and quality of vegetable oils,
especially when they are shipped as crude oils. The quantity of vitamin E, an
antioxidant, is very important for the stability of vegetable oils. Certain oils,
such as borage oil, go rancid much faster than other, more stable oils, such
as moringa oil.
Additionally, in order to be used as a conditioning oil the vegetable oil needs
to be effective at the temperate climates experienced in the EU. Oils and fats
that are solid at room temperature in Europe need to be formulated
differently to liquid oils.
The drying process used for the raw material (seeds, kernels or nuts) is
vital. Drying speed and appropriate process management are needed to
reduce the chance of moulds, fungi and oil rancidity.
Cosmetics manufacturers require oils with a minimum of impurities (e.g.
mineral matter, gums and carbohydrate substances, such as vegetable
fibres, and protein). A basic step in ensuring quality is to filter the oil (see
below). Further processing steps depend on the quality of the oil, the
volumes available and requirements of the buyer.
Most cosmetics companies that employ vegetable oils prefer the oils to be
odourless, though buyers are less interested in the scent of the specific oil.
Buyers prefer lightly coloured to colourless oils, depending on the final
application. Consult with buyers on their specific preferences. If
decolourisation is beyond the technical capabilities of your company, you
could consider working with toll-refiners in Europe. In many cases, European
intermediaries would handle this themselves.

CFA1: Minimise moisture content in the raw materials (seeds, nuts or kernels)
by drying before pressing.
CFA: Determine which extraction method (temperature, pressure, time) is
required for your vegetable oil and make sure that it is consistent with your
buyers preferences and specifications. Additionally, determine which
investments you need to make. A pressing machine is a relatively small and
easy investment for SMEs. Alternatively, solvent extraction (e.g. for avocado
butter) or CO2 extraction (e.g. for passion fruit seeds) can require significant
investments in terms of plant installations and technical know-how. Producers of
vegetable oils can share these costs.
CFA: Perform a feasibility study to determine whether or not a new vegetable
oil has sufficient potential in the market. Such a study must examine the oils
functionality (efficacy), safety and market opportunities (also on the basis of
price and availability).
CFA: Work with a local university department or laboratory to test your
vegetable oil. They can help in determining the oils stability, fatty acid profile,
and also the acid value, iodine value and peroxide and moisture content,
including a basic safety assessment. This information is important to buyers and
forms a part of your Product Factsheet and specifications.
CFA: Prevent oxidation by employing adequate storage and packaging; before
shipping products they must be stored in a cold and dark place. Minimise the
1

Considerations of action

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CBI Product Fact Sheet: Vegetable oils for conditioning

oils exposure to air, keep temperatures low during processing and follow
packaging guidelines as listed below.
CFA: Prevent adulteration and contamination by foreign matter (e.g. dust) by
keeping facilities and equipment clean. Also ensure that the oil is filtered in
order to remove particles of press cake. Use plate and frame filters for unrefined
oils, and other filter systems to achieve 2 microns or less for use in
manufacture, depending on your buyers specification and downstream
processing.
CFA: Always ensure that you can offer a standardised product with well-defined
specifications. Standardise the products quality by closely monitoring cultivation
and harvesting practices and by blending seeds or oils from different crops (e.g.
early and late crops, or different slopes/areas). Make sure that the seeds or oils
you blend are of sufficient quality.
CFA: This factsheet provides information on the cosmetics properties. Check
the information which the CBI offers at the level of specific products (e.g. palm
oil alternatives, fruit-seed oils and sacha inchi in Europe, or almond oil, apricot
kernel oil, or walnut oil in Germany) and at the level of chemical composition
(e.g. high-omega oils in Europe).
Labelling

Individual batches, whether or not they are produced by blending, must be


traceable.
Labelling must be in English, unless your buyer has indicated otherwise.
Labels must include the following:
o Product name/INCI name
o Batch code
o Place of origin
o Name and address of exporter
o Date of manufacture
o Best before date
o Net weight
o Recommended storage conditions
Organic and/or fair trade: Name/code of the inspectorate and the
certification number.
Ensure the buyer has access to the following documentation:
o Technical Data Sheet (TDS) or Specification, including CAS number. For
new oils, exporters will need to apply for a CAS number.
o Safety Data Sheet (SDS); see the following example of an SDS for
borage oil
o Certificates of analysis to support the claims of the specifications; see the
following example of almond oil
o GMO certificate (if requested)
o Certificate of origin
o Product information sheet
o Allergen declaration (protein content); see this example of argan oil

Packaging

Always consult your buyer for specific packaging requirements.


If the vegetable oil is hazardous and has a UN number, use UN approved
packaging.
Ensure the quality of your vegetable oil is preserved by:
o Using containers made of a material that does not react with the oils
components (e.g. lacquered or lined steel, aluminium).
o Clean and dry the containers before loading the oil.
o Fill the headspace in the container with a gas that does not react with
the oils components (e.g. nitrogen or carbon dioxide).

