Share article:
Share article:

Plant-based makeup? Flanders wants to give it a shot

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

A new project backed by European funding is conducting research into the possibility of creating cosmetics based on raw vegetable material produced and harvested in a high-tech manner.

The project, called InCoCells, aims to give agricultural waste flows a new purpose and render animal testing unnecessary, according to the Flemish infocentre for agrictulure and horticulture (VILT).

There are 11 different countries involved in the four-year-long scientific research project, and in Belgium, Flanders will focus on the search for innovative, high-quality cosmetic products from plants and plant cells.

“In the first phase of the research, we’ll try to map out as many plant species and parts as possible,” research leader Alain Goossens told VILT.

“We are looking for relevant ingredients and corresponding production methods.”

They hope to find at least 50 new ingredients through testing for the presence of bioactive components with useful properties.

“We’ll put the needs of producers and consumers first and ensure that these new cosmetic ingredients are suitable for the market,” Goossens explained.

They’re looking at plants with a variety of cultivation methods, from traditional field farming to greenhouse cultivation and even agricultural waste streams. They’re also considering plant cell cultures – like plants grown in air culture installations without soil, which has a much lower environmental impact – as a possibility.

Fruits, vegetables and herbs are among potential candidates for cosmetics ingredients: tomatoes, carrots, apples, basil, ginger and lemon balm. They’ll also take a look at hops, liquorice and geraniums.

In a later stage, the researchers will examine the possible biological reactions of the new materials using cell-based tests, instead of animal testing.

“None of the products will be tested on animals or will contain animal products,” the institutions involved say, explaining that only plant extracts and natural products with an environmentally friendly production potential will be developed and then tested on human volunteers.

InnCoCells’ budget comes out to around €7.9 million and a partner organisation from Finland is coordinating the project.

The 16 other partners are a mix of academic institutions and SMEs. There’s also one large industrial partner, a non-profit organisation and a sector organisation from the cosmetics industry.

In Flanders, partners include the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), the Institute for Agricultural, Fisheries and Food Research (ILVO) and Add Essens, a research company specialising in sustainable technology.

Latest news

Mayor wants to close two Brussels bars where alleged sexual assaults took place
Ixelles' Mayor Christos Doulkeridis (Ecolo) said that he’d like to close the two bars that employed a man accused of raping multiple patrons, ...
‘Untenable’: Mayor says situation at Brussels North station is out of control
The situation at Brussels North Station is no longer tenable, Schaerbeek's mayor Cécile Jodogne (Défi) says. Drug dealing, homelessness, ...
Suicide second-leading cause of death among European youth
Suicide is the number two killer among young people living in Europe, a recent Unicef report on the state of their mental health found. The ...
‘Too little, too late’: Brussels mayors criticise CST implementation
After a two week delay, the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will become mandatory in several situations in Brussels from today (Friday). Some mayors blame a ...
Sciensano expert warns of rising Covid-19 cases this winter
The return of colder weather and the relaxing of health measures are giving rise to new Covid-19 contaminations and hospitalisations around Belgium, ...
Hospital food is making you sick, Belgian study shows
Eating hospital meals results in a measurable decline in health, according to a report from the Flemish television network VTM, which paints a ...
Belgium in Brief: Supply Issues
There are few things more jarring than walking into a store and finding that the shelves are empty, be that partially or otherwise. One thing ...
Stolen Magritte painting on display for first time in ten years
Surrealist painter René Magritte's work "Olympia", which made headlines across the world when it was stolen from a museum in Belgium in 2009, will be ...
Brussels airport pilots ’15 minute’ PCR test
Brussels Airport has announced that it will soon begin a trial of an ultra-fast PCR test able to detect Covid-19 in 15 minutes, a far faster ...
Over 1,000 demonstrators march in Brussels following sexual assault allegations
Around 1,300 people gathered in Ixelles on Thursday night to march against sexual violence, according to reporting from Bruzz. The march was ...
Covid Safe Ticket mandatory in Brussels, but no fines yet
The Brussels-Capital Region will expand the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) from today (Friday), but it will take a few days before rule-breakers ...
Belgium hosts ‘farewell party’ for Merkel today
Angela Merkel will be in Belgium on Friday for an official visit as a symbolic "farewell" before leaving her position as German Chancellor after 16 ...