Solid textures in all forms, waxes, powders, oily or aqueous emulsions… as naturalness and the search for more sustainable solutions became central to product development, cosmetic galenics gained much importance on the market. Indeed, if consumers look for natural and sustainable products, they are hardly willing to compromise on sensoriality, efficacy, and ease-of-use, which they got used to with modern cosmetics.

Trends that stimulate formulators’ creativity

The natural origin index defined by standard ISO 16128 is one of our customers’ main criteria today. The percentage of ingredients of natural origin in a product has become a reference in cosmetics formulation”, confirms Anne-Sophie Gardes, EMEA Regional Technical Director Beauty & Personal Care at IMCD.

Anne-Sophie Gardes, IMCD

Anne-Sophie Gardes, IMCD

To play this game, cosmetic formulation laboratories have to prove extremely creative in combining ingredients that offer both high levels of naturalness and the efficacy and pleasure of use expected. And there is a segment where you can definitely not make any compromise: sun protection!

When it comes to formulation, it is one of the trickiest categories today. You need to offer high protection levels, while meeting legitimate expectations as regards environmental protection and naturalness,” the scientist adds. Choices need to be made between the various filters available, depending on the protection spectrum wanted, the potential environmental impact, in particular on corals and marine organisms, local regulations, and brands’ “black lists”.

A sponsor of the Sensory Bar at the last in-cosmetics Global show in Paris, IMCD Beauty & Personal Care had chosen to put forward this creative challenge with two sun care formulas boasting both innovative and astonishing textures: Extra Fluid Sunscreen, a waterless fluid sunscreen, and Hydra Sun Pearls, solid pearls containing 33% of water to spread on the skin.

We wanted to show that there can be a real gap between the look of formulas and their actual compositions. The former is milky, so it evokes an aqueous emulsion, and yet it is waterless. The latter is composed of small beads, so we expect an anhydrous formula with a lot of wax, but it actually contains water,” explains Anne-Sophie Gardes.

An anhydrous fluid sunscreen

For Extra Fluid Sunscreen, a body and face sunscreen with a 93.34% natural origin index, IMCD used the NIKKOL Nikkomulese WO-NS emulsifier, an optimized mixture of two emulsifying molecules and a structuring agent to obtain particle dispersion, while boosting the SPF. The silky texture was worked with emollients and a mattifying powder (GRANPOWDER BBP-700) to reduce the oily effect of oils.

Beeswax and a gelling rheology modifier (MIGLYOL GEL) also help maintain the zinc oxide (UV Cut ZnO-65-CC) in suspension. This mineral filter offers good UVB and UVA protection, so it makes it easier to create short formulas. The SPF value obtained in vitro reaches 51.4 (47.8 in vivo) for a UVA PF of 25.3.

With this fluid formula, you get a sunscreen that is easy to apply and ideal for both the face and body. Zinc oxide provides excellent protection without leaving white traces, thanks to quality dispersion and to the synergy it creates with a specific association of ingredients.

Solid pearls with high sensoriality

The Hydra Sun Pearls SPF 25 sun beads were designed to offer a monodose of protective hand care. Each bead melts in the hand to always deliver the same quantity of cream. Despite their solid form, these beads contain 33% of water, which provides them with a light, low-oil sensorial texture far from heavy butter- and wax-based formulas.

Hand creams are increasingly claimed to offer an SPF. Here, it is a water-in-oil emulsion. The outer phase is oily, which makes the skin feel comfortable. The aqueous phase offers freshness and lightness,” emphasizes Anne-Sophie Gardes. “The monodose bead form helps reduce waste by delivering the right dose required for each use.

Here, again, the main emulsifier is NIKKOL Nikkomulese WO-NS. It is completed with rice bran wax to provide structure and a zinc oxide dispersion (UV CUT ZnO-65 CC) to obtain the sun protection needed. The formula is free from chemical filters and titanium dioxide and the natural origin index reaches 99.35%.

This is outstanding evidence of the creative possibilities offered by the great variety of cosmetic ingredients now available on the market – even when trying to reach the highest naturalness percentage possible for formulas as sensitive as sunscreens!