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Food containers

CBI Product Fact Sheet: Vegetable oils for conditioning

Ensure that packaging materials can be reused or recycled by, for example,
using containers made of recyclable material (e.g. metal).
Store the containers in a dry, cool place to prevent quality deterioration.
Organic vegetable oils must be physically separated from conventional
vegetable oils.

Requirements that you must meet


EU Cosmetics Regulation: the Cosmetics Regulation includes requirements
(physical-chemical, microbiological and toxicological) for the
substances/ingredients to be included in each Cosmetic Product Safety Report
and Product Information File.
CFA: Cosmetics manufacturers and ingredient producers are increasingly
making compliance the responsibility of their suppliers. This means it is
important to check with your buyers what information they require and in which
format. For new oils, documentation on the toxicological profile will be expected,
including local toxicity (e.g. skin and eye irritation).
CFA: Please refer to the EU Export helpdesk for more information on the
Marketing conditions for cosmetic products, including a link to the Cosmetics
Regulation.
REACH: In principle, ingredients used in cosmetics are bound by legislation for
chemical substances. Therefore they need to be registered with the European
Chemicals Agency under REACH (Registration Evaluation and Authorisation of
Chemicals) legislation. Certain exemptions from REACH registration exist, such
as non-chemically modified vegetable oils. Moreover, if volumes remain lower
than 1 tonne per importer, registration is not required, except for the most
hazardous chemicals. In all cases, the burden of proof lies with the EU
manufacturer/importer that wishes to use this exemption (an absence of
information on the properties of a substance does not mean an absence of
hazardous properties).
CFA: Familiarise yourself with the REACH regulation; annexes IV and V list
details of exemptions from registration. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)
offers guidance on exemptions.
CFA: Check the REACH registration status of your cosmetics ingredients. If your
product is not registered it may need to be (subject to exemption status and the
volumes imported into Europe by each importer). REACH registration is an
expensive procedure and must be instituted by European manufacturers, EU
importers or by an Only Representative of a non-EU manufacturer (hazardous
chemicals imported or manufactured in large volumes have to registered as a
priority).
Classification, Labelling and Packaging of chemicals (CLP): The EU sets
the requirements for the packaging of chemical substances, as well as the
required symbols and phrases warning users and providing safety advice, which
must be used on the labels. These requirements have been adopted from the
United Nations Globally Harmonised Systems (GHS).
CFA: Use the database on classification and labelling on the ECHA website to
determine which symbols and warning phrases apply to your product. You can
also access information on CLP through the European chemical Substances
Information System (ESIS).
CFA: Please refer to the EU Export Helpdesk for more information on REACH
and CLP.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
and Flora (CITES): CITES regulates the trade in endangered plants collected

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CBI Product Fact Sheet: Vegetable oils for conditioning

in the wild (among other things) and provides a detailed list of species for which
trade is prohibited, restricted or bound by certain rules. If your vegetable oil is
listed on Annex A or B of Regulation (EC) 338/97 you must obtain export and
import permits before you can export it.
CFA: Check in the Annexes if import and export permits are required for your
product. Another resource is the CITES Checklist. You can also contact your
local CITES authority for more information. The EU Export Helpdesk offers more
information on the CITES requirements and procedures in Europe.
Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS): ABS refers to the rules and principles
governing the use of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge,
established by the Convention on Biological Diversity, and is especially relevant
for wild-collected ingredients. Countries regulate access to genetic resources in
different ways and the requirements can be quite stringent, either in terms of
reaching prior informed consent with governments or in terms of how benefits
(such as financial and knowledge benefits) are shared. These mutually agreed
terms detail the terms and conditions of access and use of genetic resources
and/or traditional knowledge between the company seeking plant material for
research and development, and the collectors, growers or associations that
would be able to supply such material. UEBT provides much information on the
practical implications of ABS.
CFA: ABS is only required in specific contexts. However, due diligence requires
that a procedure is instituted to check whether it applies. Check the specific ABS
regulations in your country.

Common requirements
Quality: European buyers expect a good and reliable level of quality. Most
buyers expect suppliers to at least follow the HACCP principles for food
processing. The following requirements are also frequently imposed.
Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) are not obligatory for cosmetics
ingredient producers, but compliance can provide a competitive advantage.
Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP), even though legally
binding for medicinal plants, are a common practice for the farming and
wild-collection of cosmetics ingredients prior to processing.
Product standards for vegetable oils under the ISO are referred to in the
product specifications of buyers, so as to assure the quality of cosmetics
ingredients. Moreover, even though intended for finished cosmetics, the
cosmetics manufacturing standard ISO22716 also includes guidelines for
ingredients which manufacturers must refer to.
Buyers will also have their own requirements.
CFA: At the very least, follow HACCP principles.
CFA: The European Federation for Cosmetic Ingredients (EFfCI) provides a
guide that defines specific GMP principles for the manufacturers of cosmetics
ingredients. Facilitating compliance on the part of the buyer will provide you
with a competitive advantage.
CFA: Even though they are only legally binding for medicinal plants, compliance
with the World Health Organisations GACP guidelines gives you a competitive
advantage from a marketing perspective.
Sustainability: European buyers prefer suppliers that can demonstrate good
standards in respect of sustainability. This involves social and environmental
responsibility as well as sustainable sourcing practices. Buyers may not require
compliance with certification standards to prove sustainability, but they are
looking for suppliers who can demonstrate they have incorporated sustainability
into their operations.

