Shawya is a Shanghai-based company was formed in 2012. It owns skincare brands EVM, Zi Ran Zhi Ming（自然之名）, on top of the nutricosmetic brand Whiteasy, which stands for “whitening made easy”.
Whiteasy currently consists of three product SKUs, including a duo tablet and soft gel capsule whitening supplement set, an anti-glycation pill, and a beverage with whitening properties.
Of which, the daily duo tablet and soft gel capsule set is the brand’s flagship product.
First launched in 2019, Whiteasy’s products are sold via cross-border on sites such as Tmall and Taobao in China and both online and offline in Japan.
The company also completed a B-round funding last September, which will be used in marketing, building a new factory, and ramp up its production stocks.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, R&D director Dr Marco Hong said that there was still plenty of potential in China’s oral beauty market, and that the company would focus on upgrading its whitening tablet and soft gel capsule set.
“Pills are the most popular format, because the mainstream popular products from POLA and FANCL are all in the pill form,” he said.
POLA has a White Shot Inner Lock Tablets as part of its portfolio. It also has a liquid version of the product. Both are patented health food.
FANCL’s whitening tablet, known as White Advance, contains patented ingredient comprising of olive leaf extract and L-cystine and artichoke extract etc. Similarly, it also has a liquid shot version of the product.
This is in contrast to Inneov（一诺美）, a joint venture firm formed by Nestle and L’O’real.
The company launched a collagen drink in China during the early 2010s, however, it left the market a few years later.
In a joint statement, both companies said the brand had not “met the development expected by both partners”.
Dr Hong believes this was due to the dosage format and also, the product was selling at a price considered a premium to the Chinese consumers back then.
Whitening pills’ popularity
In terms of beauty concerns, skin whitening is the top-most demand amongst China consumers, which is why the company is focusing in this area for its R&D this year.
Ingredients wise, vitamin C and astaxanthin were known to consumers for their whitening benefits, Dr Hong said.
To upgrade its existing whitening capsule and tablet set, Dr Hong said the R&D would involve selecting ingredients with higher efficacy and increasing the bioavailability of the ingredients.
Currently, the duo tablet and soft gel capsule set is made up of 13 ingredients.
A set consists of a tablet and soft gel capsule to accommodate ingredients which dissolves in different medium.
The tablet contains ingredients which are water-soluble, while the capsule contains ingredients that are soluble in plant oils.
Thus, the capsules contain vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, rosemary extract powder, while the tablet contains L-cystine, fish collagen peptide, vitamin C etc.
The duo set has been tested in in-vitro and in-vivo settings for their functional efficacy with a research team in Zhejiang University, Dr Hong said.
The one-month long study involved testing the tablet and capsule set with three other commercially available products and compare parameters such as the antioxidant level.
“In 2019, we had the first-generation product, this year, we will formulate the second-generation, in the future, there will also be a third-generation product…We will also conduct studies to compare the efficacy between the products from the first and second generation,” Dr Hong said.
The second-generation product is expected to be launched end of this year or next year.
The company will also develop a nutricosmetics for anti-hair loss and promoting sleep.
This is based on the understanding that a poor sleep quality is linked to hair loss, Dr Hong said.
The company has also singled out anti-ageing, hydration, anti-acne, slimming as the other concerns popular among consumers. To which, Dr Hong said the company also has plans to formulate products relevant to these needs.
The eventual goal for Whiteasy, according to Dr Hong, is to create products for both oral consumption and topical application.
This is because certain ingredients are more effective when consumed orally, while the others are more effective when applied externally.
For example, it is expecting to launch a whitening lotion, milk, and serum, as well as an anti-glycation essence and cream.
The company’s subsidiary firm Ningrui Biotech (宁瑞生物科技) has set up a R&D lab for developing nutricosmetics.
The subsidiary will develop health and beauty-from-within ingredients and formulation.
It will also conduct tests on the safety and efficacy of the formulations.
This will allow the company to identify ingredients that are high in bioavailability and efficacy. This in turn reduces the amount of a particular bioactive required in the product, resulting in cost-saving effects, Dr Hong said.