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Silicones in personal care: The formulator’s dilemma

Industry guru Tony O’Lenick shows how formulators can employ minimally disruptive formulation and functional formulation techniques to switch rapidly between all-natural products and those containing synthetics

Today, it is expected that formulators will be able to adapt products quickly and efficiently to an ever-changing market. The market need may be a sensory one, or very commonly a response to the addition of a raw material to an ever-growing list of raw materials that are no longer acceptable in formulations. This requires an understanding not only of the chemistry of raw materials, but more importantly of how a raw material will function in combination with other ingredients. The most efficient method of removing one class of materials and replacing them with a different class is to understand their function in complex formulations. The concept of ‘functional formulation’ has been introduced and is now finding wide acceptance. Together with ‘minimally disruptive formulation’, this provides a pathway to efficient formulation. 

The personal care market continues to evolve. In a recent article in an article entitled ‘From nature to hair beauty”, cosmetic chemists from Dow state that: “While evolving consumer preferences have shifted the focus from fully synthetic hair care offerings to biobased and degradable materials, natural alternatives struggle to achieve the smooth hair sensation that materials like silicones achieve. Cellulose, an abundant natural polysaccharide from cotton or wood, can be structurally modified to bring new benefits to hair care formulations, but often does not achieve silicones’ performance.”1

The formulation chemist needs to be able to provide products that meet consumer preferences on the source of raw materials and customer demands in terms of performance. This means that there will be a dichotomy in the market between two types of products, one being all-natural and the other allowing synthetic raw materials to be present.

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Upcoming Events

PCHi China 2023

The China Import and Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou
15-17 February 2023

SCSS - Conference & Laboratory Workshop

Republic Polytechnic - Woodlands Ave 9, Singapore 738964
Thur 16th & Fri 17th March 2023

in-cosmetics Global 2023 - Barcelona

Fira Barcelona Gran Via
28 - 30 March 2023

Access the latest issue of Personal Care Magazine on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

Download the FREE Personal Care Magazine app from your device's App store

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