Croda launches readily biodegradable, vegan alternative to synthetic quat conditioning agents

By Cassandra Stern

- Last updated on GMT

“Incromine BD is readily biodegradable (88% according to OECD 301B), 73% naturally derived according the ISO16128, vegan suitable and cruelty-free,” said Kumpal Mehta, Applications Team Leader at Croda. © Croda
“Incromine BD is readily biodegradable (88% according to OECD 301B), 73% naturally derived according the ISO16128, vegan suitable and cruelty-free,” said Kumpal Mehta, Applications Team Leader at Croda. © Croda

Related tags Croda Hair care Sustainability vegan beauty

Croda’s Incromine BD can be used in a variety of formulation applications including beard care and hair coloring products, and its consumer benefits include ‘smoothing, detangling, and moisturizing.’

Earlier this year, British specialty chemicals company Croda launched Incromine BD, a vegan alternative to synthetic quats for conditioning products. Quats, short for Quaternary Ammonium Compounds, are typically found in hair conditioners, shampoos, and lotions and are synthetic ingredients that give the hair and skin a slippery sensation.

With the growing popularity of the clean beauty movement and the rise of ingredient transparency and ethical ingredient sourcing, quat-free products are becoming more popular with consumers. To better meet manufacturer and consumer demand for these ingredient options, Croda has formulated, developed, and launched Incromine BD as a biodegradable, vegan suitable, and cruelty-free quat-free conditioning agent that works effectively to reduce frizz and detangle hair in hair care products.

To learn more about Croda’s Incromine BD, including background information about its development, efficacy testing, and potential applications in product formulation, CosmeticsDesign spoke with Marni Dexter, Applications Manager, and Kumpal Mehta, Applications Team Leader at Croda for their insights.

Development, results, & efficacy testing

When developing Incromine BD, the research and development team’s primary objective was to deliver a sustainable ingredient option for formulators that did not compromise efficacy and had a wide range of potential product formulation applications. Through their work, the R&D team produced an ingredient with 73% naturally derived content from plant and petrochemical sources according to ISO 16128, shared Mehta.

As detailed on the Croda website, Incromine BD “meets vegan suitable credentials for 100% animal-free hair conditioning, while offering a compelling and substantiated alternative to synthetic quats​.” Added Mehta, “Incromine BD is readily biodegradable, 88% according to OECD 301B​” guidelines and evaluation criteria, is non-GMO, quat-free, and additionally, the ingredient is Halal certified and listed in the Inventory of Existing Cosmetic Ingredients in China (IECIC).

While developing Incromine BD, one of the challenges that needed to be addressed was the way the ingredient in neutralized in formulation. “Formulations with Incromine BD need to be neutralized in situ, meaning the acid needs to be added to the water before the material is included​,” shared Dexter. Further, she added, “this is a bit different than how other conditioning agents such as quats are formulated where the formulation is neutralized at the end of the process​.”

In evaluating the efficacy of Incromine BD, “salon studies were conducted to show consumer perceivable performance similar to other traditional quats used in conditioning systems (i.e. behentrimonium chloride and behentrimonium methosulfate)​,” Dexter explained. As further detailed in the company’s press release announcing the ingredient launch, “the latest performance validation study includes a hair sensory evaluation on color treated hair testing Incromine BD versus traditional quats​.” In that study, “results prove that Incromine BD offers equivalent conditioning and sensory benefits to traditional quats in all attributes for color treated hair​.”

Formulation applications & next steps

As detailed on the Croda website, Incromine BD maintains several ingredient functions in formulations, including “bodying agents, rheology/viscosity modifiers, effect ingredients, and hair conditioning​.” Further, the ingredient has several product formulation applications, which include in hair coloring products, leave-on and rinse-off hair conditioners, shampoos, hair styling products, and beard care.

Incromine BD’s consumer benefits in product formulations include detangling, hydrating/moisturizing/nourishing, smoothing, softness, frizz-reduction, and revitalizing, as shared on the company’s website. Currently, Incromine BD is available for use in product formulations in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America.

Moving forward “Croda is actively pursuing new product development toward more sustainable and environmentally friendly conditioning agents to be used in various applications​,” Mehta shared, with new ingredient development and innovation in this space likely on the horizon.

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