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CBI Product Fact Sheet: Vegetable oils for conditioning

CFA: Assess your performance in respect of sustainability in terms of sourcing,


social and environmental responsibility. Demonstrate to your buyers how you
have incorporated sustainability into your operations.
CFA: Prepare and publish a code of conduct that defines your social and
environmental responsibilities as an employer and supplier. For more
information on responsible business practices, see the SEDEX online database,
where members can share information on ethical and responsible practices.
Documentation: Buyers need well-structured product and company
documentation. They generally require detailed specifications supported by
certificates of analysis and Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Documentation must
include all information on allergens. Compared to essential oils, an allergen
declaration for vegetable oils is more straightforward. The allergenic properties
of vegetable oils are related to their protein content. If there is no detectable
protein then the allergen risk is very low. Good filtration is critical and the oil
will need to be filtered to at least 2 microns, but buyers will set their own
standards for protein content in vegetable oils. A protein analysis will be
necessary.
CFA: Product documentation must clearly specify the protein content of the oil.
CFA: Buyers will appreciate a commercially-oriented Product Data Sheet
containing photos, information on the products origin and bibliographic
references, where available. For your own internal purposes, it is advisable to
prepare a more detailed dossier containing all the technical data from both
primary and secondary research.
CFA: Consider seeking qualified advice in preparing an SDS. Check the websites
of European companies for examples of an SDS, such as The Soap Kitchen.
Representative samples: Your sampling method must produce lot samples
that are representative of what you can deliver in terms of quantity, quality and
lead time, as specified by the buyer and in your technical data sheet.
Delivery terms: Ensure that you comply fully with delivery terms as agreed
upon with the buyer.
CFA: Familiarise yourself with the international delivery terms (INCOTERMS).
CFA: Ensure that your customers receive a copy of your terms and conditions of
sale before agreeing to the sales contract. See the websites of Earthoil, Azelis
and Seatons for examples of terms and conditions.
Website: European buyers look for credible suppliers. You can improve the
perceived credibility of your company by developing your website accordingly.
CFA: Beracas website is a good example of a website that enhances the
credibility of a company. This website looks professional and contains clear and
relevant information on the company and its range of products.
CFA: It gives a more professional impression if the domain name for your email
address is the same as your company, and not a generic domain like Hotmail,
Yahoo or Gmail.

Niche requirements
Natural cosmetics: In cosmetics, the definition of natural cosmetics has been
driven by private sector standards, specifically NaTrue and Cosmos. These
specify what cosmetics products must comply with in order to be certified
natural and organic. Natural cosmetics are often defined as containing a certain
amount of natural ingredients. Although not directly applicable to ingredient
producers, it is important to be aware of these standards in terms of permitted
processes and additives.

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CBI Product Fact Sheet: Vegetable oils for conditioning

CFA: Include the natural character of your vegetable oil in marketing tools.
Refer to the specific cosmetics standards for more information on permitted
ingredients and thresholds for natural and organic cosmetics.
Organic: EU legislation specifies what organic production and labelling entails.
Although this legislation is only applicable to food products, it forms the basis of
private standards for organic labelling. Examples of such standards are the Soil
Association (UK), Ecocert (France) and BDiH (Germany).
CFA: For more information on market opportunities for organically certified
ingredients, please refer to the Market Trends section.
Fair production: Several standards exist for certifying socially sustainable
production of natural ingredients for cosmetics. Examples of consumer labels
that guarantee fair social practices include Fairtrade and FairWild (wild-collected
ingredients).
CFA: Please refer to the ITC Standards map database for further information on
various voluntary standards and their requirements, including organic and fair
production.
CFA: For more information on the market opportunities for ingredients certified
as socially sustainable, please refer to the Market Trends section.
Figure 1: Buyer requirements for Natural Ingredients for Cosmetics

REACH, CITES and Access and Benefit Sharing are not must-haves in all cases,
but due diligence requires that a procedure is employed that checks whether
they are in or exempt.

Trade and Macro-economic statistics


(!) No specific trade statistics are available for conditioning oils. The following
trade statistics are based on HS code 1515.90, other vegetable oils, fixed
vegetable fats and oils and their fractions, whether or not refined, but not
chemically modified. These data exclude the main commodity products, such as
soy, coconut, palm, sunflower and rape.

