Applechem is a cosmetic technology supplier with a diverse range of specialty performance materials designed for enhancing personal care and color cosmetic formulations.
Our products emphasize consistent performance as well as user-friendly processing, with a focus on quality-of-life improvements for cosmetic laboratory formulators through to chemical plant engineers.
Applechem was founded in 2003 by Dr. Samuel Lin in a tiny laboratory within the Enterprise Development Center (EDC) of the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
As one of the state’s largest technology incubation centers, the EDC provides an environment where the state and federal government, universities, and investors collaborate with entrepreneurs to create young and dynamic technology companies. Here is where Applechem embarked on its critical years of research and development. With the vision of becoming a pioneering cosmetic technology company, Applechem began developing cutting-edge functional materials to unlock new possibilities for cosmetic formulators.
It started with the creation of a new type of formulation tool for skin and hair care applications that takes advantage of the benefits of natural oils – a hybrid, elastomeric gel that consists of both bio-based oils and advanced polymers. This unique technology structures natural oils by creating a micro-sponge polymer network, an almost spring-like mattress structure at a microscopic level.
Hallder Pezo, Production Manager
“It’s been a very interesting journey,” says Applechem founder Dr. Samuel Lin. “We spent our first two years developing our patented OleoFlex technology, and another year immersed in scale-up commercialization before we felt ready to introduce the product to market. None of this would have been possible without the help of the EDC as well as grant support from the USDA.
This collaboration with Applechem represented an opportunity to apply my years of R&D experience at Unilever as well as my background in polymer technology, and seeing our work validated with market success has been very rewarding.”
Sales of OleoFlex started off slow but began to take off a year later as the market started to adopt the new technology. Applechem’s first big break came when Bath and Body Works incorporated OleoFlex into a brand new line of scrubs and skin care products, which has since become one of the retail giant’s most popular products as well as winning multiple consumer awards.
The commercial success of OleoFlex helped fuel more innovative research projects at the Applechem lab. In 2006, Applechem debuted its first-generation G-Block product, a range of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide dispersions engineered to address the instability and consistency issues that traditionally affected older generation dispersions.
Customers will likely find G-Block dispersions in many of the popular natural and clean beauty sunscreens in both the United States and European marketplaces. This market sector has experienced explosive growth in the past few years as consumers continue to focus on sustainable, safe formulas while moving away from chemical UV filters.
This in turn helped fund the development of new Applechem technologies, as Dr. Lin and his team sought to apply their polymeric expertise in multiple product applications, which resulted in the development of the Sensogel, Sorbithix, and G-GEL rheological modifiers. “We wanted to create a broad product portfolio that represented Applechem principles,” says Dr. Lin. “These products gave us an opportunity to reach out and drive innovation in the hair care, skin care and color cosmetics markets.
In 2016, after experiencing years of continuous growth, Applechem moved to a larger, more expansive facility in Parsippany, New Jersey. Applechem achieved ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management certification a year later as the company sought to bolster its growing reputation as a global supplier of high quality specialty ingredients.
“It’s been a bit crazy and humbling to think of how far we’ve come since our beginnings at the EDC,” concludes Dr. Lin. “We hope to make Applechem a successful example of how government, academia and private industry can work together to create new technologies that boost domestic economic growth.
“We deeply believe that an Applechem product should open up new avenues of research, innovation, and ingenuity for our customers.” – Samuel Lin