Rising Cosmetic Standards through Plant Biotechnology

Interview with Dr. Òscar Expósito, CEO and Co-founder,
Vytrus Biotech

The last two years Vytrus’s sustainability has been recognized with the Ecovadis Medal. How has Vytrus successfully implemented sustainability over these years? What is your business approach?

In 2020, Vytrus was granted with the Ecovadis Silver medal in its first year of evaluation while achieving the Ecovadis Platinum medal in 2021 - our second assessment year - which is the highest rating only awarded to 1% of the 90,000 companies evaluated worldwide. 

This milestone is a great recognition in two approaches. First, an award to the business model we believed in from the beginning of our company history, promoting sustainable biotechnological platforms to create innovative active ingredients with a sustainable basis by saving more than 99% of arable soil and water use in our processes. A real step forward towards a more sustainable cosmetics. 

Secondly, the Ecovadis Platinum reinforces our commitment to our Corporate Social Responsibility program which is based in 4 axes: People, Planet, Company and Social commitment. Deepening into the Planet axis and following our will of returning to nature what nature gives us, Vytrus allocates a percentage of its incomes to projects related to the preservation of natural heritage, the environment and plant protection. One of these projects consists of the custody of a unique 25-hectare forest for 25 years in the region of Catalonia (Spain) with the aim of achieving a forest reserve with a positive impact on biodiversity of high ecological value. This project will also lead to the absorption of approximately 25 tons of CO2.

So, even though sustainability was at our business core since the beginning, Vytrus firmly believes in boosting and enriching a growing CSR program, contributing to nature and society with our available resources.

What are your new products launches this year?

At 2022 in-cosmetics Global edition, Vytrus launched Elaya Renova™, a hair care active that directly dives into the hair skinification trend with a novel plant mechanism. This 100% ingredient from wild olive tree stem cells brings an innovative concept– the Hair Tensegrity. The active protects, strengthens and revitalizes the whole hair structure, from scalp to hair shaft. Specifically enriched in a nourishing proteo-lipidic matrix, Elaya Renova™ reinforces both the hair and the scalp from the inside while boosting new hair anchoring proteins discovered and penetrating the hair cortex.

This innovation is inspired by an architectural concept - the “Tensegrity” - that explains how changes applied to an area will also exert effects at a distance because everything is interconnected. Vytrus has transferred the integral vision of tensegrity to the hair structure, launching the new cosmetic approach of TrichoTensegrity, appealing to the importance of the scalp and the hair structure and its influence on hair mechanical properties and biology behavior. Hair shaft and the scalp are intimately interconnected as a continuum and each part is interdependent from the others.

This new hair care active brings a paradigm in cosmetics and a new way for the protection and restructuring of both hair and scalp at the same time. A new path for not having to use different products for each application (hair and scalp, protection and revitalizing), offering the possibility of a multi-activity ingredient to approach all the needs of hair care in one raw material.

We are finally back in person at most events. What is your take away from the shows? 

We are returning to a new and improved reality in which congresses and trade fairs of our sector are reopening, helping to continue promoting the good economic growth that the cosmetic sector has always experienced, both nationally and globally.

Recently, Vytrus attended in-cosmetics Global in Paris as exhibitors along with more than 600 exhibitors and more than 10,000 visitors. After two years of cancellation of the fair for sanitary reasons, the event took place again - a great international showcase where the Vytrus team was present and presented new active ingredients from plant biotechnology. We had the opportunity to exchange profitable conversations with large customers in the sector and lived with enthusiasm the cosmetic innovations that were shown up there by the key players of the industry. The in-cosmetics Global event was a real stimulus to continue improving and innovating from plant biotechnology.

Vytrus team will also be present in other shows and congresses like SEPAWA in Berlin, HPCI Warsaw, Cosmetorium in Spain and in-cosmetics Asia in Bangkok, amongst others. An exciting time coming ahead to return to physical shows with digital practices learned along the way, combining the best of both approaches.

You have launched the Vytrus TV channel in March 2022. What are your experiences with it so far?

It has positively been accepted by our partners, clients and collaborators. Vytrus TV channel is an audiovisual space where Vytrus combines science, nature and passion in short video capsules to show our audience our biotechnology, the plants we are inspired by, our cosmetic concepts and how easy it is to formulate with our 100% natural actives.

It is a different and fresh way to explain our essence amongst 3 sections. First, ‘Innovating with Plant Stem cells’provides a deeper look into how Vytrus is inspired by plant mechanisms. A new way of developing biotechnological platforms to create innovative actives that respect the environment and our skin and hair health. Secondly, ‘Plant Stories’, as plants are the core of Vytrus knowledge and creations. Those capabilities that nature brings which the company translates into the cosmetics language to deal with skincare and haircare challenges. Finally, the ‘Formulating from Nature’ section includes several episodes that aim to help cosmetic formulators create a wide range of possibilities with biotech concepts.

We are very proud of the work carried out by our team and Vytrus TV is a way of showing its courage, innovation and passion for plants.

In your opinion: Will the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the raw material and energy shortness influence consumer behavior in the Personal Care area?

There is no doubt we are living uncertain times following the last events worldwide. It is also true that the cosmetic industry has historically been a resilient sector in circumstances of volatility or economic crisis. 

Fortunately, the pandemic is globally evolving in a positive way. Also, consumers are increasing their awareness for the need of a healthy skin and hair and their care routines. The war and the international conflicts are producing general economic turbulences and consumers are experiencing difficulties these days. Although the cosmetic sector may receive certain impact in terms of inflation and interest rate rise like the rest of sectors and economies, there is no direct relation of our sector with the sectorial and economic variables that are suffering a higher volatility. What has turned into an evidence is that people are increasingly turning to more sustainable practices when consuming cosmetic products and are aware of the importance of the respect for our environment. In this sense, biotechnology opens a world of possibilities to take care of our skin and hair health through a sustainable production and sourcing of ingredients from the purest essence of nature. Plant stem cell technology brings news ways of working with plants with an approach that is innovative and sustainable at the same time and Vytrus will keep on promoting the use of biotech ingredients from nature in cosmetic formulations. 

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