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CBI Product Fact Sheet: Vegetable oils for conditioning

(!!) Moreover, please note that most vegetable oils are not only imported for
cosmetics use, but also, and in many cases predominately, for food (estimated
at over 60% in 2012). So care should be taken when drawing conclusions based
on the figures below with respect to the import of cosmetics ingredients.
Conditioning Cosmetics Market
Basically, all vegetable oils can be used in cosmetics for their conditioning
properties, and they are used in a wide range of skin and hair care products. In
order to give an indication of the cosmetics end markets for these vegetable
oils, an overview has been included for the following conditioning cosmetic
products: moisturisers and hair conditioners.
Moisturisers: According to market research company Mintel (2013), skin care
products that claimed to be hydrating claims were very popular in 2012. In that
year, 66% of all new product launches in the global skin care market were
asserted to be moisturising or hydrating. The share of consumers who use facial
skin care products to prevent or treat (i.e. moisturise) dry skin are 56% in the
UK, 48% in Germany and 37% in France.
CFA: Consider targeting the market for skin care products on the basis of
moisturising or hydrating properties associated with your product. Do make sure
you can substantiate this claim.
Hair conditioners: A market analysis for soaps, shampoos and hair
conditioners conducted by the Joint Research Centre of the European
Commission in 2012 indicated that European manufacture of hair conditioners is
concentrated in Western Europe. Italy was the main producer in 2010, at 950
million, followed by Germany (over 600 million), and France and Spain (around
350 million each). The UK, Poland, the Netherlands and Bulgaria were listed as
smaller producers of hair conditioners.
Additionally, market researcher Mintel (2013) stated that in 2012, 32% of new
products launched in the hair care market were asserted to be moisturising, up
from 26% in 2009.
CFA: Consider exporting to Western Europe, as this is the region where the
most hair conditioners are manufactured.
Imports
Figure 2: European imports of vegetable oils, in thousands of tonnes

350
Sweden

300

Germany

250

Austria

200

Netherlands

150

France

100

Other EU +
EFTA

50
0
2009

2011

2013

Developing Countries

2009

2011

2013

Other Supplier Countries

Source: Eurostat, 2014

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CBI Product Fact Sheet: Vegetable oils for conditioning

European imports (EU + EFTA) of vegetable oils increased annually by 5%


(volume) from 2009 to 2013, reaching 260 thousand tonnes/552 million in
2013. However, imports in 2011 were much higher, which was mainly due to
steep increases in imports by the Netherlands from 2009 to 2011 (+166%).
From 2011 to 2013, Dutch imports decreased by 40%. As vegetable oils are
used in a wide range of industries, it is not possible to state what share of these
vegetable oil imports is used in cosmetics for their conditioning properties.
However, according to industry sources, high-value vegetable oils are
predominantly used in cosmetics.
CFA: Find potential buyers by identifying finished products on the EU market
that already use vegetable oils for conditioning. For example, check the
websites of organisations such as in-cosmetics or Cosmetic Analysis.
The share of imports supplied by the DCs is small in this product group, at 19%
in 2013. However, as imports from the DCs grew at a considerably faster pace
than total imports, (+14% annually) this marks an increase from 2009, when
14% of all imports originated in the DCs. Interesting cases in this respect are
Italy and Sweden, for which total imports increased only slightly but imports
from the DCs increased significantly. This indicates that the direct sourcing of
vegetable oils from the DCs by these countries increased. As most vegetable oils
have conditioning properties and are used for that purpose in cosmetics, they
originate from a wide range of countries.
CFA: Consider exporting to countries that are increasingly sourcing directly in
the DCs, such as Italy and Sweden.
The main importers in 2013 were France, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany,
Sweden and Denmark. Of these, the Netherlands and France were also
significant importers from the DCs, whereas Austrian imports from the DCs were
negligible.
CFA: Large and growing importers of vegetable oils from the DCs, such as the
Netherlands and France, provide opportunities for DC suppliers to reach other
countries in Europe as well. Together with Denmark and Italy, those two
countries are the main processors of vegetable oils.
CFA: Consider other, smaller markets, based on a feasibility study. These
markets could still be substantial for SME exporters.
Fast-growing importers between 2009 and 2013 were Denmark, Portugal and
Spain, as well as some East European countries, such as Slovakia. In terms of
imports from the DCs, Belgium and Denmark were fast-growing importers. In
this respect, emerging East European importers included the Czech Republic and
Hungary.
CFA: Target emerging importers of vegetable oils from the DCs, such as
Belgium, Denmark, Slovakia and other East European countries.
Leading non-European suppliers in 2013 included the USA, Ghana, India, and
Togo. One of the main export products for the latter three countries was
believed to be jatropha, which is used as a biofuel. However, intra-European
trade constitutes the majority of trade in vegetable oils, with the leading
European suppliers - Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Denmark accounting for 56% of supplies.
CFA: Analyse export data from countries that produce similar or competing
vegetable oils. In many cases, more detailed and more specific export statistics
are available from local statistics offices. Check, for example, the websites of
the Department of Commerce in the respective countries.

