In their recently published study, co-authors Kelly Yorke and Samiul Amin, demonstrate the potential of combining a multi-functional ingredient like hyaluronic acid with novel sustainable surfactants for an effective sulfate- and silicone-free delivery with fewer actives.
“This study really highlights that with a complete rethink of traditional formulation design of cosmetic products it is possible not only to align with the direction of clean beauty and green beauty but also have superior performance,” Amin, an associate professor in the chemical engineering department, told CosmeticsDesign-USA.
The hyaluronic acid effect
Hyaluronic acid is used to provide a number of health and beauty benefits from promoting supple skin when applied as serum to treating osteoarthritis pain when injected into knee joints. Naturally present in the human body, it acts as a cushion and lubricant in the joints and other tissues.
“In this technology, hyaluronic acid is the main ingredient responsible for both rheology and conditioning benefit (due to its excellent lubrication properties), so it is playing the role to an extent of the sulfate-based surfactants, silicone and conditioning polymers like merquat,” Amin explained.
To test its multi-functionality, the study investigated systems with hyaluronic acid at a variety of molecular weights and concentrations, in combination with sustainable surfactants, either acidic sophorolipid (ASL) or alkyl polyglucoside (APG) and varying the presence of sodium chloride. The addition of a surfactant significantly aided in reducing surface tension and increasing foamability.
“Overall, the system containing 1 wt. % hyaluronic acid, 10 wt. % acidic sophorolipid and 1 wt. % NaCl exhibited an excellent reduction in wet combing force, a desired rheology profile through the formation of entanglements, and a decent decrease in surface tension with suitable foam generation,” the study concluded.
Although the researchers will not be commercializing the findings directly, an international patent application covering hyaluronic acid and sustainable biosurfactants has been filed. They believe the sustainable formulation will appeal beyond the lab with conscious consumers and plan to license the technology to interested industrial partners.
"To know the ingredients used to make products come from more natural sources, require less processing, while also providing functional benefits, is a trifecta few are able to achieve without compromising important product performance properties,” said Yorke, a chemical engineering graduate student with a concentration in cosmetic engineering.
Research also continues on hyaluronic acid-based hair care and skin care and makeup products in combination with both biosurfactants and biobased surfactants. The authors note that future studies should focus more on tribological properties to confirm lubrication regimes.
2021, 8(3), 71; doi: 10.3390/cosmetics8030071
“High Performance Conditioning Shampoo with Hyaluronic Acid and Sustainable Surfactants”
Authors: K. Yorke and S. Amin