Behind the Silicon Valley Technology Transforming the Beauty Industry

Consumers today are expecting more and more from their beauty products. It has to be efficacious. It has to be ethically sustainable. It has to be a pleasure to use.

Ingredients have taken the driver’s seat in purchasing decisions for these “skintellectuals.” Searches for retinol, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and vitamin C on Net-a-Porter are up by almost 700% since 2020. According to The Hut Group and Vogue Business, searches for skincare ingredients grew 229% in 2022.  It’s clear consumers put ingredients before brand names today. But how can brands meet these ever-increasing ingredient demands?

There’s a growing interest in nature-equivalent ingredients that are more sustainable than natural products. 26% of US adults surveyed already believe nature-identical ingredients are effective. As consumers continue to trust and rely on the sciences coming out of the pandemic, beauty consumers will seek out more nature-equivalent ingredients. In this article, you will learn how cutting-edge bio-fermentation technology creates the nature-identical ingredients your customers want — sustainably.

Expert Biological Scientists, Exceptional Nature-Identical Ingredients

The development process for our portfolio of sustainable ingredients started before beauty. Amyris (our joint partner) started as an effort with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to make anti-malarial drugs more affordable. Two scientists from UC Berkeley devised a groundbreaking plan to produce Artemisinic Acid using sugarcane bio-fermentation.

Bio-fermentation is not a novel process — it’s been used in food production for millennia. Through adapting this bio-fermentation system, our scientists successfully scaled Artemisinic Acid to a significantly lower cost and higher volume than extraction from traditional wormwood, resulting in over 120 million treatments being delivered. In 2008, Amyris licensed this technology royalty-free.

The Artemisinic Acid bio-fermentation technology is the same chassis we use for each beauty ingredient. Our PhD scientists work every day to measure, analyze, and optimize our bio-fermentation process for the most efficient and sustainable manufacturing.

Sugarcane on green background for sustainable clean beauty ingredients
Sugarcane with various pigment cosmetics on a blue background

Bio-Fermentation: Conscious Manufacturing for the Planet

Our patented bio-fermentation platform is centered around Saccharomyces cerevisiae, better known as baker’s yeast. This microbe is responsible for bread rising, wine making, and beer brewing. In addition to these delicious products, S. cerevisiae can consume sugarcane juice and create the products for beauty ingredients like Neossance™ Squalane and Hemisqualane.

We biodesigned natural metabolic pathways in the yeast to efficiently produce these ingredients. We start with the juice from ethical and sustainable sugarcane, certified by Bonsucro (a WWF-founded NGO). The sugars are added to a fermenter, where the yeast consume the sugar and create the molecules for Neossance Squalane and Hemisqualane. Our expert biologists have streamlined and optimized the bio-fermentation process to ensure it is as efficient as possible.

The Bio-Fermented Ingredients Transforming the Beauty Industry

We foster new product innovation with a selection of superior-performing beauty ingredients. Bio-fermentation ensures these ingredients have the highest purity, consistent supply, and sustainability. We are always working on new innovations for the future; here are today’s innovations:

  1. Neossance Squalane: the world’s best-performing Squalane, derived from renewable Brazilian sugarcane
  2. Neossance Hemisqualane: the best-performing natural silicone replacement
  3. CleanScreen™ Z60SF: safer, non-whitening broad-UV protection without petrochemicals or silicones
  4. SimplySolid™: the hydrating, solid skincare breakthrough to reduce wasteful packaging

Develop the Cutting-Edge Formulations of Tomorrow

Today’s consumers are more educated than ever on ingredients. They choose brands based on their familiarity with and curiosity for ingredients, instead of relying on a brand name. In such a saturated beauty market, brands can differentiate themselves by formulating with novel, biodesigned ingredients.

Our patented bio-fermentation platform combines years of scientific research with inspiration from Mother Nature. Not only has it been used for malaria treatments, but it also creates the sustainable, high-performance ingredients beauty consumers want. Bio-fermentation creates a wide array of multi-functional ingredients from sustainable and ethical sugarcane. We can’t wait to work with you on your next formulation.


Read more about clean beauty:

Our Inaugural International Squalane Day

Why We're Celebrating Squalane on Oct. 14 International Squalane Day was created in partnership with Amyris to celebrate the planet-positive change bio-fermentation has brought to the world. We believe sustainability starts from [...]