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Rocco Burgo

Inolex Amino Lipids: 100% natural and eco-friendly breakthrough hair care actives

The global Hair Care category continues to demand high performance and is evolving to include diverse consumer needs. In the trend-setting Brazilian market, 43% of consumers look for damage claims and 55% look for moisturizing benefits in their hair care products. The hair treatment market, generally aimed at delivering these high performance benefits, is larger than the conditioning market in Latin America. Adding to the diversity of hair care product expectations, women in China are concerned with scalp health – 50% choose conditioner with scalp care benefits. In the United States, consumers are not only focused on performance claims. Ingredient claims are very important with 28% of US consumers perceiving that natural conditioners are “better” for their [1] This multitude of global needs creates challenges for even the most experienced formulator.

The hair treatments and conditioners ingredient toolbox has typically centered around cationic surfactants. Conditioning cationic surfactants are used ubiquitously in rinse-off and leave-in hair care formulations to improve wet and dry combability and repair damaged hair. However, the majority of cationic surfactants used in personal care applications have environmental toxicity concerns, specifically poor aquatic toxicity profiles. They also carry skin irritation or skin corrosion labels that may be carried over into finished product formulations. [2] Additionally, quats, esterquats, or amidoamines are not possible to manufacture as 100% plant-derived compositions. These conventional materials deliver performance benefits but are not able to meet the next level of consumer scalp care or natural product needs.

Amino Lipids can bring 100% natural and eco-friendly innovation

The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry, published in 1998 by Anastas and Warner, have promoted significant advances in molecular design for improved sustainability. [3] These principles guide development of safer chemicals made from renewable feedstocks and produced with superior environmental profiles. The increased availability of renewable, bio-based alternative feedstocks has provided a pathway for innovation in the hair care category.

AminoSensyl amino lipids are the hair care market’s next evolution in high performance product development, made possible by green chemistry design. The unique and proprietary molecular design of these amino lipids incorporates a quat-free cationic head group and a readily biodegradable ester linkage, both derived from a naturally-sourced amino acid. The lipophilic alkyl tail group is derived from vegetable fatty alcohols. The synthetic process is strongly aligned with the Principles of Green Chemistry. It employs a heavy metal-free, one pot process that yields no waste, i.e. the only by-product is water. The resulting amino lipids are 100% natural, nontoxic to humans and the environment, and readily biodegradable. They meet the rising consumer demand for scalp care products - safe and gentle to skin - and natural & environmentally-friendly ingredients - 100% natural, including all manufacturing components.

The latest introduction in this space is Brassicyl Valinate Esylate. This 100% renewable hair care active provides a 2X increase in hair strengthening in both leave-in and rinse-off conditioning applications. It inhibits the formation of fly-aways even in low humidity environments, moisturizing the hair and giving a smooth and defined appearance. Additionally, Brassicyl Valinate Esylate performs a conditioning function so it can be used as both the hair active and conditioning agent in rinse-off and leave-in formulations. Brassicyl Valinate Esylate accomplishes these high performance hurdles due to its unique amino lipid design. The amino acid Valine, derived from biofermentation, provides a cationic charge for hair substantivity. Brassica alcohol provides an optimized mixture of C18 – C22 carbon chains for strengthening and conditioning performance. The resulting amino lipid delivers high performance on hair and at the same time is gentle to skin and eyes. This makes it ideal for a variety of applications and possible to provide substantial benefits on both hair and the scalp areas. This breakthrough technology provides formulators with a new ingredient that satisfies the multitude of global hair care needs: high performance, scalp benefits, natural ingredients, and environmental safety.

Rocco Burgo, Chief Scientist, Inolex


[1R. Di Gesu. A Year of Innovation in Hair Care, Mintel Report, 2018.

[2S. Gheorghe, et al. Ecotoxicological Behavior of some Cationic and Amphoteric Surfactants, (Biodegradation, Toxicity, and Risk Assessment), In Biodegradation: Life of Science, 2013, doi: 10.5772/56199

[3Anastas, P. T.; Warner, J. C. Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice, Oxford University Press: New York, 1998, p. 30.

© 2019 - Premium Beauty News -
about Rocco Burgo

Rocco Burgo is Chief Scientist at INOLEX, a leading global beauty care ingredients manufacturer headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with locations in ten countries. Rocco has been with INOLEX for over thirty-six years.

Rocco has served INOLEX his entire career, starting as a Technician in Quality Control. Having initially studied Biology, Rocco returned to school while working at INOLEX and obtained his B.S. in Chemistry from Rowan University. During this period, while part of the Process Development team, he continued his post-graduate work in Chemical Engineering at Drexel University. Rocco was later promoted to Manager of Process Development at INOLEX with responsibility for scaling up processes from laboratory to full scale manufacturing.

During his tenure at INOLEX, Rocco worked in Product Development and later became the Head of R&D in 1994.

Rocco has overseen the design and development of innovative products for the Synthetic Lubricant, Polyester and Polyurethane Polymers, and Personal Care Industries, where he has principally or co-authored more than thirty patents and applications.

In addition to his career in commercializing new products, Rocco’s passion is for music, especially that originating between the sixties and the nineties. He has played in many bands as drummer or keyboardist.

Rocco and Evangeline, his wife of 15 years, are parents to two children, Philip and Lara. Both are already very accomplished musicians and artists.


INOLEX is an independent, global specialty ingredients company focused on providing safe and effective beauty care options for brands around the world. At the forefront of design and development of novel technologies, INOLEX actively meet the changing demands of the cosmetic industry.

Combining a deep understanding of lifestyle trends with expertise in green chemistry and formulation, INOLEX balances lab and nature to create sustainable, life ingredients.

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