Cosmetotextiles: Wearable Personal Care
Updated: Dec 12, 2021
Prepping ourselves for work or school can seem like a chore – indeed, dressing up and the application of our favorite personal care products to our hair and skin do require time. We can only fancy the idea of reducing our morning prep time (well, even by a few minutes) by putting on clothes that are already infused with moisturizers, anti-perspirants, and our go-to fragrances. It is interesting to note though, that this concept is not a far-fetched one, thanks to cosmetotextiles .
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In cosmetotextiles, cosmetic ingredients in the form of active substances are first microencapsulated and then incorporated into the fiber or fabric material of an apparel. Encapsulation works hand-in-hand with controlled release, and in this mechanism, cosmetic ingredients can get transferred into the skin by certain triggers such as changes in temperature and pH (through sweating) or through mechanical forces, such as rubbing . Let us quickly consider some of the cosmetotextiles that are available in the market.
Clothing firms and skin care companies have teamed up in introducing cosmetic textile products that are fitting for a specific purpose, just like how ROXY® collaborated with Biotherm to launch neck warmers, gloves, and even winter coat collars that are infused with shea butter and apricot oil. Given that the skin will be more prone to dryness and irritation in lower temperatures, the main goal of this product line is skin protection and nourishment in harsh conditions. In addition to the built-in moisturizing natural ingredients, these cold weather essentials are also embedded with anti-oxidant Vitamin E ingredients and marine christe extract, which, according to a study, exerts soothing effects that help against irritation [3, 4].
Cosmetotextiles with hydrating properties can be taken a notch higher, literally, as they are not only useful in frigid and dry environments, but also at several thousands of feet in the air. Because of the aircraft cabin environment (air temperature and relative humidity), research has shown that the hydration of the stratum corneum (the topmost layer of the epidermis) declines rapidly during long-haul flights . This is no longer a problem for the affluent frequent traveler, as Emirates, through its collaboration with Hydra Active® from Matrix offers moisturizing pyjamas and lounge wear for first class passengers. The fabric is infused with seaweeds from the Antarctic Ocean and aims to keep the skin of the passenger hydrated throughout the entire flight .
Specific types of cosmetotextiles can benefit individuals doing a wide range of activities – from exercise to sleep. As an example, Under Armour® offers workout shirts that contain zeolite minerals and anti-microbial silver that are useful for odor management [7, 8]. On the other side of the spectrum, “beauty rest” takes on a literal definition through Iluminage Skin’s pillowcase . Although not an apparel, this cosmetotextile is a polyester fabric featuring copper oxide, which reduces wrinkles and smoothens the skin in a span of four weeks . Now that is sleep and skin treatment rolled into one!
It is interesting to know how personal care products meet the wardrobe through cosmetotextiles, but there are still areas for development moving forward. For one, the nourishing or protecting effects that a cosmetotextile provides can diminish over repeated usage. As concrete examples, the cosmetic benefit delivered by the moisturizing pyjamas, neck warmer, and the workout shirt wears off after 10, 15, and 50 wash cycles, respectively [3, 6, 7]. Moreover, personalized cosmetotextiles* can be a potential future product offering, in which individuals can mix and match the cosmetic benefits that they want (through their preferred personal care products) with their textile of choice. Personal care and clothing – with cosmetotextiles, two birds are hit with one stone!
*Although personalized cosmetotextiles remain to be an idea, waiting to be fully realized, there are already existing pioneering technologies leading to customization and tailor-fitting of cosmetic products, like face sheet masks! Check out this article by my colleague, Ivana Sekularac.
 Cheng SY, Yuen MC, Kan CW, Cheuk KK, Chui CH, Lam KH. Cosmetic textiles with biological benefits: gelatin microcapsules containing vitamin C. Int J Mol Med. 2009 Oct;24(4):411-9. doi: 10.3892/ijmm_00000247. PMID: 19724879.
 R.R. Bonaldi, 6 - Functional finishes for high-performance apparel, Editor(s): John McLoughlin, Tasneem Sabir, In Woodhead Publishing Series in Textiles, High-Performance Apparel, Woodhead Publishing, 2018, Pages 129-156, ISBN 9780081009048, https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-100904-8.00006-7.
 Guyot, Oliver. “Roxy Collaborates with Biotherm on Cosmeto-Textiles.” FashionNetwork.com, 17 Dec. 2014, can be accessed at us.fashionnetwork.com/news/roxy-collaborates-with-biotherm-on-cosmeto-textiles,530907.html. Date accessed: 21 March 2021.
 Alemán A, Marín D, Taladrid D, Montero P, Carmen Gómez-Guillén M. Encapsulation of antioxidant sea fennel (Crithmum maritimum) aqueous and ethanolic extracts in freeze-dried soy phosphatidylcholine liposomes. Food Res Int. 2019 May;119:665-674. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2018.10.044. Epub 2018 Oct 12. PMID: 30884701.
 Guéhenneux S, Gardinier S, Morizot F, Le Fur I, Tschachler E. Skin surface hydration decreases rapidly during long distance flights. Skin Res Technol. 2012 May;18(2):238-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0846.2011.00560.x. Epub 2011 Oct 18. PMID: 22092950.
 Emirates, Emirates Press Office. Emirates Introduces New Range of Comforts in First and Business Class, Emirates, 28 Aug. 2019, can be accessed at www.emirates.com/media-centre/emirates-introduces-new-range-of-comforts-in-first-and-business-class/. Date accessed: 19 March 2021.
 “Stay Undetected With Under Armour's New Scent Control Line.” WorkingPerson, 16 Aug. 2020, can be accessed at workingperson.me/under-armours-new-scent-control-line/. Date accessed: 20 March 2021.
 Serati-Nouri H, Jafari A, Roshangar L, Dadashpour M, Pilehvar-Soltanahmadi Y, Zarghami N. Biomedical applications of zeolite-based materials: A review. Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2020 Nov;116:111225. doi: 10.1016/j.msec.2020.111225. Epub 2020 Jun 20. PMID: 32806312.
 Akther, Sonia. “Glass Gets Its Beauty Sleep with the Iluminage Skin Rejuvenating Pillowcase.” The Glass Magazine, 5 July 2016, can be accessed at www.theglassmagazine.com/iluminage-skin-rejuvenating-pillowcase/. Date accessed: 19 March 2021.
 Baek JH, Yoo MA, Koh JS, Borkow G. Reduction of facial wrinkles depth by sleeping on copper oxide-containing pillowcases: a double blind, placebo controlled, parallel, randomized clinical study. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2012 Sep;11(3):193-200. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2012.00624.x. PMID: 22938003.
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