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CBI Product Fact Sheet: Vegetable oils for conditioning

Exports
Figure 3: Destinations of European vegetable oils exports, in thousands of tonnes

250
200

USA
Spain

150

Poland

100

France
Germany

50

Other

0
2009

2011

2013

Source: Eurostat, 2014

European vegetable oil exports increased by 12% annually (volume) from 2009
to 2013, reaching 213 thousand tonnes/503 million in 2013.
The largest exporters in 2013 were Italy, Denmark, France, Spain and the
Netherlands, together accounting for 79% of the total export volume. Please
note that this is largely due to several very large companies, such as Cargill in
the Netherlands and the AAK factory in Denmark.
Major destinations in 2013 were European countries, with the exception of the
USA. Rapidly growing destinations included Slovakia, Lithuania, Poland, Spain
and the Netherlands.
CFA: Refer to the CBI Trade statistics for natural ingredients for cosmetics for
more trade statistics.

Market trends
Natural vs. synthetic: In regard to both food and cosmetic products there is
an increasing public perception in Europe that natural ingredients are safer and
healthier than synthetic alternatives, even when scientific studies demonstrate
that the ingredients in question do not pose safety risks. It is a complex and at
times polemic debate. The cosmetics industry often prefers to move on and
find alternatives (natural or synthetic) rather than defend its position. But the
fact remains that any ingredient (natural or synthetic) used in a cosmetics
product is assessed as a chemical substance or chemical mixture when it comes
to safety. Both the regulators and the industry itself are keenly aware of the
focus on the safety of cosmetics, and take great care to ensure that the finished
products are safe for their intended use. In any event, the public perception
presents an opportunity for suppliers of natural and safe ingredients to increase
their market share.
Globally, sales of natural cosmetics grew by 10.6% in 2013, according to
market research conducted by the Kline Group (Cosmetics Design Europe,
2014). Conditioning vegetable oils specifically can be used to replace or
supplement silicones, in regard to which growing consumer concerns exist.
These include the idea that silicones accumulate in the body and block the pores
when used in skin care products, as well as environmental concerns regarding

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CBI Product Fact Sheet: Vegetable oils for conditioning

production. Vegetable oils that replicate the smooth feel of silicones on the skin
can be used to replace this synthetic ingredient.
Vegetable oils with a low rancidity factor and that only require a limited degree
of further refinement, such as moringa and marula, are of particular interest in
natural cosmetics, as fewer preservatives are needed.
CFA: Focus on the market for natural skin care cosmetics in your exports. For
more information, please refer to Market Segments in this product factsheet.
CFA: Determine the stability of your oil and use factor in your marketing that is
aimed at the natural cosmetics market.
Story telling: As most vegetable oils have similar conditioning properties, it is
these properties that make them stand out. The popularity of specific
conditioning vegetable oils depends greatly on their marketing story, and may
change at different times. Popular niche oils at present include sea buckthorn
oil, baobab oil and murumur butte, while prickly pear seed oil from Morocco is
also growing in popularity, according to industry sources. Aspects that can
enhance the marketing story of vegetable oils for conditioning are discussed
below: Exotic oils, Tradition of use, and Ethical sourcing.
Marketing stories for vegetable oils in cosmetics include stories on how oils have
been used for centuries to revive dry skin or hair (e.g. argan oil or marula oil),
or how contributions are made to the local communities which harvest the seeds
or kernels.
CFA: Create marketing stories for vegetable oils for conditioning. You can
develop a thematic story by highlighting what makes your vegetable oil unique.
Imagery plays an important role and could be used by your buyer in their own
marketing.
CFA: Keep up to date with trends in vegetable oils by checking the in-cosmetics
and Cosmetics Design Europe websites.
Exotic oils: Ongoing consumer interest in speciality exotic oils forms an
opportunity for vegetable oils from regions that have exotic, mystical or
luxurious connotations for consumers. Examples include African oils (e.g.
marula or baobab oil), oils from the Amazon (e.g. murumur butter or pracaxi
oil) and Polynesian oils (e.g. Tamanu oil). Exotic oils can be used by cosmetic
producers to differentiate their products on the market.
CFA: For exotic oils, focus on the area of origin, tradition of cultivation or
collection in your marketing through, for example, accounts about the products
provenance.
Tradition of use: There is a continuous interest in conditioning oils with a
tradition of use. This also helps in building a marketing story. For example,
sacha inchi has traditionally been used in Peru to make creams with anti-aging
properties.
CFA: Examine the traditional uses of your vegetable oil; if the oil has
traditionally been used because it provides a specific benefit, use that fact in
your promotional material. However, be aware that one cannot make health
claims without the scientific evidence to support these claims.
Ethical sourcing: A growing interest in ethically sourced products presents an
opportunity for fair trade and organically certified vegetable oils. Moreover,
consumers are interested in the background story to ethical certification. There
is also growing interest in wild-collected vegetable oils, such as marula and

