• Deanna Utroske

If you work in beauty, pay attention to mushrooms!

Today, fungi are very trendy beauty ingredients but soon mushrooms will be the factories that manufacture cosmetics, personal care, and packaging inputs.



As topical antioxidants and anti-inflamatory ingredients as well as as immune-supporting ingestibles, many varieties of mushrooms have become popular beauty ingredients in recent years:


Just for illustration, Volition Beauty has a snow mushroom water serum in its product portfolio, Biophile makes a Rejuvenating Serum with a ferment lysate extracted from a blend of chaga, reishi, and snow mushrooms, the skincare brand Naturopathica makes a supplement called Reishi Immune Tincture, and the Dew Drops Mushroom Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin C Serum from Three Ships Beauty received SELF Magazine’s 2021 Healthy Beauty Award for Best Hyaluronic Serum.


And the team at beauty product manufacturer Anthem tells me that they are seeing an increased demand for mushroom ingredients in both skincare and hair care formulations.

Some of the momentum behind mushrooms in beauty can be attributed to the growing influence of Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine on contemporary brands.


But more importantly, perhaps, is that mushrooms are simply amazing!


The Magic of Mushroom Biotechnology

More than 25 mushroom species are bioluminescent or glow-in-the-dark! Many mushrooms can grow after having been dormant for decades. Species of so-called fermenting fungi digest cellulose, breaking down organic matter in to its constituent nutrients for use by plants and animals.


And like algae there are so very many different varieties of fungi around the world that many remain unclassified and unstudied, suggesting that the potential for new discoveries and innovations is even bigger than we can currently imagine.


Which is why the emerging field of mushroom biotechnology promises to be of great importance to the beauty industry.


Just last year, a team of 6 women scientists at the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia were recognized for their work developing benefit-rich pigments and eyeshadow from several different fungi.


A biomaterials company in Green Island, New York, called Ecovative Design makes a material called Mushroom Packaging from hemp hurds and mycelium, the thread-like vegetative part of fungus. That company also makes a material called MycoFlex that can be used in place of conventional sheet mask substrates, as single-use spa slippers, and as an alternative to plastic-polymer makeup application sponges.


And I’ll just go off topic here long enough to say that a university research team in Germany has recently developed a Styrofoam packaging replacement material from popcorn, or rather the upcycled corn granules left over after the production of corn flakes breakfast cereal. That’s just a fun little side fact. Let’s get back to mushrooms!


Beauty Ingredient Companies are Investing in Fungi Tech

The US biotech company Ginkgo Bioworks, which I’ve been following for years, in part for their innovations in fragrance, has (just last month) signed an agreement to acquire Dutch DNA. Based in the Netherlands, the Dutch DNA company has “a proprietary platform technology focused on the development of fungal strains and fermentation processes for the production of proteins and organic acids.”


Which is to say the Ginkgo will soon be using fungi to manufacture proteins and enzymes for any number of industry sectors, such as food, pharma, beauty, and more.


As always, thanks for watching DUviews

and know that your comments and questions are always welcome here!

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this DUviews item was originally posted to LinkedIn and now appears on DeannaUtroske.com