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- 11/17/2021


HPC Today


One of the good things to come out of the pandemic may be an even greater push for sustainability. People have seen how easily the world can get out of balance. But they have also experienced how much joint action can do to help. This will make them even more ready to collectively tackle other pressing global issues — including those related to the cosmetic products they use.


At Clariant, we see ourselves as a fervent enabler of such efforts. Taking urgent climate action (SDG 13) and ensuring responsible consumption and production (SDG 12) are among the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals we think we can most powerfully address. They are two of our company’s six priority SDGs. In the field of personal care, we have established a dedicated platform for natural ingredients, which helps the industry to provide more sustainable formulations to consumers. One of our latest developments for this platform is Plantasens® Biogum Tara: Derived from tara spinosa seeds, this bio-based rheology modifier has the power to change not just the naturality and biodegradability but also the flow and texture of skin care cosmetics substantially to the better.

Rheology modifiers are essential ingredients of many cosmetic products. But not of all them come up to the high standards set by an increasingly eco-conscious public. As surveys show, plastic pollution and climate change rank high among consumer concerns, and there’s a clear trend for plant-based ingredients with natural CO2 life cycles that biodegrade easily in the environment. With regard to rheology modifiers, this has led to growing pressure on the persistent polymers that are often used to thicken and texturize personal care products. At the same time, there’s rising demand for natural-based replacements, such as xanthan gum or cellulose.

For cosmetic formulators, however, these substitutes come with a catch. The one’s available so far often lack high thickening ability, making it hard to achieve the desired results. They also tend to cause stringy consistencies and unpleasant textures, which can put a dent in the enjoyment consumers derive from products like creams, lotions and gels. Taken together, the drawbacks of these modifiers are enough to potentially prevent lasting change.

Plantasens® Biogum Tara presents an alternative that minimizes such drawbacks. While 100% naturally derived and compliant with major ethical labels, the ingredient solves the main challenges commonly associated with natural rheology modifiers in one go. Whereas other naturals can make formulations runny, lumpy and uneven on the surface, a small dose of our Plantasens® Biogum Tara is enough to give them a perfect appearance, flow and texture. Formulators have to worry less about achieving sufficient thickness, and cosmetics users are no longer put off by perceptions of stringiness and tackiness when they apply the product they bought. This makes it much easier for all involved to collectively follow and keep to their green choice. 

The change our new rheology modifier brings may also benefit tara spinosa trees, whose seeds it is manufactured from. These hardy mountain plants make a frugal living in the coastal valleys of the Peruvian Andes, where they draw their moisture from the salty mists rising up from the Pacific. Often called »fog oases« and cultivated by local families, these unique habitats are thought to be especially sensitive to climate change – meaning any small step towards greater sustainability is also a step towards their survival.