Inverse emulsion polymers to improve naturality content of cosmetic formulations

  • June 15, 2022
  • 2 minutes of read time

Inverse emulsion polymers to improve naturality content of cosmetic formulations

Miruna Bodoc, Aurélie Colas

Bordeaux Polymer Conference (BPC) 2022

The current market trend in cosmetics is to move towards formulations of more natural ingredients, respectful of the Environment. This desire is reflected in a strong demand for more "green" excipients, i.e. from biosourced raw materials whose exploitation is eco-responsible, obtained using a low-energy process, with a minimum of stages, presenting an optimal yield, generating the least possible waste, etc. On the market, for rheology modifiers, there is currently no completely bio-based polymer with performance equivalent to synthetic polymers, such as polyacrylates or polyacrylamides. However, it is well known today that hydrocolloids, polysaccharides or proteins can have thickening, gelling and stabilizing properties. Some of these natural polymers present on the cosmetics market, such as gums or cellulose derivatives for example, are more difficult to formulate and their thickening power in water is usually much lower than that provided by the usual petroleum-based polymers]  Seppic innovation team responds to the challenge of improving the naturality content of the synthetic polymers by modifying processes and/or using bio-based raw materials in order to decrease the environmental footprint of the products and keep a high level of performance.Inverse emulsion polymerization is a recognized technology to produce efficient rheology modifying polymers. This process leads to the synthesis of cross-linked water-swellable polymers, with very high molar weights, in a liquid inverse emulsion, i.e. dispersed in a fatty phase. To our knowledge, only few examples are described in the literature regarding inverse emulsion polymers with high naturality content. The objective of this work is to substitute the various elements of synthetic origin that constitute inverse emulsion polymers with biosourced alternatives, and more particularly the fatty phase (which represents just over 20% of the liquid product), the emulsifying surfactants (used for the formation of the W/O emulsion to be polymerized) and the inverters (introduced at the end of the process and allowing phase inversion during the introduction of the inverse emulsion polymer into an aqueous phase, therefore of high HLB). This study focuses on the impact of various nature of the above mentioned bio-based raw materials on the polymerization process and on the thickening properties of the obtained product.

Seppic Research & Innovation, Paris La Défense, La Garenne Colombes