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Cosmetics Ingredients
The material selection platform
Cosmetics Ingredients

Smart Beauty: Combining Environment with Mindful Formulation

SpecialChem – Jan 27, 2023

TAGS:  Skin Care     Sustainability/Natural Cosmetics     Sun Care   

An Interview with Cécile PINATEL, Marketing Manager, SOPHIM

SOPHIM's Squalane Is Made Up from Olive-oil Byproducts SOPHIM specializes in the manufacturing of natural ingredients for the cosmetics industry, certified and approved by COSMOS. The company’s signature ingredient is olive oil, which is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids that help to nourish and protect the skin. Other natural ingredients used in cosmetics formulations include aloe vera, honey, and lavender oil.

Their product lineup focuses on:

  • Natural emollients,
  • Texturizing agents,
  • Fixing agents, and
  • Vegetable oils

Additionally, their ingredients are ethically sourced, cruelty-free, and free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and other harsh chemicals.

SOPHIM is committed to sustainability and has implemented several initiatives to reduce its environmental impact by using renewable energy sources, reducing water consumption, promoting responsible forestry, and using recycled materials.

We recently interviewed Cécile PINATEL, Marketing Manager, SOPHIM, about the company's approach to providing high-quality sustainable products focusing on sustainability and clean beauty.

#1 – Can you tell us about the history of SOPHIM and how it has committed to commercializing sustainable cosmetics?

Sustainability was in our DNA since day one. In 1996, Jacques Margnat purchased a small factory in Provence, with the idea to offer squalane to the cosmetic industry. He immediately chose to buy byproducts from olive oil production, allowing SOPHIM to produce squalane, a high-quality emollient. There was a real vision about the circularity of the process.

The rest of our ingredients were developed by his son, Alexis Margnat, with a similar entrepreneurial and visionary mindset.

#2 – SOPHIM has strongly overcome the challenges that sustainable cosmetics face. What were some initial challenges and what steps did you take to clear the path for formulating with natural ingredients?

Our circular business model was not trendy in the beginning. So, we had to participate in educating the industry. It was not easy to explain why we were buying byproducts to produce our ingredients 10, 15, and 20 years ago. So, we had to reflect on our process and manage to explain it while remaining accessible to all.

Download Brochure: Discover natural & sustainable resource for high skin compatibility »

#3 – What kind of upcycled ingredients is SOPHIM using in their formulations? What are the sources from where these are extracted?

We specialize in olive-based ingredients. Phytosqualan® is our flagship ingredient, upcycled from olive oil production. It comes from olive groves in the Mediterranean area and is a widely used ingredient in versatile applications: makeup or facial skin care, solid formulas or emulsions, after-sun oils, or before-training warming sticks… the possibilities are endless.

SOPHIM extracts squalene from olive oil byproducts and then proceeds to different green chemical reactions to obtain squalene. Squalane is hydrogenated and thus less subject to oxidation than squalene.

Our raw materials for Phytosqualan® come from the Mediterranean basin, in Europe.

SOPHIM's Products Used for Skin Care

#4 – What markets is SOPHIM planning to “revolutionize” with their ingredients?

We are observing a shift in the Asian market. Asia and especially China is very proud to offer its very own cosmetic products, but what we can see is the cosmetic trends do come from Europe. Upcycling and clean beauty is slowly coming to those countries, and thus our circular economy approach is going to help us to take the lead in our niche market.

#5 – Please share with us the commercial ingredients available currently? What kind of ingredients are you planning to launch in the near future?

We offer natural and organic cosmetic products, and our business is based on the expertise of innovative distillation, esterification, and hydrogenation processes, which enable us to offer ingredients of unique quality.


  • Squalane and Olive-based squalene
    1. Emollients Are Non-greasy and Provides Skin Hydration Phytosqualan®: It is a non-greasy, biodegradable, easy-to-use active emollient. Because of its high compatibility with skin components, it is an effective carrier. It enables the development of extra soft textures while also providing moisturization, skin elasticity, and a silky and velvety feel.

