Plant-derived silica for cosmetics

Aprinnova, Inc., an Amyris, Inc. joint venture, is commercialising a plant-derived silica made from sugarcane ashes. Silica is used widely in personal care and cosmetics. It is traditionally sourced from non-renewable sand dredging.

The new ingredient branded Biosilica can be used in foundations, creams, lotions and other applications as a sustainable and better performing alternative to traditional silica. In addition, it offers an alternative to microplastics which are being phased out of many cosmetic products.

This ingredient innovation has been led by Amyris in partnership with the Universidade Católica Portuguesa – Escola Superior de Biotecnologia ("UCP") in Porto/AICEP Consortium Project. As of last year, Grand View Research, Inc. projected that the colour cosmetics market is expected to be valued at about $87 billion in retail value by 2025, with a CAGR of approximately 6% and according to an analysis of Mintel GNPD, over 10% of new color cosmetic product launches over the last five years contained silica.

Biosilica is available for sampling in August with commercial scale volumes expected to begin in 2021 and allows brands to participate in the circular economy based on the concept that materials and products are never wasted, but always reused or recycled. 

In consumer perception studies, both pressed powders and liquid foundations made with Biosilica demonstrated great skin performance when compared with formulations using industry benchmark silica. Theplant-derived silica has unique sphericity, high oil absorption, particle size and oil/water absorption ratio. These characteristics offer premium benefits such as elegant texture, sebum control, mattification, and anti-ageing effects without drying the skin.