By N. KANUNGO,

Attention, Fashionistas and the beauty conscious female and male Cosmetic  protagonists-  wake up to the age of Cosmetic or Cosmeto Textiles !!. Heal your body through clothes- the Second Skin. Sounds weird or am I kidding? I swear you not.

What is Cosmetic or Cosmeto textiles?

In recent years, functional textiles used in medical and related healthcare and hygiene sectors are an rapidly growing segment of the textile field. Thus a new terminology so called Cosmetic textiles or Cosmeto textile has been evolved to designate textiles with Cosmetic properties which has now opened up new target groups and sustainable markets in the textile industry.

There are some exciting developments happening in the textiles area and the whole ‘Well– being sector’ mostly catering to the needs of Uni and metro sexual revolutionaries, beauty conscious men and women of this millennium – although still a niche – at present, becoming stronger by the day.

Integrating Cosmetics into Textiles, offers a unique platform for delivering such Wearable Body Care – a trend. on the rise ie. Skin Care one can wear- while a garment is being worn. The increased convenience coupled with functionality converts Cosmeto textiles into true active players that can help increase our sense of Well- being

In a Cosmeto textile article, a substance or a preparation that is released over time on different superficial parts of the human body, notably on Skin, and claiming special properties such as cleaning, perfuming and changing appearance, protection, keeping in good condition or correction of body odours

Upon contact with Skin, skin caring fibrous materials are designed to transfer an active substance for Cosmetic purposes. The idea is achieved by simply imparting the bio- active ingredients into Wearable textiles, so that with the natural movement of the body, the Skin is slowly supplemented and revitalized.

As for example, that has been reported by Cognis (a textile chemical company based in Germany), BAA (British Airways Association) has opened up a ‘Well being Club’ for frequent travellers where in, no matter which carrier you fly, oxygen starved skin and economy smooshed muscles will be worked out and woken up at Rejuve, a day Spa in Heathrow Terminal- 1.

Why use Textiles for Cosmetic effects?

Body Care (not only face and hand care) is one of the major trends in cosmetics. Since textiles cover a  large part of the body for most of the day, application of Cosmeto textiles is an unique opportunity for the  convenient transfer of cosmetics to such areas of the body parts.

Furthermore, continuous release of small doses of Cosmetics through textiles may be more effective than single applications of large amounts through drugs. In fact, Consumers are increasingly interested in and open to textiles with added effect as use of Functional garments, which are a massive trend in today’s clothing.

Cosmeto textiles formulated for Function

Cosmeto textiles made from high-tech fabrics that incorporate Personal care ingredients such as Slimming agents, Perfumes and Creams have already appeared on the fashion runway. To achieve this functional effects, micro-encapsulation technology appeared to have been one of the most preferred method for providing satisfactory performance with increased durability. Cognis and another two world leading Cosmetic textile finishing companies namely; Speciality Textiles Products and Woolmark Development International Ltd. (WDI), have been successfully researching on these micro-encapsulation technology to enhance the marketability of Cosmeto textiles.

Such microcapsule products contain various benefits such as Stress release, Skin moisturizing, Anti ageing, Anti bacterial, Anti fungal and Anti cellulite treatments. The microcapsules will only break through normal wears and release their contents in a controlled manner and is claimed to have the performance that can be retained over a long period and through multiple domestic laundering.

Pseudo Cosmeto textiles.

Textiles with built-in cosmetic ingredients have become common these days and are classified as Pseudo Cosmeto textiles by Cognis.

The general features of these Pseudo class are the a) minor amount of ingredient addition (hardly detectable) b) Often only implicit with no proven cosmetic performance and c) Hardly more expensive than normal textile label claims (example- Soft with aloe vera).