    2. Insapolive: It has a significant effect on skin hydration and prevents insensible water loss and restores skin suppleness and elasticity. Because of its high affinity for skin, it is an excellent vector for pigment dispersion in cosmetics enabling the creation of silky, very soft, and non-greasy textures. 

Texturizing Agents

  • Olive waxes
  • Oils and Butter Are Also a Premium Choice for Cosmetic Formulations
    1. Phytowax®: It is a range of natural waxes made from olives that have special sensory qualities. The range includes ingredients with varying melting points, making them ideal for a variety of applications. Phytowax® has excellent skin compatibility and a non-greasy feel. The products are non-irritative and much less occlusive than synthetic waxes. The textures of the waxes are very soft and smooth.
      View brochure on Phytowax® »

  • Butter: They are natural premium choice for your cosmetic formulations. Also, they offer intriguing natural alternatives for your formulations. They thoroughly hydrate, nourish your skin, and add texture and consistency to your formula. Read more about natural oils and butters by SOPHIM »

Sensorial Alternative to Silicones

  • Biophytosebum: It is a natural active emollient with a dry touch. It improves skin suppleness and the cutaneous lipid barrier and prevents water loss and moisturizes the skin. Also, it spreads easily and has a high affinity for skin, allowing for rapid penetration. This led to non-greasy feel and a soothing effect creating very smooth textures. It is made up of wax esters (85-90%) and olive oil unsaponifiables (10-15%, with 8% squalene). It is a substitute for volatile silicones. Skin, body, and sun care formulations are all recommended. Click to know more about Biophytosebum »

Vegelline Is Recommended for Body- and Face-care

Vegetable Alternative to Petroleum Jelly

  • Vegeline: It is 100% natural, vegetable-based emollient, thickening agent, texturing agent, and co-emulsifier. It is a soft, waterproof, and non-sticky grade providing high moisturizing power by creating a film on the skin and thus preventing water losses. A natural alternative to petroleum jelly, petrolatum, and paraffins, combines very specific combination of castor oil and carnauba wax. Recommended for body-, face-, sun-, and lip care applications. Click to know more about Vegeline »

Skinfeel TOCO 70 Non-GMO

It is an antioxidant destined to protect all ingredients in a formula.

A majority of our cosmetic ingredients are COSMOS approved or certified. The recent expansion of our team will allow us to launch new ingredients very soon. Of course, the new products will be very close to our core DNA, from olive and upcycled, or will have meaning in completing our portfolio. Stay tuned!

#6 – What is SOPHIM’s vision when it comes to seeing upcycled ingredients & their growth maybe in the next 10 years to replace traditional materials?

Upcycling is an evident solution to the current problem of waste production and overconsumption. Thus, it will continue to be a growing interest for the end consumer. However, we strongly believe that “sustainability” has become a word that no longer means anything, and brands will have to go further and demonstrate the efficiency and sustainability of their formulas. It will be the top priority for the consumer. Data will be king. SOPHIM is already focused on that matter and thinking of its next step.

Moreover, as a company, it would be interesting to diversify our activity. Squalane is the ideal ingredient for that, as it is a versatile product with many various benefits. For instance, we can observe the boundaries between the cosmetic and the food industry are getting thinner and thinner.

Download Brochure: Need a smooth transition towards sustainability? »

Explore SOPHIM's Complete Range of Ingredients Suitable for Cosmetics

About Cécile PINATEL
Cécile is the Marketing Manager for SOPHIM since 2020 where she is in charge of all the communications for the company. She graduated from the Paris Dauphine University, where she studied strategic marketing and product strategy.

Cécile built her professional experience thanks to internships in prestigious Maisons such as L’Oréal and Chanel, and began her career in the textile industry. She has developed a global culture of the marketing professions thanks to a variety of missions in renowned parisians companies.

Passionate about CSR and sustainability, the cosmetic industry offers her new challenges she’s thrilled to overcome with SOPHIM.

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