Bridging the Worlds of Beauty and Industrial Solutions

Written by Robert Hoshowsky

Continued business success requires a commitment to quality products, outstanding customer service, and ongoing innovation – and few companies realize this more than Hallstar.
Steadily growing for over three decades, the Chicago-headquartered specialty chemical company has obtained over 100 patents, expanded organically and through acquisition, and recently made one of the biggest strategic moves in its history when it reorganized operations into two distinct divisions, Beauty and Industrial, to better serve the needs of Hallstar’s many unique clients.

The move to separate into two businesses last fall saw long-time employee Carmen B. Masciantonio promoted to President of Hallstar Industrial Solutions. Previously Vice President of Strategic Sourcing, Masciantonio came to Hallstar in 2001 after the company acquired RTD Chemical, where he worked for the previous six years. For Hallstar, the decision to reorganize the business confirms the company’s ongoing commitment to growth and excellence.

“As we grew the business on both sides we began to recognize there was a very significant difference between the needs of both businesses, mainly driven by customer requirements,” states Masciantonio of the move to separate the company. Striving to support both Beauty and Industrial sides, it soon became apparent it was best to have dedicated resources for both, so it would be clear what investment and level of support services would be necessary and assigned to both entities. While remaining one unified company, Hallstar’s executives acknowledge that separating the Beauty and Industrial businesses made sense for the company, customers, and over 200 staff members.

Dedicated to clients
Working with companies and associates worldwide, Hallstar is on chemistry’s leading edge, says Robert Hu, President of Hallstar Beauty, and has dedicated considerable resources to technology, research and development, customer service and promotion. “That is very important to us, because we want to understand our customers, take their feedback, do really good science, and supply the market and clients with the products they need,” he says. “Even though we are not the biggest company in the world, we are focused on what we do, and when it comes to choosing the areas in which we play, we are the technology leader.”

With a strong manufacturing footprint in North America, Hallstar’s operations include handling application and technical aspects, manufacturing, and problem-solving, while the company’s commercial team boasts a customer application focus. By understanding and appreciating the needs of customers and the marketplace, Hallstar can design products that better meet their requirements.

A history of innovation
Formed in 1986, Hallstar’s legacy is proven leadership and strategic vision in business and science for the chemical industry. Growing organically and through the acquisition of well-known and respected brands, Hallstar exports products across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Several strategic acquisitions, including Dioplex® Industrial Products from Dow Chemical in 2009, Biochemica® butters and oils along with olive chemistry product lines Sensolene® and Olivem® in 2011, botanically-based Florasolvs® in 2014, and France’s Oléos in 2016, have helped Hallstar remain an industry leader.

Hallstar is a pioneer in specialized chemistry solutions. For the Beauty business, that means innovation in skin, sun, lip and hair care, color cosmetics and toiletries. The company offers clients hundreds of ready-made formulations and a talented R&D team able to create customized solutions for all needs, from sunscreens which shield the skin from harmful UV rays to specialty butters and oils, 100 percent natural oil-based actives and extracts, botanically derived biomimetic ingredients, and more. Almost two decades ago, the company was awarded the first patent for photoprotection technology, which has “transformed skin and sun care formulations across the globe.”

“Summer is coming, and effective sun care will be on people’s minds more than ever,” says Hu, and to this end the company focuses on proactive photosta¬bilization, where scientif¬ically designed stabilizers support existing ingredients such as cosmetic actives and UV filters in order to ensure that sun protection remains reliably effective. While reports about sun care ingredients are sometimes conflicting, Hallstar is in the market of providing comprehensive and safe solutions to its customers. “In the sunscreen business it takes much to educate customers, and we are doing just that,” states Hu. “We have the right technology to solve all the challenges associated with both consumer preferences and legislative changes globally.”

Sustainability initiatives
Promoting environmental sustainability for the betterment of employees, clients and the planet, Hallstar believes in corporate responsibility, including waste reduction and water management. The company complies with the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care® initiative – a voluntary chemical industry program today practiced worldwide – which promotes ongoing health and safety improvements, along with minimizing the environmental impact of processes and products. Committed to ISO 14001 practices for an effective Environmental Management System (EMS), all of Hallstar’s American facilities as well as its operation in Italy have earned voluntary certifications including ISO 9001 for Quality Management Systems (QMS).

“At Hallstar, we take a holistic approach to sustainability and take advantage of raw materials coming from sustainable sources as much as possible,” says Hu. “Even with our traditional synthetic chemistry, we do everything possible in our engineering so that we are very sustainable in how we use our resources in terms of energy consumption and raw material utilization.”

Recently, Hallstar received a Silver rating from EcoVadis, placing the company in the Top 18 percent (globally) of chemistry suppliers in its category. EcoVadis also bestowed a Gold Medal specifically on Hallstar’s facility in Montpellier, France. This operation, which produces Hallstar’s 100 percent plant-based Active Naturals line, was ranked in the top five percent of comparable companies. Founded in 2007 in Paris, France, EcoVadis’ mission is to provide “trusted sustainability ratings, enabling all businesses to reduce risk, drive performance, and improve environmental and social outcomes.” Along with Hallstar, other well-known companies are part of the EcoVadis network, including Johnson & Johnson, Nestlé, and Michelin.

For Hallstar, the objective is to ensure it is maintaining the same standards for both Industrial and Beauty, whether the products are natural or synthetic. “As we are focused on maximizing performance and developing solutions, we find our customers understand that as a priority,” says Masciantonio. “Even though there is a huge push, performance is not compromised. Sometimes it’s a balancing act, but products need to perform.”

Highly adaptable
The major Beauty and Industrial brands that Hallstar works with are found everywhere, from shopping mall beauty aisles to paint stores and major automobile manufacturers. Passionate, driven, highly ethical and with a wealth of technical expertise, the team at Hallstar has a decades-long legacy of creating unique, optimized chemistry solutions for its many clients. With in-depth experience, the company’s flexible approach and can-do culture enables Hallstar to take standard products and modify them to exact customer specifications.

“A big chunk of our business was based on creating products specifically for applications,” says Masciantonio. Able to make solutions for exact performance attributes, Hallstar does what some other large polymer modifiers worldwide cannot do – namely, taking the time to develop and give attention to specific applications and building products in a unique way using standard building blocks to meet specific needs. Hallstar’s President of the Beauty side of the business agrees.

“The big guys are sometimes not capable of doing that,” comments Hu. “They want to be ‘one-size-fits-all,’ where we can develop a platform and try to individualize and customize offerings. This is important for our customers, and even more important for individual consumers going into the future. We are a perfect connection between individualization and big industrialization. We’ve been here a long time, we’re creative and resourceful and we know a lot about business. We are capable from a technical and a manufacturing standpoint, and reliable. We’ve stood the test of time.”



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