Cosmetics Made with Jenny Milk

The first representation of the donkey species was found in Egypt in a bas-relief of 2500 BC, and from the time of Herodotus (V century BC), donkey began to be appreciated for the therapeutic properties of its milk (Melani 1998; Paolicelli 2005). Some historical texts, such as the De Materia Medica of Dioscoride and the Naturalis Historia of Pliny the Elder, describing various uses of milk in cosmetics, and Ovid also, in his Medicamina Faciei Femineae, suggest beauty masks made with donkey milk (Virgili 1989).

Today, thanks to the properties of milk components, there are several products made from milk of different species in the cosmetic market. Cow milk preparations (face and body creams, cleansing milk and tonic) are the most known by consumers. However, there are cosmetics made from other ruminants like camel (Kalejman 2011), sheep (Drader 2005) and goat (Ribeiro and Ribeiro 2010) or from monogastric species like horse and donkey (Medhammar et al. 2012; Song 2012; Cosentino et al. 2013a). Mare's milk is considered as an ingredient in Mongolian cosmetics because of its high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which make it readily absorbed by human skin (Temuujin et al. 2006). It is known that jenny milk properties are principally due to the high lysozyme and to the antioxidant action of fatty acids contained in jenny milk (Tesse et al. 2009; Al-Saiady et al. 2012; Cosentino and Paolino 2012; Cosentino et al. 2012).

Notwithstanding the beautifying benefits of the jenny milk have been historically acclaimed (since Cleopatra), few studies have been conducted on its perceived quality in cosmetics or on its actions about skin-ageing process hydrating and restructuring the dermal intercellular substance (Orsingher 2011; Paolino and Cosentino 2011).

Cosentino et al. (2014) preliminarily evaluated whether the use of a face cream made from milk jenny affected the perception of some sensory aspects. The test was conducted on 80 regular female consumers of cosmetic cream, subdivided according to their skin type: dry (25), normal (30) and oily (25). Consumers were given two types of creams: a control and a treated cream, with the latter created by adding pasteurised jenny milk (30 % on total weight). Both creams were packaged in 50-mL containers and given to consumers with a ballot consisting of 11 questions about attributes of appearance, fragrance and effectiveness and the overall satisfaction of each cream. Consumers tested both face creams at home, for a period of 15 days; they were asked to apply the face cream every evening and to rate the attributes presented in the questionnaire for each face cream at the end of trial. The results showed that treated cream resulted appreciated by dry skin consumers for the following sensory aspects: spreadability, total appearance, smoothness, moisturisation and total effectiveness (Fig. 1). The overall judgement also resulted highest for face cream made with jenny milk. The other consumers expressed a good acceptability for both tested creams. These results confirm that jenny milk could be a cosmetic component suitable for all skin types thanks to its balancing skin moisture (Salimei and Fantuz 2012). A recent study on a face cream containing

Fig. 1 Sensorial aspects of control and treated (made with jenny milk) face creams at the end of the trial (mean ± SE)

lyophilised jenny milk (Orsingher 2011) showed a lot of benefits, such as wrinkle reduction, new collagen formation, restoration of the skin's natural defences against external agents, prevention of inflammatory processes in the case of dermatitis and increased elasticity. These results are probably related to the effectiveness of jenny milk components like proteins, minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids and lysozyme, which allow the skin a balanced nourishment and a proper hydration (Guo et al. 2007). Lactose, particularly high in jenny milk, is an important emollient and moisturiser (Temuujin et al. 2006; Polidori et al. 2009a).

The beautifying properties in calming the irritation symptoms (Blasi et al. 2008; Vincenzetti et al. 2012) and in restructuring skinageing process (Nazzaro et al. 2010; Al-Saiady et al. 2012) of its whey proteins (β-lactoglobulin and lysozyme) and of its essential amino acids are also well known. For this reason, it could be much more profitable if use in higher water content cosmetics (body and after-shave lotions, shampoos, hair conditioners and cleansing milk), in which a larger use of milk is possible.

These results clearly show that jenny milk could be a valuable and innovative ingredient for cosmetics. The marketing of cosmetics made with jenny milk could help to preserve local donkey genotypes and the marginal areas in which they are reared. A major challenge for the marketing of these kinds of products is the consumer's knowledge about jenny milk and sustainable farms. In this context, packaging may have an important communicative function thanks to iconic and textual elements (Topoyan and Zeki 2008). The measurement of packaging attributes is very difficult because a package generally induces a wide variety of stimuli: visual, tactile and even olfactory. For example, visual and tactile stimuli affect the consumer choices at time of purchase.

Cosentino et al. (2011) evaluated consumer knowledge on some qualitative and quantitative aspects of jenny milk cosmetics. Their main aim was to identify some packaging factors that influence consumer liking. The study was conducted using the quantitative method by interviews with a one to one questionnaire, consisting of 18 questions, that has been randomly administered to 450 people residing in the test area. The age of sample was in mean 40 years, since people in this age range are the most strongly concerned to counteract skin-ageing process and the appearance of wrinkles. The results showed that about 70 % of the surveyed consumers were willing to purchase a product labelled as “new generation cosmetics”, probably because this cue refers to innovation and modernity in their imagination. These cosmetics could absorb a significant portion of the market for natural cosmetics based on milk. Descriptive survey put in evidence that customers knew jenny milk and expressed willingness to buy cosmetics made with this kind of milk in the future. Few consumers were already familiar with jenny milk cosmetics and had already bought this kind of product. In general, consumers showed a willingness to buy cosmetics in low price classes. However, many consumers were willing to pay more for these cosmetics if produced in sustainable rearing system and in the respect of animal welfare.

More recently, Cosentino et al. (2013a), in a study on the acceptability of different types of packaging for exalting the quality of cosmetics with jenny milk, found that consumers preferred the one evoking the concept of natural. A total of 300 consumers, aged in mean 33 years, evaluated the preferences by using a scale of values from 1 to 5. In order to identify the most preferred packaging, the naming, the type of packing paper and the communication aspect of packaging were studied (Fig. 2). The naming has been developed starting from the concepts of delicacy and of naturalness, with the direct representation of the product source, like the donkey with a specific soft brown tone coat. The name “Asinella” was the most preferred by a jury of 50 habitual cosmetic consumers; the farmers also identified it as the best choice (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2 Types of packaging

Consumers were asked to evaluate different types of packing paper: matte, glossy and glossy embossed with texture (Fig. 2). Matte paper was the most preferred, because it evoked the perception of natural, more than the glossy paper, which is usually used by the competitors (Asilac, Milk drops and Dahl). In addition, consumers were more willing to buy cosmetics packaged with matte paper.

The communication aspect of packaging proposed was A, “Asinella”; B, “Asinella” + “Natural product”; and C, “Asinella” + “Natural product” + “Made in Basilicata” (Fig. 2). Consumers considered packaging information important to induce to purchase and judged the message of type B more persuasive than the other two communication forms of packaging, probably for the reliability of the product. They also considered the most persuasive combination in purchasing the name “Asinella”, with the text label “Natural product”. From the consumer perspective, naming is an important quality cue and makes it easier to infer quality. In addition to this parameter, traceability systems, branding and labelling can help consumer's choice (Grunert 2002).

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