Following are some of the examples of Pseudo Cosmeto textiles products:-

  1. a) Skin to Skin Wellness in a) Jazz– Pant with Aloe-Vera and b) Achsel- top with Aloe-Vera (Fig.- 1)
  2. Cotton leggings- with Aloe-Vera (extra Soft and Moisturising) (Fig.- 2)
  3. Lotion Underwear Collection– with Aloe- Vera Moisturiser (Fig.- 3)
  4. Easy Care Shirts with Aloe- Vera ( Fig. 4 )

Benefits of True Cosmeto textiles

Unlike Pseudo Cosmeto textiles, the True Cosmeto textiles with real benefits have started appearing in the markets. The general features of these True Cosmeto textiles are a) presence of large amounts of built-in ingredients upto several percentages in the weight of the textile material b) explicit cosmetic performance claims c) scientifically substantiated claims via Cosmetic efficacy studies and Consumer satisfaction surveys. and d) significantly more expensive than normal textiles (real added value)

The above features, in effect, are perceptible by the consumer because of the technical efficacy of the cosmetic finishing processes to attach the cosmetic ingredients in such a way that a) these are not destroyed in the finishing process and remain stable during storage and b) these are not washed out during laundering and are transferred to the Skin while the textiles are being worn and can therefore produce real effects

Clinical and Consumer survey studies on Cosmeto textile products

Following are the results of some Clinical and Consumer survey studies by Cognis on certain Cosmeto textile products.

a) Case of Slimming Jeans : – (fig. 5)

In one of the clinical studies on Slimming Jeans, a pair of jeans treated with anti cellulite microcapsules contains as much Cosmetic ingredients as two 30 ml Nivea Cream containers costing 2.75 $ each.

Moreover, a consumer study on such jeans showed that 83% consumers agreed that the jeans had a beneficial effect, 73 % had improved appearance of their thighs and 70% had improved fineness and Skin tone.

b)  Panty hose treated with Slimmimng

In one of the Dermatological study performed by a French institute Derm, scan, with Slimmimng treated Panty hose, showed that Skin elasticity improves ie. Skin becomes tighter, firmer and more tonic.

 c)  Efficacy of Moisturising in treated Socks

Visual assessment by Dermscan Dermatologists, in one of their studies on Treated Socks observed a) a decrease in the Skin irritation scores and b) a significant increase in moisture level in treated Socks as against untreated ones.

d) Super Cool effect on Cooling treated T- shirts

In a Consumer survey by Cognis on Cooling treated T- shirts showed that 100% consumers noticed a cooling effect, 88% felt refreshed and 92% had a sense of well-being, by wearing the T-shirts.

 

Further, in a clinical test at Dermscan, 68% wearers of Cooling treated T-shirts felt comfortable, 76% felt relaxed and 77% felt less Stressed.

e)  Efficiency of Anti Heavy Legs

In a consumer survey on Treated Panty hose by Anteos agency of France, 77% of the consumers’ legs felt less tired, 81% felt legs felt more refreshed and 67% felt a better sensation of their legs on wearing the treated Panty hoses.

New Cosmeto textile Products

Following are certain New Cosmo textile products that have successfully entered the markets:-

  1. a) First Compression Hosiery with care effects- Venotrain Microbalance in New colour by Bauerfiend b) Adidas Supercool Shirts and Jackets c) Domyos, Supercool T shirts d) Skintex Hand Gloves by Cognis (Swany, Monoi) m etc.

Cosmeto textiles for Hair Care

The latest research on Cosmeto textiles, that is being carried out at Institute of Textiles and Clothing in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, recently on topics of Textiles for Hair care and treatment, is mainly concentrated on Skin caring benefits and Stress management.

However, since the the market of Hair Care, in particular has grown substantially over the past few years, their ongoing research on Cosmeto textiles for hair care aims at different hair care functions like anti dandruff, anti alopecia, oil control and oil pressure etc. which can be impacted on to the textiles that enables an alternative basis for the delivery systems of hair care substances.

Thus, with the growing vogue in enhancing beauty with health, the Cosmeto textiles for Hair Care would be expected to ultimately fulfill, perhaps, the most concerned function of ‘Health and Beauty Care’ in an attempt to provide a more natural and healthier life.