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Elkem's Award-winning Eco-friendly Elastomer Gel

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Today’s consumers are increasingly seeking “green” products. To ensure their products meet this demand, personal care brands have made great strides in lowering their carbon footprint in production and packaging, and by incorporating natural ingredients. However, challenges remain in winning in a crowded marketplace, as consumer buying habits are complex. Among many traditional drivers such as efficacy, price and convenience, other sensory and psychological aspects still play a role. Beauty brands that can meet consumers’ needs holistically will have a better chance of success.

Derived from sand, silicones are mineral-based polymers with proven safety and beauty-enhancing efficacies for several decades. The versatility of silicones as an ingredient category is demonstrated by their variety of product forms such as fluids, emulsions, and elastomers. It enables formulators great freedom to innovate. More importantly, their inherent properties and safety profiles make them ideally suited to impart benefits such as exceptional sensory profile, superior conditioning, resistance to water, oil, masking imperfections with line-blurring effects, just to name a few.     

To help brands better address changing consumer trends, Elkem recently launched a line of high-performing silicone elastomer gels for skin, hair care and color cosmetics. Silicone elastomer gels are known to provide a smooth and velvety sensory appeal that adds a touch of luxury to beauty products. A differentiating factor of Elkem elastomers is that they feature finer gel particles which enable better film quality and more even coverage. In addition to the smooth and cushiony feel, the gels demonstrated the capability of a line-blurring effect for potential masking of skin imperfection. Elkem's offering​ features many variants, providing choices for targeting textures and benefits that will enable the formulator to meet a range of consumer preferences.

In addition, PURESIL™ ORG01, a 10-20% silicone elastomer dispersed in a 100% naturally derived and biodegradable C13-15 alkane, combines Eco-design of the carrier fluid and beauty-enhancing efficacies sought after by today's consumers. It has earned the 2020 Ringier's Technology Innovation Award in China. 

Different from many other C13-15 Alkanes on the market, this alkane was chosen for its sustainability aspects, functional benefits and natural positioning. This C13-15 Alkane is derived through fermentation and hydrogenation of renewable sugarcane that is sustainable by design1​. Sugarcane regenerates quickly and requires minimal irrigation, making it a natural choice for feedstock. By using its bagasse for electrical cogeneration, a lower carbon footprint is achieved, and choosing a plantation at a safe distance from the rainforest protects the region’s natural biodiversity. A schematic depicting the process is shown in Figure 1.

figure1

PURESIL™ ORG 01, with a natural index of 0.8+ according to ISO 16128, is non-volatile. The C13-15 Alkane has a similar sensory profile to cyclopentasiloxane due to its lightness and quick absorption. Upon application, PURESIL™ ORG 01 imparts both sensory and line-blurring effects, transforms dry and rough skin into a velvety, elastic, smoother, younger-looking skin with a natural healthy glow, as shown in Figure 2.  Additional benefits such as in-vitro SPF boosting and sebum absorption were observed as well.

figure2

Elkem is one of the global vertically integrated silicone producers and a long-time supplier of silicone ingredients to the personal care market. With manufacturing and R&D centers in France, China, Spain, South Korea, Brazil and the United States, it recently expanded its portfolio to include advanced PURESIL™ brand ingredients alongside the trusted MIRASIL™ portfolio. This diverse selection of ingredients with a wider range of attributes and benefits, including age-defying and eco-friendly technologies, is here to help our customers innovate for consumers around the world and differentiate themselves in the industry. In 2020, Elkem achieved an A rating from the CDP for the first time and secured our gold rating in Ecovadis for the second year. The ratings recognize our efforts on transparency and actions when it comes to climate change mitigation and overall sustainability efforts and disclosures.

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Authors:

Feifei Lin, Ph.D. - Global Business Development Manager, Personal Care - Elkem Silicones

Ronald Hanks, Americas Business Line Director and Regional Market Manager for Personal Care - Elkem Silicones

References:

[1] Developing Commercial Production of Semi-Synthetic Artemisinin, and of β-Farnesene, an Isoprenoid Produced by Fermentation of Brazilian Sugar, Kirsten R. Benjamin, etal, J. Braz. Chem. Soc. vol.27 no.8 São Paulo Aug. 2016