When silicone technology entered the market in the 1950s, it undoubtedly impacted the personal care industry. Aesthetics and sensory experience of cosmetic products were improved and there was an inexpensive carrier oil for every product category. We are coming on 70 years since that innovation entered the market, and humans have made significant technological advancements since then. The 50s was the decade that the transistor radio was invented and the first video recorder was made. Unsurprisingly, some technologies evolve and end up on the computers in the palm of our hands and others become obsolete. It’s time to capitalize on the amazing advancements in chemistry and choose to improve cosmetic formulations for the sake of better performance and environmental sustainability by moving on from silicone technology.
These two elements, performance and sustainability, are core to the fabric of INOLEX and the approach taken to innovation. INOLEX is guided by the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry and is driven by the mission to improve cosmetic formulations while reducing the negative impact on the planet. Silicones and silicone alternatives are the perfect example. Silicones are known to be biopersistant, not readily biodegradable. For this reason, certain ingredients in this category are being banned in the EU. Consumers are also clued into some of the negative aspects of silicones which leaves a negative connotation associated with silicone INCIs on product labels.
INOLEX’s platform of silicone alternatives and sensory enhancers delights consumers because of the aesthetic improvements to formulation and also because of the improvement to marketing claims that can be made. This not only includes the popular silicone-free claim, but importantly the claims associated with the next generation of clean and natural beauty. Clean beauty and natural beauty are evolving beyond free-from claims and acceptance or denial of an ingredient based on an INCI name. The next step involves validated claims about the origin of the ingredient such as biobased, vegan, plant-derived etc. And the future of natural and claim beauty involves details about the entire sustainability of the ingredient.
INOLEX has two product lines of natural silicone alternatives, the LexFeel N Series and the LexFeel WOW Series. All 6 products within these lines allow a brand to avoid negative aspects of an ingredient such as biopersistance and also tell a positive story about the ingredient source. Both the LexFeel N Series and the LexFeel WOW Series are made from 100% biobased, renewable plant sources and are readily biodegradable.
The LexFeel N Series products were designed to mimic the properties and aesthetics of dimethicones. This series includes a range of viscosities (5 cSt to 350 cSt) that match 6 typically used dimethicones. Each LexFeel N Series product matches the spreading speed of the dimethcione counterpart and imparts a very similar sensory aesthetic to the formulation. These products are superior to the silicone counterparts in the area of pigment dispersions. The quality of a pigment dispersion can be indicated by the viscosity of the slurry. When dispersing 50% red 7 in LexFeel N350 MB (cSt 350), the viscosity of the slurry is significantly thinner than a dispersion with 50% red 7 and 50% dimethcione 50 cSt. In hair care, LexFeel N350 MB provides color protection. In a test of 10 wash cycles, the loss of color in the formulation with LexFeel N350 MB was less that the formulation compared to dimethicone 350 cSt.
The LexFeel WOW Series products were designed to mimic the properties and aesthetics of cyclomethicones. These luxurious dry emollients absorb rapidly leaving a weightlessly soft after-feel. Beyond the sensory experience in skincare, the LexFeel WOW products also provide benefits in sun care, color cosmetics, APDO, and hair care applications. In sun care, LexFeel WOW-A DT provides a significantly superior dispersion of inorganic UV filters compared to cyclomethicones and other commonly used dispersing agents. The result is a beautiful inorganic sun product that is dry and lightweight, rather than the heavy, dragging feel that inorganic filters can often leave. In color cosmetics, LexFeel WOW-A DT makes for stable and homogenous dispersion and the result is improved color payoff and easier pickup. In anti-perspirant formulations, LexFeel WOW-A reduces the whitening effect of the AP actives. In hair care, both LexFeel WOW-A and LexFeel WOW-A DT impart similar slip, softness, and manageability compared to their cyclomethicone counterparts.
INOLEX innovation is guided by the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry which results in groundbreaking sustainable innovation. In the production of the LexFeel N Series, water as the only reaction byproduct. The production employs a one-step process with an atom economy of 98%. No solvents or petrochemicals of any kind are used in the manufacturing process. The main feedstock of the LexFeel WOW products, sugarcane is cultivated with minimal water use and the sugarcane bagasse is used for co-generation of electricity. Both product lines exemplify green chemistry principles #7 and #10 as they use 100% renewable feedstocks and are readily biodegradable.
Sacrificing performance or sacrificing sustainability for the sake of another is no longer an option. The consumer is too savvy and too demanding of both of these elements. By choosing sustainable, 100% natural alternatives to silicones that are designed and produced according to the Principles of Green Chemistry, brands can accomplish both performance and sustainability.