Alternatives to silicones in personal care formulations

Alternatives to silicones in personal care formulations

Silicones are fairly safe, inert cosmetic ingredients – they form a breathable barrier on the skin and are washable, avoiding the build-up of residues on the hair.

However, there is much interest on the market to find alternatives to silicones, both for hair applications and for skin care.

If this is your case, our experts in the field of personal care have prepared this information, since it is important to understand how silicones work in each application in order to better choose an alternative to replace them.

Hair applications

The function of the different types of silicones in hair applications ranges from simply moisturizing, to reconstructing hair fiber and thermal protection. In order to offer such varied benefits, we can combine ingredients such as:

  • emollients,
  • cationic quaternary ammonium salts (cetrimonium chloride, behentrimonium chloride),
  • conditioning polymers (polyquaternium) and
  • cationic gums.

It is not recommended to replace silicones with petroleum-based products, since they have very different properties, are occlusive and tend to feel heavier on the hair.

Skin applications

The FDA recognizes silicones (dimethicone) as an ingredient that protects the skin, used for personal care products in concentrations ranging from 1% to 30%.

The effect of silicones on the skin is to offer moisture and protection. Other, more specific applications can be the resistance to water in sunscreens, a dry touch in any type of formulation, the resistance to product transfer in makeup and a blur and matte effect in facial care products.

In order for the replacement to be successful, it is advisable to identify the properties you need to have in your final product.

  • When looking for moisturizing alternatives, you can opt for esters, which are divided into three sensorial types: light, intermediate and heavy – which would equate to low, medium and high viscosity silicones. Choosing one or the other will depend on the final feel you are trying to attain in your formulation.
  • When looking for water resistance in sun care products and resistance to transfer in makeup, there are film-forming polymers that can be used with the same, or even greater effectiveness.
  • The dry touch offered by volatile silicones (cyclic or linear) can be attained with light esters that leave low residual films.
  • The blur or matte effect can be achieved with silica, different powders or waxes.

We have a large assortment of ingredients that can be used to replace silicones in all types of personal care formulations, contact us and our team of experts in personal care will assist you.