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CBI Product Fact Sheet: Vegetable oils for conditioning

baobab, where the benefits to local communities of the collectors are


highlighted in the marketing story. Communication is presented graphically,
with short stories concerning the product, or in the manufacturers corporate
image.
CFA: Focus on the story behind your oil and highlight the ethical credentials of
the supply chain. Particularly in terms of wild-collected oils, this offers
opportunities to cosmetic producers to differentiate their products on the
European market. It will be to your benefit to aid cosmetics producers to
communicate these stories, for example by providing photos and/or other
illustrations.
CFA: Check whether you can obtain certification for ethical sourcing. Please
refer to the sections dealing with Market Segments and Common and Niche
Requirements for more information.
Functional properties: In addition to the conditioning or moisturising
properties of most vegetable oils, some also have additional functional
properties. These properties can be used to give your oil the edge over
competing oils, as the market for functional and active cosmetics ingredients
continues to boom. Examples include vegetable oils that have anti-aging
properties, such as evening primrose oil and (Chilean) rosehip oil, as well as oils
high in omega fatty acids. When used as active ingredients for purposes such as
anti-aging, it is essential that efficacy data is provided to back up the claim.
CFA: For more information on oils for cosmetics that are high in fatty acids,
please refer to the CBI Product Factsheet High-Omega oils in Europe.
CFA: Do not claim that a vegetable oil has benefits unless you can also provide
scientific evidence to support those claims. For more information, refer to the
EU rules on claims.
CFA: You must substantiate your claim and the product safety, beyond
traditional use, through research. In general (and not necessarily in the case of
vegetable oils), the further your product development progresses (e.g. from
theory to chemical analysis to testing on cells, synthetic skin and in
formulations) the more valuable the product you are selling becomes.
CFA: Please refer to CBI Trends - Vegetable oils for further information on other
market trends.

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CBI Product Fact Sheet: Vegetable oils for conditioning

Market channels and segments


Market channels
Figure 4: Major market channels for vegetable oils for conditioning

Collectors
and/or
Farmers

Domestic
processors

Traders
(importers,
agents,
brokers)

Refining industry

Cosmetic
manufacturers

Derivatives
industry
Crushing
industry

Developing country

European market

Please refer to CBI Market channels and segments - Vegetable oils for more
information.
Vegetable oils exported in crude form
Vegetable oils are mostly exported as oil, instead of in the form of oil-seeds,
nuts or kernels. Most vegetable oils are commonly exported to Europe as a
crude oil, where they are then further processed into a refined oil. For example,
borage oil needs to be processed to remove its repellent odour. The oil can
often be filtered at source, and whether or not further processing is feasible
depends on the quality, available volumes and the needs of the buyer.
CFA: Before setting up installations for refining the vegetable oil in order to
deodorise or decolour it, for example, ensure that you can meet the buyers
requirements in terms of quality, composition, quantity and the cost of the oil.
Also conduct research on whether or not you can expect a sufficient return on
investment, or whether working with toll refiners would be more economical.
Vegetable oils can be sold directly to cosmetics manufacturers, but they are
more commonly sold through specialised intermediaries such as agents and
importers. There are several traders in Europe that focus on speciality vegetable
oils, either from a worldwide, or a regional perspective. Moreover, vegetable oil
traders and natural ingredient distributors also work with speciality products.
CFA: Take advantage of the experience and expertise of specialised European
importers and agents, instead of approaching end-users directly. Specialised
product traders are the most suitable distribution channels when it comes to
exporting products.
CFA: For more information and company information, please refer to the
following websites:
Europages: a useful resource for finding contact details and information on
the activities of importers
The Food World: although mainly for food products, this website lists
information on companies dealing in vegetable oils and fats that can also be
used in cosmetics
Organic-Bio: lists importers of organic food products, including vegetable oils
and fats that can also be used in cosmetics

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Segments

CBI Product Fact Sheet: Vegetable oils for conditioning

Speciality vegetable oils and certified organic or fair trade oils usually have
relatively short trade channels. This is because buyers are often interested in
the source of the oils to be used in their marketing campaigns.
Organic oils are frequently introduced directly in cosmetics, since chemical
processing is restricted for ingredients of certified natural cosmetics. Once
processed, these ingredients can often no longer qualify as being organic. But in
the case of allergenic oils, the allergens need to be removed.
CFA: For exporters that do not have the capacity to produce the oil, determine
the potential for exporting the raw materials, such as oil seeds or nuts.
Market segments
Table 1: Segmentation for vegetable oils for conditioning

