If consumers have long been concerned about the composition of the beauty products they buy, more and more of them are also examining the materials used in the manufacture of their applicators. This can quickly become problematic for makeup sponges and puffs, which have been produced from petroleum-derived ingredients for decades.
The first cosmetic sponges in history were natural:
derived from sea sponges : prone to the development of bacteria and hardening over time
or made from natural latex: intended for disposable products because they are not very resistant and can cause allergies.
To solve these matters, Taiki - allergen-free and reusable - to improve the application of makeup. Since then, most beauty sponges are made of NBR (Nitrile Butadiene Rubber) or PU (polyurethane). These materials are very efficient for the application but come from fossil resources.
How then to improve the composition of sponges to move towards eco-designed applicators, without compromising on performance and safety? Taiki Cosmetics Europe, supplier of custom beauty accessories and application expert, has been working for years on different alternatives to traditional materials.
Ecodesigned NBR makeup sponges
NBR (synthetic rubber) is the most standard material used for universal makeup sponges, suitable for all types of formulas. “Thanks to the exclusive “TBS Cellfine” production process, Taiki has mastered the integration of fine air bubbles, allowing the quantity of petrochemical ingredients to be reduced by 28% in a Taiki Beauty Sponge compared to the same standard NBR sponge. This specific method even improves the properties of the sponge with a softer touch and a more uniform application,” explains Alix Bellanné, Marketing & Communication Director of Taiki Cosmetics Europe.
Bio-based premium PU sponges
The 2nd material widely used in the cosmetic sponge industry is polyurethane. Luxurious and ultra-soft touch, superior application performance, it makes up premium makeup sponges as well as cushion puffs because it can be welded. To improve its environmental footprint, Taiki now offers Ecoporous 70, a PU composed of 70% biosourced ingredients. Reducing the proportion derived from petrochemicals, the materials used come from renewable resources such as corn and castor oil plant. The premium biobased makeup sponges produced in this material retain their properties in terms of makeup result, durability, and great softness.
More sustainable PU blender sponges
3D makeup sponges are made of hydrophilic PU, which allows them to swell when wet. To offer more natural applicators, the eco-designed blending sponges range “Blooming Blenders” incorporates up to 30% plant powder replacing part of the PU. Among the standard references, rose, green tea, lotus and lavender bring a natural smell and a unique coloring depending on the season. Coix, a white Asian grass associated with natural dyes allows perfect reproducibility of the chosen shade. Finally, bamboo known for its ecological culture (low water consumption and depolluting the soil) and non-food resource, is available in black (charcoal) or beige (stem), allowing a specific color matching.
It is also possible to upcycle brand production waste by incorporating their own plant powders.
These eco-designed blending sponges keep all the expected properties: soft, resistant, washable and flawless makeup results!
What about biodegradable sponges?
Plant-based biodegradable makeup sponges have been around for a few years. Experience has shown that the life of these sponges is rarely satisfactory. After a few uses, the applicator that has been in contact with the skin microbiome develops mold and must be thrown away, leading to overconsumption of the product. “Considering the total life cycle of makeup sponges, at Taiki we choose washable and reusable!”, concludes Alix Bellanné.