Can there ever be a zero-chemical beauty ingredient?

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Celltice photo courtesy of Renmatix
Celltice photo courtesy of Renmatix

Related tags Ingredient suppliers clean beauty plant-based Marketing

Consumer interest in safe, natural, and synthetic-free cosmetics and personal care products seems to have inspired a whole new beauty marketing language, where ‘chemical-free’ stands in for at-times rather nuanced concepts—not the least of which is actually chemical-free. And yet this year, ingredient maker Renmatix is showing a so-called “zero-chemical ingredient” at industry tradeshows across the country.

What Renmatix (a company, founded in 2007, that specializes in producing cellulosic sugars from waste wood feedstocks) is actually showcasing is a petro​chemical-free beauty care ingredient—which is hardly a rarity in today’s marketplace. And the ingredient production process requires only supercritical water—an arguably ‘clean’ processing method. But Renmatix’s choice of language, calling its ingredient “zero-chemical” makes the brand stand out.

Renmatix had a booth at this year’s NYSCC Suppliers Day event in New York City this May and is planning to exhibit at the biennial SCC event in Long Beach, California, this October. At these shows, Renmatix is featuring Celltice, a blend of cellulose and lignin derived from waste wood. And, a press release that the company issued earlier this year explains where the new ingredient is meant to fit into the marketplace, saying, “in response to widespread consumer demand, manufacturers are moving to petro-free, plant-based ingredients for clean cosmetics with minimalist formulations, seeking sustainable, cruelty-free ingredients that also deliver comparable or superior performance to traditional ingredients.”

A quick google search returns the fact that Cellulose has the chemical composition of C6​H10​O5​ and Lignin is comprised of carbon, hydrogen, ash, and oxygen (the exact composition of which depends upon the species). And of course water, used in the processing, is Hydrogen and Oxygen. So Renmatix Celltice is not a zero-chemical ingredient; but what is it?   

Cosmetics Design speaks with Renmatix

Renmatix is new to the cosmetics ingredients space. At the NYSCC Suppliers Day event in New York City earlier this year, Cosmetics Design caught up with the company’s CEO Mike Hamilton.

Hamilton described his company as “a renewable materials company that’s developed a unique technology called the Plantrose process, whereby we only use water to make new functional materials from plant matter.”

Celltice begins as maple fiber, which the company sources from upstate New York, according to Hamilton. And he describes the processing and resulting ingredient in simplified terms, saying, “Our material we make—Celltice—has never seen a chemical.It’s only seen water and it started out as a plant. [These are]​ clean materials, which is right on trend for what consumers want,” ​notes Hamilton, adding “It’s not only sourced sustainably; it’s then processed very cleanly.”

Celltice does what in formulation?

Hamilton tells Cosmetics Design that Celltice is essentially a skin care ingredient, that it imparts “good skin health, reduces the amount of sebum production and reduces dry and flakey skin.” ​It also has “antioxidant properties, so prevents a lot of environmental stresses.” ​And, he notes that Celltice has “emulsification capability because of [its] particle size and shape.”

For now, Celltice is available only in the Celltice NM version, which is a brown color. A company spokesperson tells this publication that Renmatix is close to bringing Celltice WM, a beige version, to market; that’s expected to be available in mid-August.



Deanna Utroske, Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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