Best opportunities in specialty vegetable oils


Vegetable oils for conditioning can be divided into commodity and specialty oils.
Commodity oils, such as coconut oil, are non-certified oils which are traded in
high volumes and where prices are the deciding factor. The oils are generally
processed into moisturising derivatives such as emollients or humectants (e.g.
glycerine) rather than being used as pure oils in cosmetics. The market for
commodity oils is dominated by large multinational players and is highly
competitive. This market is therefore only of limited interest to DC exporters.
The market for speciality oils is far more attractive. Speciality oils are more
exclusive, which is a factor used in the marketing of these oils. This exclusivity
might be derived from an interesting origin story or certifications. With regard
to their conditioning properties, these oils are most commonly used as direct
ingredients by natural cosmetics manufacturers. Speciality oils can also be
converted into high-value derivatives.
Additionally, organically certified oils - which require limited additional
processing - can be used in organic cosmetics, for which demand is growing. A
market report by Transparency Market Research on the Organic Personal Care
Products Market indicated that global demand for organic cosmetics products is
expected to grow by a constant 10% from 2012 to 2018.
CFA: Focus on the marketing story for speciality oils by demonstrating the oils
unique qualities. Certifications could add credibility to this marketing story.

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CBI Product Fact Sheet: Vegetable oils for conditioning

CFA: Discuss with your buyers the potential for the organic certification of your
vegetable oil before launching a product development plan to source organic
raw material.
CFA: Discuss with your (prospective) buyer the opportunities for fair trade or
sustainably produced vegetable oils and whether certification is beneficial. For
more information on these specific certifications, please refer to the Niche
Requirements section.
Consumers are more willing to pay a higher price in the natural cosmetic
segment, and so the price of specialty oils, which can be high when compared to
commodity oils, is less of an issue. France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany are
the primary markets for natural cosmetics.
CFA: Increase your opportunities by working with manufacturers of natural
cosmetics that focus on speciality oils. Bear in mind that the story behind the oil
is key for these buyers (and for their respective buyers).
In the cosmetics industry vegetable oils are used primarily in leave-on products
(e.g. creams, lotions and hair conditioners) as a directly added ingredient,
rather than rinse-off products (e.g. shampoos or body washes). In the latter
category, derivatives of oils (surfactants) are more common, whereas pure oils
are used in very small amounts, as they are aqueous formulas. Some
derivatives of vegetable oils are used as alternatives to silicones, while others
are blended with silicones.
Vegetable oils are used in both skin and hair care for their conditioning and
moisturising properties. The cosmetic segment in which the oils are used is
dependent on various factors, such as marketing aspects, traditional use and its
chemical profile. For example, argan oil has traditionally been used for hair care
and has a good potential in this segment, while Pracaxi oil is often used in hair
care as it has a very high concentration of behenic acid, which is used in hair
conditioners for its smoothing properties. Additionally, vegetable oils with high
levels of omega fatty acids are found in anti-aging skin care products in
particular.
CFA: Identify the wide range of products that could benefit from containing
conditioning vegetable oils. Also stress the properties of your specific vegetable
oil and its marketing potential in the various segments. For more information on
oil properties in cosmetics, see CosIng.

Price
Higher margins for unusual or certified vegetable oils
The price level of vegetable oils is generally dependent on availability, variety,
novelty, quality (including fatty acid composition), demand and the exchange
rates. Oils at the lower end of the price range are sunflower (3 per kg),
flaxseed (5 per kg) and almond oils (15 per kg), whereas sea buckthorn is at
the high end (at 100 per kg). Prickly pear seed oil, which is gaining in
popularity, is priced even higher at 500 to 700 per kg.
CFA: Monitor the harvests of your specific vegetable oil in major production
countries to anticipate pricing developments. You could request such
information from your buyers.
CFA: When pricing your product, consider the maximum price the market is
willing to pay, as well as the demand, cost analysis and break-even analysis.
Ensure that the price reflects the quality levels and delivery conditions.

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CBI Product Fact Sheet: Vegetable oils for conditioning

CFA: Calculate your production costs by using a detailed cost breakdown. Do


not forget to include additional costs, such as customs, loading/unloading,
marketing, samples for chemical analysis and internal transport. Add your profit
margin to the cost breakdown result to achieve the selling price.
A price mark-up applies to certified vegetable oils. The precise size of this markup depends on the specific certification, the quality of the oil and the available
supply in combination with demand.
Margins may change according to shifts in the popularity of speciality oil.
Conditioning vegetable oils are quite trend-sensitive. Margins can drop
significantly when there is an oversupply of the oil, if a trend is over or when
many producers have entered the market.
CFA: Maintain a diverse product range so as to decrease reliance on one
product and its fluctuating popularity and the consequent price changes.
The following price breakdown shows which costs and margins are applied to
low volume vegetable oils before they reach the end-user.
Figure 5: Price breakdown for vegetable oils for conditioning, mark-ups in %
Export

