Eric Leroy is Regional Market Director – Home & Personal Care for Solvay in North America. Solvay is a Belgian diversified chemicals company which acquired the Novecare business as part of Rhodia, making it a player in hair care, body cleansing and now skin care ingredients,
What’s new in hair care from Solvay?
This year we are launching a new ingredient called Polycare Split Therapy to support ‘long-lasting’ claims in hair. Repairing hair has been a bold claim for some time; what’s new here – and has been a main area of research for our customers – is long-lasting repair. We cannot yet disclose what it is based on, but it is a sustainable chemistry based on natural products. We also continue to invest in sulfate-free formulae, as well as a new way of conditioning hair with cleansing conditioners, so we developed a lot of new formulations around these benefits. A lot of our effort is also around how to use existing materials but formulate them differently and bring to our customers and formulators the awareness of the flexibility and potential in these routes. The ‘clean and natural’ trend in personal care is very strong. Sulfate-free and shampooing your hair less are both part of this. Another trend is about using fewer silicones or not using them at all and trying to get the conditioning benefits with natural ingredients.
Is the silicone-free trend continuing? I have seen many claims at previous In-Cosmetics, yet a lot of silicones are still used in personal care.
Yes, a lot of silicones are still used but there is an upcoming EU regulation next year about volatilised silicone that will lead to a partial ban on the use of D5 after the ban on D4 some years ago. This is going to impact the whole world because many customers develop global products. So I think the replacement of silicones will continue from a regulatory and a sustainability standpoint. The amount of energy needed to produce silicones is very high and their biodegradability is still in question. There is still an interest in the industry in natural alternatives, but without compromising performance, so the industry will move if there is something. We are searching in this space and have developed new formulations and systems using natural oils, like coconut or avocado oil, where we can formulate them at functional levels (oil infused formulae), not only claim levels. Here we have some interesting formulae, such as combining sulfate-free with natural oils in clear conditioning shampoos. In conditioners, we have now developed formulations that use novel emollients that provide hair conditioning benefits and can replace high molecular weight silicones. Some of these were developed by Solvay for skin care and there is a natural synergy in the ingredients and the formulations.
Is skin care a major new market for you?
Skin care is a new entry for Solvay, until now, Solvay was mostly involved in surfactants through its Rhodia and McIntyre heritage. We see it as a strategic growth area in the personal care industry and we cannot ignore it. The new products are emulsifiers and rheology polymers, all under the Rheomer SC+ brand, that adjust viscosity and help in sensory modification. Customers are showing interest because of its superior ability to suspend pigments in sunscreen formulations – not many polymers, for example, can stabilise O/W emulsions that contain zinc oxide.