Following the launch of the Hydra Beauty Micro Serum in 2015, and Hydra Beauty Micro Gel Yeux in 2016, the launch of the Hydra Beauty Micro Crème marks a new step in microfluidics innovation by Chanel Research.

Technical challenges

"This development met many formulation and manufacturing challenges. Adapting the micro-doplets technology from a liquid to a creamy texture, proved very difficult. Once again, technological limits have been pushed further back," Christian Mahé, General Manager of Chanel Research Beauty and Innovation, told Premium Beauty News.

For this new development, Chanel Research teams have partnered with the French start-up Capsum. Capsum offered its expertise in microfluidics, Chanel its formulation know-how and its industrial expertise

The first challenge: producing a microfluidic cream for packaging in jars. Since the droplets are delicate and evanescent, their resistance has been enhanced in comparison with serums in airless packaging, without losing their unique sensorial profile. The result: droplets do not burst when they are scooped out of the jar but only when the cream is applied to the face. The joint Chanel and Capsum team has managed to create gel droplets that are both evanescent and high-resistance, but also visible to the naked eye in a cream.

The second challenge: producing a smooth texture through the microfluidic process. Hydra Beauty Micro Crème combines visible and invisible droplets stabilized by "molecular velcro tapes" for remarkable application comfort. The joint Chanel and Capsum team has managed to integrate a sensory cascade in this cream, where the fresh feeling of water is followed by the richness of the oil.

The third challenge: blending delicate and evanescent droplets into the cream. To achieve this, a new manufacturing process had to be devised to blend the droplets into the cream without splitting them while ensuring homogenous distribution. Machines and production lines were thus tailor designed to manufacture Hydra Beauty Micro Crème.

A new form of emulsion

Microfluidics make it possible to manipulate fluids with high accuracy at a micrometric scale. At this scale, capillary forces prevail over gravity. Thanks to a system where the flow is controlled and high, it is possible to shape droplets one by one and control their size.

This accurate calibration produces an emulsion whose structuration is more orderly than with conventional technologies. Droplet stability is secured by a complex coacervation process which combines two polymers interacting together in the manner of "molecular velcro tapes" to form an evanescent membrane.

The result: droplets in which a new high value-added fat-soluble active ingredient is protected until application. These perfectly calibrated and stable droplets burst instantly upon application with outstanding moisturizing efficiency for the skin. As they burst on the skin without leaving any residue, these droplets create an unparalleled sensory experience unmatched in traditional emulsions, as well as a new aesthetic.

"This is an example of successful co-development between Chanel and a start-up," states Christian Mahé. "This microfluidics innovation platform is capable of broadening the scope of possibilities (new technologies, new visuals, new textures…) to develop tomorrow’s cosmetics".

A new innovation is already expected for 2018.