Air cargo

+5-50%

Import

Refining

+5%

+1-4%

Source: Profound, 2014

If agents are involved, they typically receive a commission of a few percentage


points (2-5%). However, their actual profit margin is greatly dependent on the
volumes sold and the gross margin. They will normally lower their gross margin
for large volumes.
CFA: Agents are a particularly appealing option if you do not have a strong
sales network. You can find commercial agents on the Internationally United
Commercial Agents and Brokers (IUCAB) website. However, once you have
established a trade relationship through an agent, you can no longer establish a
direct relationship with the buyer. The agents sales network is protected by
law.
Importers will add a margin to the product on the basis of the activities they
perform, such as testing, stocking and rectification.
CFA: You can add value by improving the quality of your production. Prevent
rancidity and contamination with foreign materials.

Field of Competition
Distinguishing conditioning vegetable oils on a competitive market
Most opportunities for conditioning vegetable oils stem from growing consumer
concerns about silicones, as was mentioned in the Market Trends section.
Conditioning oils that produce a similar feeling as silicones have the potential to
replace them.

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Sales

+30%

CBI Product Fact Sheet: Vegetable oils for conditioning

CFA: Be aware that oils that are liquid at European room temperature are more
suitable for replacing silicones. Vegetable oil derivatives can also produce a
smooth sensation, like silicone.
The threat of substitution with other vegetable oils is high, as most vegetable
oils have similar conditioning or moisturising properties and can be used
interchangeably. Many oils are introduced to the market each year and fierce
competition exists for the attention of buyers, while demand for specific
vegetable oils is very trend-sensitive. This means that DC manufacturers must
differentiate their vegetable oil from competing oils on the market.
CFA: Stay up to date with trends in conditioning vegetable oils, by checking
websites such as Cosmetics Design Europe. Ensure that you are supplying an oil
that is in demand on the market.
Cosmetic companies are interested in the marketing opportunities for specialty
vegetable oils for conditioning, in addition to a high quality and potential added
benefits. Marketing opportunities include social benefits to a local community,
an interesting origin story, ethical sourcing and certifications.
CFA: In your promotional campaign, make sure you differentiate your specific
oil from competing vegetable oils. If you can aid your buyers to build a
marketing story around your vegetable oil, this could prove to be an advantage
over competitors. Please refer to the Market Trends section for the appealing
elements of a marketing story, such as origin, ethical sourcing and
certifications.
A strong marketing campaign is required to communicate the advantages of the
oil to prospective buyers. This involves aspects such as promotional materials,
international travel and participating in trade fairs. Financing marketing
activities can be a barrier to entering the European market for conditioning
vegetable oils.
CFA: Set aside sufficient funds for marketing activities. They can be a costly but
are an essential part of your promotion.
Some vegetable oils for conditioning are traded in large volumes and have an
established market, such as almond oil. Others, such as argan oil, while still
seen as a speciality oil, have been introduced in mainstream cosmetics and also
have an established market. Entering these markets as a new supplier can be
difficult, because of the fierce competition from existing suppliers.
Vegetable oils made from wild-collected materials offer a marketing potential as
they can be used by cosmetics manufacturers to differentiate their products on
the market. Examples of such oils include baobab oil, desert date oil and
ximenia oil.
CFA: If the raw material for your vegetable oil is wild-harvested, explore
options for its cultivation to reduce reliance on wild collection. Research the
growing conditions and make sure that threats from potential pests are
resolved.
CFA: To gain a position in the market, you also need to demonstrate reliability
in terms of quality consistency, documentation, communication, delivery,
packaging, service delivery and security of supply. In the case of wild-harvested
raw materials, employ sustainable resource management when collecting the
materials. Examine the possibilities of the FairWild certification scheme, but first
discuss with your buyers whether the certification will benefit them.
CFA: Please refer to the CBI Field of competition - Vegetable oils section for
more information.

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CBI Product Fact Sheet: Vegetable oils for conditioning

Useful sources
Trade fairs
Visiting and participating in trade fairs is one of the most efficient methods for
testing market receptivity, obtaining market information and finding prospective
business partners. The most important trade fairs in Europe for exporters of
vegetable oils for skin conditioning are:
in-cosmetics in Barcelona in 2015
Beyond Beauty in Paris, France
SANA in Bologna, Italy
Vivaness in Nuremberg, Germany (for organic producers)
More information
CBI market information: Promising EU export markets.
EU Expanding Exports Helpdesk - http://exporthelp.europa.eu - go to trade statistics.
Eurostat - http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/newxtweb - statistical database of the EU.
You can input various queries. For trade, choose EU27 Trade Since 1995 By CN8.
International Trade Statistics - http://www.trademap.org registration required.

This survey was compiled for CBI by


ProFound Advisers In Development
in collaboration with CBI sector expert Andrew Jones
Disclaimer CBI market information tools: http://www.cbi.eu/disclaimer

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